Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Latest Books

So while I'm readying a novel for publication, I decided to publish two books, count them two, of my short stories and poetry.

The first in the series (not that it matters that it's first, you can read them in any order) is "Up in the Attic (The Tchochkie Collection)". 

What the heck is a Tchochkie? You might ask that. Even if you didn't I will explain. It's a Jewish (no I'm not Jewish, just borrowing) word for doodad, ornament, stuff you put on a shelf because you like it although it serves no purpose and everyone else wonders why you have it although you might have some admirers too.

So those are my stories and poems. Little tchochkies that I don't know what to do with but I can't throw away and I hope that someone else will like them too. Furthermore, it appears that I misspelled tchochkie. It is actually tchotchke. But I spelled it that way, because I want to.

The second in the series is "Down in the Basement". You might be noticing a theme here. But isn't that where we store our tchotchkes? Somewhere around the house?

I'm hoping that you will find enjoyment reading these books.

And coming soon will be a novel. "The Orchards of Marina Colleen Book 1: Thimble Fingers" .

I still have copies of "Roses and Daisies." These are paperback, professionally published and they are ten dollars each (autographed of course). To get a hold of me you can write me at

To read more about Roses and Daisies go to this page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Those Fictional Writers on TV

Someone on Facebook, sorry I can't remember who, posted about how TV shows aren't about writers because no one wants to watch them sit at a computer all day.

Actually there are quite a few shows where one of the main characters is a writer. But in most cases, you don't see them working as a writer. Even if they are wildly successful they have a day job which is frankly dumb. Most writers would be more than happy to kick the day job. Often giving a character the job of the writer is great for TV because it leaves them free to do stuff that they wouldn't have time to do if they had a real job. Plus since TV shows are written by writers it makes sense that they want to write about writers.

So following are some shows with writers and some drool worthy critique because when it comes to male writers, that's what's important.

Castle - Richard Castle is a multimillionaire murder mystery writer. He also solves murder crimes in his spare time through his connection to the city mayor and the police force. We never see him actually writing although his work is mentioned all the time because that's why he's working with the police force, and his muse is his partner. Occasionally we see him at book signings. He's rich, he's handsome, he's kind, he loves his mother (but is not a mama's boy), he loves his daughter, he is a big kid but still responsible, he's funny and he's totally drool worthy. I could storm his castle anytime. He would probably put up the drawbridge though because he can so easily get a prettier princess.

Criminal Minds - David Rossi is a successful true crime writer. He started his career as a criminal profiler, left to become a famous writer, and then feeling guilty for making money from making criminals famous, he's back to being a criminal profiler. One episode had him refusing to take his vacation. Most writers would happily take a vacation so they can write, but not Rossi, yet he still does write. Someone needs to profile him. For an older man, he is worthy of some drool.

Bones - Temperance Brennan is another multimillionaire writer. But in the daytime she plays with dead bodies. That's not creepy at all. However she did manage to snag a sexy vampire. Oh wait, he's not a vampire here. That was a different show. He's definitely drool worthy too.

Smallville - It took eight years for Clark Kent to find his career as a journalist. True, he was in high school for four years (and my goodness wasn't he a grown up looking fourteen year old). But when he did become a journalist (without going to journalism school) he took it seriously, that is when he wasn't rescuing everybody he knew from certain death and traveling between planets, and fighting off other worldly bad guys, and rescuing the Green Arrow from himself, and chasing Lana, and chasing Lois, and fending off every woman that noticed how drool worthy he was. Oliver Queen (the Green Arrow) was totally drool worthy too.

Lois and Clark - Clark Kent gets the job right away and spends four years chasing down the story, chasing down Lois and capturing those criminals while wearing spandex and a cape. Yes, he was drool worthy but far more drool worthy as Clark Kent than as Superman.

Ugly Betty - Betty Suarez worked at a fashion magazine as an assistant while she waited for her break as a magazine writer. She rarely ever wrote anything since her job was mostly getting coffee, rescuing her boss from his various forays into stupidity, competing with gay office guy, fending off the wicked witche's evil plans, and volleying fast balls from the receptionist.

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter - Paul Hennessey is a newspaper columnist. I've been a newspaper columnist. I've never been able to afford lunch from a column never mind raise three teenagers in a nice house. I guess they lived off of his wife's pay from being a nurse. Paul is always around to make his daughter's lives miserable. After all, that's what a father is for. He may not be totally drool worthy but he was nice.

Everybody Loves Raymond - Raymond Barone is a sports writer. Sometimes he goes off to work somewhere. Mostly he stands around and whines. He wouldn't have time to stand around and whine if he had a regular job. He is not drool worthy. Mainly because he never backs up his wife on anything and she has to do all the work. Did I mention he whines?

Sex and the City - Carrie Bradshaw is a columnist in New York writing about sex. Although her apartment isn't fabulous it is decent and she can afford to pay several hundred dollars for one pair of shoes, and she has like a thousand pairs of shoes. I have no idea how a columnist is able to afford to live in New York let alone buy collector shoes. Yes, I said collector, not designer because how often do you wear those shoes? She and her friends have sex with every man they meet and she writes about it. She also wears ugly clothes but they are all a fashion statement. She went to live in Paris with a boyfriend and left her laptop behind so she could take a scarf with her and then had a miserable time because she had nothing to do. Like a writer is actually going to do that.  Writer's go to Paris to write! She also got a fabulous book party when she got published. So being stupid wins. As for Mr. Big, the actor might be drool worthy to some people, but Mr. Big is not.

Just Shoot Me - Maya Gallo is a magazine journalist who can only get a job at Daddy's magazine. She fights against the fluff while carrying on with the bald photographer who frankly wasn't even interesting until he showed up on Flashpoint.

Murder She Wrote - Jessica Fletcher is a very successful cozy murder mystery writer. We get to see her write in the opening credits. Everywhere she goes a murder happens which she has to solve. She is walking death. You would think that people would run when they see her. It's easy for her to write mysteries because after she solves the mystery she goes home to write about it. No one yet has caught on that she's probably a serial killer who kills these people, frames someone else for it, and then makes a couple of million off the story. I bet David Rossi would figure her out.

Newhart - Dick Loudon writes how to books while running a New England inn with his wife Joanna. He should be writing strange but true books instead because he comes up against Larry, Darryl and Darryl. Turns out it was all fiction anyway and it was all a dream. He wasn't a how to book writer but a psychiatrist. It would make anyone crazy. Not drool worthy and you wonder how he even got his beautiful wives - oh yeah, he dreamed one up.

The Waltons - Johnboy Walton is the oldest of seven kids during the depression. The show opens with a voice over of his memories and closes with him at his desk in his room writing by hand (there weren't computers back then and the family is too poor for a typewriter). Johnboy does write and several episodes are about his writing adventures including starting his own newspaper. The only odd things in this heartwarming series is that Johnboy isn't the least bit embarrassed that his name is Johnboy.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show - Murray Slaughter is not a murder mystery or a crime writer in spite of his name. He's a news writer and we do get to see him write. In fact that's all you see him doing. His entire roll involved sitting at his typewriter and insulting Ted Baxter the newscaster and mooning over Mary. Not drool worthy but a nice guy to have around if you don't annoy him.

The Odd Couple - Oscar Madison was a sports writer who worked out of his apartment. He spent his time fending off his roommate Felix Unger from his desk and totally destroying his mojo. Oscar was a happy slob except when finicky Felix got in his way. Not drool worthy in the least, but that's not his fault. He was funny.

The Dick Van Dyke Show - Rob Petrie was the head writer for the Alan Brady show, a variety show on TV back when variety shows were popular and funny (how I miss those days). Rob actually went to work everyday and we saw him work with his other writers, Sally and Buddy. Some of the funniest bits from the show came out of the creativity in that office. Of course some of the funniest bits came from home life too and you could totally see what Laura (Oh Rob!!!) Petrie saw in him. Definitely drool worthy.

So that's what I came up with. If you can think of others, by all means add on.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More Choices

I've done some tweaking and I would like more opinions. Which book cover is the best. Keep in mind that maybe I need to do something completely different. There are no prizes. Just votes or comments. Or both.

Cover 1: The Original

Cover 2: Minus the ocean.  I tried the green color as well. Do you like this or the soft yellow?

 Cover 3. Same as above only with the soft yellow instead of green.

Cover 4. Divided into two parts instead of three. If the green is more popular I could use that color in place of the yellow.

So votes please. Which do you like best? Do you have other suggestions?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Need Opinions

In my last post Moving Forward in Spite of Rejection I talked about my decision to e-publish.

So here's my self-designed cover.

So what do you think? Does it intrigue you? Are there changes that need to be made? Should I scrap it and start again? What does this book cover say to you?

I would really love to have input.

Moving Forward in Spite of Rejection

I have always believed that as a writer money should be coming to me, not from me. There are all sorts of scams out there. There are so called editors and agents that are trying to take your money. It's hard to wade through the mess that these guys have created.

On the other hand, publishing is changing. Writers, fed up with the rules that agents have instituted "send us a query and we might get around to reading it. Wait six weeks to find out if we're interested. Don't send to anyone else. We may hang on to it for a year or two and still reject you." And even if by some miracle - lets face it, getting published is like winning the lottery - you do get accepted and published, you are still responsible for all the marketing. Anything can sideline it. You could end up with an ugly cover, a typesetter that doesn't know what he's doing, or a publishing company that is too busy with their big writers to worry about you. The movies depict getting your book published as this wonderful glamorous thing with big parties and catered events and long lines of devotees. It doesn't happen to the little guy.

I've also been reading blogs from writers who have been published the regular way, and been successful, and still unhappy. They aren't making money. We hear about the J.K. Rowlings and the Stephen Kings, but not about the regular author who is barely making ends meet or only does so through the help of another job. These writers claim that they are making more money by self-publishing.

Gasp! Self-publishing! That place where writers sink thousands of dollars to publish bad writing, bad editing and laughable books. That place where ANYONE no matter how bad can get published?

Yep. That place. Only now, it's not so expensive. It's ebooks and Print on Demand. Not only that but no one can tell if you're self-published or had a traditional publishing company. I've been traditonally published, but in this day it doesn't matter. No one takes you seriously anyway.

So I've decided after so much rejection - who knows what these guys want anyway even when you follow all their guidelines it's still a mystery - I've decided that I need to move forward and stop relying on everyone else.

So I am e-book publishing at first. It's free so there's no money going out from me. I'll also be looking into print on demand. I have my people (you know who you are) editing one of my books and I've designed a cover for it. I'm not a designer, but I'm doing the best I can.

Hopefully I can start moving forward.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Things I Learned From Republicans

I am neither Republican or Democrat. I'm Canadian, and therefore don't vote in the coming American election. And I'm grateful for that. However it doesn't mean I can't see what's going on especially when so many Americans are posting on Facebook. Interestingly, it's the Republicans that post the most often, so I thought I would post what I'm seeing Republicans saying. Bear in mind none of this is what I'm saying. I'm just saying what I think they are saying and I'm sure there are Republicans who are not saying these things.  And no, I'm not attacking Mitt Romney. Part of me is supportive of having a Mormon president. It's unlikely there will be Lewinskygate problems.

Note - This is all pretty haphazard.

1. I love America, therefore, I'm a Republican. Democrats hate America.

2. I believe in the democratic process of voting for our president. That's what makes America great. I believe it's our responsibility to support our president - unless he's a Democrat.

3. Everything that is wrong with America is Obama's fault. That stuff that Bush did before Obama was president - that's Obama's fault too.

4. Every American does not have the right to shelter, food or health care. However every American has the right to own and wield a gun.

5. I want more jobs for Americans. Unless I have to pay for them with my taxes.

6. All poor people are lazy and drug addicted.

7. Anyone can get a job whenever they want one. They just have to use Jedi mind control to make people give them one. It's worked for me. If you don't have a job you're either lazy or you haven't learned how to use Jedi mind control.

8. I did everything all by myself. No one ever helped me. I taught myself everything I know. I financed my own house - no borrowing for me. I put myself through school. No student loans or parents help or teachers to teach me. No one ever gave me a job. I walked into a business and took that job (Jedi mind control), when I started my business I used Jedi mind control to make people buy my service/merchandise. Everything I've ever done has been completely done by me. I even changed my own diapers.

9. Everything I have ever earned is mine. All mine. I can't save up for my yacht if I have to provide you with food. Go get a job or five.

10. I don't hate women. I just think that if a woman is in an abusive relationship she should stay there and not make me have to pay for it. Besides, she probably deserves it anyway. And women should just shut up about birth control. If you don't want babies, don't have sex. If you're married, then have the baby. But don't leave your husband ever because I don't want to pay for your kid. Women are all sluts and prostitutes anyway. Even the married ones.

11. Abortion is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. There is no reason for abortion ever. But I don't want to pay for illegitimate children either.

12. There is a difference between legitimate and illegitimate rape. To be legitimately raped you better be pretty well dead, and it all depends on what you're wearing and what your background is. If you get pregnant that's proof that you weren't raped.

13. No morning after pill! Even if you're legitimately raped. But I'm not paying for your kid. Which you wouldn't have to worry about if you're legitimately raped because you wouldn't get pregnant.

14. I don't care if kids are homeless and hungry. That's their parents responsibilty. As long as my kids are taken care of then I'm good.

15. I believe in Jesus and all his teachings. I just don't believe in helping the poor. They got there all by themselves. Besides if they were following Jesus they wouldn't be poor.

16. If you can pay for health care then you deserve to have it. If you can't then tough. That's your problem. If you're going to die then do it and decrease the surplus population. And yes that goes for children too. Poor children are just going to be lazy drug addicted adults.

17. Of course I don't want to see the homeless on the streets or beggars either. I don't care where they go, I just don't want to see them.

18. Osama, Obama, same thing.

19. Obama isn't an American citizen. He was born in Hawaii.

20. I am not a bigot. Just because I call Obama a black Muslim baxtxxd doesn't make me a bigot.

21. If you're in trouble then go to your family for help. It's not my fault if you don't have family that can help.

22. I don't want to hear about other people's hardships. I've had plenty of my own. I had a paper cut this morning but you don't see me whining about it.

23. No more taxes. I can educate my own children, build my own roads, put out my own fires, and I don't need law enforcement. I've got a gun.

24. I am sick of poor people feeling entitled to food and shelter. The people that are entitled are rich people. They deserve every penny their parents earned.

25. We need more jobs because there aren't enough jobs to go around. But if you don't have a job then you're lazy or haven't mastered Jedi mind control.

26. It should be legal to shoot a Democrat. They're all stupid and don't care about this country.

27. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. They just use guns to do it. And if a kid gets accidentally shot then that's because they didn't teach their kid how to use a gun properly.

28. I love everybody. Jesus told us to. Except democrats, (especially black democrats), gay people, poor people, communists, Mexicans, feminists, Muslims, atheists, and anyone who shares the same race/religion or background as those guys responsible for 9/11.

29. I don't care what your background is, how poor you were in your country or if the life of you and your family is in danger - I don't want you in my country. Unless you pay all the fees involved and jump through all the hoops. No matter how bad your country is you don't deserve to be here. I do because I won the birth lottery and got to be born here. You want to come here, then go home, get an education, make some money and then you can come back.

30. Socialism is Communism. Same thing. Exactly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Janette Is At It Again

As if giving away one free book isn't enough, she's now giving away a second. Just leave comments on her blogs to enter.

An Author Incognito
Janette Rallison's Blog

I would post pictures of these books but I'm on a public blog and don't have access to them.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I love to support other authors. So I'm posting about a giveaway. Janette Rallison/C.J. Hill is giving away a copy of Slayers. Just go to her sites and leave a comment and you could win. Although frankly, I want to win.

Janette Rallison's Blog
Author Incognito

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Dream Scheme Part 3: What's an MLM?

"Hey, are you busy Tuesday night?" my friend asked.

"I have to separate Legos from potato chips in my son's room, but if you've got a better offer I'm game," I said.

"I'll pick you up at 6:30," she said.

"What are we doing?" I asked.

"It's a surprise."

I love surprises. If people want to surprise me then I'm all for it. Was it a new place for dinner? A movie? A concert?  Or something really cool and unique like dance classes with male models.

My friend picked me up and drove a half hour to the city. We pulled into the parking lot of a hotel and I followed her through the lobby to a meeting room. She paid some money to a woman sitting behind a table and we found seats near the front. By this time I was getting suspicious but I was still hoping for a comedy show, or maybe it would be a motivational speaker. After all, this was my friend and you give friends the benefit of the doubt. Like when they tell you that you are totally an awesome singer and you should try out for American Idol. You should completely believe that and be shocked when the judges throw you out of the audition room.

It was a motivational speaker all right. A guy motivated to have everyone join Quixtar which is a division of Amway. He wasn't even all that cute.

I would have gotten up and walked out but I had no car. I had no way of getting home. I contemplated using my thumb, but warnings of hitch-hiking ran through my head because everyone who picks up hitch-hikers are serial killers. It's a well known fact. So I was trapped in a prison with people in business suits with glazed over eyes as they drooled over dreams of their futures with Amway oops I mean Quixtar because no one actually said the name Amway. Even in Amway the name Amway is a dirty word. I eyed the refreshment table warily. Who knew what was lurking in that red colored liquid. If I drank some would I too feel the need for a pink pastel skirt suit?

I listened to this man put down everyone who had a J-O-B. And yes they do spell it out because I guess it's a swear word. Which means that they don't appreciate all the people that keep the world running. You know, like doctors, police officers, garbage men and the people in the offices of Amway and the factories that make their products and the shipping companies that ship their products. He was trying to convince everyone that one day they could give up their J-O-B and become rich. No mention was ever made of product, just of the opportunity.  He promised that people could have lavish lifestyles and never have to work. He also said that there were those who are negative people who wouldn't be able to see the vision and they should be avoided, you know, like your friends and family members. Now we probably all have family we would like to avoid, but it's cheating to blame that on your MLM. "Sorry I can't be at the family dinner and watch Uncle Tom get drunk and get my cheeks pinched by Aunt Bessie and watch a slide show of Cousin Jake's trip to Brazil where he was being held hostage by drug lords because you all won't join my business which is really silly seeing you all have lowly J-O-B's. Yes I know that Aunt Tess is a teacher and Cousin Jodie is a nurse and my brother Mitch has his own restaurant but they are still just stupid J-O-B's and my business could set them all free and if you can't all see that then I have no time for you when I have people to train who actually appreciate what I do and will make me rich."

So what is an MLM?

It stands for Multi Level Marketing. Although that's a misnomer because marketing is aimed at getting customers, not at getting people to join your company. Basically it's shaped like a pyramid which they will point out that all businesses are shaped like pyramids. So what makes it different? That will take several posts to discuss. You can get a better idea of how they work by reading The Dream Scheme parts one and two which is on the sidebar.

Watch Out For These Characteristics of MLM's

1.) You will rarely knowingly attend an introduction to the business meeting. You will find yourself pulled into it. Either a friend will take you without letting you know that's what they're doing, or a friend will invite you over for dinner and introduce it, or there will be some other subterfuge to get you there. People don't say "hey I'm in XXXX, do you want to hear about it?" Okay, sure some people might say this but they're often encouraged not to. Especially the ones with a bad rep, like Amway. In my case it was called Quixtar and I had to do research to find out that it was actually Amway.

2.) They will try and convince you that you are wasting your time working at a job, and that you have to have your own business to be happy and successful. There will be talk about trading time for money. There will tell you they have a new business model, one where everyone can be successful if they want it bad enough. It's not a new business model. It's been around for a long long time and the reason that businesses don't use it is because it doesn't work in the long run.

3.) There will not be much talk about a product or a service. The focus will be on the opportunity. The product or service is not really important.

4.) They will warn you about "negative" people. Translation - anyone who doesn't join up with the company. And they will tell you that you need to cut negative people out of your life.

5.) They will speak to your greed. Now greed is something that we pretty much all have and it can be a fine line between desiring financial success and stability and being greedy. They will promise big houses and expensive cars and trips around the world. They will claim that it will require very little of your time. They will tell you that you can be a better parent if you can take your kids to Disneyland. They will wrap up the dreams that many of us have into a package along with family and church and interconnect them. Good parents are rich. Good Christians are rich. Good people are rich.

I was not happy on the drive home and I told my friend that I wasn't interested in the opportunity.

Sadly, even though I still wanted to be friends, I watched as my friend drifted away, concentrating on people that joined into her various business schemes. It's too bad. I really liked her.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Escape From the Kids - Hunker in the Bunker, Secret Rooms & The Winchester House

Apparently there’s this guy in BC who built himself a bunker. And no, it's not the marijuana bunker.

Most bunkers are holes in the ground where food and water and ammunition are stored. I always think of that Twilight Zone episode where the guy and his family holes up in a bunker and threatens to shoot the neighbors who are trying to get in. I mix that up with the story of the guy and his friend who are holed up in a bunker not realizing they’re underneath a nuclear dome.

And then there’s the movie of the family who are living in one for twenty years with their kid not knowing that life goes on as before up top. Now there was a bunker for you. The guy had his own supermarket.

And this is like the bunker in BC. This man hasn’t built a bunker, he’s built a house under his house. There are secret passages and doors that go nowhere and four stories. Yep, four stories of this place.

I like it.

It’s the secret passages and fake doors that have got me. I grew up reading girls adventure stories. There were always secret passageways and hidden rooms in them. I would go around whatever house I lived in searching for a hidden room or passageway. If Nancy Drew could find them, then why couldn’t I?

I never found one.

I searched whatever yard we had. Surely there would be a tunnel somewhere. Those English kids in Enid Blyton books who had a parrot that carried on conversations and parents who would let them sail around the world without adult supervision, always found tunnels.

I never found one.

I went into forests hoping to stumble across a cave somewhere. One of those caves that go on forever and smugglers used to hide their booty. After all, I lived on an island, there was bound to be some kind of smugglers cave somewhere filled with treasure chests of jewels and coins.

I never found one.

I’ve always wanted to live in a castle. There was bound to be secret passageways and rooms, unfound for generations that I could discover where some poor woman had died of a broken heart, and her hair could still be found in the brush on her dressing table beside the dried rose that her lover had given to her before he was captured by pirates, never to return.

I can’t even find a castle, never mind a hidden room.

The Winchester House
I remember when I was little, seeing something on TV about the Winchester House. The Winchester widow was, lets say, not able to keep her six shooters straight, and felt guilty over the money she had from the sale of guns. She was also convinced that if she kept building she would never die, or something like that.
There's secret rooms a plenty. Stairs that go nowhere. Doors that open to nothing. It's a maze where no one has been able to completely count the rooms although they estimate 160. And that's after the earthquake that toppled the top three floors of the seven story structure. The floors were never rebuilt.
I want that house. Sure it's haunted but the kids would never find me there. But then with my sense of direction, I would never find my way out. I would be sentenced to wandering that place forever.

Still, it would be nice to have a hidden room, one that the kids don’t know about. I could have pens.

I could have pens and chocolate. It would have a doorway hidden behind someplace they would never go, like a cleaning cupboard, and I would hide there whenever they’re searching for me because they want me to settle an argument which they won’t listen to me about anyway.

There would be no phone in my secret room. I hate the phone. Have you ever noticed that just as your getting settled down to a project, most likely one that you haven’t wanted to do and have procrastinated about forever but you’ve finally got your self doing it, and you’re going along at a nice clip, the phone rings and you have to climb the stairs or come down from the tree, or fall off the roof, only to be greeted by someone who has a great deal for your long distance calls.

And then the kids come home and wonder why the phone has been smashed to pieces.

And then of course something distracts you and you never do get back to that project even though you’ve left the pieces of it all over the place. So now you’ve got a new project to procrastinate about.

Yep, I need a secret room. Now, where did I put that spade?

Friday, April 13, 2012

And Now For Something Truely Ridiculous: 10 Ways to Kill Someone With a Door Knob

Please note. This is for entertainment purposes only. Do not try this at home. If you do try this at home, do not take me to court saying that I made you do this because your home/school life is miserable and you hate Mondays and nobody understands you and your mother made you wear the sweater that your Aunt Flora made you for Christmas or your boss just announced that you have been transferred to the same town where your in-laws live.

10 Ways to Kill Someone With a Door Knob

  1. Attach 3000 volts of electricity to door knob and then meow outside the door.
  2. Send away for a kit from the Acme Company. Using the paint that comes in the kit, paint a door on the inside of an outside wall on a fifty story building. Attach Acme doorknob. Write “Fire Escape” over the top of the door. Set off the fire alarm.
  3. In front of a regular door, build a trap door over an alligator pit. Attach a mechanism that opens the trap door to the door knob on the regular door. To get victim to open regular door, play Mini Pops on your stereo over and over again.
  4. On a freezing cold day, dare your ex-husband who doesn’t pay child support but has enough money for limos for girlfriends, to stick his tongue on a frozen door knob (tell him it tastes like beer and you’ll give up asking for money). Leave him there. Oh yeah, you might want to think about picking his pockets first and hosing him down. Ah, while your at it paint a target on his butt and pretend your Robin Hood. (Note: this is not a reference to anyone in particular. Really. It isn’t.)
  5. Hand several parents socks with door knobs in them. Now have Barney come to visit and ask him to sing the I Love You song. Come to think of it, you could dress up that ex in a Barney suit first.
  6. For a change of pace to your boring old snowball fight, have a door knob fight instead.
  7. To add excitement to your pillow fights, insert door knobs into pillow cases.
  8. Send away for Acme kit. Insert bomb making supplies that come in kit into door knob. Invite friends to play “hot potato” with door knob. Have anvil fall on someone’s head.
  9. Tell someone that calling a mobster a “door knob” over and over again is a term of respect. Introduce them to a mobster.
  10. Use Acme paint from Acme kit to paint a door on a brick wall that leads to an entirely enclosed secret room. Invite someone to go inside. Erase door.

Hmm, I was just thinking. I’ve got that secret room in the basement that I’ve been digging with a spoon. I wonder when it’s fully excavated and furnished, if I could go in and erase the door from the inside and paint it back on when I’m ready to come out. They’d never find me.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forget About the Snakes, Worry About the Dead Bodies

Imagine this. You’re on a plane. You’ve paid for a first class ticket. (All right work with me here, we’re pretending). There’s no one sitting beside you. The stewardess has massaged your feet, filled your champagne flute, read you a bedtime story, kissed your forehead, tucked a blanket around you and turned off the light. (I’m assuming here since I’ve never actually been in first class).

When you wake up, you look over and realize that you’re next to A DEAD BODY!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fun for Writers

Take a break from writing and take a look at this.

The Black Books: Writing a children's book.

"I feel sorry for people who grow up before this book."

Warning this next one has cigarette smoking.

The Rejection

"I've just spent the entire weekend writing the novel..."

And now for something helpful. Yes, it's not all fun and games. Oh, hold it we're writers. We write because it's fun and when we're not writing we play computer solitaire and claim that we're writing in our heads. So I guess it is all fun and games.

Jordan McCollum
has a very nice website to help writers. She's also written some helpful PDF guides and she offers them for free. Yep FREE. These are writing books to help you on your journey. Go to Guides for the free downloads.

Happy creating worlds that don't exist about people who don't exist but are real to us.

Because I Want A Kindle

Monday, March 12, 2012

If a Five-Year-Old Ruled the World

"There are two people who rule the world," my five-year-old grand-daughter explained to her audience of me, her parents, two aunts and an uncle. "They are Jesus and me."

The ego on this child is not lacking.

However I found it an interesting proposition.  What would life be like if the world was run by a five-year-old?

People would be fed and everyone would get to have milk and cookies as well.
We would all have to share.
Animals would get cuddles. 
We would play tag and races.
We would spend time with each other.
There would be more artists, singers and actors.
Soldiers would carry toy guns or sticks and not real guns. So would police officers, because you can play at war but not actually kill each other. In fact there wouldn't be any real guns or bombs because they hurt people.
Everyone would have a nice place to live.
Stay-at-home mom's would be paid what they're worth.
So would teachers.
Bad people who hurt people and destroy or steal other people's stuff would have to go somewhere away from good people.
Tantrums would be allowed and then forgotten.
There would be more dress up and pajama days.
It wouldn't matter what you looked like. Everyone would be equal.

Hmmm. Maybe age doesn't equal wisdom.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Letter to Truckers

Dear Truckers,

Let me first thank you for all the work you do. I am aware that you work long hours and drive in dangerous conditions in order to bring supplies to people like me. I appreciate it. Really I do.

And I try and do my part to make sure that you do so safely. I do not travel immediately behind you. I maintain quite a bit of distance. When I pass you I try and do it in a way so that you can see me. When I have passed you I make sure I can clearly see you in my rear view mirror before moving in front of you. I may annoy cars behind me in order to maintain such safety, but that's their problem. I can't hear them swearing at me.

In return I ask some things.

Please do not pass me on narrow winding roads in the black of night. I know that you have places to go and things to do, but so do I and I would like to get there. Sure I may be going slower than you like, but that's because it's a NARROW WINDING ROAD IN THE BLACK OF NIGHT and 180 km an hour is simply not safe. Your actions could very well result in meeting up with someone coming from the opposite direction and if you're beside me when you do this or close in front of me the results might not be pretty.

When the rain is pouring down I tend to go slower than the posted speed limits. Why? Because if I go the speed limit I won't be driving, I'll be flying as my car hydroplanes along the road. My car is not built to fly and so the normal safety controls like brakes and steering are not in place. I know it's frustrating to follow a pokey little car when you want to travel 180 kmph but when you pass me you create hurricane conditions where water engulfs my car and I am completely blinded. If you still choose to create a tsunami for me then at least do it on a straight road with no other cars around so that I don't drive off a cliff while I'm blinded. Better still, if it's night time pull over and go to sleep. I may not have that option but I know you've got those trucks all pimped out with stereos and beds and lights. Oh and snow conditions aren't much safer for passing. You create a blizzard when you pass by. It's hard to see when everything has turned completely white.

As far as I know, and I could be wrong about this and if so I will apologize and take back my statement, yield signs are for everyone. Including truckers.

                                          They look something like this.

Or this.

                                           Or this.

However they look they tend to be a triangle with the pointy side down and more often than not actually have the word "YIELD" printed on it. This does not mean "speed up and force whomever's coming into the ditch". You actually have to slow down and maybe even stop if there is a car coming because believe it or not, just because you're bigger does not mean you have the right of way. I know it's inconvenient when you're traveling 180 and you're pulling a hundred thousand tons of stuff, but I have yet to see a sign that says "YIELD IF YOU WANT TO".

Before you pass the vehicle in front of you, please check and make sure that I'm not trying to pass you. Sure, I could stay behind you my entire trip and not see a thing in front of me, including important signs, but I prefer not to do that. I do not suddenly swing out from behind you. I start my pass well enough back that you should see me. I cannot help it if at some point I am in your blind side. It's inevitable that there is at least one. So you actually have to make sure there's no one in the passing lane before you pass. If I hit you, because you've suddenly swung out right in front of me, or you hit me, you probably won't feel it. I'm just a bug. But it might actually kill me and the children I have in my car. We will be on the side of the road in a grisly mess while you travel your merry little way.

Some highways go through the center of towns. You cannot travel highway speeds through the center of a town. In the movies when cars are zooming through towns people merely jump out of the way because everyone is an olympic athlete and can do so, and no one gets hurt because they have the body composition of Gumby, but in real life, a truck traveling at highways speeds could actually kill someone who is on a crosswalk with their groceries in one hand and their toddler's hand in the other. Did you know that pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk even if you are bigger and badder? It's far easier to stop if you go the posted speed and since there's so much more of you to stop you should actually go slower than the posted speed. In fact it would be nice if you could just avoid those small towns all together unless you are actually delivering to a store in town. There is usually a way around a town.

I think that's it. I appreciate your time.


Anna Maria Junus (who does not drive a truck)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Three R's: Redecorating, Renaming, and Resignation

Cover your ears while I scream.


I had the loveliest blog template for years. It took me quite awhile to find and then when I did find it I yelled Ureeka like I had discovered the secret to making kids wash the dishes.

When you find something that works you hang on to it. Forever.

Only it stopped working.

I went to my webpage yesterday and discovered that the background was missing. No amount of uploading the template made it look the way it was supposed to.

It was gone. What I had left was the sad little skeleton. And although skeletons have become cool for some odd reason, I'm not a fan. I don't like zombies or vampires either.

So it was back on the hunt for a new blog template.

I found this one. A bench by the ocean with books and suitcases. I love the ocean. I love books. I love to travel. I love to sit. Yes, this was me. I could do this.

It required moving all my gadgets around.

And it involved something else that I wasn't planning. Once the template was in place my title "Real Women Don't Wear Bikinis" didn't look right anymore. Now I had to create a new title.

So here it is. "Postcards From a Gypsy Packrat".

Now if I could actually go somewhere.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Does Disney Hate Mothers?

Why does Disney hate mothers?

Think about this, Snow White’s mom—dead. She had a wicked step-mom instead—in fact a wicked witch of a step-mom.

Pinocchio didn’t have a mom, just a lonely wood carver that created him.

Bambi’s mom got killed so he had to look up to a father that was never around—but in the end it turns out that he was a good father in spite of never being around.

Cinderella didn’t have a mom either, just another wicked step-mother with two bratty daughters. Her father picked well on his second marriage.

Sleeping Beauty’s mom gave her away. And it wasn’t like she was some poor teenage mother, she was a queen. Aurora was sent away from her grand palace to live in the forest in a little hut with three batty fairies. She wasn’t even told who she was.

Dumbo had a mom. But they put her in prison for being a mom and protecting her baby.

Jasmine, no mom. No mention of a mom. Maybe her dad had a harem and so her mom wasn’t that important.Where were all those women in that harem anyway?

Come to think of it, Aladdin didn’t have a Mom either and there’s no mention of his mom. He just had a monkey that got him into trouble.

Belle didn’t have a mom. She had a lunatic father. And in spite of living in town where everyone knew her, there didn’t appear to be any women who stepped in to be a mother-like figure. Like the lady down the block who bakes homemade cookies, or the seamstress that helps teach sewing. No women, nadda.

Simba had a mom, but it appears that she played no role in his upbringing since the whole story surrounded his dad and how much he looked up to his dad and how he wanted to be like his dad. I guess his mom only gave birth to him.

Mulon had a mom who only cared about marrying her off and what kind of impression she made. Mulon sacrificed everything for her father.

Tarzan’s mom was killed by a tiger. Sure he had an adopted gorilla mom who loved him and his gorilla dad wasn’t nice, but his real mom still got killed.

Ariel, again no mother in sight. There’s a lot of kids in that family though. I guess merpeople don’t need mothers. However Ariel did turn into a nice mother, but then I guess Disney couldn’t kill her off. That would be too traumatic. Can you imagine if they had started “The Little Mermaid II” off with the murder of Ariel?

Lilo has no mother, just a sister whom Lilo drives nuts.

Nemo’s mom gets eaten by a shark before Nemo is even born. Why couldn’t it have been Nemo’s dad that gets eaten by the shark and Nemo’s mom be the one to have to find Nemo?

Rapunzal's Mom stole her from her real mom and kept her a prisoner in a tower.

Sure, there are a few moms scattered here and there. The Aristocats has a mother, 101 Dalmations has a mother, and there is a mom on Treasure Planet. And there's a real mom on The Incredibles that all moms can be proud of. I watched it thinking “Finally, a Mom. And a really cool Mom too! I wish I could be that flexible.”

But still, the pickings have been slim. It’s like they go into a room and think “Mom’s just get in the way. They don’t let you go on adventures and they tell you to eat your spinach and put on clean underwear. Let’s kill them off.”

Admittedly, many of the Disney stories come from fairy tales and the Brothers Grimm are responsible for killing off a lot of moms, such as Snow White’s and Cinderella’s. And some stories like Tarzan come from famous novels where the writer has killed off the mom.

But really, does every mother have to suffer the fate of death? And does every step-mother have to be wicked? And why is it that the bad fathers in Disney stories are not really bad, but just misunderstood, or they come around and realize that they’ve been unfair and all is forgiven.

Where’s the fathers that run away and don’t send child support? Or the wicked stepfathers who brew up potions to kill their step-children? I mean, lets have some equal opportunity badness here.

In Disney’s world most families are one parent families with the father being the main caregiver.

Of course, no one has ever accused Disney of presenting real life.

But it does make me wonder, why do so many Disney executives hate their moms?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

While I Am Sleeping or Why Can't I Have the Shoemaker's Elves

Do you remember the story of the shoemaker and the elves?
The story goes that there was a very poor shoemaker (it seems that all shoemakers were poor which makes you wonder why they went into the business in the first place. Do shoemakers even exist anymore? I guess they must to make specialty shoes).

Anyway, this shoemaker didn’t make specialty shoes, he just made ordinary shoes at a time when you couldn’t go to Walmart and pick out a pair for 14.99 which sounds like a good deal until you realize while you’re in Walmart that you need a new set of sheets, and a broom to replace the one the kids broke while they were playing Harry Potter, and you notice a really cute purse, and while you’re there you might as well pick up a cheap movie to watch for family night and a, okay I’m rambling…

Anyway, this poor shoemaker was struggling trying to get his work done and one night he went to bed and when he woke up in the morning all of his work was finished.

See, it wasn’t about him having a lack of work, it was more about supply and demand and he couldn’t keep up with the amount of work that he had which is bad since then you get the reputation of not being reliable and you end up losing business and so instead of hiring someone to help him retain the business he had he decided instead to do everything himself. I guess he was the “I can do it all” kind of guy and he didn’t like to ask for help and he definitely didn’t like to pay for help especially for something that he could do himself. Only he couldn’t do it all himself and he was falling behind but he wouldn’t admit it. Just like a man.

Where was I?...Oh yeah, he woke up and all his work was done, which was great for business and it continued to happen night after night until he wasn’t poor anymore.

Then he decided to find out how his work was being done. See if it had been me, I would have been wondering the first day but this guy waited until he was well off before his curiosity kicked in. I know I would have been wondering, “How did those shoes get finished?” and then I would have asked all over the place and then I would have seen if it happened again and then when it did I would have done a stake out like in the movies.

Which is what he ended up doing. He and his wife stayed up all night waiting to see what would happen. Nowadays we would just put a hidden camera in a teddy bear but they didn’t have them back then (cameras or teddy bears) so they made some popcorn and curled up in a corner hiding and waiting for the show to start.
I know these elves aren't naked but I couldn't put
 naked elves on my family blog

Suddenly these naked elves appear and start fixing all the shoes. These elves can make shoes but they can’t tie a piece of cloth around themselves and call it a toga. Nowadays there would have been a big blur or dot put in strategic places but since this was live and had no 10 second delay, there was no big blurs or dots.

So the next day his wife decides that she can’t have naked elves in her house and decides to whip them up all new outfits. Now anyone who sews knows that it’s almost as much work to make something little as to make something big.

She designs them little outfits and figures out what size the elves are (I guess she mentally measured them while watching) and she sews up all the clothing by hand since they didn’t have sewing machines back then and she has them all ready by nightfall. Which makes me wonder, if she was able to design, fit, and sew so quickly why wasn’t she helping her struggling husband by taking in sewing from rich people?

Or why didn’t he teach her how to make shoes because she could have had a dozen pairs made up to his one and then they wouldn’t have needed the naked elves.

They laid out all the clothes and made some popcorn and hid in a corner to watch the show.

The elves came, tried on all their clothes, danced around in happy delirium and left never to come back and make any more shoes.

I don’t know what the moral of this story is. If you pay someone they will leave you. Or elves can only make shoes when they’re naked. Or if you don’t ask for help someone will come and give it to you anyway. I don’t know. None of this sounds right but that isn’t the point.

I don't get elves that help me like the shoemaker did. I get the other kind of elves.

While I sleep, elves enter my home and steal single socks, hide my keys and put dishes in my sink, both clean and dirty dishes, which make the clean dishes dirty.

They overload the garbage, make the cordless phone disappear, and take all the batteries out of the remote controls that I can find. Of course there are the remote controls that I can’t find.

Elves play on my computer and store files in odd places, change my desktop, download weird programs, and put in sneaky little viruses and worms that confound my virus scan. They also make quadruple copies of spam email. They empty the ink from my printer, hide all the 100 pens that I keep on my desk and rearrange all my papers.

In my bathroom, they go into my linen closet and throw sheets on the floor, soak towels in the bathtub, make toilet paper streamers, put toothpaste on the mirrors, unwrap and wet down several bars of soap and take all the papers off of the band-aids.

In my fridge, they loosen salad dressing lids, knock over ketchup bottles and jump up and down on them, hide my leftovers so that I can’t find them until my nose does and they add chemicals to my vegetables to make them rot faster than they normally would.

While I sleep, in my room they mix my clean clothes with my dirty ones, hide the latest book I’m reading, and change the time and alarm on my clock. In my closet they shrink my clothes, tangle up my hangers, and separate my blazers from the matching skirts and pants.

In my children’s bedrooms they throw all the clothes on the floor, break all the toys, scatter legos, undress dolls, and spill nail polish on carpets.

They like to take all the movies and either mix them up in the boxes or hide the boxes and throw everything on the floor.

On my bookshelves they place Stephen King next to Louisa May Alcott.

They put strange appointments on my calendar and hide my important phone numbers.

They call my phone number and leave wierd messages or no messages at all.

I often wonder why I didn’t get the kind of elves that make shoes. I could use some new shoes. Especially since my elves hid mine.

Maybe if I made them little clothes they would go away. Of course they could always wear the clothes that they take off of the dolls.

I wonder if I could trade my elves in for house fairies. I hear they're pretty nice to have around.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From 2002: The Adventures of a Cross Stitched Driver

A few weeks ago I went away on a retreat.

I know, this can give images of people sitting around with their legs crossed and going “Ohm” over and over. Or having breakdowns in front of total strangers over the fact that they didn’t get the bike they wanted when they were six. Or going into hypnotic states and talking about past lives when they were Cleopatra and Attila the Hun.

My retreat was none of this. It was a stitching retreat. A full weekend of doing needlework and chatting with other women who like to do needlework. No children, no husbands, no workouts or diets, no housework, TV or computers.

Now I know, some of you have your eyes glazed over and are going “that sounds as exciting as watching the snail Olympics.”

For others of you, just the idea of getting away from husbands and children would be enough to send you into glorious fits of ecstacy similar to the feelings you get when you finally give yourself permission to have a D.Q Pecan Mudslide after several months of eating nothing but broccoli and cabbage soup.

It was a retreat with eight women, out in the middle of nowhere (okay, Pigeon Lake) in a house to ourselves. We were all responsible for one meal, which was already planned and bought, and clean up at the end of the weekend.

I started out happily on my journey. My car loaded up with needlework and snacks. My computer would not download the map that was sent to me, but someone said it was not hard to find, just follow the road signs, and it was at Pigeon Lake so how hard could it be?

I have no sense of direction. And when it comes to asking for directions, I am a man. I admit it. I will not ask for directions. Never say lost, because all roads lead to somewhere, and never ask for directions because I’ll never be able to follow them anyway. Several hours later, still driving around in the middle of nowhere, I finally realized that the roads I was on led to nowhere. I was lost. Completely and utterly lost. Never get out of here lost. I would be found one day, withered away from starvation (and it would take a long time to wither me away) my hands clutched to an empty snickers wrapper, and frozen from the cold.

Fortunately I had my cell.

And more fortunately my friends called me. Good thing too, because I didn’t have their number. After several attempts to get me going the right way, my friends decided that a rescue mission was in order. So they put on their black clothes with stocking caps, grabbed an emergency bag (for stitchers this would have embroidery floss, a needle, a piece of lovely fabric and a chart) and set out in an unmarked van.

This experience has taught me two things: one, it is a good idea to keep the cell phone recharged, and two, in spite of what everyone says about cell phones and driving, I don’t want to make it illegal, because it was a great comfort being able to drive around with the phone up to my ear as someone was talking to me If it becomes illegal how else are people supposed to find their way? I can just see hordes of drivers meandering all over desperately searching for a familiar sign.

“Okay, we’re coming up to a blinking red stop sign.” I hear in the phone.
“I’m near a blinking red stop sign!” I replied as I flashed my lights. “Is that you that just passed me by?”
“We’re turning around.” With joy I watched a van turn around and drive by me. I followed, relieved to finally be rescued. But just as I was going merrily on my way a woman stepped in front of my car and flagged me down.

She asked me for directions.

Which I might have given to her (“go home before you get sucked into an eternal black hole and never be heard from again”} if I hadn’t been so worried about losing my rescuers.

It occurred to me as I followed the van through twists and turns and several wrong directionless moves, that I hadn’t actually seen who was in the van, and I might be following a mass murderer.

Especially when a sign appeared that said “cemetery” with a direction arrow, and they turned TOWARDS the cemetery.

I had a great weekend. Good food, good friends, and good stitching. Better than the snail Olympics. If anyone wants to stitch with me, give me a shout. I’ll be sure to bring my cell and oh yeah, a map.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Musings: Following the Plan

Today in fast and testimony meeting a young man who is preparing for his mission got up and explained how if he weren't a member of the church he probably wouldn't be one of those people who would invite two guys preaching a religion into his home. He then told us about a conversation he had with his boss and the surprise his boss had when he discovered that this young man was planning to go on a mission. (Note: all quotes are not exact since I didn't take notes, I'm just remembering the best I can.)

His boss said, "You're going to be one of those guys dressed in a suit who goes from door to door preaching? I hate those guys. I just get settled into dinner and family and they come to the door."

"I hate those guys too," the young man said.

"Then why are you going to be one of those guys?"

"I'm not going for people like you and me. I'm going for the people who would invite the missionaries in and listen to the gospel."

I loved this. For all those people who complain about the missionaries, there are people like me who are grateful to them. My first missionaries were Elder Smith and Elder Smith who taught me about Joseph Smith. No, I am not making that up. They taught me a lesson, invited me to a stake center opening, and took me to a fireside in a couple's home (what happened to those types of firesides anyway?) Then they were transferred and I ended up with Elder Croft and Elder Cox. They were the ones who baptized me. It took a total of three weeks from initial contact to baptism. I'm an unusual case. But there are people like me who are ready to hear the gospel. There are people out there looking for it and don't know where to look. If missionary work didn't work, then we wouldn't do it. Yes, it's inconvenient and annoying for those who are not interested, but it's life changing for those who do.

The young man also made another statement. "We don't always know what the plan is and we don't have to understand it. The planner knows what the plan is."

And that is so true too. I don't know what the plan that Heavenly Father has for me is. I wish He would tell me. But He doesn't. Just because He doesn't, does not mean that there is no plan. I have to trust that He knows what He's doing and try to be open to it when it begins to reveal itself. He knows what the plan is, and sometimes that's enough.