Thursday, December 5, 2013

Important Announcement! I Have Become A Nun!

That's right people, I have become a nun.

The proof is right here.

I am a nun in The Sound of Music.

Back when I auditioned I did not audition with a musical piece. I am not a singer. I am an actor. I was hoping for a non-singing role.

I did not get an acting part.

I got a singing part.

Yes, people, this non-singer is singing.

In Latin.

It's actually not a bad way to spend Sunday afternoons - singing hymns in Latin to God.

I am told by those listening that the nun choir sounds amazing. They sound amazing in spite of me, not because of me. I keep waiting to be booted out the door as an imposter. I am actually singing though and I feel honored to be part of a group with so many amazing voices.

We are in full blown performances now. Friday and Saturday evenings, Sunday matinees.

Oh, and you might notice that there is a maid there that has two words - well actually three because I added one. I'm doing double duty as Ursula. Because of this I actually have three costumes. More costumes than words. Other than that Latin singing.

I love singing. Really I do. My kids don't like listening.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Pet Lovers Guide to Bad Book Covers

It's not that I'm trying to make fun of other authors out there. I just can't help myself. No seriously, I think we learn more from bad examples than from good ones. There are a lot of great covers out there but the bad ones are much more interesting. They don't sell books but really, is that what book selling is about?

Ever heard the phrase "you can't tell a book by its cover", well it's not true. You should be able to tell something about a book by its cover, otherwise you're not doing your marketing job.

Don't let a bad cover sideline you.

Having said that, I am nervous that one day I too will be a feature on lousy book covers. That would not be good marketing.

None of these covers tell you if the author is a good writer. Just a reminder. In case you want to buy one of these books. I have provided you with easy links to do just that.  Because after all, if I'm going to make fun of an author's work I am going to show you where to buy the book.

And so my tribute to pet lovers and those who write for them.

Slavery According to the Bible

The great mystery of how the pyramids were built has been solved! It was tiny purse dogs all along. They have magic powers. The pharoahs discovered this early and used these miracles to build their cities. They yap and things happen.

Unfortunately in-breeding through the ages has resulted in these balls of fluff losing their powers.

So all that stuff about Moses saving his people was incorrect.

Apparently the author is in hiding over this controversial finding because he/she didn't leave a name.
Hi! I am a Dog and This Is MY Story! 59 Critical Points you probably never considered! Then finally Dogs go to Heaven

Remember when I said earlier that the cover does not tell us if the author is a good writer?

Okay, sometimes it does. 

But I'm being too tough on the author because let's face it, a dog writing a book is pretty impressive.

Although maybe not really because after looking through Amazon there's a ton of cat and dog writers out there.
Wizard the dog that knew Magic 

Wizard can levitate half his body above the trees and make himself really really big!

That is one magic dog.

The World is My Fire Hydrant: Songs, Letters, and Essays by Dogs

 Is Jacquie the author and therefore a dog, or is she just the editor that gathered all these dog writers and put them in one book?

I knew the Leaning Tower of Pisa leaned but I didn't know the Statue of Liberty suffered from the same syndrome. Do New Yorkers know this?

I can't wait to read that song to a fire hydrant.

And lets not forget about that political statement that the world is a dog's chew toy.

My Cats: A Memoir of Cats I Have Known

Honestly, there's really nothing wrong with the cover
- other than the title and the suggested subject matter.

But then who am I to criticize the audience this book is for. You know the ones that post a dozen cat pictures on Facebook everyday and collect everything cat and have 65 of them roaming around their house and another few dozen dead in their basement.

Nope, not going to criticize those people at all.


Hidden Desires

This cover is just traumatizing.

There's dog lovers, and sadly, there's dog lovers.

This poor dog looks terrified and rightly so.

Now it appears the author changed the cover which you can see when you click on the title. Although it really isn't much of an improvement since it speaks more about the author name than the book.

Unless the hidden desire is to jump off a building.

Fun Training and Understanding Your Peruvian Inca Orchid Puppy & Dog

Now here's a best seller!

I was really looking for this book because those Peruvian Inca Orchid puppies and dogs are overrunning the world.

Are Peruvian Inca Orchid puppies different from Peruvian Inca Orchid dogs?

Is fun training different from regular training?

Remember that admonition I gave that book covers do not tell you if the author can write?

I guess I was wrong again.

The Frog And The Dog: Ozzie Learns Responsibility

Yep, this is the way to encourage children to read. Tell them right on the cover that this is a book with a lesson about responsibility in it.

That's exactly what children want.

By the way, I see the dog but where's the frog and what the heck is the dog doing?

Cat Overload: Cuteness Edition (100% Cutest Cats Ever!) I am trying so hard not to gag over this one.

So Kitty Bitty wrote a book and dared to use the phrase "cuteness edition" and then slapped pictures of cats posing for play cat all over the cover. In fact she thought that one cat was so cute she pasted it's picture three times. The same picture just rotated so she could fool everyone into thinking it was three different cats.

Because there just isn't enough cat pictures out there.

Cat porno for everyone.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Things I Wish That I Had Told You

Today I saw you sitting in your van while a man stood on the outside screaming obscenities at you. When I stopped to help you told me you were fine and he was your husband and you thanked me but said you didn't want me to call the police when I offered.

I knew you weren't fine. Your eyes, and your mouth, and your entire face told me something different from what your tongue said.

I told you to drive away, but I realized later that you probably couldn't because the repercussions later might be worse.

So I drove away, and I went to the police.

Here's what I wish I could have done and said.

I wish that I could have got out of my car and opened your door and held you.
I wish that I could have convinced you to drive to my house where you would have been safe.
I wish that I could have kicked his butt all the way down the street and through the park and into the lake.

I wish that I had told you

  • that you are beautiful and you deserved better than what he was giving you.
  • that even though you love him and that he is probably your whole world, he doesn`t love you,     because if he did, he wouldn`t treat you that way.
  • that all of the nasty things he calls you, is not about you. It's about him. If he calls you stupid, it's because he knows that he is stupid and that you're not and that drives him crazy, so he tells you that so you will feel worse than he does. If he calls you ugly, it's because he knows you have more beauty than he can hope for. If he puts down your dreams, your ideas, your desires, it's because he thinks so small and he is afraid that you will become greater than he is.
  • that just because he doesn't love you, does not mean that you are not loveable. It means that he is not capable of loving someone.
  • that being alone is not terrible. It is better than being with someone who is your enemy.
  • that being with this guy means that you will never find someone who will love you. 
  • that even though you may never find someone else, you can still love yourself.
  • that staying with him means that you will start to hate yourself, hate who you've become, hate the fact that you let your dreams die.
  • that he may apologize later, and you may make up, but it will only happen again, and again, and again.
  • that there are other women out there who understand exactly where you're at because they've been there too.
  • that you may not see yourself as an abused woman, because that happens to other women, not you, but you are. And that it doesn't always have to be that way.
  • that you are abused not because you are weak, or stupid, but because someone has taken advantage of all the good things in you. Your ability to love unconditionally, to forgive, to see the good in people, to see the potential in others, to sacrifice, to be unselfish.
  • that the most unselfish thing you can do for others, is to take care of yourself first
  • that just because he's not hitting you, does not mean he is not hurting you. Words destroy too.
  • that if you have children, you have a responsibility to them to not raise them to be like him, or to be with someone like him and the only way to do that, is to remove the bad example.
  • that he has issues that are too big for you to solve, and even if you could, you are too close to the situation because you have become his trigger.
  • that he does not take responsibility for his behavior. Did you notice when he turned on me for trying to help you and called me nasty names? They were the names that he should have directed at himself.
  • that you deserve better and only you can claim it

You haunt me now, because I couldn't do more. Because I didn't know what to do at the time. I pray that you are safe and that soon you will realize, that life is too short for crap like this.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Left to Write: The Information Dump 2

Yes, this is part two. I`m still finding information dumps and I want to stop it. Please, please stop it all you otherwise talented writers. I am on a crusade to stop it. So to read part one you can go here. "Left to Write: The Information Dump"

Now I know you all love your characters and when you love someone you want to talk about them. You want to tell everyone. After all you spent time creating their backgrounds and giving them quirks and coming up with reasons why they have quirks and why they're with the person they're with and why they hate bologna sandwiches (it really is traumatic) and how they landed their job and their first boyfriend in the sixth grade.

It's great you have that information. It's fantastic. Keep it to yourself.

Well, actually keep it to yourself unless it's absolutely necessary for your story.

Think of it this way, when you meet someone for the first time, do you want to know absolutely everything about them right then and there? In fact if you met someone who told you everything right away you would probably get creeped out and not want to have much more to do with that person. Believe me, it's happened to me, and I'm actually interested in people, but I don't need to know all about your foot bunion, your bad relationship with your son, your idiot of an ex-husband, and how you won your cheerleading trophy. Or actually, I don't want to know all that as soon as I meet you.

And when I meet a couple, the story of their meeting can honestly wait until I've actually known the couple better.

So why do authors feel they have to tell the entire life story of their characters in the first chapter? Or the second? Or at all if it has nothing to do with the story they're telling?

I bet there are lots of couples that you spend time with and you don't know their history. You just accept the fact that they're together.

In order for people to care about these things, they have to have a chance to care about your characters. That takes some time.

If you feel it's important to the story, then by all means tell it, but don't rush it. Wait for the question to form in your readers mind. Don't answer questions that haven't been asked yet.

And it's okay to let your reader wonder about things for awhile.

Do you know who does this well? Watch Lost or the Gilmore Girls. Yes, I know Stephen King would be horrified to hear of a writer tell another writer to watch TV, but TV is written by writers. Either of these shows illustrate how to do back story really well. (While watching Gilmore Girls take notes on dialogue too.)

Here's an exercise for you. Make a copy of your work in progress. (Don't worry I'm not going to tell you to amputate the original). Now get rid of all the back story. All of it. Put it aside for a couple of weeks.

When you go back to it read it over. Did you need the back story? How much of it do you need? If you need it, do you need it in the place you put it? Can it wait a little longer until your reader has a chance to care about it and has questions?

Now I'm not saying you can't have back story in the first chapter. But is it there because it's essential to setting up the story, or is it there because you just have to tell your reader all about your beloved character?

And when you do tell it to us, please don't tell everything at once. Give it in bits and pieces. Create new questions. Give your reader a reason to keep reading.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Real Trayvon Martin Photo

Yes, I have it. The real Trayvon Martin photo.

You would think at a time when people are snapping so many photos and posting them all over the place, we could find a photo of Trayvon just before his death. But they are few and far between. It's a bit controversial because initially the photos that were used showed him as a 12 year old. The media wanted to show his innocence. So the side that wanted to assassinate a dead teenagers reputation decided to do one better. They started posting pictures of a huge muscled man with tattoos on his face and claimed that it was Trayvon while they complained about the dishonesty of the media. Only it wasn't a picture of Trayvon. It was a picture of a rapper in his thirties. I guess posting a picture that isn't even of the young man is more honest somehow. 

So here are the pictures of the big scary teenager which according to snopes was taken just nine days prior to his death at his mother's birthday party. He's the tall skinny one standing to the side. With no tatoos on his face.

 Now doesn't this guy strike fear into your heart?

Nope? Me neither. He looks like a kid that one of my kids would bring home.

I tried to be fair and find a picture of Zimmerman at around the time of the incident, but I couldn't find that either. The initial picture posted of him was a police mug shot taken several years earlier, which the side that supports him says isn't fair.

Instead, they prefer the picture taken while he's going to court. After he's trimmed down, wearing a suit and tie and looking like an accountant. Which I doubt is the way he looked when he was following Martin around in the dark. I don't think that's the image that Martin saw.

So why is this important? Because Zimmerman profiled Martin as dangerous.

Now bear in mind, Zimmerman does not have any training in profiling. He just decided that this kid (excuse me, young man because kid inflames those who want to ruin his reputation), who was walking home from the store with skittles and a bottle of iced tea, was a dangerous felon and needed to be followed around. After all, he was wearing a hoodie.

Yeah, you know those sweaters with hoods. I had one when I was five, only back then we called it a kangaroo sweater because it had a big pocket across the front. Every North American teenager, unless they belong to a strict religious sect, has at least one hoodie. Go into any clothing store and you'll see them everywhere. They're as popular as jeans.

Not only was he wearing a hoodie, but he was wearing it with the hood up. Now, isn't that suspicious. A kid walking in the rain and wearing a hoodie up on his head to keep the rain off his head. He was probably wearing jeans too.

He wasn't exactly huge either. 5'11 and 158 pounds. Although not tiny it isn't big enough to play defense on the high school football team. I had one son that reached that height at 14.

Now Zimmerman on the other hand, although shorter by a mere 3 inches (really measure 3 inches, it isn't that much) weighed close to 200 pounds.

So Zimmerman follows him around for awhile and then calls 911 and claims this kid is acting suspicious. Now, if I had some guy following me, I would probably act suspicious too. Maybe I'd duck into trees, and hide in shadows and go down alleys, anything to shake this guy. Personally, I might go and knock on a door asking for help but then I'm a middle-aged pudgy woman. I would likely be helped. I doubt Martin had that option. Not many people would help a black teenage boy at night time.

One thing I would not do, which Martin is criticized for not doing, is go home. Why would I lead scary creepy rapist guy straight to my home where either I'm alone and can't call for help when he breaks in, or where my loved ones are? Or where he can hang out anytime he wants waiting for me or loved ones.

While Zimmerman is on the phone, he tells the dispatcher that he's following Martin. The dispatcher says "you don't need to do that". Now to me, that sounds like a nice way of saying "don't do that." But Zimmerman who is feeling pretty sure of himself, ignores this little piece of advice and decides to continue to follow Martin. After all, he can handle himself. He's got a gun.

Now Martin could have called 911. He had a phone on him. And he should have done that and then hid somewhere until they came. But he's a teenage boy. They believe they can handle themselves. I know this. I raised three of them. He was probably tired of running (at one point he did run because he was being chased). So he decides that the best defense is a good offense. He might also have had a history of being negatively profiled in the past, and he might have felt that 911 wouldn't get there soon enough, or wouldn't help him at all. So he decides as a teenage boy that he can take care of himself. Interestingly, Zimmerman is suffering from this teenage boy syndrome as well. He hasn't grown out of it. Zimmerman by the way, is not some old guy. He's only 27 or 28 at the time. Not only does he have youth, but he has more experience than Martin.

Now if it were me, and I had like martial arts skills or something, I might confront my stalker too. I would want to know what he wanted. I would likely feel that was better than waiting to be jumped from behind. Martin didn't have martial arts skills, but I bet he thought he could defend himself against creepy guy. Added to that, Martin may have seen Zimmerman on the phone and concluded that this stalker guy was calling his buddies to come. So there's a time issue involved as well. Added to that, there is some evidence that he was afraid of being raped. Bear in mind too, that this young man has likely been raised to do anything to get away from strange men. Yell, scream, fight. I even read someone saying that Martin should have shown respect to Zimmerman. That's right. Show respect to creepy stalker guy.

It's here that things are unclear. Zimmerman claims that Martin came out of nowhere and started punching him, smashing his head against the concrete again and again, and Zimmerman pulled out his gun and killed him in self-defense.

Except that doesn't fit Martin's actual profile. He doesn't have a violent history. But it's what got Zimmerman off in court because there wasn't any evidence to refute it. The jury only had Zimmerman's testimony, so they had to aquit.

There are several scenarios that could have happened. By the way, I'm not disputing that Martin punched him and hit his head into the concrete. The evidence supports it. But why did he do that?

Martin could have confronted Zimmerman and told him to back off. Zimmerman could have swung at him and missed or grabbed Martin causing Martin to punch him. Or Zimmerman could have shown Martin the gun. Now if he did this, Martin might be thinking "I'm screwed. If I walk away he could shoot me in the back. If I do nothing, he could shoot me anyway. Better incapacitate this guy so he doesn't shoot me." If that happened, then one could argue that Martin was acting in self-defense.

Zimmerman could have also been the one who did the confronting and Martin didn't see any way out than to hit him and try to knock him out. Remember, we're talking about two guys with stupid teenage boy I can handle anything syndrome. Except one was a teenage boy and may be excused for going through that phase and the other one was an adult and should have known better.

We don't actually know what happened because Zimmerman is the only voice. Martin doesn't have one. Zimmerman took care of that.

People like to bring out Martin's history and call him a thug. There are various things thrown around to try and assasinate this young man's character, a young man who can't refute it. Specifically, he was suspended several times from school.

One time was for tardiness and truancy.
Another time for graffitti. He marked up a wall with the letters WTF.
He was also found with some jewelry and a screwdriver.
His third suspension was for suspected marijuana use and having a marijuana pipe.
There was suspicion that the jewelry and screwdriver might be related to a burglary, which there was no record of. Martin did not have any charges brought against him and had no juvenile record.

That's his big scary record. There was also talk that he was looking to buy a gun and he had naked pictures of girls on his phone.

Now there's an unusual young man. He was interested in seeing naked women. As for the gun, yeah, that's a little scary, except, Zimmerman actually had a gun, so he was one upped on that by Zimmerman.

Zimmerman actually had a record so he beats Martin out on that as well.

At 21 Zimmerman was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. This was the mug shot that upset so many people. After all it wasn't fair to show his mug shot from a handful of years ago. Yeah. Whatever.

That same year, Zimmerman's fiance filed a restraining order for domestic abuse. So he's the kind of guy, who not only beats on women but beats on women that he claims to love.  He filed one back. Do you see a pattern here? Zimmerman starts fights and then whines when someone fights back. Is it possible that his fiance hit him back? Yep. In self defence.

When I was in junior high there was this guy named David (and no I'm not changing his name to protect him. It' s not like he was named Marmaduke or something). Anyway, David liked to go around starting fights. He was this little skinny guy and he would hit girls while walking down the hallway, and then he would cry when some guy would defend the girl and hit him back. He would cry and go running and complain that he was being bullied.

Sound familiar?

So Zimmerman has a record of violence. And he carries a gun.

Martin has been criticized for carrying a screwdriver.

As far as I know, it's not illegal to carry a screwdriver around. They can be handy for all sorts of things. Sure they can be used for breaking into things, but they can also be used to fix things. In fact, I think that's what they were designed for. And yes, in a pinch, you can use it for self defense.

Now a gun can be used for a number of things too. Like killing. And...well, hunting for food because when you live in the suburbs you never know when you might get the chance to shoot a deer for dinner.

For some reason Martin's screwdriver is more ominous than Zimmerman's gun. Yes, Zimmerman was legally allowed to carry the gun. And Martin was legally allowed to carry a screwdriver.

The other thing is, does it really matter what was in Martin's backpack or phone? Unless of course, Zimmerman can read minds and has xray vision into back packs to justify following around a skinny teenager. But I don't think he has those super powers. I could be wrong about that. Maybe he is like Clark Kent and all those other super heroes and doesn't want anyone to know about his super powers. I guess he just doesn't have the super strength to combat a guy who weighs 40 pounds less than he does.

Now if Martin were following someone, or trespassing on people's yards, or breaking into cars, or causing a disturbance then Zimmerman would have reason to do something about it.

But as far as I know, walking down a street is not suspicious.

I walk down streets all the time. Sometimes the neighborhood isn't mine. I like to look at the houses too. Does that make my actions suspicious and justify having creepy guy follow me?

But you see, I'm a middle-aged pudgy woman. I can get away with it.

A black teenage boy can't. He could get killed for it.

In fact, sadly he did. I wish people would remember that when they criticize this young man. Do they really think it's fair that this young man should be remembered for some teenage mistakes? He never got time to correct them as the rest of us have.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Steamy Veggies

I am going to tell you how to do steamed veggies WITHOUT A STEAMER.

I know. It's amazing. Not only can you do it without a steamer, but even more amazing, I'm the one telling it to you.

Someone asked me how to do it once. Once is enough.

I know your mom completely covered the veggies in water so that they were swimming. It's what they were taught to do. They thought drowning it was necessary.

Here's the thing. When you pick a vegetable, you have killed it. It's already dead.

Just to make sure it was dead, they thought they should boil it to death which is silly since you can't boil something to death that is already dead. But they did it anyway.

It's why we all grew up hating vegetables.

When I was in home-ec class we were instructed not to do that. Instead we were told to just cover the veggies with water, and then boil it to death. That way you only drowned them a little bit before completely killing them off.

I'm going to make a wild suggestion here.

Do not drown your veggies even a little bit. Yes, I know that drowning is drowning whether you drown in two inches of water or sixty feet, but still. Don't drown your veggies.

Remember, they're already dead. Doing more is overkill. Overkill. Get it?

Anyway, take your veggies and just put a little water in the bottom. Get their feet wet.

Now put them on to boil with a lid.

When the water starts boiling, let it boil for a minute or two and then here's the shocking part. Turn off the heat!

I know. How can food cook without any heat?

But this is why we call it steamed veggies. You've created steam. Now let the steam do the trick. Do not remove the lid! You will let that steam escape and that is not what you want.

Let it sit there on the cooling down burner for about five minutes, or while you're finishing up the rest of your meal, or while you're painting your toes, or while you're reminding your kids for the eight hundredth time to pick up their jackets and backpacks.

Then remove the lid and Voila! You have steamed veggies that are cooked, yet still crisp, full of color and delicious because you haven't taken all the flavor or texture out.

And people think I can't do anything.

Okay, now look at the picture. Weird or cool? You would think this was done by a modern painter but no.

Giuseppe Archimboldo (don't ask me to pronounce that) was an Italian painter who lived from 1527-1593. He specialized in painting portrait heads made up of vegetables, fruit, flowers, fish and books. Perhaps he couldn't read and thought books were for wearing on the head. I don't know. To see more of his work go to Giuseppe Archimboldo The Complete Works.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Now I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want

I have been single now for over ten years after a twenty year marriage which makes me about a hundred and two. Okay, it doesn't but it sure sounds like that.

Actually, I admit it. I'm fifty. That half century. I don't look it (at least I'm told that although they could all be lying to me), I don't feel it, and somehow, most fifty year old men are not attractive to me. Maybe because I think of fifty as old, and I'm not old.

On the radio today they were asking women to make a list of the ten things they want in a man. So it got me thinking. I seem to remember making that list when I was a teenager and then I didn't follow it when I chose a husband. That stupid love/infatuation thing got in the way. Not that love/infatuation is bad. I sincerely hope it comes my way again, but boy do we get stupid when it does.

So, I thought I would write out a list to guide me and hopefully I'll remember it if I ever meet a single man who shows any interest in me. I haven't yet. There's a whole bunch of divorced women out here but I have no idea where the divorced men go. Must be some black hole somewhere.

So here it goes, in no particular order. Yes, I'm numbering them, but the numbers are NOT important.

Things I'm Looking for in a Husband

1. Someone that I'm physically attracted to. Yes, I know looks aren't everything. But at the same time, I should want to kiss him. I should like looking at him. I should feel tingly when he looks at me. I should want to wake up in the morning with him. Notice I said "to me." So he may not be physically attractive to you - okay, who are we kidding, I'm attracted to the obviously attractive - but still, I think basics are important. He should be clean. He should have a nice smile and twinkly eyes. He should take care of himself. I'm not a tatoo fan, but if he has a couple I can live with them, however if they're crawling up his neck I can't help but wonder if he ran out of skin, and if they are taking over his face then I'm out of there.

2. Someone who is kind and respectful. Like not kind as in "I'm going to pretend to be kind because that earns be brownie points" but someone who is honestly kind. Where kindness is not a chore but a way of life.

3. Someone who has a sense of humor and appreciates my sense of humor. If he doesn't get my sense of humor then how can I possibly write about him in my blog? Seriously, I don't want someone who can't laugh. Seriously.

4. Spiritual. No, I don't mean that he has to cross his legs and chant. I simply mean that he is open to God. He doesn't have to be LDS (which I'm sure shocks my LDS friends) but I can't be with an atheist. Can you imagine the fights that would happen? He would call me crazy when I tell him that God told me to do it. I don't mind someone who is searching. Frankly, I think LDS men are sometimes over rated in my church. So many or them are control freaks who want to put women in teeny tiny boxes. Not all of them. But a good number of them.

5. Someone who is morally strong. He knows what his values are. He isn't going to cheat, or be abusive. He isn't going to have the cops show up in the middle of the night to arrest him for stock market shenanigans. He's going to be able to stick to his guns when it's important and he isn't going to be a push over.

6. Someone who's sensitive. If I want to cry, he should be able to deal with that. If he wants to cry, he should be able to deal with that. If something is sad, or difficult, he should man up and deal with that in a sensitive way.

7. Someone who is financially stable and responsible. Being poor at 20 is fine. It's expected. Being poor at 40 or 50 for a man, shows someone who has completely missed the boat and fallen into the lake. What's he been doing all those years? Now I'm not saying he should have a mansion, but I think he should have more than a van down by the river. He should know how to pay his bills. If he has minor children, he should be caring for them financially. This is not me being money hungry. This is me being practical. Romance goes away when you have to share the cardboard box by the dumpster.

8. Someone who appreciates the arts. He doesn't have to be carry around a paintbox, dance like a ballerina, or wear a beret. But it would be nice to be able to talk about books with someone and occasionally go to the theatre together. It would be nice if he were literate and uses that skill on a regular basis for pleasure.

9. Someone who is young at heart. I don't want to marry a grumpy old man. Well, I wouldn't anyway. I don't want anyone who will turn into a grumpy old man. I need someone who can be spontaneous, who likes to have fun, who is willing to make a change or go on a new adventure, who doesn't want to stop learning, who wants to travel and see new places, who doesn't need to go to bed at eight o'clock every night, who is romantic, who isn't ready to settle into some boring old routine. I want someone who grabs life and opportunity and is willing to make mistakes and have fun.

10. Someone who adores me. Not someone who is just looking to get married and settles on me. But someone who honestly adores me. Who wants to spend time with me. And I'm not a time hog. I don't need someone around all the time because some things I like to do alone - like shop. And if he wants to do things with his buddies like camping or watching sports, then I hope he please does so and doesn't expect me to do it. But I want someone who puts me first in his life so that I can put him first in mine. I want someone who wants to go to the movies with me and go to dinner with me and cuddle on the couch with me. I want someone who wants me and isn't sighing over the ex, or the bikini model that turned him down, or the girlfriend who got away, or the girlfriend he dreams about.

Well the list was supposed to be ten, but I have three more that are important to me.

11. Someone who doesn't view women as less than them, who doesn't idolize Rush Limbaugh, and who believes that women should be able to do anything that they desire. Note number 4 under spiritual where I mention that some LDS men like to put women in teeny tiny boxes. They also claim they honor and respect women when they do that. What they really mean is they honor and respect women when those women do what they say and stay in their teeny tiny boxes. I need someone more generous than that and more secure in his masculinity than that.

12. Someone who is confident and goes after what he wants. Frankly, shy men don't attract me. It simply wouldn't work. I'm shy. I don't like to chase men. I like being chased. It would never work if neither of us can approach the other. We would both be waiting for the other one to make a move.  I need someone who's secure about himself, because I'm not. This is one instance where opposites attract.

13. This is a biggie. He can't be afraid of rats or rat cousins. He has to be able to kill these things, preferably without me knowing about it. Because both of us standing on tables screaming does not help me. If he's afraid of spiders, that's fine with me, because I can kill those without a problem, but the rat thing is important to me. At the same time, he can't want those rat things as pets either.

So there's my list. So, anyone know someone who makes the cut.

Did I mention that he has to be single? Yes, I know. Let's just complicate things. All the good ones are married.

Monday, June 10, 2013

They Need a Grandma Naming Book

 My sixth grandchild and fourth granddaughter was born the other day. In honor of this I'm posting a column I wrote back when I was about to be a grandmother for the first time. Let me say first, that I have no idea how I got here so quickly since I was a teenager only yesterday. 

For some people six grandchildren is a lot. For me, because I have seven children and these six kids come from only two of those kids, this is only the beginning. Fortunately for my children, there is no pressure to make me a grandmother. However there is pressure to make lots of money so they can take care of me in my old age so I'm not eating food out of dumpsters and living in a cardboard box, although that might be an adventure. On the other hand, they could just pass me around like a hot potato hoping they won't get caught when the music stops.

And now that I've rambled like all good old people do, I present you with "They Need a Grandma Naming Book."

As I write this I’m waiting for news that I’m about to be a grandmother.

Months ago when we first found out, the subject of what to call me came up.

“How about Grandma,” my pregnant 22 year old daughter suggested.

“That’s my mother’s name,” I replied. “Besides, I’m not old enough to be a grandma. I’m only 29.”

“Mom, you’re old enough to know what a Bay City Roller is. You have a record collection. You lived in an age before microwave ovens, DVD’s and personal computers. You didn’t even have VCR’s when you were a kid. You had to wait once a year to watch the Wizard of Oz. Mail and milk were delivered to your door. You remember when Michael Jackson had a real face. A world wide web was something that a giant spider created and the internet was another word for sex. By the way, you need to color your hair. Your gray is showing.”

“Well,” I said, “I called my adopted Swedish Grandmother, Kuemitati. I think it’s Swedish or Martian for Grandmother. Only she was such a good cook that we ended up calling her Cookie Tati.”

“Mom, you’re not that great a cook. And the last time you baked cookies was in 1986.”

“I baked cookies just the other day!”

“No, the Pillsbury Dough Boy baked cookies. You were just the first one to grab them out of the oven and eat them.”

I brought up the subject to my younger children.

“Hey, what about calling you, Granny?” someone suggested.

I instantly had visions of a hillbilly running around a mansion trying to catch a kangaroo because she thought it was a giant jack rabbit and would make wonderful stew.

“I know!” someone else said, “What about Granny Annie!”

I screamed. Not only were they suggesting that I be called Granny, but to use the hated nickname Annie on top of it!

But then, I got a picture of a really cool grandma who surfboards, goes on wild jungle expeditions and flies to the moon but sends her grandchildren postcards that simply say, “the weather is warm in Tahiti, having a wonderful time.”

“Hey,” I suddenly brightened at this image. “I like that. I think I’m going to write a series of picture books about Granny Annie,” and then I told them my idea.

“Yeah,” said my son, “and she has a talking parrot named Boomer Ang.”

And so it was settled, I would be called Granny Annie, because Granny Annie was cool and could do anything.

When my daughter heard she said firmly, “No one is calling you Granny Annie. You didn’t like the name Grandma because you thought it was too old. How is Granny better?”

“I’m embracing my inner Granny,” I said. “Besides, according to you I’m completely believable as Grandma, but if I’m called Granny, no one will believe it. It’s like calling a big guy, Tiny, or a stupid guy, Einstein.”

She sighed. “Why don’t we go with Nana.”

“Nana! All my life I’ve been saddled with jokers who like to call me Anna Banana and then howl with laughter as if they were the first ones to come up with it. Now you want them to call me Nana Anna Banana?”

“Granny Annie is better than Nana Anna?”

“Yeah. Nana Anna sits in a rocker all day and knits. Granny Annie plays in a rock band in Atlantis.”

“Mom, you knit.”

“Yeah, but I really want to play in a rock band in Atlantis.”

“You can’t swim. You can’t play an instrument, and you can’t sing.”

“Since when do rockers have to be able to sing? The point is, Granny Annie goes to exotic locals.”

“Mom, the closest you’ve been to an exotic local is in the supermarket picking out a pineapple and squeezing the avocadoes.”

“Exactly! Granny Annie can actually travel to distant places and eat bananas. Nana Anna can’t.”

“Why can’t Nana Anna eat bananas?”

“Are you serious? You’re gonna have Nana Anna eat a banana? She’d never live it down. She’d become a tongue twister. Nana Anna from Texarkana with a big fat fanna ate a banana in a cabana in Panama.”

“I don’t know what’s more disturbing,” my daughter said. “The idea that you came up with that from the top of your head, or the idea that you spend your time making it up.”
Besides, what’s wrong with just calling you Grandma?”

“What if your mother-in-law, my mother, and I are all in a room together and the baby calls out “Grandma?” She’ll have three scary women descend on her at the same time. It could cause a psychotic breakdown. Do you want that to happen? And won’t she be confused when two of those grandmas are old and one looks like she’s just out of college? Cause, you know people tell me I look younger than I am, and you know you’re mother-in- law is old enough to be my mother.”

“Mom, she’s not even born yet, can we talk about this later? I’m having a contraction.”

And so we wait. We know what my grandchild is and what her name is. We’re waiting to find out what I am and what my name is.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My New Website and Author Friend Jean Oram

Years ago, I created a website. This was before I jumped on the blog bandwagon. At the time, blogs didn't make sense to me. Why would you post your diary for the public to see?

My website took a lot of work because it constantly needed updating. I was using a program on my computer that didn't transfer to another computer and I'm not even sure it exists anymore. On the good side I did receive an honorable mention from Writers Digest as one of the best authors websites. They published the address within their pages. For those of you who don't know, Writer's Digest is the bible of the writing world. It is the first magazine writers go to for help with writing and the latest news. They have interviews with the successful authors in the industry. The current issue has one of Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner. They also have extensive information on their website. Although they have always focused on traditional publishing they are now paying attention to self-publishing, epublishing and print on demand as well.

When I discovered blogging and how simple it was in comparison, I gave up my website (and the monthly fee) and never looked back.

Now I found a place where I can again have a website and it's easy and doesn't require special programs. I can set it up and still maintain my blogs by linking to the website. Updating the website is simple too, but it doesn't require constant updating because I have my blogs.

So after that long explanation, the unveiling begins (hey, there's always a long speech before an unveiling. Here it is. Appropriately named Anna Maria Junus.

On another note: Jean Oram is a writer friend who has been very helpful to other writers. We go to the same book club and a writers group. She wrote a terrific guest blog. 10 Ways to Give Yourself a Nervous Breakdown: Tips for Authors

She also has her own website. The Helpful Writer

And best of all, she's giving away her book. I don't know how long that will last. But it is high up on my must read list and I will be reviewing it on my book review blog.You can download the book from Amazon.

Champagne and Lemon Drops

Happy reading!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Crochet Bombs

When I was five I learned how to knit. I didn't make anything, just a lot of holes, but I learned the basics enough so that when I was 18 I was able to pick up a set of needles and start making and redisigning sweaters.

When I had five year olds I couldn't figure out how my mother taught me how to knit. These people that I had, although intelligent, couldn't do anything with a set of knitting needles except poke people's eyes out or make holes in the couch.

I taught myself to crochet as well. I was quite happy with these skills until a three year old got a hold of an intricately cabled sweater that I was working on and cut holes in it. I put the knitting/crocheting away and discovered that I really loved needlework.

All those beautiful pictures that I could paint with threads! I was in heaven, especially since my artistic ability stopped in the first grade. But I could make the most detailed works of art just following little blocks of color. I even did a little designing.

Lately I have returned to yarn. Perhaps my desire for homemade sweaters have returned. The patterns are more beautiful than ever.

Now crafters are known for going a little crazy. I think most crafters have an excess gene. The one that makes us collect more patterns than we can possibly make, and more fabric than we can sew and more yarn than we can knit.  And it appears that some crocheters just don't know when to stop crocheting. Personally I'm happy making sweaters and an occasional afghan, but some crocheters just have way too much time on their hands.

Need proof?

 Take a look at transporation. A new paint job just ain't enough.

Now, if you saw this coming at you, would it scare you?

On the other hand. This might be clever. Get your enemy rolling on the ground laughing and you can pick them off.
 Remember the Partridge Family? Except Shirley didn't make the kids crochet the bus cover, she just had them paint the bus, otherwise they wouldn't have had time to rehearse.
I always think these cars look silly in the first place. Usually you see a big guy squeezed into them looking like something out of a cartoon. I've always thought in a car accident they would just be squished like a bug.

This car is just asking for it.
 Not only did someone crochet a car cover using the pepto bismal yarn they had that no one wanted for sweater, but they also created covers for the friends that laughed at her.

I'm telling you, there's dead bodies there, cleverly disguised as art.
Take this to school and the kids aren't going to laugh at you at all.

And they won't throw things at you either.

And you won't be labeled as the wierd outcast.


Yeah. Really, No, I mean really. It won't happen.

Filet Crochet

It has nothing to do with how you cut up a fish.

Okay, this is gorgeous.

But really, wouldn't it have been better to spend the time actually practicing the piano?
This is beautiful too.

But it won't stay that way when you have kids with sticky hands and cars that drive by spraying mud.

Yarn Grows on Trees

 Trees are apparently judging from all the pictures out there, the most popular thing to clothe.

I guess some crocheters are offended by naked trees.
I remember socks that looked like this in the seventies.

Do trees really get that cold?

When I think of all the babies and the homeless these blankets could cover.

There's actually some pretty cool crocheting going on here, but...but...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Apple Crumbles and the Bird

A couple of weeks ago there was the news flying around Facebook about Abercrombie and Fitches owner, or manager or whoever claiming that he only cares about the "cool" kids and that's the only people he wants in his stores and that's why they only make clothes in size two.

Which made a whole lot of people mighty upset. How dare ugly guy (and may I say that although I myself do not find the man physically attractive, it's not nice to say that someone is ugly because everybody's beautiful in their own way - although this guy is an exception to say it about because dog gone it, he invited it) where was I? Oh yeah, people were more than a little perturbed.  How dare he make unfair judgements on people, they shouted,  and "I will never shop in his store again".

One guy even had a brilliant idea about this. He wants to gather everybody's Abercrombie and Fitch clothes and give them to the homeless so that the only people wearing those clothes will be the very people that A and F don't want wearing them.

It is pretty funny. And it clothes the homeless.

Which in itself is pretty funny in another way because every ad I've seen of A and F involves naked models who perhaps can't afford any clothes otherwise they would be wearing them. For a long time I thought A and F were selling sexual aids, not clothes. Where were the clothes?

Personally, I've never shopped at their stores. I don't think we have them in Canada. I know we don't have them in my town. So it's not problem for me to not shop at a place that doesn't have any clothes. Hans Christian Anderson wrote a story about an Emperor who walked around naked convinced that he was wearing clothes. I think A and F do the same thing as the fake tailors did to the emperor.

And frankly, the only difference between this guy and the other stores out there, is that he admits who his focus audience is. Every store caters to a certain clientele. There's some stores that you have to knock on the door, give a password and promise your first born timeshare to get in. Other stores sell to women who want to look like hookers or to men who want to be mistaken for deer hunters even if they've never held a gun. There are shops that focus in on the bigger clientele and some that only sell shoes and purses that require a mortgage.

So if A and F want to focus in on providing invisible clothes to nude size two models, then by all means do so.

The sad thing isn't the size they're focusing on. It's that this guy somehow has the concept that what you wear determines your coolness factor.

Which means that he was never cool and is still desperately searching for cool.

Here's the secret to cool. The really cool kids, don't care about being cool. The last person they're going to listen to is a cool wannabe grownup telling them what they should wear. The cool kid figures out what his/her style is and doesn't feel the need to follow others. The cool kid is usually too busy to worry that much about what is cool. They're getting good grades, or creating art, or being outstanding athletes, or doing community service or helping a friend. They're confident and kind. They don't feel the need to be exclusive like the A and F guy.

It would appear that the A and F guy has shot himself in the rear - which is pretty difficult to do and why would you because it doesn't kill you, it just makes it difficult to sit - because no one who is cool is going to want to be seen in his store after this. Those that will be in his store will be seen as desperate wannabe's, which is so not cool.

So what this guy said, doesn't bother me in the least. It's sad really because he just doesn't get it yet. A and F, if you want to focus in on a small group of people who won't shop in your stores now, then go for it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Descendant Review is on the Horizon

I firmly believe in helping and supporting other writers. I hope they do the same for me.

Next week I will be reviewing Descendant by Nichole Giles on my Views From Hobbit Hole book review blog. Yes, I was asked to review it - or I volunteered, depending on how you look at it, but I'm always honest in my reviews which authors don't always appreciate, because it's their baby and how can they sell books and become millionaires when someone is finding things wrong with the book.

At this point I haven't read Descendant so I have no idea what kind of review I'm going to write. I really, really, really want to write a good one, because that's just the kind of person I am.

And I'm doing an interview as well. So hang in there, it's coming!

In the meantime you can read this about it.

About DESCENDANT: Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.

Blessed-or cursed-with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he's a missing piece of her own soul.

Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she's not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it's not only Abby's life at stake.

Buy Links:

Praise for DESCENDANT: "A hot new spin on paranormal, Descendant is refreshingly imaginative and powerful. I can't decide which was best -- piecing together Abby's sinister past or keeping up with her heartbreaking future. If you like your YA laced with melt-my-heart romance and a good helping of heart-pounding suspense, you'll love this book!" -- Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of The Breakaway

"Nichole Giles has crafted a story that breathes from the pages. Her characters are authentic, the action intense, with powerful emotions that will keep Descendant on your mind long after the book ends. Open your eyes to another facet of our world in Descendant and you'll be sucked into an adventure with Abby and Kye, that will explore the power of gifts, courage, and love. With top-notch writing, Giles has crafted a story that breathes from the pages." --Rachelle J. Christensen, award-winning author of Wrong Number and Caller ID

"Nichole Giles brings a fresh new voice and flawless writing technique to the world of Young Adult fiction. I was swept away to another place and never wanted to come back." --Tristi Pinkston, author of Turning Pages and the Secret Sisters mystery series

"This debut novel delivers in all the right ways, with heart-pounding action and a delicious romance that sweeps centuries. I loved it!" --Elana Johnson, author of Possession and Surrender

About Nichole Giles: Nichole Giles was born in Nevada, and moved with her parents to a number of cities in and around the West. Writing is her passion, but she also loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.