Friday, August 28, 2009
I set up a new website and linked my new blog and site up to Statcounter as well as Google Analytics. I've discovered that for all of the things I've written on this blog, the most popular page is my recipe for Cabbage Rolls!
I've spent hours upon hours writing and proofing and editing some of my posts. I probably spent a maximum of 15 minutes on the Cabbage Rolls recipe.
Maybe that should tell me something about the value of obsessing over proofing and editing. (It's not going to stop me because I HATE it when I find errors in other peoples' books, and I don't want others to find mistakes in mine..... but I know they will.)
Saturday, August 22, 2009
We arrived just before high tide; there was essentially no beach. The ocean reached almost to the dunes. At one point, a very big wave came all the way up to the edge of the dunes where we were standing. It swept away a garbage can and a recycling can. The recycling can had a lid. A guy standing next to DH grabbed it and took it back up into the dunes. Before anybody could grab it, the trash can rolled over and spilled its contents. We sort of stood there, not knowing what to do. I was barefoot but had pants on; DH was wearing shoes and socks with shorts. Neither of us wanted to get wet.
The Surfer Dudes were not so inhibited. One guy grabbed the garbage can and several other guys and one young girl waded into the water, picking up cans, bottles and bags of trash. The guy with the trash can waded in holding it out as though he were taking up collection at church. The kids made quick work of the cleanup, and then the Dude dragged the can up into the dunes and set it next to the recycling can.
DH and I stood there beaming. These kids made it clear by their actions (taken without thought or hesitation) they care about the beach where they practice their passion for surfing.
I walked away still not comprehending the attraction for the sport, but with a very different feeling for the tattooed and oddly dressed throngs who practice or follow it.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
For some reason, today I sort of meandered down the road of recalling people who have most inspired me. The first two names that popped into my head were Erma Bombeck and Mary Richards.
My self-image as a kind of literary type would love to have those first two names be Germaine Greer and Lucy Maud Montgomery, who were also authors I loved. [I would be willing to bet this is the first time those two ladies names have appeared in the same sentence and I bet they'd both love it!]
But, my heart remembered Erma Bombeck and Mary Richards, first.
Upon reflection, I have to admit that my heart did a bang-up job of dredging up the two people who I most wanted to be when I was a young woman.
First, I (and most other girls I knew) wanted to be Mary Richards. She was pretty. She had a totally awesomely cool apartment. She was a single, career woman living alone in a big city. She was a writer. She was everything I wanted to be. I don't think I missed one episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show during its entire run, and I probably watched most of the reruns. A lot of my friends were similarly inspired by that show. She was a free-spirited woman who was not a bra-burning radical. She offered a sort of middle way for women who did not necessarily want to pursue a life of marriage and motherhood, but who also were not particularly radical.
My adulation for Erma Bombeck is a little more difficult to explain. I never had any intention of getting married or having a family (I ultimately did both, but it was not part of the plan). I was going to be Mary Richards, remember? I didn't want to be a mom living in Dayton, Ohio, writing about laundry and cleaning products. The things about Erma Bombeck that lit me up and inspired me were that she was honest and she was funny ... and she was from suburban Dayton, Ohio, which I took to mean you didn't have to be an anorexic, Bryn Mawr educated woman living in New York to be a literary success. (That was important because I was a fat, small town kid from rural Ohio.)
Women in the Midwest in the 1960's were not encouraged to be honest or funny. Bombeck managed to be both a nice lady and honest as well as funny as hell. Not to mention a fabulous writer.
I wanted to be a humor writer, documenting the life of a single career-woman.
I ended up a married, career-woman, who writes stories. I'm still working on the "funny" part.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Those of you who follow this blog (and I hate to admit how few of you there are) know that I've referred to it, but I've generally kept my fiction writing out of my blog. Lately my fiction writing has taken off (which is one reason I've been ignoring this blog: there are only so many hours in the day even for someone who sleeps as little as I do).
Recently I created a pseudonym under which I plan to publish my stories. I did that partly because my real name doesn't have much of a ring to it, and because I want to reserve it for use in my day job. [My boss has no use for blogging, bloggers, or people who waste time on the Internet. Taking a lesson from Dooce, here.] After creating my alter ego Writer Identity, I set up a blog for my fiction writing, and even self-published my first novel. There are eight more in the pipeline!
I'm coming clean with this here and now, mainly because I'm trying to steer as much traffic to my fiction site as I possibly can, and to let anyone who might care know why I've gone "silent" around here. This blog will remain active for my personal ranting, raving and commenting. I'm going to use my other blog for writing on writing.
Here are the Links:
Fictional Life - Writing samples and writing on the subject of writing (plus a whole lot of bitching and moaning about the process of trying to get published).
Always Faithful - A love story, on several levels.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
He pulled a couple of times but the woman did not emerge. I expected to see a heavily pregnant young woman get out, given the tender effort he was putting into trying to help pull her from the vehicle.
To my surprise, what emerged was not a fertile young thing, but an ancient crone, with an enormous dowager's hump and a twisted spine that looked painful even from a distance. Her hair was a mess from her efforts to get out of the car and she tried to smoothe it down, looking at her reflection in the windows of the car parked next to them. The young man helped her, gently stroking her hair. It was still a mess, but she smiled up in gratitude and he smiled back with genuine affection.
She turned away from the car, took a moment to steady herself, and reached out for him, like a toddler reaching for Daddy. He took her hand in his, and together they walked slowly across the parking lot. She struggled to maintain her balance and forward momentum. He struggled to match her snail-like pace.
As I drove by them, he looked at me, raised his eyebrows and smiled as if to say, "Whaddya gonna do?"
I smiled back with what I hope he perceived as admiration and respect, maybe even reverence.
Blessings be upon you, young man. You made my day! ..... and hers.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
When I got married, I knew I hated yard work and gardening, so I told my Dear Husband I had allergies that would preclude me from working in the yard. I haven't worked in the yard in a quarter of a century. (I have no idea if I have physical allergies to yard work; I sure as hell have emotional allergies to it.)
We learned early on that we did not work well together. We approach projects differently. We have different work styles. If we have to collaborate on a project, we usually work separately. He does his part, while I find someplace else to be. Then, I do my part while he goes away.
This weekend we embarked on a floor tiling project. DH has tiled several rooms in our house before. Previously, he did the floors while I was at work. These days, he is very busy at his job and didn't have the luxury of working on the project while I was not home. We chose this week to tile the living room because Daughter Dear is on vacation.
He started today. I can't just sit here and watch him work, so I offered to help, hoping to God he would tell me to get lost. I hate working on home improvement projects (as in HATE IT, HATE IT, HATE IT). As cheap as I am (and I am truly the cheapest person I know), once I decide to do something around the house (which I don't decide to do until the situation is truly and positively a dire emergency), it is with the assumption that I am willing to pay someone (who knows how) to do it. Unfortunately, DH did not see this project in the same way. He did most of the work, but he had me help him move the furniture and carry in the tile. Then he had me down on my knees sponging grout and drying it. I may skip my visit to Curves tomorrow!
We don't know what we're doing and our home projects always end up looking like crap. Granted, in addition to being cheap, I am anything but "particular" about my house, but it bothers even me when things look positively shitty. Right now, our house is a nightmare for even me!
I guess no matter what it looks like when it's done, it'll be better than the totally awful carpet (that I never liked) which the dogs have destroyed.
I just wish I didn't have to help.
God, I know that makes me sound like a terrible person, but I'm a writer and an office worker, not a home decorator.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
This is what you could call diving in to the deep end.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
My God, it gives me chills just rattling off their names! Men with a crazy idea, or, more accurately, men with a whole array of conflicting crazy ideas but all of which revolved around the preposterous notion that people should not be subject to dictatorial rule by a king. If that wasn't insane enough, these particular folks happened to be subjects of the greatest imperial power on the planet at the time (Catherine of Russia might quibble about that). In any case, it seems to me the American Revolution was something akin to American Samoa declaring war on the United States! King George must have laughed his ass off when he first got wind of the idea.
But, a few people with courage, passion and a big dream can change the course of history. It's been done many times. One of those times occurred in the American Colonies in the late 18th century. It still astonishes me every time I read a new book about the period. Maybe that's why I've read so many of them.
For me the most remarkable thing about the period was the pantheon of dazzlingly amazing people who were alive at the same time , and who all had influence over one another (on which, by all means, read The Great Upheaval). Reflecting on the giants who gave birth to our country is both inspiring and a little depressing. I'm inclined to wonder where the greatness in our country is now.
It would be easy to be frightened for our future when the country can come so unglued over the death of a really sick, sad and pathetic person who happened to be a musical genius while seeming not to care at all about the needless deaths and suffering of Americans and Iraqis in a war half way around the world. It would be easy to get all self-righteous about the abysmal state of leadership in our country when I read about the antics of clowns like what's-his-name from South Carolina or Sarah Palin. It would be easy to do, but it would be unfair, because there were corrupt and horrible leaders in the 18th Century as well. (On which read the charges against King George enumerated in the part of the Declaration of Independence that nobody reads.)
Our country seemed to have taken a tiny step away from the brink of self-destruction when, in what I still consider to be something of a miracle, we elected Barack Obama to be our president. That event still can make me a little weapy. It won't be easy to turn the ship of state around, and the president can't do it all by himself. He has to have the help of the Congress and the support and cooperation of We The People. Considering what a motley crew we are, that's going to take some bodacious leadership on his part.
My faith in our system and our potential for continued greatness remains strong, at least it has most of the time since the Bush Brothers left office. But, beyond our political leaders, I hope and pray that the everyday folks will continue to serve as the backbone of our republic, doing what needs to be done when it needs doing and taking care of business. I'm a liberal wacko, but I'm also a capitalist and a republican (note small "r").
As a general rule, I don't go in for patriotic displays because most of it is sentimental mush, but I make two exceptions:
On Veterans Day and Memorial Day I buy a Buddy Poppy (and I keep one in my car, one in my purse and one in my office) to remind myself to be grateful for the sacrifices of our veterans.
On the Fourth of July, I stop to ponder the wonderful miracle of the American Revolution and to be grateful for the courageous (and crazy) men who signed it, and (in a phrase that rarely is quoted), who were willing to "mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
The Document is here. Bios of the Signers are here.
I get frustrated when I can't figure something out, so I dig in and get determined to figure it out, or else. Right now, however, I am taking a time out from my "IT" work to play around with my new computer so we can get to know each other. So far, I like what I see. I like the way the menus are arranged and the ease and speed with which I can move from program to program. Most of all, I like the speed. I'm so looking forward to the legendary stability of Linux, too (after twelve years of watching Windows crash periodically and always at the worst possible moment).
I'm still stuck with Windows as a backup until I find a way to have Ubuntu recognize my printer, but that is a problem I can live with. For one thing, I rarely print anything at home and, on the rare occasions I do, I have three other computers in the house that I can use to print from, plus a fourth one most days when Wonderful Boyfriend brings his over to do homework.
And so now, I have the rest of the day to simply play around, and maybe do some actual writing. Dear Husband is braving the dangerous heat and potential storms to go sit outside with a hundred thousand of his best friends to watch cars careening around in a circle (technically it's a tri-oval, but I have no earthly idea what the hell that means) and wrecking into each other. I was kind of thinking about going to the Race with him until I saw the weather forecast.
I am staying put, inside with the A/C cranked up, playing with Little Smoke, and comforting the dogs while the neighbors set off fire-works again tonight, as they have been doing for days.
Friday, July 3, 2009
After only a couple of hours of sitting around waiting for the computer to respond, I was ready to send it back or throw it out the window. Since I had done no customizing yet, I decided to download and install Ubuntu. I figured if I didn't like that, I could restore the original settings. The downloading and testing out was easy. I liked what I saw.
I logged off from the trial version and tried to restart the computer, but something had gone terribly wrong, and the computer seemed to be totally dead. I thought I was going to have to send it back, but I got online on my old computer and found instructions from Acer's website for a "power reset." That did the trick and I was soon back in business ... not without a dangerous spike in blood pressure.
Ubuntu does not support my printer, so instead of overwriting Vista, I installed Ubuntu along side of Vista. That means I can run either one. I'm betting that if I want to print something, I'll use my old computer that runs on XP and boots up in less than a half hour, but at least I have the choice to run either Vista or Ubuntu.
The good news is that Ubuntu came with Open Office already loaded, saving me the hassle of downloading it.
I am still exploring and getting acclimated to the Windows-free Universe, but so far I like it. It's FAST! I like fast computers.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
A few weeks ago, my 'puter started overheating and freezing up, occasionally even shutting down altogether. I can't begin to express how irritating and frustrating that was when I'd be in the "flow" of writing!
Mind you, everything on my laptop is backed up, and the really, really important stuff is backed up in several places. (Anal? Who says I'm anal???) If my laptop were to die in the next five minutes, the only data I would lose would be anything in this post that Blogger hasn't saved yet. But, I love my little 'puter and we've been through a lot of adventures together. I hate to see her getting old and feeble.
Surfing the net and reading zines and blogs is what I do for entertainment. Writing (both blogs and fiction) is what I do for survival. I need my 'puter for both.
I do the routine maintenance on my computers on a regular basis. Beyond that, I'm not to much for tinkering, tweeking and fooling around with the computer operations. I like to use the computer as a tool. I'm not really interested in working on the machine itself.
Today I saw an ad for an Acer very similar to the one I have -- only newer and with a lot more speed, memory and hard drive space, plus a DVD burner. Price was $299 with free shipping! I called Dear Husband and told him he had 20 seconds to give me one good reason not to buy it. He told me to go for it (probably because he heard the tone in my voice that indicated if he came up with a good reason for me not to buy it, I'd be pissed as hell).
New 'puter should arrive next week. If it's half as good as the Little Princess here, I'll be totally thrilled.
The downside is that I will probably spend my holiday weekend setting up my new computer, and I hate spending my valuable spare time working on my computer as opposed to using my computer to do my work.
If I play my cards right, I'll end up with a new, fast souped-up computer, and still have this one (complete with the duct tape that's holding on the cover) for a backup. I can hear DH now muttering, "How many computers does one person need?"
I understand that. Hell, I am constantly on my Daughter Dear's case for her purse-and-shoe habit. (I call her Imelda -- but she doesn't know what that means.) She is always looking for a new purse or the coolest new shoes. I have not owned as many shoes or purses in my life as she has in her closet right now.
Generally speaking, I am a person of simple tastes and limited needs. I have one purse (well two, because I recently bought a travel satchel that will carry my laptop) and I can count my shoes on one hand (if flip flops don't count). The only jewelry I wear any more is my wedding ring and occasionally a pearl necklace my mother gave me. I buy my clothes at thrift stores. I eat out only about once a week, and then it's usually for lunch or takeout Chinese. I don't go to movies or concerts or plays. I cut my own hair. All in all, I'm a pretty thrifty gal. So, if I want to collect a bunch of electronic crap, well, by golly I think I'm entitled!
New laptop should arrive next week. Cursing and gnashing of teeth may/may not follow.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
If you want to preserve Christian values you might start with living like a Christian and not some racist asshole who can’t stand how many Muslims have moved into your neck of the woods or what your neighbor is doing in the bedroom. And if you want to preserve American values then don’t elect a President who condones torture. But if you want to stop the globalization of nations and the blending of the world’s population then use a condom, support Planned Parenthood and legalize gay marriage. Because those are the only things I know that actually don’t add to the growing population on this finite planet we call home.