Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ah, lunch...



Henry David Thoreau said:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

A friend of mine said:


...Yes, and some of us lead lives of noisy desperation!




Well, I don't know if 'desperation' has that much to do with it, exactly, but I thought I'd share an account of yesterday's lunch.  I don't know if 'desperation'  fits quite as well as 'a fit of the giggles'.  You be the judge.

I had a rather interesting lunch.
Went to (high end local) market and bought:

a. about 2 hard boiled eggs (imprecise because they were sliced) and some olives.  Never have I seen eggs with such small yolks.  Made Egg and Olive salad with that.  It was *okay*.



b. Tried their ‘fresh’ sushi.  California roll.  It was *okay* but might have been better with *ripe* cukes in the mix (did you know unripe cukes are chewy?  Or… Hm.  Maybe I ended up eating rubber made to look like cucumbers.  From the Sushi demo models, perhaps.)  and more than a quarter teaspoon of wasabi.  Sturdiest rice I’ve ever seen, too, and they won’t go bankrupt with the amount of sesame seeds they use.  It is supposedly made fresh today.  My guess was that it was assembled in western France at 12:01 AM their time and then flown over here.

c. ½ cup cottage cheese.   If there is ever a concern about the ocean losing its salinity, the nations of the world can find out who made this stuff and dump several shiploads in the water.

d. I am currently eating some ‘original salted’ potato chips.  I salted them.  I may have to stop eating them because they are so crunchy, it sounds like a string of explosions when I chew.  They have just been consigned to the Circular File.

e. I have a container of strawberry banana Greek yogurt waiting for me.  I have high hopes…







(As you can see, I did survive...)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Small Celebrations - August 23, 2013



Another Friday is here, and thanks to VikLit, we pause to think of the sometimes unnoticed things in our lives that should be noticed and celebrated.
I am sitting here, drinking my morning tea (hot, with milk), with my old duffer of a cat on my lap making typing difficult.  But he does provide me with a challenge.  He is also a champion purr-er.

The weeping cherry that I planted outside the front window is not only growing, it is proving to be a favorite perching-place for songbirds.

My elderly mother, who is completing her first year of widowhood, has concluded that she does need a pet, and she will be looking for a dog.  My siblings and I have been pushing for that for months now.  When their old dog died, Mom and Dad did not get another because dad was unsteady on his legs and there was some fear that a dog (Dad loved Labs) might knock him over.  So...  We're looking for something smaller, equally sweet and older.

The edits on my one book came back and it's looking good.  The sequel, under way, is at 69K words and it might actually be in final draft by November.  I am not holding my breath, but the possibility is definitely worth celebrating.

Enjoy your weekends, all, celebrate your lives - you're more fabulous than you think!  (And don't forget to visit the others on this Blog Hop to  see what they're celebrating!)





Thursday, August 22, 2013

I am linking to a blog post by Susan Flett Swiderski - I Think Therefore I Yam.

Always well worth visiting - this most recent one features the work of an...  What?  Artist?  Visionary?  acrobat?

I don't know.

Read it and enjoy it!  (Click on the photo for the link_


http://susan-swiderski.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-fine-balancing-act.html

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Catching up on Awards - Sunshine from Sharon Himsl


This is the second installment on my reparations for my (unwitting) rudeness in not responding to blog awards in a timely fashion.  In this case, Sharon Himsl of Shells, Tails and Snails awarded me the Sunshine award and in her usual kindly fashion said no one had to reply.

Sharon writes a fascinating blog with her own experiences and impressions (and nice photographs, such as those in her recent post about riding a combine).  She also features posts about the progress of the Hospital Ship The Africa Mercy.  She was kind enough to give me a Sunshine on May 23, 2013.  She said there was no rush, but I hadn't meant to be quite so leisurely.  Now I have a breather and, with an apology to her, I am posting my response.
 
You really should visit her blog.  I liked it when I stumbled across it.  I really enjoyed her participation in the A to Z blogfest.  Her theme was Stereopticon photos, and she had quite a collection.  Each entry in the hop was enjoyable and smile-making. 
Do check her out.  She is enjoyable, eloquent, fun and beautiful.

 So here are the rules:

--Feature a picture of this award in a post on your blog.
--Answer 10 random questions about yourself.
--Nominate 10 other bloggers. Be sure to link to their blogs and let them know. 

Ten Questions:

1. What inspired you to start blogging?
I saw some blogs, thought it would be fun, and, being at loose ends, jumped in.  It was mostly for myself, since I had no idea how to network.  It is, to me, rather like jotting in a journal – except that you have the charming feel of someone you like reading over your shoulder and smiling.

2. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Desperation?  No, too flippant.  Not sure what to name it, but needed a name.  It occurred to me that I was just chattering on about things, so I chose the name. 

3. What is your favorite blog to read?
Hm.  Maybe it would be easier to say what is my favorite TYPE of blog.  I like the ones where it's as though I'm sitting with someone and chatting or, perhaps, sitting back, watching and smiling as they talk about whatever interests them.  No posturing, just enjoyment. 

4. Tell us about your dream job:
I would love some sort of job where I did a lot of traveling (on a train or a ship, say) observing things and jotting things down and then writing a sort of travelogue.  The job would take up perhaps four hours a day, leaving me plenty of time to write. 

5. Is your glass half-full or half-empty?
Half full.   It's so much more satisfying to see things that way. 

6. If you could go anywhere for a week's vacation, where would you go?
Just a week? Hm.  Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  It would be in June.  My first view of the Maine seacoast – my first REAL view – was there.  I was running an errand for my mother that took me there, to a gift shop to pick up a present.  It was about 1PM, I was hungry, and I went into the little town in search of food.  A restaurant there – the Seagull, perhaps? – was before me.  I went in.  Did I want to sit on the terrace?  Certainly – such a lovely day.  I was escorted to my table on the breezy terrace, disposed my various bags, straightened, took a sip of iced tea, lifted my head – 

It was 1:30 on a June day.  A light breeze was pushing my hair across my face.  I pushed it aside, turned into the wind – and stopped, my breath frozen in my throat, as I gazed upon a rocky coast with small outcroppings of islands sitting in a sea of diamonds.  A three-masted schooner was heeling over; a cloud of smaller boats were beyond it.  I had never seen anything so beautiful.  I gazed and gazed until it seemed as though my sight was full of sun-sparkles on green water.

I'd go there for a week any time. 

7. What food can you positively not eat?
Tripe.  It looks nasty.  No way would I even try it!  Mopane worms ditto.  Yes, they are a great source of protein – but I'll stick with bacon and chicken.

8. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Yes.  Please.  Lots.

9. How much time do you spend blogging?
I spend as much as I can.  I'm not sure what that translates to.  I am thinking of reorganizing my blog to say that I am posting, say, on (name a date).  The thing is, I participate in the 'Small Celebrations' blog hop that VikLit started, bless her.  Then I'm on the Insecure Writer's blog hop (which has been a real help to me).  And then, of course, there's the thing that pops into my head and says 'You're gonna love me!'  I'm thinking about it. 

10. Do you watch TV and if so, what are your favorite shows?
Well, I don't have a TV now.  it's a long story.  I had one, but got tired of cable – expensive and repetitious.  So I signed up for satellite, which worked beautifully during the winter, but faltered in spring.  The service technician said, "Oh, it's no problem.  Your neighbor's full grown, beautiful, mature Norway Maple is leafing out now and interfering with the signal.  Tell him to cut the top off and your reception will be fine.  Uh, no.

When I did have TV, I loved the Star Trek spinoffs, especially those with Patrick Steward.  But I loved all of them.  And cooking shows, and HSN/QVC.  Just to watch.  The history channel had wonderful things to watch, too. 

I am supposed to link to ten other bloggers and pass this on.  As before, I am going to highlight bloggers whose blogs are enjoyable, worth reading (no matter how infrequently they post) and just plain good.  There are so many.  If you are one of those linked to, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO A THING.  Just smile and take a bow.

(The photo below is my apology for posting the photo of tripe.  Be glad I didn't post a photo of Mopane worms...)

Recommended blogs (there are many, but here are a few good ones!)  If all goes well, you can go to the blog by clicking on the person's name or the name of the blog.  I hope it works; Blogger seems to dislike me this morning.

S. K. Anthony   is an enjoyable and lively person with a lot of depth.  She has a wonderful new book coming out (the cover alone is ravishing!) and she is great fun to follow.  Check her out!

Susan Kaye Quinn is self-published, loving it, enjoying it, and happy to share (free) her experiences.  Very enjoyable! (and lots of good information, too...) 

Randy Tatano is enjoyable, on a journey, with a delicious turn of phrase.  I 'met' him on a message board for a competition, and I was favorably impressed with him. 

Vivacious, talented, unexpectedly 'deep' and a person of substance  and of quality with a lot of (good) things to say, Nancy LaRonda Johnson:   

City Muse Country Muse  I stumbled upon this blog unexpectedly. Varied, enjoyable, kindly-inclined.  It is refreshing and beautiful. (Photos are great!) 

Jill Haugh (I had a Little Nut Tree) provides a potpourri of enjoyable offerings, all served up with a signature blend of kindliness, humor and sharp wit.  I paused once to read a review she had written of a book she had picked up, and I stuck around. 

Hart Johnson has a blog with arguably the oddest title: Confessions of a Watery Tart. 
I saw it and thought 'huh?' and looked into it.  As with the others I like, on this list, the personalities shine through, and you stand to gain much enjoyment (and possibly more tangible benefits) by sticking your head in and looking around.  

Lara Lacomb  had an A to Z theme of a Washington DC travelogue.  And she wrote it while in Texas.  She has a book coming out (sounds wonderful!) and is one of those who is always enjoyable and humorous.

Susan Flett Swiderski writes a wonderful, informative, enjoyable and laugh-worthy blog without fail.  She also writes a heck of a great book (which I am getting ready to review):  Well worth reading, and you'll be chuckling and thinking, both:  HERE'S THE BOOK
 
My Literary Jam and Toast  Is usually quite informative and always interesting.  I did want to throw the animated picture out the window, gut you take the good with the annoying.  Do visit this blog – very enjoyable

Friday, August 16, 2013

Small Celebrations - August 16, 2013.

Friday is the day that we pause to take stock of the small things that we often allow to go unnoticed.  Check the participants and see what they all have identified, and reflect on your own small celebrations that you might not have noticed...

Today I realized that after a long, hot stretch I have been sleeping through the night without needing a fan or an air conditioner.  And I have awakened naturally without the figurative shouting and shoulder-shaking that my alarm clock provides.  (So invigorating, dont'cha know?)

I heard from an Australian friend that her husband was battling snow (he operates a snow plow) and conditions are difficult.  I don't have that to contend with...yet.

I have a charming old (17 year) fellow at my elbow, with a face full of white whiskers (I should mention that he is a cat).  Seventeen years is a long life and he is slowing down and at becoming more clingy.  He also drools when he's happy. 

I hope all have a wonderful weekend - visit the others on this Blog hop and see what they're celebrate - and celebrate something of your own!




Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunshine Award thanks to Nancy laRonda Johnson


I was appalled to realize that I had been guilty of blogging rudeness by not at least acknowledging an award.  I am rectifying that now.  Those who gave me awards are too charming not to understand and forgive, but perhaps, as well, they will enjoy my responses.
 
Nancy LaRonda Johnson's blog has been a source of enjoyment and inspiration to me.  It carries her signature sense of humor, wisdom and philosophy.  On March 20, 2013 she notified me that I had been given the Sunshine award.  That tickled me at the time and then, being busy with a new job, I forgot.  I have now remembered, and though I am disgracefully late, I am thanking Nancy LaRonda Johnson and participating.
 
First, a photo of me.  This was taken at Yosemite, when I took a week's riding vacation that involved traveling form point A to point B each day.  Our supplies were sent out by mule train.  I had a good time, but I learned that while the temperature each day might be 56 after sunset, that temperature is made far colder by the fact that those who camp in Yosemite are camping on granite, which makes things colder.
 
Here I am:
 
...and here are my answers to Nancy's questions:

1. Lefty or righty? - I write righty; I flip through books lefty.

2. “Hi” or “Hello”? – Hello!

3. What old-time tradition would you want to bring back, i.e., drive-in movies? – The morning visit.  Where you come to someone's house, stay about a half hour, chatting, and leave.  You can be asked to stay (and you can say yes) but you aren't obligated.  It seems to have confirmed the value of one's friends and acquaintances, and gave the opportunity to allow acquaintances to become friends.  I think it also helped teach poise.  And it kept people connected.

4. What celebrity do you think you look like most?  I am told I look like Lily Tomlin.  I think I look like Catherine Zeta-Jones (after a bad week)

5. What animal would you want to be if you had to be one? – the biggest, meanest shark in the ocean.  (that's cheating.  I was at one of those 'team-making' get-togethers and this question was asked.  To my [possibly unmerited] angst, a number of women announced that they wanted to be 'sweet, cuddly kittens'.  I gave the above answer, which made a number of people blink.)  I think I'd like to be a dolphin – the ocean fascinates me, and I'd love to roam its bounds.

6. Did you have any childhood bad habits, i.e., sucking your thumb? What? – Well, I – ah no.  I don't think people need to know THAT!  But – candor is a good thing.  Hm.  Should I or should I not?  Oh, me-oh-my!  Ah, what the heck?  I used to chew on my hair.  Just the one strand, coming from the right side of my head.  I'd chew the end.  That stopped when I was…let me see…eight years old.

7. Momma’s boy/girl or Daddy’s girl/boy? – I was Daddy's little girl.  Truth to be told, I loved both parents, but Dad was special to me.  Daddies and daughters often have a connection.

8. What’s your favorite leisurely activity?  - strolling along and watching people.

9. What one word would you use to describe yourself? – Quizzical.

10. Popcorn or chips?  - Popcorn.  Buttered.  (without hulls, I wish).  I was at the theater to see STAR WARS for the first time.  I was seated comfortably, an empty seat on either side, when I noticed an elderly couple wandering up and down the aisle looking for two seats together.  I waved them over and scooted sideways.  The lady plumped herself down, took a tub of buttered popcorn from her husband, beamed at me and said, "Here, Dear – dig in!"  (It was the best I ever ate.  Good movie, too!)

11. Who’s the last person (or animal) you kissed? – My mother, saying goodbye before I headed home.

Eleven odd facts about myself:

1.  My favorite flower is a violet.  Either the common, light purple ones or the white-veined ones.  I also like Johnny-Jump-Ups (sometimes called Violas) that are very sweet-smelling.

2.  I was on the varsity judo team in my college.

3. I can decide I want to cook something, and can make up my own recipe.

4.  I have no problem 'wasting food' by throwing out something that came about because of a recipe I dreamed up out of my fevered brain and found to be utterly nasty.

5.  My favorite color is jade green.

6.  When I can't sleep, I tend to make lists of things:  what I would pack to drive down the Pan-American highway; what gifts I would give to whom if I had a great deal of money; if I had unlimited funds, what one thing would I give to society as a memorial gift?  (That was fascinating to me.  I thought perhaps a national park, perhaps a library, a food bank…  Something that everyone needs, that everyone would enjoy, from me, without charge or restraint.)

7.  I want to get on a sailing boat (schooner, I think) and circumnavigate the globe.  I would have a crew.  I, myself, would sit at the bow with the wind streaming past me, watching the sea, the stars, the flying fish, drinking the vastness of it all.

8.  I like dogs and cats, and my pets have odd nicknames.  Frida the little cat is 'Frida-bee', or else 'Her Highness Little Miss Mess'.  Jesse James, the Labrador Retriever is 'Jesterly James'.

9.  I sing alto.  I do very well singing in the shower.  If I'm driving along, I sing at the top of my lungs, but stop at traffic lights and pretend to be fiddling with the radio dials.

10.  I am good at taking criticism.

11.  I am careful to let my friends and family know that I love them.  It occurred to me that a day would come when I would willing give anything I had just for the chance to tell someone who didn't realize it, how very much I cared for him or her.  So I started doing it.  Unobtrusively, of course.

So… Who gets this award?

Hm.

NOTE TO EVERYONE MENTIONED BELOW:  You do not have do anything other than carry on as you have.  This is just a mention of bloggers I enjoy who should be visited. 

To the readers: check out these wonderful blogs and enjoy them!

Inge Hollwoegger – a delightful lady with a wonderful way of telling stories and a fun outlook

Hilary Melton-Butcher - she combines a travelogue, a lesson and a peek into her wonderful, analytical, tolerant and kindly personality

M J Joachim - talented, enjoyable, kindly, caring and humorous

Julia Thorley - Yoga, humor and wisdom.  What is not to enjoy? 

VikLit - an engaging and kindly lady with a great sense of humor.  She is responsible for making me count my blessings every Friday, and a good exercise it has been!  

City Muse, Country Muse - poetry, kindness and inspiration

If you have been named, smile.  You have given me great enjoyment.    If you want to follow the challenge, feel free to do so - but I am not asking anything.*
 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group - August 7, 2013

I was intrigued by this blog hop and by the assignment - speaking of one's insecurities as a writer.  When you think of it, there are many reasons to be insecure, most of them hinging on how or whether others like us.  How do we stack up against the writing trends?  How do we fit 'the mold'?  What if someone doesn't like my work?  What if it turns out that all this effort and angst has been for nothing?

I could address any one of these (and probably will in the future).  For me today, though, I'd like to admit to the worst person that I have to stack up to.
 
The Danish philosopher and poet Piet Hein had a 'Grook' (poem) that went: 

Some people cower
And wince
And shrink
Owing to fear
Of what people will think.
 
There is an answer
To questions
Like these:
People may think
What the devil they please!
 


But what if the person who is peering at your writing with an eye like an oyster and curling his or her lip with scorn at the ineptness of your writing is…yourself?
 
That is my problem.  If I start to write something, I have to write it perfectly.  I write a sentence, frown at it, say 'That sounds dorky!', backspace, and write it again. Over and over.  The end result is perhaps a paragraph that's OK but overworked.  And nothing else.  Well…  Maybe a full browser history, since surfing the Web aids in making me think - right?
 
Well, I can't just crank out awkward phrasing, can I?  Well…can  I? 
 
The solution to this dilemma is to say 'Why not?'  Just spit it out. I tried NaNoWriMo two years ago, just to see if it could be done.  It could, but I had to just let go and let the words flow.  Some of them were pretty bad - but once the thought was actually captured, it was a joy to tweak, especially after reading and reflecting.
 
I am working on that insecurity, but I have the answer.  I just have to follow it. Turn off the internet connection and write.

 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bits and Pieces...

It has been a somewhat fragmented day.  Things that need doing that didn't get done.  Mulling over happenings, chuckling at memories.  What a friend would call 'A mish-mash of a day'.

For example, I'm in the middle of a project.  I generally have several going, but not equally.  There is one main project, then a couple that I might be mulling over during slow moments.

Well, I watched a news story about a senseless killing and an idea came to me.  What happened, where, why - at least what they think is why - how...

It would feature some familiar characters, and one that is mentioned in several books, always with admiration.  A good, impressive man, one who saves lives and hearts, but is one I have never felt capable of handling.  Well, maybe this time.  We'll see, and there's no rush.

And while looking through some interesting photos, I caught something that looked familiar. 

Well, well, well...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Celebrating: a potpourri of things.

I'm celebrating mundane things today, but I suspect everyone understands.

1.  The end of the work week.  I'll be seeing friends this weekend and should be enjoying myself.

2.  The near-kitten (age 10 months but as big as my 6 year old) has stopped shouting the house down and is now creeping about and hissing at my Labrador Retriever, the first dog he has ever seen.  He (the kitten) is a sable Burmese and the Lab is a chocolate.  I suspect poor Jimi - the kitten - thinks he has run into the largest Burmese in the world.  Jess - the dog - is happily chomping a bone.  He's twelve years old.  He hoisted an eyebrow at the kitten and continued chomping.


Not the blog logo-
But she's certainly festive!
3.  After a truly miserable heat wave, it is cool and I was able to sleep through the night without wondering if I had awakened in the middle of the Khamsin, is it?  Or the Scirocco?  The hot, nasty wind.

4.  I get to wear jeans to the office.  This is supposed to be a fabulous concession on the part of the management.  In my case, it means that I can throw on clothes and tear out of here.

6.   Oh - and I had an idea for a children's book and will be fiddling with it this weekend.

How about yourselves?  Come join this blog hop and share the little things that make you celebrate!  Or just hop about and see what everyone's celebrating - and thank VikLit for starting it!