Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Toy

So I,along with with my kids,am now an iPad owner. Notice I didn't say "user." I'm typing this on a bluetooth keyboard that works if I perform tricks like a desperate pony, and I have no idea the correct sequence. Sometimes I guess correctly, sometimes I'm outta luck. The iPad on-screen keyboard makes me feel guilty because I'm touching the screen. Just can't do it. I'm determined to make it work, however! Then I can separate the laptop for work, and everything else to the iPad. However, this tiny keyboard may drive me to drink.

Enough torture for now. My hands are getting a cramp.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Daytona Tire Testing

Crank it up! Mike Wilkinson video.

http://www.twitvid.com/PJI6M

Monday, December 13, 2010

Please vote!

My daughter's oldest (since kindergarten) friend is on Youtube, playing her viola as an audition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=M-iEuiShwjg

Please vote for Rosalind Soltow, on the viola!
http://www.youtube.com/symphony?x=dGFiPS92b3RlL29yY2hlc3RyYWwmaW5zdHJ1bWVudD12aW9sYSZjYXRlZ29yeT1vcmNoZXN0cmFsJnZpZGVvSWQ9TS1pRXVpU2h3amc

Monday, December 06, 2010

Tacky Won, Kinda


As you can see, the bright lights won. I refrained from putting them around each window, however. And you won't get pictures of the trees in the yard, LOL. I consider this a tasteful compromise between tacky and decorous. It's fun to change things up a little, or a lot, whether in life or in your Christmas decorating.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christmas Lights

Let me be honest - I love tacky houses. Adore the overload, the wealth of mismatched lights and decorations. Total admiration.

But when it comes to our Colonial, I just can't do it. My beloved likes some bling, but he keeps it in the yard. I get a little wild with the fresh greens and ribbons around the porch, but mostly, I like little twinkling white lights that fit the Colonial style of the house. The only problem is, this year I'm fighting a desire for wildly flashing lights and bright colors. We'll see what wins - good taste or cutting loose and getting wild!

Tried to read one of the Bourne books from the 80s, because 1) the movies were so cool and 2) Ludlum is the master of the thriller, right? OMG. SLOW. BORING OPENING. Dialogue that's dated as heck. Couldn't read it.

Today is my oldest daughter's birthday. I'm so glad I'm not in labor for 36 hours. Birthing her was a lot of work, but worth it. She's a gem and a nice young woman as well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post Holiday Bloat

I'm fooded out. Too much food is the diagnosis. Spicy food. Rich food. Desserts loaded with whipped cream and sugar. Even the thought has me cringing. I may never cook the Big Feast again. Just tasting the progress of everything on the stove and in the oven sent me into food-overdose. Can't even look at the leftovers in the fridge.

The only solution is shopping, right? All that walking. All that standing in line, it'll get rid of the extras in my system, I hope. Did my best this weekend to stimulate the US economy, but I don't think the jiggle in my wiggle was affected. Sigh. Time for severe austerity in the kitchen.

I really do believe all that food affects my brain. I go into this semi-awake state where every thought is an effort. Maybe it's because all my creativity heads for the kitchen? Recipes are my favorite reading? Whatever it is, the brain has to get back in shape along with the derriere. Time to give it some exercise.

Only solution: WRITE!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time

In the background, I hear the Rolling Stones shouting "time!" At least, I think it was the Stones. I was more of a Beatles fan myself. In comparison to the Stones, the Beatles wore white hats and were squeaky clean. Although I have to admit, I want to read Keith Richards' biography, just to find out exactly how "stoned" they were. Quite a bit, is my bet.

Anywhoo, I have a new watch. A very pretty new watch. I love timepieces. Collect them. All types, all price ranges, all sizes. However, for a few years now, I've been leaving the wrist bare in an attempt to wean myself away from time: Its permutations, its limitations, its demands. I can function without one pretty well but recently, I've missed the watch as jewelry. So now I have a lovely Seiko I really really like. But am I checking the time every five seconds? I don't think so. Time is just a number. Like any other number, it only has the power you give it.

We're surrounded by numbers. Social Security, age, weight, blood pressure, deli counter lines, height, birth order, IQ and whatnot. Ignore them. They're nothing but a shell game. Who and what you are has nothing to do with time or numbers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Shopping and oh my....

Couldn't believe it. We went Christmas shopping yesterday, instead of plunking ourselves in front of the next-to-the-last race in Phoenix. Got home in time to see Denny Hamlin fade to 12th because of fuel issues, (bet he stayed awake last night thinking of new curse words), but didn't need to suffer through the whole ESPN/Commercial show. The only good thing about the race is that JJ didn't win.

I'm out of shopping shape. Sigh. This morning my body said "what did you DO yesterday?" This may be the year Christmas comes from online vendors, LOL. Normally I've done a ton of our shopping by now, but not this November. It's hard to admit, but I'm pretty stumped. When the kids were young, Christmas was so easy it was a ton of fun. How hard is it to open the American Girl catalogue? Ah, for the good old days...

Writing is the one sane part of my day. For those precious hours, I don't worry about what to cook for Thanksgiving, when to get the Christmas decorations from the attic, or if the iPad's second generation is worth waiting for.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cockiness, or What it Takes


Denny Hamlin is on a roll. He makes promises about his on-track performance, then he goes out and does exactly what he said he'd do. Cocky? Yeah, I'll buy that. Convinced he's a winner? You bet. Arrogant? Comes with the territory in a world that is drowning in testosterone. But you know what? He's a believer. In himself. And that's what it takes to get to the top in the jungle known as Nascar.

You can't win the Cup by saying "we're pretty good," or "the car's real nice today." Pshaw! Phooey! Let your opponents in the Chase know you've got the right stuff and you know how to use it. In this contest, the man who's got his head where the Cup is waiting, is the man to beat.

You can't write unless you believe you're a writer. You can't tell stories others will want to read unless you KNOW they're good. Man up. Grow some. Use your talent to do what you know you were born to do, and write, write, write. Set a goal: win a Pulitzer, make a bestseller list, go viral on the Web. Then go for it with dogged determination and the guts to know you're the best and you'll make it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Perfect Day

No humidity, blue skies, temps in the seventies, and I'm a new woman. After church, put on some Doors, fix a big glass of iced tea, forget the "to do" list, watch the Martinsville race (bad coverage by ESPN), take an unexpected nap, and it's a perfect Sunday.

Add to that, Denny Hamlin won! Go, Virginia Boy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baseball!

I love baseball. If I'd been born with perfect vision and a boy, I'd have worked really, really hard to be a professional ball player. Hopefully, hard work would have trumped talent, because I have none. Zilch. Nothing but a love of the game, and a passion for a perfect triple play. And a sinking ball. And catchers with their cute fingers flying in their crotches, giving instructions to the pitchers. I played on a lady lawyer softball team when I was single and had a great time despite our lack of a bench or decent fielders. I'll never forget our coach's shock when I caught a fly ball in right field. Guess he didn't think I could do it!

I root for anyone who's up against the Yankees. However, watching them rally in the first game of the playoffs against Texas, I could see why they're a championship team. They never gave up. Just plugged away, until finally, they got a run up on Texas.

Does anyone know what the meaning of the braided-looking necklaces some of the players are wearing? They look at little bit Second Grade, so I couldn't help but wonder if someone's daughter made them for the team.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Dirty Politics/Rob Whitman/Krystal Ball

I have to be up-front here. I don't like Rob Whitman either as a person or as a politician. This means nothing to you unless you're in the 1st Congressional District of Virginia, which I am not, so I can't vote against the man.

As the French would say, tant pis. Too bloody bad. If I lived in his district, I'd be hoofing it door to door, campaigning against him, and it has nothing to do with party affiliation.

Do I for one second believe his campaign for re-election had nothing to do with posting the photo of his opponent, Krystal Ball, online? The private picture with her ex-husband, when they were married and at a Halloween party, with a definitely ribald pose? The picture Whitman's campaign must have been digging for, because it had never been seen anywhere before it showed up on the Web a few days ago?

Absolutely not, I don't believe Whitman's protestations of innocence. Whitman's people are jumping with joy about getting this picture into the public eye. Why? Does a 29 year old accountant with a toddler and a small business scare Whitman so much? He won't debate her, which leads me to believe she has something going for her that he's avoiding. Like integrity. A sane voice on the issues. Honesty. A sincere desire to serve.

Maybe he's afraid because she's running for the right reasons - to work on the issues, not for political power and personal gain. I have observed that people who suck up to the power brokers and those who can advance them personally are not the people I want in office. Fits Whitman to a "T."

Watch how politicians treat those who aren't wealthy, powerful, or well-known. Observe their manners when speaking with the "regular" people in their sphere. You'll learn a lot. Whitman deserves to lose on November 2, and not just because of the dirty tricks he's pulling on Krystal Ball.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Protecting children

from Disney. Yes, the Walter Disney Company. Hang in there with me. . . .

My daughter who is working on her master's degree in Library Information Services tells me she had a deprived childhood. Not only did she not get to read THE GIVER, but I also withheld OLD YELLER (film and book) and anything dealing with death of animals and/or best friends. Let me warn you about the first Kirsten book in the American Girl series. I couldn't believe it when Kirsten's friend died of yellow fever on the boat to America. Could not believe it.

I also promptly gave away any and all videos of BAMBI and OLD YELLER, and to this day, unless my adult kids are lying, they haven't seen them. Nightmares, that's what those movies gave me. Unadulterated nightmares. What was Disney thinking? Bambi's mother's death scarred me for life. Not joking here. No child should have those images inflicted on her. So mine didn't.

Normally, Newbery books are required reading in this house, but THE GIVER was just too morbid. Why can't we let kids be kids as long as possible? I read every book my kids read before they got it in their hands. Call me the Mom-censor. I wear the badge proudly. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain!


We were promised 100% rain today and tonight, and while it's sprinkled nicely, it hasn't been the gusher we were expecting. However, no complaints. We welcome this gray, soggy day with joy. Severe drought conditions have placed the county under strict water rationing. No watering grass, plants. No washing of cars. (Mine is bug-covered and needs it dreadfully, but hey, I'm a law abiding citizen!)

Our shower decided to bust a leak over the weekend, and rather than waste any water, we shut off the main water to the house. Cranked it back on for a quick shower, to run the dishwasher, then off again. It's amazing how many times I went to the sink to wash my hands or rinse something, and nothing . . . . (I can't tell you how often I hit the wall switch when the power is out, as happens often in my neighborhood.) This small deprivation (the shower was fixed at 8 a.m. this morning) made me think about the women in Africa and elsewhere who must walk long miles several times a day to fill buckets that they then haul home. We Americans take so much for granted. Like hot and cold running water. Abundant food. Cheap gas compared to the rest of the world. (Check on gas prices, per liter, in Europe if you want a shock.)

If the reservoir doesn't refill soon, we have approximately 125 days of water remaining. That's at approximately 25 million gallons a day. The world won't end in fire or ice. The world will end when we run out of fresh water. We need to conserve, people.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where is Fall?

Come on, people, enough already! It's in the mid 90s today, and that just isn't acceptable. I want to wear different clothes, different colors. I gaze longingly at my sweatshirts and clogs, hoping I'll be able to slip into their comfy-ness one of these days. Sigh. The question is, when? More than anything, I want to be able to stop shaving my legs (my beloved doesn't even notice, LOL) because I'll be wearing cords and long pants every day, not sundresses and skirts because it's so blamed hot. Walking the dog without my sun hat would be a nice change as well, since all it does is make my sweaty hair stick to my head. If I don't wear my sun hat, it's all over. Sunburn city. (Thanks for this fair Northern European skin, folks.)

Pumpkins tumble from pallets at the grocery store. Halloween decorations have been for sale for a month. Now I ask you, who feels like hot cider and caramel apples when it's 96 degrees out? Right. So much for getting in the spirit.

I refuse to turn on the AC. It's almost the end of September. If I pretend it's fall, will it really happen? Please?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ink Well


I've had a fountain pen for years. Since 1976, to be exact. Sterling silver, it has served me well, but it's getting darned expensive to buy its cartridges. Vaguely, I remembered an ink well my grandmother gave me a zillion years ago. Sterling silver, it's a remnant of another age, but it has held ink for me. Since my Parker came with a refillable cartridge, I would buy colored inks and fill the pen up from this well. When I felt the urge to write in emerald green, I'd go at it.

Lo and behold, I found the ink well. It's a bit battered (heaven knows how old it is), and it has a half-glass, half green baize (I think that's the word for the fabric) bottom. You can see inside where there's a metal well (maybe tin?) sitting in the glass, and the silver is formed around the glass. You stick the pen in the well, pump the cartridge holder vigorously, and voila! Ink.

Now I have to find ink in a jar. I'll probably have to shop at an art supply store, but we writers are artists, right?

There's nothing in the world like watching words flow on the page from a beautiful pen. I'm gonna have a trip down memory lane. If I can find the ink, that is.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Richmond - sigh.

You know how much I love the racing at Richmond, right? It's short track Nirvana.

No longer.

Nascar is killing itself from the inside. I think it's the car. Sure, the safety aspects are marvelous. But this isn't IROC. (Which is dead, btw.) Putting the teams in nearly identical cars, with only sponsors, numbers, and colors to distinguish them, has made this the most boring set of races we attend every year. And we may be ready to quit.

Single file racing for hours on end. Very polite passing. Everyone on their best behaviour.

Where's a fake caution when you need one, I ask you!

Not even going to post any pictures. Too disappointed with the whole race.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pre-Race Production

From the outside, it appears I'm staging a Formula 1 race around my block of suburbia and feeding the thousands who will show up to watch it. I'm not kidding, I just came home and unloaded the car. With food. Tons of food. You'd think I'm planning to feed Patton's army.

It's actually only six people. I've rationalized my excesses with "if we don't eat it all at the track, you can have it for lunch next week" excuse. The plain truth is, I'm a Southerner, and you don't ask people to bring food when you're the one who has done the inviting. And there's no disgrace more horrifying (except wearing ratty underwear when you get hit by a bus, or fake pearls)(no, not hit by the fake pearls, wearing them). Anyway, there's nothing more humiliating than running out of food. It MUST not happen. Hence the coolers that will be stuffed to the gills. Remember, I'm feeding six people who will have nothing to do all day until the race starts about 7 p.m. Well, they can chat and be sociable, and discuss drivers and who has the best chance to win the Chase, but they can't bring food. Verboten.

We were once invited to a dinner party, I accepted (by phone with the inviting person), at which point the invitor said "oh, and bring a casserole." Now, if I wanted to cook that night, I'd stay home and do it. So I thought about it for half a second, and said "Oh, I'm so sorry, I just found my husband's calendar, and we can't make it after all." It's not a dinner party if I'm taking dinner to someone else's house, and I wasn't a willing cook. My husband, the mid-westerner, sees nothing wrong with asking people to bring food to a party, but I'd rather wear fake pearls and ratty underwear, and believe me when I say, it'll be a cold day in hell when I do.

Just sayin'. . . .

On to Richmond! Can't wait for this weekend and tailgating, shopping the trailers, and a wonderful race.

Monday, September 06, 2010

English Ivy and its Perverse Nature

The weather has given us a wonderful gift the past few days, and I hate to squander it inside, so I've been playing in the yard. Any excuse. . . and this time, it was the ivy.

Years ago, I decided our fence would look nice covered with ivy, so I planted a few tendrils and waited for them to do their thing. Some understood their mission in life and went after it with a vengeance. I carefully wove their sprouts (or whatever you call them) in and out of the fence slats, and considered it to be a success.

Until the miniature English ivy rebelled. I coaxed. I watered. I promised sunshine and fertilizer. Nothing. Those suckers lay limpidly (is that a word?) where I'd planted them and refused to do their job. Grow and entwine.

So I did what any self-respecting gardener would do, I ignored those traitors. Turned a blind eye through this summer's drought. Pretended I didn't know they were there. Until today, when I went to check on the climbing rose I'd planted on this same stretch of fence, and there they were.

What should I see, but long flowing tendrils of English ivy, a superabundance of it. It would appear that neglect made the recalcitrant ivy rethink its miserable existence, and the trailers are now long enough to weave, to dart in and out of fence slats. It's not only happy, it's prolific. How was I supposed to know that heat and drought were the correct prescription to make the damned stuff grow?

Lesson learned. I'll ignore it from now on.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

House Memories



Caption: My grandmother is the smaller woman in the white dress. She's a teenager here.

Pulling the family room sofa from its place so I could drag out a ball the dog lost under there (I finally got tired of her whining, LOL), I found a brick with a needlepointed cover. Moths have had a heyday with the needlepoint wool, but I instantly recognized it as my representation of my grandmother's house in Georgia. I made it for her for a Christmas gift. What memories.

A one-story house built by the local lumber company owner, it was as sturdy as a stiff wind in Oklahoma. The front porch, with its red-tiled floor and straw rug, was the center of the neighborhood's social life. The porch swing was my favorite reading spot, and I'd stretch out with a book in one hand and a fresh glass of lemonade in the other while the ladies more my grandmother's age would discuss the latest movie gossip from trashy magazines excessed by the beauty shop. Life was good on a hot summer afernoon.

I didn't get to stay in Georgia for long periods of time. Just quick visits. I couldn't wait to haul myself up into the cherry four-poster with a fringed teester, the one in "my" bedroom. The wide cherry plank floors reflected the morning light, and I'd wake up hearing morning doves in the garden outside my window. Nineteenth century travel cases hid under the bedskirt, and it was a tradtion to haul them out and search through old clothes and hats stored just for my dress-up pleasure.

That cherry bed is stored in my attic, its posts too high for modern ceilings. The red lacquer Chinese mirror from my Georgia room reposes in my guest room. The trunks are long gone, along with their sartorial treasures. But the memories are all held firmly in that motheaten needlepoint picture.

I won't toss it in the trash, no matter how awful it looks. Some things you just keep.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cool portrait


One of my daughters did the self-portrait, LaceFace. Don't tell her I put it up on my blog...she'll be embarrassed. But I thought it was terribly creative. She and her sister are both so talented with a camera, it's amazing. I have no idea where they got that one. Not me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The crabgrass is winning...

Now that we've had several days of rain/heat/rain, crabgrass is king. I keep telling myself to be grateful, it's green, and a definite improvement over the brown lawn of a few weeks ago. My sweetie, however, thinks differently. The crabgrass is winning, much to his chagrin.

The munchkins are all heading back to school in a day or so. One is working on her master's degree at a top ten school in her field, the younger is heading into her fifth year of a five year architecture program at one of the best schools in the country. I love the way my kids don't want the easy way out - they always choose the harder path in their education choices. It will serve them well, as my eldest realized soon after starting to work on her masters in June. Her rigorous undergrad degree had her tearing her hair out, but now that she's in the masters program, she can see how well served she was by working her buns off for four years to get her BA. While others struggle in the class work, she's on top of it with her usual persistence and hard work. Both girls aren't happy unless challenged, and boy howdy, are they.

Re-read Larry Watson's MONTANA 1948 last week. Still his best book, at least in my eyes. The older voice narrating the events from a youngster's viewpoint makes it fit into one of my favorite storytelling devices.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sick of Watermelon Yet?

Getting there! What a colossally awful thing to admit, since the melons this year have been spectacular. But I found myself walking away from my fav watermelon vendor at the local farmer's market, simply because I've had enough. If I could freeze the melons for later in winter when I crave a taste of summer, I would. But right now, I'm on watermelon overload. Same with cantaloupe. Great stuff, had too much.

Have you ever found an author who grabbed you with that first book you read? Then you run out and find everything s/he ever wrote and move them to the top of your TBR pile. Only by the time you're on the fourth or fifth book, you've hit the wall. Nothing seems fresh or unusual anymore, and you put down the next book in favor of another writer. Susan Elisabeth Phillips - prime example. Great writer, wonderful books, but I can take only so many in a row. I guess it's like anything else, you CAN have too much of a good thing. Think how boring meals would be if we only ate chocolate. Wait, let me reconsider that one. . . .

The moral of this story? Eat the watermelon as long as it's tasty, then move on. It's okay if you're groaning out loud. Not much depth to that pithy bit of philosophy, huh? Oh well, it's still hot as a haywire oven here, and the brain cells are pretty much melted into a buttery puddle. Forgive me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Real Stories

Just discovered a show on Animal Planet called "The Last American Cowboy." Those of you who have read my westerns know I'm in love with the American West. I have no idea why, it's just a facet of my psyche. So when I saw the show on the TV guide, I had to Tivo it.

It's about modern ranchers in Montana, and what they face in getting their cattle to market and preserving their land for the next generation(s). Classic storytelling. I wish the characters had more to say for themselves, and there was less narration, but the scenery alone is worth watching. God's country isn't North Carolina (sorry folks), but Wyoming, Montana, etc. If you have cable and get Animal Planet, give it a watch next Monday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remembering last winter....


I swore last winter than I'd welcome summer and its heat and humidity with open arms. I lied.

Just looking at pictures from one of our unusual snowstorms cools me off. I'd like to turn the AC down to "freeze meat" and huddle in a sweater, but there's no way the system could do it, not with temperatures running well over 100 degrees F for days on end. It's just not fair. The day it hit 105 (last Saturday), I was ready to move anywhere but here.

Not kidding.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Inspiration

I find it in the oddest places. Obituaries. Hunting and fishing articles in the newspaper. Dreams. People watching. Snatches of conversation. Trees. Playgrounds. Water. Memories. Art galleries. Museums. Legends. Myths.

It's everywhere. Turning it off is not an option. Sometimes I have to stop the car and make notes, just so I can get an idea out of my head and pay attention to my driving. ( I REALLY need to pay attention.) I don't text/talk on my cell and drive, but I do have conversations in my head with fictional characters. I don't think it's against the law, but it probably should be. I've been known to sit through red lights because I'm so involved with the people who are crowding my thoughts, I don't see the street. I'm sorry and hereby apologize to all the polite people behind me who should have honked, but didn't.

Although I started writing on a computer in the 1980s, I kept notes and ideas on paper, written in pen or pencil. Even today, that tactile feel of a pen in my hand, poised over a clean sheet of paper, is a gift. The anticipation of seeing the words on the lines gives me goose-bumps. I can't wait to see if the voices coalesce into a cohesive story. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

The journey is the rush. I don't believe in writer's block. Even when the writing is dreck, a dead-end of all dead-ends, I'm having fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roman Polanski Freed

The Swiss have refused to extradite the director. The same man who plead guilty to a sex charge (one out of 13) committed against a 13 year old girl. Polanski is now a free man.

I'm so mad I could spit nails. So much for having his day in court. The case has been tried in the press so extensively, it's probably impossible to find an unbiased jury of his peers, but please - can we at least pretend we're civilized and a people of laws? I expect better from the Swiss, who have always seemed remarkably unflappable and even-keeled. Who would have thought the list of big names in the film industry backing Polanski would have swayed a Swiss judge? Not me.

There's a higher jury that will judge Polanski, and I wouldn't want to be him when he appears before it.

Monday, July 05, 2010



This is Daytona on Saturday night (actually, early Sunday morning, July 4). Wow is all I can say. What a wreck-fest. Slick track, old tires, who knows what caused a race to become a demolition derby? While some fans cheer the mentality that a driver either wins or destroys his car, I want to see racing. Side-by-side is even better. But for heaven's sake, keep your fenders on and all four wheels on the track!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tough Girl Heroines

I enjoyed the Swedish movie, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. The book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, less so. I don't think it's the translation, but rather the wandering bits that have nothing to do with the story. I don't care about every item of furniture that Lisabeth buys at Ikea for her multi-million dollar apartment. The movie, I have a feeling, cut to the heart of the story and kept the pace going where the book lost it. Perhaps, because the author died before the books were published, the publisher didn't feel free to do wholesale cutting of the manuscript. That's fine.

What I do admire is Lisabeth's calculating paranoia, her refusal to be kicked and not kick back (or be raped, and not rape back), and her inability to turn her back on someone she almost cares for. Carol O'Connell's Mallory character is very much like this - although Mallory was raised, after an early harrowing childhood wandering the streets of New York looking for her mother, by a loving police detective and his even more loving wife. While Mallory has every opportunity to rise above her early nightmares, she can't, or won't, do it, and remains pretty much a very icy fish indeed. Lisabeth's hard shell can be cracked.

I admire kick-ass heroines, as they're called in the biz. But there has to be a glimmer of marshmallow underneath all the take-no-prisoners bravado. Otherwise, the character's just plain psychotic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flying the Jolly Roger


It's hot. The garden is withering despite my best efforts to drown it with hose water. The geraniums, contrary beasts that they are, are thriving. No fruit, no special scent, but their peach colored blossoms give me pleasure.

So why fly the Jolly Roger? We bought the flag on an impromptu trip to Chincoteague Island, home of the wonderful "Misty" books. Sometimes you shouldn't visit places where a book is set. Chincoteague, however, is unassuming, quiet, and just the right place for a children's story. The Jolly Roger brings back happy memories of pastel-painted Victorian houses with rickety shutters and barren lawns, and an un-hurried life.

This heat slows us down. The dog and I pant our way through our early morning walk. I dread braving the hot car after an hour of its broiling in a parking lot at the grocery store. By flying the Jolly Roger, I'm taking life down a notch. Slowing it down. Letting the fan lift the hair from my neck as I drink lemonade. Summer's a scorcher this year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The USPO

The rant has been building since Saturday. I braved the heat to mail some books, and for my efforts, encountered the typical line-out-the-door at my local PO. (I apologize to Eudora Welty for thinking of her cleverly funny short story every time I use "PO.") Saturdays are a nightmare, more so than the usual daily line at the counter, because only one person is working.

An elderly gentleman on a cane, obviously in discomfort and finding standing in line painful, was behind me. The man in front of me in the line had lost the one clerk (who disappeared into the nether recesses of the back room, not to reappear for over 15 minutes or more), when I asked the elderly gent if he'd like to step in front of me in the line. He accepted gratefully.

More minutes passed. No solitary clerk. Was she taking a smoke break? Who knew? Finally, the older man handed me a small manila envelope and a couple of bucks, and asked if I'd mail it for him. I agreed, telling him to sit in his car and I'd bring him the change. No, he said, he couldn't stand it any longer, he had to leave. Okay, I understood. We were ALL sick of standing politely in line, although several of us were becoming good friends, chatting about builders and law suits.

When I finally reached the counter and the lone clerk, who was none too happy from the expression on her petulant face, I explained I was mailing the envelope for the elderly man who wasn't able to stand for long. "ell," she snipped, "I can't accept that because you don't know what's in it!" I fingered the envelope and replied, "It's clearly paper." "No," she barked, "I can't accept that. It could be hazardous!" So I opened the envelope (committing some sort of crime, I'm sure, except it wasn't licked shut, just latched with one of those little metal clasps), pulled out a letter, and showed her the dangerous contents of this little manila envelope. Sniffing haughtily, she accepted the man's money and stamped it. Phew, mission accomplished. I escaped the depressing PO about an hour after I crossed its portal, promising myself to never return. At least not on Saturday.

Our branch PO has removed all the stamp machines, the gizmo where you can weigh your package yourself and affix postage, and every other vestige of do-it-yourself postal supplies. We're lucky if two clerks work the four-clerk counters, and if both of them are working the counters at the same time, it's a major miracle. Do you want to know why the PO is losing money by the bushel? Take a look at my branch PO. Staff cuts and do-it-yourself resource eliminations. From now on, I'll order books on the Web and have them shipped directly to my giftees. No going to the bookstore to handpick a selection for birthdays and Christmas. I'll do ANYTHING to avoid the post office.

To think that, once upon a time, I thought the PO was one of the coolest places on earth. I loved mailing boxes and overstuffed letters to friends and children, imagining their surprise when they received them. No more.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

UFOs and Other Weirdness

Before I lay it out here for all the world (well, the few of you who read this blog, thanks girls!), I'm not a UFO enthusiast or nut. I'm a healthy sceptic, with a dose of "prove it and I'll go along for the ride" thrown in there. Just so you know, I'm not a huge fan of little green men.

I've seen a UFO. Long story short, our girls fenced once a week in a local fencing club. Their dad and I agreed it was a good idea for them to learn to stick sharp, lethal objects in anyone attacking them, and they developed into pretty nice epee fencers. Their club met once a week, and since the sessions could run a couple of hours, we often drove home in the dark.

One night, when the air was warm with coming summer, we saw a huge circle of inordinately bright lights hovering low over the road. This is a four-laned, busily traveled highway. I was sure there was a logical explanation, until the hovering object moved up vertically, then turned at a 90 degree angle. The girls and I stared hard, discussed the object, and decided that yes, indeed, we'd been initiated into the UFO club. Very cool. Nothing earth-shattering, but extremely interesting.

I was surprised no one wrote in the newspaper about the flying object. Nor was there even a whisper on TV news until the next evening, when a newscaster reported multitudinous reports of an unidentified flying object. He also reported that no one from the airport acknowledged ownership of this object. Then he smiled, a tight little smile that said he knew more than he was reporting, and skipped on to another story.

The newscaster disappeared from the local broadcast stage not long afterwards. We stopped talking about the UFO.

I wonder if we're limited to one UFO sighting per lifetime?

Red Apples

They're after me. I kid you not. Big red apples are stalking me.

It all began when I walked the dog this morning. In the middle of the road reposed this huge red apple, probably a Delicious, waiting to be smushed by a car. Hmmm, I thought, wondering who tossed this lovely fruit of the poisonous tree in my neighborhood. Dog sniffed. I mused on the theme of the Garden of Eden. Stupid story. Dog and I continued our walk, or shall I shall, pull and jerk. (The squirrels love to tease her and she takes the bait every time.) Everything is normal, until . . .

Another apple. Floating in the middle of the creek that flows not far from our house. The creek is normally a sluggish affair at this time of the year, but we've had some abnormally heavy rain last week, and it's doing its best to pretend it has rapids. The big red apple must have been hung up on some flotsom, because it bobbed in the middle of the creek, mocking me. You can't escape the Garden of Eden, it warned.

Pshaw to that. Baloney and more baloney. God never made temptation and woman is not cursed. Dog and I walked on, both of us with our tongues hanging out at this point. The humidity has already hit 90 per cent. I'm wondering if I'm giving the neighborhood a wet T-shirt show, when yes, there it was.

Another big shiny red apple. Posing at the base of a line of wild cherry trees that rim a yard not far from mine. Nonchalantly reclining against the trunk of one of the trees, the apple is practically sticking its tongue out at me. You will not escape me, it chortles. Original sin is here to stay and you can't avoid it.

To which I reply, phooey and balderdash. Picking up this most mocking of fruit, I heave it into a trash can that's been left curbside. That's exactly how I feel about the notion of original sin. Nothing but trash.

The red apples can't beat me. No matter how hard they try to rattle my cage, I'm not biting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awesome Moments

Listened, for about five seconds, to a cheesy bit on the CBS morning show about a new book called something like AWESOME MOMENTS. I'm sure I have the name wrong, but you get the idea. It's all about those little things that make you realize how much you have to appreciate in your life. One person on the couch said how much she loved a certain song and the memories it brought back, and I knew exactly what she meant.

Anything by Petula Clark, and I'm twelve years old again, wishing I could go "downtown." "Cherish" by the Righteous Brothers, and I'm in love for the first time and feelin' it like it's today. (That means you, sweetie pie.) Hit me with The Doors, and it's rock and roll and revolution, and I can smell the late sixties, early seventies, sense the change in light through the trees, feel the leather of a chair seat under my bare thighs.

Flowers in full and glorious bloom. A transplanted bush that survives the heat and drought. The smell of horses. A cat's purr. Bright green new grass the color we see only once a year. Thunder shaking the bleacher seats as 43 hot cars take the track. You get the idea - I could go on and on about the 'small' things that could fill a book of awesome moments I'll never grow tired of experiencing. And if I never do get to see/smell/taste/touch/hear any of them ever again, the memories are vividly ingrained in my DNA.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Magical Realism

I've been fascinated by the phrase ever since I heard Rodrigo Garcia use it on NPR this week. Think THE GREEN MILE. Magic happens in the midst of a realistic story. I've never been lured by that sort of book, probably because I find enough magic in everyday life. However, adding magic supplies an intriguing list of ways to write yourself out of and into some interesting plots. Maybe what some define as magic, others see as everyday life? A baby's smile is pure magic. Love is as well. Moral courage. Absolute honesty. I could go on and on. I don't need "magic" to push a story from the ordinary to the extraordinary world, but I venture that an element of spirituality is more common than most authors would admit. Whether that belief is in the essential goodness of man or a higher power to control the destinies of the characters, really good books (in my limited view) are driven by characters with such a core. Jean Valjean. Atticus Finch. Dave Robicheaux. Any Dick Francis hero.

Existential heroes leave me cold. Went through that phase when I was a kid (high school) and thankfully, outgrew it. The real magic comes from finding a book with characters who inhabit their worlds with honesty, morality, and a deeply abiding faith that whatever is wrong will be righted, in the end. They waver and fumble along the path to the knowledge they require to reach the end of their stories, but they get there in the end. Yeah!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SCOTUS: Nominees and Snakes

Okay, so one of the arguments against Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supremes is that she didn't get her driver's license until she was in her 20's, ergo, she's totally out of touch with 'real people.' Pllleeeaassee. Give me a huge break. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 20, and I'm real people. Some of us didn't need to drive until later in life - my trusty red Schwin got me where I needed to go in college. I know a woman who is my age, who still doesn't have a license, and she raised seven children in the 'burbs without a license or car. Hmm, I think she's well aware of 'real life.' If you're going to attack a nominee, do it based on her legal publications, her public comments, not something as specious as when she procured a license to drive a car.

Attacking her because she's fifty and unmarried is beyond reprehensible. No one threw mud at David Souter, who was also unmarried when nominated. Calling Ms. Kagan a lesbian because of her lack of male spouse is nothing more than blatant sexism. Shame, shame, shame on those who are using this argument to oppose her nomination.

Why anyone would put themselves through the public wringer to accept a nomination to a public office is beyond my comprehension. What have we become? A nation of amoral, self-aggrandizing, mean people? Sometimes it seems so. Has the great experiment, democracy, become another Garden of Eden to be invaded by the snake? That talking serpent who set about to destroy a good gig? The pundits and poobahs who scream that we're a nation of nitwits and idiots, using blogs and political posts, TV and radio, are nothing more than loquacious serpents with vocabulary programed to incite and inflame and drive us to eat the apple that'll doom our country. Okay, that may be a rash generalization, but come on people, can't we be civil and respectful as we disagree? Me, I'm not listening to any snakes. The voices in my own head are enough, thank you very much.

Speaking of voice: how do you get into a young adult voice? It's more than slang, patois, whatever you call it. That's easily dated. Been mulling the issue.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bad Race, Green Trees, and Summer

Sigh. I've been putting off posting about the Cup race last Saturday night, hoping I could find some nice words to describe what was, ultimately, a boring race. Yawn-inspiring. Go-home-early. Wish we had.

What was wrong, I don't know. Single-file parades around a 3/4 mile track don't happen often, but they did on Saturday. I can't remember a single Richmond race with less drama or excitement. The last fifteen laps put on a show, but until then, I couldn't have cared less. Okay, enough negativity. I'm not going to think about it again.

Working on SIGNS. After 160 pages, I've decided the 'voice' is all wrong, so it's back to square one. Some of us take longer to figure out a book's issues than others. I count myself among those who hang onto the original vision after it's clear it's not working much, much too tenaciously. The good news is, the rewrites are feeling 'right,' so I'm a happy camper. Well, getting to the 'happy' part.

Summer is here with all its humidity and glorious greenery. I realized yesterday how much I missed the green trees during the past long, cold, and dreary winter. Trees in full glory make me happy, and remind me that all is right with the world. And on that simple truth, it's time I got back to work. . . .

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Revisiting the past

While browsing the used book shop, I came across an old, old copy of EAGLE OF THE NINTH by Rosemary Sutcliff. I couldn't wait to get it home - I remember reading the book in one big gulp when I was a kid. I was the bookish child who read constantly, so much so that my mother would have to throw me out of the house to get some fresh air. (This changed a bit once horses came into my life, but books ranked right up there with saddles and boots.) Historical fiction was my mainstay, and Rosemary Sutcliff was the queen of that domain. When T.H.White's THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING came out, his book was the only one dealing with the Arthur legend that came anywhere near equalling Miss Sutcliff's mastery of that tale. (I read that one in school, non-stop, holding it under my desk and pretending to study whatever the lesson was in class. Got caught by my history teacher, who checked out TOAFK, handed it back to me, and said "keep reading.")

I didn't realize Miss Sutcliff was crippled by juvenile arthritis until reading a biography recently. Despite her physical handicap, she wrote active, living, breathing, filled-with-life heroes. History came alive in their adventures. Inspiration comes to writers in many forms, and I can say, in all sincerity, that Rosemary Sutcliff was an author who inspired me. One day, I hope to achieve half her skill, style, and power with the written word. I should thank her as well for inspiring me to take Latin in school. Latin saved my fanny when it comes to English grammar.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Old Pictures


Found this old (hate to say how old) picture of a 17 yo me on my Arabian stallion, Simuzer. Gorgeous horse, crazy as heck, could jump anything you put in his way, but really nasty-tempered. He tried his best to kill me, LOL, but I remember him with great fondness. I've always loved fast horses and fast cars.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring is here, yeah!


Our tabby, a very laid-back, I'm-too-cool-to-pose, cat, the Biff, has taken up his position for the season. Back patio, HIS chair, and we humans must bring food out to his Highness. And not disturb his naps. Or let the dog try to join him on HIS chair. Good luck with that.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mountains in March


Found this on the camera we took to Martinsville. Love the other-world feel.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Film from Martinsville

My daughter took a short video of the race. Here it is - a tiny taste of Nascar racin'.
video

Twenty-six years, and counting

My beloved and I were married that long ago in a small wedding in my parents' house. I wore a tan lace dress by a Chicago designer, Becky Becoulis, and Paul wore a cream-colored suit. Family and friends had as much fun partying after the ceremony as we did. Hard to believe we've been hitched for over a quarter of a century! In this day and age, such longevity is a miracle. Our touchstone has always been, no matter how crazy or downright awful things get, that we love each other and always will. It doesn't hurt that my beloved is a very tolerant, understanding, kind man who has grown to know the right thing to do when I get all creatively insane when the books aren't going well. He takes over the house and all the minutiae of our lives, then tells me to shut the office door and ignore the world until the words are right. Smart man.

The red clay isn't coming out of the soaked sneakers from the parking fields of Martinsville. Guess a trip to Target is in order to replace them. Race stuff is cleaned and packed away, waiting for May's race in Richmond. Pray to the rain gods to sleep through it. Can't wait - Richmond has killer curves and lots of good grooves, and I'd like to see the race on its scheduled day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Martinsville!

Ever watch a race on TV and laugh at the idiots sitting in the stands, wearing their rain ponchos, waiting for a race to start when clearly, it's not gonna happen? Been there, did that, Sunday in Martinsville. Not only was it raining, it was darned cold and totally miserable.

Rain misery was just the start, because the parking fields on Monday not only had no one to help drivers find a dry spot, but every inch was red clay mud and not just an inch. We made one turn into trouble, and the truck was stuck. My socks were only half of the wet and ick factor. Pushing the truck was the really fun part. (Sarcasm, please.)

The up side was that the race was super. Monday's sun and warmth made up for Sunday's horribleness. My faith in great racing has been restored. Fox almost killed Sunday racing for me, but no more. Despite crummy coverage and boring camera work, nothing Fox can do on TV will kill the joy of Nascar. Get to a track and watch it live! There's nothing like the rumbling start of the engines, shaking in the stands, the scream of 43 cars of incredible horsepower, the flash of overheated brakes. Get thee to a track near you! Don't depend on TV for your racin' fix!

That may be more exclamation points than I've ever used in my entire life...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winners

So JJ won again - and at Bristol, of all tracks - a place where he's never been good. He's won three of the last six races? Something like that...which leads one to believe he's going to take his fifth championship barring tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. What's the sense in getting ticked off about it?

The point is that we're seeing history. One day we'll look back and say, "golly, I saw the champ in his heyday" and it'll be cool. Whenever someone is at the top of his or her craft/profession, from Nora Roberts to George Strait, we should be proud to be around when their game is on and the players are winning. Even if it gets a bit boring, LOL, to see the same names over and over in front of the fireworks.

Speaking of being in the game, the weather has turned and the garden sings its siren song. Can't wait for the azaleas. Forsythia and daffodils are just out.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So what's normal?

Our whey-faced weatherman tells me we're barely three-quarters of an inch over the average rainfall for this year. He lies. Ditches and runoff rage, the river runs at flood stage, and this is our new norm. I feel as if I've moved to Seattle, not a pleasant prospect. Give me sun and heat, a steady dose of humidity, and I'm happy as a clam. Clam-like, I am definitely not.

By the way, I just read an article in which the phrase 'baited breath' was prominent. Please, it's "bated," not baited. Every hook that's been baited in this house is used to try for a fish, not breath.

No racing this weekend. One the one hand, it means Brad K didn't get his chance for payback on Crazy Carl. On the other hand, it means Bad Brad has had two weeks to stoke the fires, something he's doing quite well. When he says he's not backing down, I believe the lad. The true upside of all this is the fans have another topic to discuss, other than Jimmie Johnson's dominance.

Daylight savings time drives me nuts. Why do they do this to us? The animals have no idea why they aren't being fed at their usual hour, so I just keep them on their schedules, not the government's. My mini-forms of rebellion are so tame, it's embarrassing.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Artist's Way

I'm re-reading Julia Cameron's book, THE ARTIST'S WAY. Haven't looked at it for years, so it's coming thru as new. Really loving how spiritual it is. Some of my favorite quotes so far:

"Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one's chosen form." Stephen Nachmanovitch

"In a dark time, the eye begins to see." Theodore Roethke (one of my fav poets)

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca

Being daring, seeing in a dark time, allowing one's self the permission to play with the work, drive the process for me and are the hardest to allow myself to do. Note to self: quite blithering about and just DO IT!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dick Francis

One of my author heroes has gone to the great writers conference of eternity. Part of me is devastated that I won't have a new Dick Francis book every December, the other part is grateful he left the racetrack to become a writer in the first place. I have a copy of every single one of his books, and I'm going to start re-reading them. Living a long and honorable life is eulogy enough, and Dick Francis deserves every accolade he ever achieved.

Sharon Sala gave a talk years ago about writing the perfect hero, and used romance (her genre) heros as examples. Immediately, Dick Francis' men of good heart, decent manners, and honorable actions came to my mind. So when I got home, I picked up a few Francis books randomly, and listed the characteristic that made me want to marry one of his heroes. (My husband is very like many of the Francis men, so I'm one lucky woman.) Each and every Francis hero strives to do the right thing no matter what the personal cost, including losing a hand. (Sid, you're one tough dude.) Though Francis wrote mysteries, anyone can learn from his body of work. Pacing, dialogue, tension, plotting - he did it all very well indeed. Rumor has it that his wife, Mary, was a silent co-author, and if so, good for them. Whatever it takes to write a great book, is my motto.

Dick Francis wrote great books that hold up well. Years from now, I bet writing conferences and degree programs will be holding seminars on his body of work.

I'll still miss him.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And Daytona is in the books...

Jamie McMurray deserves every bit of joy he earned with the title of Daytona champion last Sunday. Brutal is the only way to describe that race. Seven hours and counting. . . if I'd been in the stands, I would have gone home long before the final green/white checkered flag. Still, everyone did the best they could with an unrepentant pot hole, and tempers were unusually checked. All in all, a good race. Now we can get down to the long season and see if JJ can keep it together. I'm all for the underdog - the Bobby Labontes in underfunded cars, Tommy Baldwin Racing, etc., but that flash of brilliance from someone coming out of Chip Ganassi's stable is cool.

Despite snow clinging to the ground, I'm thinking Spring! It's my only hope of sanity, LOL. If I can finish the first draft of SIGNS before the gardening gets going in earnest, it'll be a fitting reward for a long, hard winter of cold and icky weather.

Hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day. My honey and I were headed for a Daytona party, and on the way, encountered a gentleman who'd fallen on hard times. Buying him a burger was our privilege. As a country we can do more for those who need help, and it starts with us. We can't wait for the government to do the job, and shouldn't. "The Blind Side" taught some relevant lessons about caring for others, and I recommend it to everyone. Yes, we are our brothers' keepers.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Will it ever stop snowing?

Enough is enough. It's time to shut down the winter weather and do some serious drying out. Saw dump trucks tipping loads of snow over the bridge railing, into the river this afternoon, a sight I have NEVER SEEN in this city. I'm worried about my azaleas and gardenia bushes - they've never had this much snow piled on them before. The back yard is a total loss - it's a given that we have to start over when it finally warms up.

Enough of the complaining, right? Time to do some work. Back to the book, SIGNS, now that the Super Bowl is over. Great game! The Bud Shootout was fun, the ARCA race fascinating because of the number of women running it (7), including the peripatetic Danica. Alli Owens gets my attention. You go, girl!

With Daytona less than a week away, I'm feeling like there's light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Racing will happen, the snow will melt, and someday we'll see grass again, leaves on the trees, and get to complain about the heat.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

And the snows came. . .

You'd think we live in Minnesota or Wisconsin. A place where people love snow. Where white-outs are the norm. But the South? Today is just nuts - the snow is falling so fast, I can't see the street in front of the house. We never have this weather, but guess what? It's hammering us now with a vengeance. Fortunately, the dog thinks this white stuff was invented for her amusement, and going outside isn't the nightmare I thought it would be. Now if I enjoyed it half as much as our Jack Russell Terrorist. . . .

I should tackle another house project, but I think I'll curl up in front of the fireplace with James Lee Burke's TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN. So far it's tough reading - his description of what happened in New Orleans with Katrina chills me to the bone. I'm afraid I'm not brave enough to read this book, but I'll give it a good try. Snowy days are made for pots of hot tea, scones with honey, a good book, and the cat on my lap. The book shelf can wait for a clear-out for another day. Besides, I really don't want to weed out any of my 'keepers.'

Oh, the oddest and most interesting thing happened. I was researching WW II stories for a character in SIGNS, who is an old soldier, and quite by accident found a Stars and Stripes article from 1945 that mentioned my grandfather in an account of the 11th
Armored in Europe. As another way to avoid writing (my list could fill a barn), I decided to put my grandfather's name into Bing. Lo and behold, I saw a nine year old posting from a lady who was looking for information on my gf for her family tree. Talk about surprises! Her email addy was current, and we've been exchanging what information we have. The power of the Internet is astounding.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Short Stories

I'm reading a book of short stories compiled by Larry McMurtry, set in the American West from 1950-2000. While I once wrote shorts for various publication, all romances or scifi, I'd forgotten the allure of the art form. Within a short space, say ten pages, the reader learns something important to the hero of the story in each of the ones I've read so far. The writing is colorful, sensual, and filled with dialogue I would kill to mimic. Yet each story contains a hard, unyielding truth that jumps out of the page because it's undiluted. No stable of secondary characters, no intertwined plot lines, no foolin' around. At the end of each story, I just go "aahhh," and reel back, feeling as if I've hit the jackpot.

It's time to relearn the form. Going to give it a try, shake up the writing routine.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January is a long month

It's been too long, mostly because of family emergencies that kept me out of town and away. All is well now, I'm home and watching football. I can't remember the last time I vegged out watching football on TV (unless it's VaTech, natch). There's plenty to do, but I just don't want to. Not a good habit to develop, LOL.

I've just had a battle royale to get my web hosting company to go away. Beware of Lunarpages - they dig in their claws, and even if you repeatedly tell them you don't want their services any longer, they refuse to believe you. Even when you've declined every offer to extend the contract, they try to charge your credit card for another year's hosting. So people, run if you don't want to get stuck with a web hosting company that can't take "no" for an answer. I will never understand why, since they were emailing me at the address they had on file, and I answered from that same address, they didn't believe I was the person they said I had to be. It's a long story....

Ah, another rant - I feel it coming on. Know-it-alls. She who thinks the only way is her way. She-who-insists-you-must-do-it-her-way. Even if the recipient of all this advice and dire warning doesn't want the advice and warning, and hasn't requested it. Even if the recipient has told this know-it-all to cease and desist. Sigh. How hard it must be for some people to keep opinions to themselves. I'm not the person in the middle of this mess, just a sideliner, but boy howdy. It's hard to sit on one's hands and not let loose a scathing retort or two when you see someone being bullied. I keep reminding myself it's those with eyes and hearts already closed and locked shut who miss out on the most marvelous surprises. Being open to the new, the innovative, the different is one of the true joys of life. Can't do that if you already know it all.

Counting the days until the Daytona 500. Fingernails are almost down to the quick. Need my racing fix - just a whiff of exhaust, the slightest of rumbles, a flash of gaudy colors on a track - and I'll be able to survive until the Big Day, Feb. 14. No, not Valentine's Day, LOL.

Monday, January 04, 2010

So much for that . . .

The Sony e-reader was a big disappointment. As an owner of the first Rocket e-reader, I was expecting an easy path to putting books in the e-library, and clear reading. Not so. First of all, you have to enter a CC to even set up the library, even if you don't buy anything from the Sony store. That ticked me off. If I never bought a book from Sony, they'd still have all my financial info floating around. Then I began reading about how people couldn't access books they'd purchased, and I began to worry. Tried the screen in daylight, and it didn't even come close to being readable.

The end result is that the Sony no longer lives here. Major bummer. I hope someone invents a screen you can read in the car in daylight. And that they allow you to set up a library without a credit card, since you can't operate the reader without a library. I don't mind entering cc info when I'm purchasing a book, but to require one just to set the reader up? Nope, not this chicky.

The office clean-up is in the chaos stage. Pulled files out, dumped drawers, and generally created a mess just so I'll have to weed through it before putting it back somewhere. The question so far is: where? Ah, that's the rub. I'm determined to be less of a paper-hoarder, but it's hard to break a lifetime love affair with paper.

If you haven't seen THE BLIND SIDE, go. It's the best movie I've seen so far this season. Characters you care about. How unusual....