If you are like me, you probably have things you say when you don’t know what to say. For example, I went through a phase where I commented “It is what it is” to almost everything. Of course it is what it is, it can’t be what it isn’t. I realize the phrase has a deeper meaning, but in the shorthand of today, that deeper meaning is usually not conveyed nor understood. We’re left with a shallow saying rather than true communication.

Language is always changing and evolving. Context changes rapidly and that affects meaning. One of my ‘favorite’ sayings illustrates that point- ‘the exception proves the rule.” On the face of it, the phrase is not logical. But, the meaning of the word ‘proves’ has morphed over time. It used to mean ‘tests’, but now we tend to use it to mean ‘support’.

Maybe next time I don’t know what to say, I should remember that “Silence is golden” – and offer a sympathetic nod or hand pat.


Liebster Award and Writing 101


I just like this picture I took of the beach at Oceanside. It has nothing to do with my post.


I just finished the Writing 101 course through WordPress, and I find myself overwhelmed. There are so many interesting blogs out there !  It was a privilege to able to read the posts of my fellow students. My only regret is that I found myself glued to my computer more hours than usual. So, now that the course is over, I am struggling to maintain the momentum. I have a book to re-write and a blog to maintain, so I will post on my blog once a week, and try to keep to my timeline for the book re-write.

During this course I also attended the annual Spring Spirit Conference held by the North/Central Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) held on May 2.  As usual, it was a great conference, but of course I left with a self-generated “to do” list for writing that will probably take me six months to complete. If you write or plan to write or illustrate children’s books, you should consider joining SCBWI. It is a wonderful support for both published and “pre-published” authors and illustrators.

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by fellow blogger HumaAq who writes a wonderful blog entitled HumaAq – the unique me! Thank you so much. I understand there are several obligations that come with the nomination. I am charged with nominating 11 other bloggers for the award. These are new bloggers who, like me, have fewer than 200 followers. My second obligation is to answer the questions posed by the person who nominated me, and the third is to notify my nominees and pose 11 questions for them to answer and post. Piece of cake, right?

I am finding as I look through all the wonderful blogs I have had a chance to read, that many of them have more than 200 followers and many have  been recently nominated for the Liebster Award. I am going to fall short of the magic number of 11 nominees, but none the less, I do have some nominees in mind.

There is more  information about the Liebster Award at www.

And now to the questions posed to me.

1) Why did you start your blog?

I always liked to write, but most of my writing had been work-centered. I had an idea for a children’s book series and worked on that, but I also wanted to do some “adult” writing and a blog seemed a good way to do that.

2) Who inspires you?

Everyday people inspire me. When you realize the burden some are carrying  and the grace with which they do it, it amazes me.

3) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Probably still trying to finish my children’s book series and get it published!

4) What book are you reading now?

I confess to being addicted to mystery novels, both period pieces and modern. My current reading includes The Edge of Dreams (Molly Murphy Mystery by Rhys Bowen, set in New York at the turn of the century), Paw and Order: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn. Chet is a dog who narrates all the books in this series. It is set in the present day. I like philosophy and science, so I am slowly reading The Illusion of Conscious Will  by Daniel M. Wegner, which combines both.

5) What is your all time favorite movie?

It’s a tie for me. I like LA Story which stars Steve Martin, among others, and featured the music of Enya. I also really, really like A Man and A Woman, a very romantic French move from 1968.

6) If you could choose anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live, and why.

I’ve always like to be exactly where I am at any given time.

7) Do you speak any foreign languages?

I speak some Spanish, but given I live in California, it’s hard to regard it as a foreign language.

8) Do you have any hidden talents?

If I knew them, they wouldn’t be hidden!

9) What career would you choose if you had a free choice?

At one time I wanted to be a historian – still sounds good.

10) What’s your favorite type of music?

I do like classical guitar music, but it varies.

11) What’s your favorite type of food?

A little bit of everything.

My nominees are:

These are the questions I would like my nominees to answer:

1) Why did you start your blog?

2) Who inspires you?

3) Where do you see yourself in five years?

4) What books are you reading now?

5) What are you all time favorite movies?

6) Where in the world would you choose to live?

7) Do you speak more than one language?

8) Who is your favorite author?

9)What would you do with your life if everything was open to you?

10) What is your favorite type of music.

11) What is your favorite food?





Prompt 18: Hone Your Point of View: The Eviction

Wow. Police cars – two of ’em. Wonder what they’re doing? Hey, they’re stopping at Mrs. Pauley’s house!  Two police guys and that other guy are going up to the door. Wonder who he is? Never saw him before. Now he’s knocking on the door, really loud and yelling Mrs. Pauley’s name. Those two police officers are standing right behind him. There’s Mrs. Pauley. She looks real scared. She’s crying, but the guy just looks at her and says something that makes her cry even more. Then he hands her a yellow paper. She doesn’t want to take it. She’s shaking her head back and forth.

The guy steps back and the police step up to Mrs. Pauley. She cries some more, then one of the police guys takes her arm and they walk toward the car. The police guy is talking to her, not loud, and she is listening. The police guy opens the back door of one of the care and she sits down with her legs hanging out the side. The police guy gives her some water and she shakes her head yes as he talks. He gives her some tissue and she blows her nose. Then the police guy takes out a phone and hands it to Mrs. Pauley and she makes a call.

The other guy has gone into Mrs. Pauley’s house. A few minutes later a guy in a yellow van comes. He talks to the other guy, then he gets some tools out of his van and takes the doorknob off Mrs. Pauley’s front door.

Mrs. Pauley gives the phone back to the police guy. A green car with a kind of circle sign on the door pulls up and a lady gets out. The lady walks over to Mrs. Pauley and shows her something. Mrs. Pauley nods, the she stands up and they go back to the car and drive away.

The police leave and the guy fixing the door leaves. The other guy goes into Mrs. Pauley’s house.

Nothing happens for a while, then a junky old truck drives up into Mrs. Pauley’s driveway. Two real big guys get out and go up to the house. The other guy comes out, then they all go into Mrs. Pauley’s house.

After while, the big guys come out carrying some of Mrs. Pauley’s stuff and they throw it into the junky truck and go back to the house. They’re taking her stuff!

I’m scared. I don’t know what Mrs. Pauley did. Does this mean they’ll come throw our stuff out and take us away? My mom comes out on the porch.

“Alan. Come inside.”

“Mom, what’s happening?”

An Explanation ( of sorts)

I am participating in an on-line writing course through WordPress.  It has been challenging at times, sometimes fun, but always interesting. The course gives you a series of writing prompts, one each day for twenty days, except for weekends. When I started this post, I “password protected” the writing prompt posts. That meant that only my fellow bloggers participating in the same program, would see my posts. I have since realized that the password protection shuts out those who follow the posts, and that seems unfair. It would be very frustrating to get notice of a new post, go to that site and realize you can’t read the post, because you do not have access to the password. So, belatedly, I have tried to remedy the situation by removing the password protection from all but a few of the posts. Some of the posts are fictional, some are not. Given this stage of my life, the sad posts tend to be non-fiction. I apologize for any frustration this may have caused. Not only has this exercise helped my writing, but I have learned a little more about the mysteries of technology.

DSCF1908                                                                                                                       Peace

The Routine! The Routine!

Research tells us our brains deal with the overwhelming amount of information available to it by categorizing that information, often in terms of what is a danger, and what is not: e.g. fire is hot and a danger, sunsets are beautiful and not a threat. The information is cemented through experience. If you live anywhere near traffic, when you hear the screech of brakes, you expect to hear the sound of a crash (danger). If we don’t hear the crash sound, most of us breathe a sigh of relief and go about our business. The crash sound brings about another response (fear, anxiety). Over time, the responses are routinized; loud noises make you look around to assess danger, hot chocolate makes your mouth water; you do not have to stop and think each time, what does that mean?

Because so many of our responses, both physical and emotional, are a matter of routine, it frees our brains to do other, more interesting things, such as shopping after Christmas sales.

I found myself in just that situation the Friday after Christmas. One would think my past experience would have led me to avoid shopping on that day (Danger! Crowds! Debt!), but my lack of experience and the failure of the battery in my beautiful watch led me to the mall to replace the battery at a fix it shop. I should have realized that fifty others would do the same, but I had never shopped at a mall on the 26th of December. Naively, I set out on my mission.

“It will be ready in thirty minutes,” said the clerk. “Do you have other shopping to do?”   “Sure,” I replied with a smile. “See you then.”

I had no watch; after all, mine had a dead battery. I had no idea when “thirty minutes” would be up. Have you noticed that there aren’t many clocks in the malls? Kind of like casinos in that respect. The other problem is that I lack the shopping gene. I am a strategic shopper. I research before I go, swoop in, make the purchase and leave. My husband always told me I shop like a guy. I took it as a compliment.

So, clueless, I wandered into the mega-department store in the mall and began my version of browsing. I discovered I was not very good at this. My rapid walk and horizon-scanning look was not in line with the sauntering required for successful browsing. I forced myself to slow down. After all, I had thirty minutes to kill. I began to notice that there were several items of clothing on the floor under dangling empty hangers. I stooped down and picked up one item and put it neatly back on the hanger. After the fifth stoop and hang, I was getting funny looks from the browsers, so I stopped.

I did find one item, which I decided to purchase. I stood in line behind five other shoppers. Most of them held armloads of clothing. They weren’t alone. Many of them brought family members who stood with them in line. Periodically the primary shopper would talk and gesture to one of the assistant shoppers who would leave and return with additional items. I stood holding my one sweater, no assistant at hand. After about fifteen minutes (I’m guessing since I had no watch and there were no visible clocks), a very nice lady with a large basket of chocolate candy came by and offered us a chocolate to keep up our energy while we waited. Sweet!

By the time I reached the cashier, she was glassy-eyed. I told her I had only one item. She smiled. “Thank heavens! I’ve been here six hours and it hasn’t let up!” I felt guilty for eating my piece of chocolate. She needed it far more than I did.

My shopping complete, I returned to the fix it shop and picked up my beloved watch. It only took two hours!

For those of you who do not live in California, and may not be cognizant of our customs, I am enclosing two photos of a typical California Christmas. Enjoy!



The California Christmas Tree with family pose.

P1000205                      One of the Camellia blossoms in Capitol Park, Sacramento CA.

(Yes, we had roses in bloom until the frost came this week. The camellias remain.)

 My husband and I had been taking a tour of the California Coast over the last two years. I’ve posted many of the pictures of our trips. We had planned to  continue our exploration of the coast, through Oregon and Washington State. My husband grew up in Washington. He wanted to revisit Cannon Beach Oregon and see Hay Stack Rock once again, but he did not make it. In November, we took his ashes and those of his younger brother, to Hay Stack Rock. Here are some photos of this haunting, beautiful beach.