Friday, November 27, 2015

Love vs. the price of a postage stamp

On our trips we like to send postcards, a wish-you-were-here taunt from places we hope we're glad to be. On this last venture, we sent at least two postcards from each of the nine stops, one to ourselves and one to someone else.

From Easter Island, Rapa Nui if you will, a Chilean territory, we sent three cards, one to us and one to each of our school age grandchildren.

The Chilean peso is 630 (approx) to one US dollar. So, the postage stamp had a big number--600--on it. No Forever stamps here. And that's where this tale begins.

Our seven-year-old grandson was quite impressed with his postcard. He was more impressed that we loved him enough to spend $600 on a stamp. That's what he told his mother. This prompted a discussion of international monies, a concept his older sister got faster than he did. When they converted the money over, the cost of the stamp was 83 cents.

I don't know if Jack was disappointed or not to find that we only loved him 83 cents worth.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

How to make housework palatable

Isn't that a catchy title for a blog post just before the holiday season?

Been out of pocket (and the country) for a while, but now that I'm back there are Things to Do. Like catching up on the blog. Like housework.

How can a house with one cat get so dusty in three weeks? Not that it was pristine when I left, as I tend to let things slide when I've something else in the offing. But when I can look at the piano and write a tune in the dust there, it's time to get cracking.

Housework and I have never been great friends. One cleans and the house just gets dirty again. There would appear to be no honor between the top of the table and me.

However, I've been listening to Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff and since I wouldn't be in the car for a longer period of time than 5 minutes for a week, and since I'd left the characters (this is a true story) in the lurch with the last chapter listened to, I turned on the audio book and started dusting.

(I really don't like to dust. Really. I blame my mother who thought the dining table legs needed to be dusted every week. I mean, who was going to be on the floor looking? That said, I don't mind vacuuming, but it's noisy and I couldn't have listened and vacuumed at the same time.)

I dusted and listened and moved the iPad from room to room. I found things to dust just so I could finish a chapter. What madness was this?

And I'm not finished with the book yet, despite also applying this new method to the upstairs. I feel a bread baking binge coming on.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The most useless vowel

I played Scrabble as a child and teen and then not much as an adult until Words with Friends came along. One of my "competitors" has the disturbing habit of making seven-letter words, sometimes twice in one game! Other than that--because I'm not very good at that--we play on a fairly level field, oftentimes winning every other game.

If you play WwF, you know the frustration of getting seven of the same thing, be that vowels or consonants. I'd rather have the latter because 1) there's more variety and 2) lots of times they can combine front and back and all you need is a willing and lonely vowel in order to receive four new letters in your digital tray.

But it's when you have seven vowels that the challenge comes in. And, after playing this game for over three years (more?), I have my least-favorite and least-useful vowel all picked out: the i.

The letters a and e are easy. The o isn't too difficult and the u is always useful with a q. But the i? What a little troublemaker.

And then I got to thinking: maybe the I is a troublemaker as well. While the old saw "there's no i in team" can come across as trite and risk the sayer a dirty look, the I is all the time getting itself in trouble, being too selfish, too prideful, too loud.

Be it capitalized or no, there's not any cure, I suppose, but constant vigilance--and looking for new places and ways in which to set a more useful and understanding iI.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Norm has his way

Owner's note: No sooner do I wrest control of the blog away from Bertie, Sally, and Mar-Mar, than Norm Hudson grabs it. Somewhere between a raconteur and a good ol' boy, even if he is in his 80s, he's determined to have the last word and most of the time, that means trying to one-up the "girls."

Norm: What a bunch of mewling mouth nonsense you gals are spoutin'! Exercise, socialize, learn from those younger than you! The lot of you ain't moved enough, ever, and if there were any nosier group of people around, I have yet to meet them! As to learning from younger friends, at your ages, they're ALL younger! And when was the last time you three thought you didn't know it all?

So, I'll just give some advice since that's what we're doing. Never listen to women. You know why? Because when they're wrong, it's your fault, and when they're right, they never let you forget it!

Me: Are you quite finished?

Norm: Got the message, didn't you?

Me: Loud and clear.

Norm: Then I'm finished!

Me: I'm going to lock the blog down. Promise.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Advice from Bertie, Sally, and Mar-Mar

Owner's note: I'm not sure how it happened, but three characters from my Bone Cold--Alive series have jumped in here and taken over the blog. Bertie, Sally, and Mar-Mar made sure everyone minded their manners in Books 1-4 and the very end of 6. They seem to think that gives them rights!

Bertie: Scoot over, Kay! It's high time we had a say in the running of this blog. We're not getting any younger, you know. Running that convenience store, cafe and catering service just about does us in most days.

Mar-Mar: Speak for yourself. I've still got it!

Sally: I don't want to know what it is you've got. And I wouldn't want it if I did!

Bertie: Girls! That is not the purpose of this. We are here to offer our unsolicited, but extremely valuable, life advice. After all, we were just talking about it while we were baking for Ron's wedding.

Sally: And didn't the bride look beautiful. And letting Fletch walk her down the aisle…

Mar-Mar: Sigh. Another man that got away.

Sally: You'd think you'd about fished those waters dry by now, Mar-Mar.

Bertie: We are off the subject once again. Back to it. Our advice for a worthwhile life. You go first, Sally.

Sally: Keep moving! And I don't mean changing your address every time a new neighborhood becomes fashionable or chasing the newest single man, Mar-Mar. Get off your rears everyday and do something physical. Look at us! We may be a tad overweight, but we're quick as spilled water working behind the counter and going up and down those stairs. We move with the best of 'em!

Mar-Mar: Who you calling overweight?

Sally: Girl, been a while since you shopped the juniors at the department store.

Bertie: Thank you, Sally. Mar-Mar, your advice?

Mar-Mar: Have an interest in something outside yourself and I don't mean just chasing your grandkids, Sally. Don't look at me like that, Bertie. You know what I mean. You got to keep interested in your social network and your church. Volunteer. Keep up with your neighbors, especially the single ones.

Sally: As in know their business?

Mar-Mar: Easy to do when they stop to eat breakfast with us everyday.

Sally: Humph!

Bertie: If you two don't quit fussing at each other, you'll make me rethink my piece of advice: Keep younger friends. Much as it pains me to admit it, you are both young enough to be my… my sisters. Quit laughing. Both of you. But it's true. Skipping a generation is probably best, like the way we all love Lyla and Sam, but even you two old biddies are young enough to count.

Me: Girls! Girls! Really now. Our readers will think you're not all old friends and business partners the way you're carrying on. And uncross your arms and stop glaring at me, all of you. I do thank you for your advice and I think all aspects of it are valuable. So, to put it in a nutshell:

Exercise, socialize, and learn from those younger than you.

Bertie: I don't think that's what I said. That isn't what I said, is it, Mar-Mar? Sally? Quit laughing. Let's get back to work and do something useful, not hanging out here with her.

Me: Goodbye, girls. Have a good day.


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Sunday, September 06, 2015

It's a surprise!

Yesterday we ate breakfast at our local breakfast cafe. We don't go every Saturday, but that's the day most likely to find us there. We were visiting all around when a young family strolled in. They were dressed for a casual day and we quickly learned they were going on a "surprise" trip.

The kids were elementary age and obviously eager to get on to their surprise day of adventure and not at all partial to the idea put forth by someone at our table that perhaps the surprise was breakfast out. I don't know where they ended up going, my guesses would be Six Flags Over Texas or a water park, but I can find out.

It brought back memories of a surprise trip my parents planned. It wasn't anything glamorous and didn't involve travel, except to Dallas and a store. They wouldn't tell us what they were purchasing, but I remember the joy of it--a color television!

Wow--now all five stations we received could be in color. Note: could be. Not all shows were yet broadcast in color in the early '60s.

How times and expectations change.

And the five stations, all from DFW: Channel 4 which was CBS; 5 was NBC; 8, ABC; 11, an independent where all the old movies were to be found; and 13, PBS.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

A special promotion for One Year Past Perfect

I'll be featured as a new release--or rather, One Year Past Perfect will be featured as a new release--at Free Kindle Books and Tips tomorrow. In honor of such, I've set the Kindle price at 99 cents through the weekend. Here's your chance to get a peek at a modern take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears and a scandalous diary they're all reading! Check it out here!

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