Friday, October 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday

This is how the sky looked like this afternoon. Beautiful, no?

It's another new meme in which I'm participating today: Skywatch Friday. Bloggers from all over the world post their shots of the skies above. Come with me to check it out by clicking here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

F is for Franchise

Not KFC. 

Not Starbucks nor 24 Hour Fitness Center.

Franchise, as in the right to vote. 

Take advantage of your right as a U.S. citizen. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010.

Just saying. 

Today being Thursday means I'm playing in Alphabe-Thursday, a meme hosted by Jenny Matlock at Off On My Tangent. Click here to check what other F's are out there in the virtual world today.  Absolutely, after you watch and listen to the Beatles. Of course. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Stepping Out

Check out other Wordless Wednesday snaps with me by clicking here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Bones of the Barbary Coast

I'm still not reading books for fun regularly like I did before there were blogs, but at least I'm getting back into it. Last night, I finished Craig Ferguson's autobiography and picked up my latest to read from my pile of books yet to read. Really, I shouldn't even be thinking of buying new books or browsing for books at the library. But, I am.

Since I have new book, I'm participating in the weekly book meme called Teaser Tuesday. Basically, you open the book at random and choose two sentences (though some bloggers choose more) to quote. The objective: To provide enough of a tease that others may be interested in reading the book, too.  So, after reading my offering, come join me at Teaser Tuesday to discover possible future reads.

"Bart was right to warn her it wouldn't be easy. The mayhem, the turbulence, the mushrooming growth, the scope and pervasiveness of underworld activity, topped off by the massive disruption of the earthquake and fire: It seemed impossible that they'd ever discover who the wolfman was."
~ Bones of the Barbary Coast
by Daniel Hecht
page 99

Monday, October 25, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Who doesn't like awards, especially when they are received unexpectedly? I do! 

Last week, blogger Sarah of Sarah Who Reads Too Much surprised me with the One Lovely Blog Award. Whoo-hoo!  Thank you, Sarah, I appreciate the honor.

The award does come with a wonderful catch. I must now play it forward and pass it on to up to 15 other bloggers, which according to past awardees are writers of blogs that I have recently discovered. (What's considered a recent discovery is up to me, since no one else is saying.)

I'm continually finding new blogs to read, many from blog hops, linky parties, and memes in which I participate. The following are my picks of some of the many engaging blogs to which I subscribe. You may find one, several, or all blogs that appeal to you, dear gentle readers. Check 'em out!

And, of course, don't forget to check out Sarah Who Reads Too Much! Thanks again, Sarah!

General Rules for the One Lovely Blog Awardees:
  1. Grab the award from this blog. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who granted you the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pass the award to up to 15 other blogs that you’ve recently discovered.
  3. Contact the bloggers to let them know that you have chosen them for the One Lovely Blog Award.
  4. Enjoy your award!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

PhotoHunt: Orange


I went looking for orange in the sky. Kinda found it with my camera (back in June). Definitely found it when I edited the photo in Photoshop. What I want to know is which image represents the colors in the sky at the moment—the photo untouched or one of the edited versions?  What do you think?

To check out other Photo Hunters' interpretation of the theme, click over to the site of our host, TNChick.

The original print.

How it looked when I clicked auto color in Photoshop.

How it looked when I clicked auto levels.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When a Writer Isn't Working

Here's what this week looked like for a professional writer who hasn't been doing much writing lately. Be forewarned: You may fall asleep. That's okay. I may already have.

The husband and I bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Although several friends had recommended it, I did not put it on our list of choices because of the cost.  At the store, we got curious and looked at it. Then all of a sudden Jesus appeared. "Can I help you?" he asked politely. (Really, the sales guy's name was Jesus. Not Hay-soos, but Gee-sus.)

Very long story short, with Jesus' confidence about the machine and the store's return policy, we decided to invest in the machine.

I vacuumed part of the house. Result: Three containers full of dust.

The mama made a mistake on her absentee ballot, so I took her down to the courthouse for a replacement. As we headed up the stairs, she said, "I feel so ashamed for making a mistake." In all her 50 years of voting, this was her first boo-boo on a ballot ever.  I did my best to reassure her that it happens a lot to everyone. Of course, she didn't believe me. When the mama was signing a replacement form, I asked the election lady if it is common for people to ask for replacement ballots because of mistakes. The mama was relieved when the lady said, "All the time."

I vacuumed the rest of the house. Result: Three more containers full of dust. I can't believe I'm telling the world how dirty the house was! And, how awful of a hobbyist of a housekeeper I am. The vacuum cleaner was worth buying. So far.

Between rooms, I drove the mama to the courthouse so she could drop off her absentee ballot. As we were walking back down the stairs, she said, "I can handle these stairs. We should come here some time so I can practice. Would they get mad?" I wonder if they would. The steps were the right height for the mama to climb up and down with minimal help. I could see it gave her instant gratification of accomplishment.

The husband and I did a few errands around town, including a stop at a farm to buy fresh eggs. While there we checked out its Halloween corn maze. We've done the maze in previous years. This year, we admired it from up high.

Have you ever watched and heard wind as it moved through a field of corn? It's amazingly wondrous. Check it out yourself. That other sound you hear on the video is the American flag flapping in the wind above where we were standing.

If you want to hear the sound of the husband's beard flapping in the wind, click here.

On a whim, the husband and I decided to go to the movies. The senior discount rate saved us a whole 50 cents for a matinee. How I love senior discounts.

Our choice was Red, which stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freedman, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, and Richard Dreyfuss. Willis, Malkovich, Freedman, and Mirrin play retired CIA agents. Red is code for Retired and Extremely Dangerous. Willis' character is the Red one. He seeks out the other retired agents to help him and his girlfriend-to-be (played by Parker) figure out who is trying to kill them.

The movie was even better than I expected. Very enjoyable. Definitely a lot of tongue-in-cheek gun play and explosions. Some scenes made me think of a comic book coming to life. After the movie, I learned that Red is based on a graphic novel. So there you go. I'd see Red again, just to watch Malkovich be loony and Mirren stand elegantly strong as she machine-gunned the bad guys.

Here's a clip of Red for you.


That's today. All I can say is I'm hooking up at Follow Friday 40 and Over!  Come with me to check out what other participants are blogging about today.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

E is for Eccentric


Adjective: Unconventional, extraordinary, offbeat, quirky.

Noun: Character, individualist, free spirit, odd duck, kook.

"My beard is flapping in the wind," said the husband. He was standing patiently next to me as I first snapped photos of a corn maze, then videotaped the corn swaying in the wind.

He mentioned his beard flapping in the wind several times that afternoon.

As some of you know, the husband and I shaved our hair completely off in January, just to see how long it would grow in a year. The husband also shaved off his beard and mustache. He is allowed to trim his mustache, but no can do with the beard. The husband says his beard is the longest he has ever had it.

So, of course, I had to shoot a video of the husband's beard flapping in the wind. Enjoy!

If you want to read more (or again) about our haircuts, please click here. This will take you to all the posts (I think) about our hairy adventure. Scroll all the way to the bottom to read about how we came about doing it. Be forewarned: Nothing earth shattering.

Today is  Alphabe-Thursday, a meme hosted by Jenny Matlock. Come and check out other "E" posts with me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: A Bookish Meme

Yep. I found us—you, dear gentle readers and—another blog hop to check out. This is a fun, short one for all of us book-loving readers. 

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. The idea is to randomly pick two sentences from a book you are currently reading.  Check it out! Of course, read my offering first, then head over to here.

"Giants and fairies was how he described classical music. He could just as well have been talking about show business."

~ American on Purpose
by Craig Ferguson
page 26

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday 160: A Change in Routine

The mama constantly works.
She sows and maintains her gardens.
She breaks to eat lunch and to read the daily news.
Today she also napped. 
We both wondered.

The Sunday 160 is hosted by the Monkey Man. A 160 is 160 characters, including spaces. To learn about it and to read other bloggers' Sunday 160, head over to this page.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

D is for Dinengdeng

Dinengdeng was what the mama prepared for dinner almost every day during summer when I was a kid. It's an Ilocano dish made of a variety of vegetables, which was quick and easy for the Mama to put together and cook after a long day of work pollinating vegetables. Because dinengdeng has such a musical sounding name, the dish ought to have been delicious, a comfort to my aging soul. Nope. The dish—the way the mama cooked it—continues to be a memory of Yuck!

It wasn't because of the vegetables. I liked them all: eggplant, long beans, squash flowers, saluyot (jute leaves), parda, bittermelon, and whatever other else was growing in the daddy's garden. When the Mama cooked the same vegetables as pinakbet, a vegetable stew with a tomato base, I couldn't get enough of it.

But, dinengdeng. Shudder! Still, I ate it. Quickly.

This summer, I started cooking my rendition of dinengdeng. That's only because I try to beat the Mama to the kitchen to cook the combination of veggies that come out of her garden and that are bought from the Asian farmer at the farmers market 30 miles away. My style of cooking dinengdeng is different. I do not use bagoong, a fermented fish sauce, because of the high sodium content. I also do not cook the vegetables to a pulp, which makes them tasteless for the husband and me.

I am surprised to find that I like dinengdeng. A lot.  The mama does not say Yuck! But, I can see her look at her bowl with a sigh on her face. So,  I have a challenge: To make dinengdeng that is tasty for the mama and not tasteless for the husband and me.

Di-neng-deng! Ding, ding, ding, ding.

Today, I'm hooking up at Alphabe-Thursday, a meme hosted by Jenny Matlock. Come and check out other "D" posts with me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Times Daily, At Least

I want to do this: Go bouncy-bounce on a trampoline over here.

So, I'm doing this: Jumping/hopping on my two feet 10 times, at least 3 times a day. Every day.

Why? I have this crazy fear of jumping, including jumping into a pool and bouncing on a trampoline. Sure, four years ago, I stepped off a plane from 18,000 feet high. But that was different. I was dropping into air while hooked to a professional skydiver. No jumping involved there.

The thing is I'm not getting any younger. It's time for me to get rid of this silly fear.

My first day of 3 x 10 times of jumping was scary. My feet cleared the floor by a couple of inches, if that. I had to use my arms (Imagine: arms in broad jump pose) to get my momentum going. I got a lot of pounds  of gravity to contend with, mind you. But, I did it. I was actually amazed that I did it. I'm also pretty proud of myself. I think the husband is too. When he's nearby as I'm jumping, he cheers me on.What a guy!

Today is my fourth day. I've already graduated to hopping on my two feet. Next goal: Clear the ground by more than 6 inches.

Update of the 200 Sit-Up Challenge.  I'm still doing it. The heat wave in September interrupted me midway in week 5. I finally got around to doing it over last week.  Now we're in another heat wave. If the wind picks up this afternoon, I'll start the week 6 routine. I may be nuts, but I'm not crazy.

My motivational song. Lately, I've been replaying "Starting All Over Again," written and sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (IZ), in my head to keep me inspired to jump, crunch, write, work, and do about everything. Enjoy,  dear gentle readers. My best wishes to each of you out there.

(P.S. It's Friday 10/14. I'm hooking up at Java's Follow Friday 40 and Over. Come and explore other blogs with me over there. After listening to some IZ, that is.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

PhotoHunt: Stripes


"Stripes" is the theme of this week's PhotoHunt, hosted by TNChick. My offering is this photo of a chapel door at Mission San Juan Bautista.

To check out other PhotoHunters, click here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A Mind Metaphor

This is how I think my mind looks (the cabinet, that is) when you look at me: Blank.

This is how I think my mind looks like a lot of the times: Disorder!

This is how I think my mind looks like when it really should be taking care of business: La, la, la, la.

I'm hanging out at Wordless Wednesday today. Come check out other bloggers with me by clicking here.

P.S. It's early Friday morning. I'm hooking up at Java's Never Growing Old: Follow Friday 40 and Over. Come check out other blogs with me by clicking here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blue Skies

Night clouds?

Nope. I took this picture of clouds in the middle of the day. This morning I was playing with Photoshop, and this is what happened when I used the auto color adjustment button on the original photo. Amazing, huh?

If made me wonder if Photoshop stripped out the blue color because the blue really isn't there in the sky. We see a blue sky during the day because of the way light waves rush through the atmosphere. Something like that. For the actual explanation, click here.

Anyway, I thought it was rather cool how the clouds looked in a darkish sky. Here's what the original photo looked like when I used the Auto Contrast adjustment button.  Clarity of blue.

And, here's the original photo untouched by Photoshop voodoo magic.

By the way, don't the clouds look like two people dancing or maybe two people having a gab fest?

All this musing about blue skies got me yearning to hear  Willie Nelson's rendition of Irving Berlin's Blue Skies. I thought you would enjoy listening to it, too. After some Willie, come join me at the Blue Monday blog hop by clicking here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rambling about my Garage Sale Ramble

I got up early (for me) and headed out to a garage sale this morning. Excuse me, an estate sale. The belongings were those of the widow of the late publisher of our local newspaper, who gave me my first paying job as a writer when I was in high school a long time ago. I was hoping that there might be stuff from the publishing world for sale. But, that was not my intent for checking out the sale.

I never met the missus of my first publishing boss. I did get to know a bit about her this morning as I rummaged around her belongings. She liked Christmas. She enjoyed traveling and playing bridge. She was into doll making and crafts. And, for a costume party, I'm guessing she was Little Bo Peep or some kind of doll.

Because the husband and I are supposed to be downsizing our stuff, I managed to stay focused on my mission. Kinda. I have been seeking cups and saucers to make more teacup bird feeders. I found two perfect sets. Right after I paid for them, I broke one. Ka-pow! I've saved the pieces 'cause I may be able to make something with the fragments. Uh-huh.

At the estate sale, I also bought a hand-crank wooden, iron coffee grinder. It was exactly the thing the husband and I had been talking about getting for those days when the power goes off. Two bucks versus $80 for a brand-new one is a bargain. The husband couldn't shake his head at me for that.

I also got a couple of baskets (which I know the Mama will hog after commenting, "More baskets!"), a springform cake pan, a book about how the California mining towns got their names, and a box of miniature wooden toy soldiers and wheels. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with the last item. The husband didn't, thank goodness. But, painting the toy soldiers in rainbow colors came to my mind when I first saw them.

After leaving the estate sale, I was in the mood for more perusing of other peoples' stuff. Fortunately, there were a few yard sales going on around town and out in the country. I went home first for breakfast. Just in time, too. The husband was making coffee.

An hour later, I headed out again. I had a mission, remember, to find teacups and saucers. I did come home with two cups and one saucer. Also in my booty was a hat box (I've always wanted one) and two ceramic candle holders and a vase, which are in the photo way above. You can see why I couldn't resist those items. At the last yard sale, the owner had a tree full of oranges. I agreed to go back tomorrow with a couple of sacks of lemons in exchange for two bags full of her oranges. What a bargain, don't you think?

Such a great day of rambling. And, it's far from being over.

I'm partying about at Java's Follow Friday 40 and Over Blog Hop. Come and join me, by clicking here.