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Sue Spitulnik

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Taking Stock

This past Saturday I went to an all day writing conference hosted by a local organization called Writers and Books, a non-profit that promotes literary art. I got to chat with some former teachers, spent time with a past fellow student and learned a few things. There were four different sessions going at the same time so you could pick the discussion that  would be of most use to your own situation. I sat in with the agents and learned they get between 25 and 30 query letters a day. That means yours has to be not only good but exceptional to be noticed. In the publishers forum I heard that the first paragraph of the manuscript has to be a truly awesome hook to get the person wanting more. I came away from the day with the conclusion that there are a lot of writers out there; some are pretty good, fewer are really good and even fewer get noticed. (Sort of like in the music business.) I didn’t hang around to pitch my manuscript to an agent because I have now accepted it needs more work than I am willing to put into it. I can still brag I wrote a good novel that my friends like, but it will probably never get published unless I do it myself.  Continue reading “Taking Stock”

Staying in Touch

Are you old enough to remember a time with no computers? When I was a kid we talked with our friends on the telephone, but only if it was a local call. Now I have friends I communicate with more than once a week: in South Africa, Australia, Michigan, Bulgaria, North Dakota, and right here at home in western New York. We all pay a fee to use the internet which connects us as if we were right next door. Learning about how normal every day things are done differently because of global location is fascinating to me. Last week I had a glitch in my computer and I was having a fit about not being able to “talk” to my international friends. I guess I wouldn’t be a good candidate for one of those ‘month in a wilderness cabin for a lot of money promotions.’ Maybe if I could pre-plan it I could make it work, the money sounds good. I digress. Continue reading “Staying in Touch”

A Personal Greeting

I recently took a class on Blogging, because let’s face it, I am still pretty new at this and can always learn something to improve the experience. We were told one of the “rules” is to be consistent so your followers know they can count on you. I also learned there is a difference between a blog someone is hoping to make money with and a personal reflection blog. I think you know mine is the latter.

My goal was to be consistent, but life happens. I have been very busy helping family members this past few weeks, and it isn’t over yet. My sister had a knee replacement, then her husband ended up in the hospital. A tough situation when she can’t drive at the moment. We are all pitching in to help, because we want to. I don’t have a big family, but I do have a close one.

So, I have decided to take a break from my blog until after the first of the year. I want to wish my friends a happy holiday season. I did not say Merry Christmas season because I have a multitude of friends that are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and even Hindu. I love them all. We all celebrate something this time of year so out of respect for all religions I purposely choose to say Happy Holidays.

The picture shows my husband, sitting in my chair, with my blanket over his lap, holding my cat, Useless, while I am away. It was a big deal for all of us. Hubby is helping where he can.

Enjoy the season folks! And may we all have a healthy, prosperous, love filled 2017.

 

Stuffing, Home-made or Not

Growing up I liked to help my mother make the home-made stuffing for our Thanksgiving turkey. We would save the bread heals for a couple of months letting them dry in a pan in a dark cupboard. (As I think back, I wonder why they didn’t bring us visits from a mouse or two.) The day before Thanksgiving we ground the bread in a hand-crank grinder that we screwed on to the edge of the kitchen table. Cranking it was my job. Mom would cut up celery and onions until they were very fine, then saute them with butter. We also cooked the giblets and the neck meat went into the stuffing. I don’t know what spices she used, but we all had our fill of stuffing for the meal and leftovers too. We never added apples, cranberries, or chestnuts. My father liked his food plain and plentiful.

As an adult I discovered Stove-Top Stuffing. I rarely use a prepared food but I have never come close to the flavor of Stove-Top when trying to make my own. Plus, we can have it any time of year with no fuss or muss. I still don’t add any extra ingredients. This year might be more interesting as I am now following a gluten-free diet. Gluten free bread is readily available in my city, and it always crumbles, so it might be just the thing to make a good stuffing with. I will check with my blogging firends to find a good recipe for a home-made stuffing for our turkey dinner.

May you enjoy Thanksgiving with family and/or friends. Safe travels to you all.

 

 

Mickey Mouse’s Birthday

On November 18, we commemorate the birth of that ever lovable mouse that was once a rabbit called Oswald. It was back in 1927 while under contract to Universal Studios that Walt Disney first sketched a floppy eared bunny that later became Mickey Mouse.

From a rabbit named Oswald to a mouse named Mortimer, eventually the squeaky voiced rodent was dubbed Mickey. He flopped in two animated short films, then on November 18, 1928, Mickey’s star was born. The first animation synchronized to music and sound effects, Steamboat Willie premiered in New York.

Within a year, a Mickey Mouse Club popped up in Salem, Oregon. This particular club offered admission as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army with a donation of either a potato or a small toy and a penny. According to a December 22, 1929, Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) article, $12 and three truckloads of potatoes and toys collected by eager new members.

Remember, the stock market crashed just 20 days before Mickey Mouse was born. That a cute little mouse could bring smiles to the faces of children at an uncertain time really isn’t such a surprise.

Generally, new members joined the club by completing an admission form obtained from a local merchant and attending meetings held during matinees at local movie houses. The price of admission often was reduced for good deeds and report cards. By the end of 1930, the Mickey Mouse Clubs had spread across the country.

A makeover in 1935 by animator Fred Moore gave Mickey the look we are familiar with today. The big eyes, white gloves and the pert little nose. More lovable than ever before, he propelled himself even further into the hearts of children everywhere.

His companions Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto joined him along the way, bringing vaudeville comedy with them.

I took the above history from the National Day of Calendar and shared it because I had never heard any of it. Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse. A trip to Disney World is still on my bucket list.

Go Take a Hike

The National Day of calendar explains this day is set aside to get outside and take a walk in the natural beauty that surrounds us. I like to do that, especially to relieve stress and get away from it all for a while.

I looked up the meaning of hike and had to chuckle at its diverse definitions. One can hike themselves up onto a ledge, hike up their pants or hike the cost of something they want to sell. I like the thought the above picture imparts the best; taking a walk.

My sisters and I like to go for a hike along old railroad beds in the springtime in order to see the new wild flowers welcoming us into another growing season. One sister knows most of their scientific names and the other two know their common names. I just know they are pretty and marvel that they have names.

When I was young, my aunt and I liked to take a walk in the new snow, you know, when the first inch just covered the roadways. It was so peaceful and quiet in our little one-block town. We would talk quietly about the people that we could see in each house that had lights on; not in a negative way, but the current family news. We knew everyone’s name, and usually the dog and cat’s too.

I have also on occasion used the phrase when I was disgusted with someone, “Go take a hike!” Now the young people say, “I kicked that person to the curb.” I think our line sounded less drastic, because their wasn’t an actual act involved, just a command.

Times change, slang meanings change, the world changes, but taking a hike will always be a good way to enjoy the great outdoors. I use the time to reflect on life, think of what to say in my next blog, and drink in the colors of the landscape.

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