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”
Formed from amateur troops of volunteer soldiers defending colonies against British tyranny, the oldest military force in the United States began before the U.S. formerly existed. Their forces consisted of mostly inexperienced militiamen commanded by independent colonial armies. According to battlefields.org, there were never more than 48,000 Continental soldiers at one time. Today, the United States Army consists of over one million active duty service members and an additional 800,000 National Guard and Reserves members. The enduring history of the U.S. Army means they have been integral to many of the United State’s military, peace-keeping and humanitarian efforts. Continue reading “Happy Birthday to Our Army”
It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. According to the National Day of Calendar, vanilla ice cream is sold more than chocolate. I’ll have to think about that. It seems when we go for ice cream, there are more chocolate cones in view than vanilla, especially when it is soft ice cream, or custard. But if you think about the fact that pie à la mode usually uses vanilla and sundaes are often made with vanilla, then I guess the calendar information must be right. Really, what difference does it make in the long run. Continue reading
You know you are getting older when your son sits at the dinner table and admits it’s time he got glasses because the package labels he has to read working for UPS have become blurry. He’s 45. That’s about the age I got my glasses also. Aging isn’t for sissies. Continue reading “20 x 20 Vision”
What can you give any other human being at a moments notice that won’t cost you a thing? It’s not a trick question. The simple answer is a smile. It has been proven it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Science also tells us that smiling has a direct link to the brain and can reduce stress. That’s pretty powerful. Continue reading “Share Freely”
Other than nature, everything within sight originated with a creative thought. Let that sink in a minute. I love creativity. If I’m not writing, I’m sewing, or cooking. Sometimes I even weed my flowerbeds to create the look I want instead of having the look the weeds treat me to. I enjoy how some of these days fall right where I need them to so I can share something I have been thinking about. Hence the following: Continue reading “Celebrate Creativity”
It’s brother’s day. I’m not sure why they picked the picture above. I would have picked a bunch of young people sitting around a picnic table so everyone could identify with it. I envy all of you that have a brother because I didn’t. Sisters are fine, but you can’t go to them and ask how a male thinks. I claimed my friend Mimi’s brother, Alan, as my own. I used to stay overnight at their house and Alan and I would have talks. When I got stressed in school, it was him who I sought out because he knew what to say to unruffle my feathers. When I had questions about other guys, I went to Alan. He would always take time for me. Continue reading “I’ll Claim Alan”
In this busy world, unless your relatives live in the same town you do, time to visit is often not a priority. It should be. I know, some families don’t get along all that well, but they are still family. My husband’s family has a reunion every summer and groups come from all over the U.S. for dinner on Friday and a picnic and dinner on Saturday. Yes, it’s expensive for those that have to fly and rent hotel rooms, but they share a bond very unlike my own family because they make it happen and stay close.
It’s custom in my house to have my adult children and their families come for Sunday dinner once a month. If we didn’t schedule it in advance it wouldn’t happen. My son works crazy hours so he looks at “Sunday at Mom’s” as his total relaxation day. I love to do all the cooking. We are lucky and only have one month in the year that there are two birthdays, so the person of the month gets to pick the menu. One month I made chicken enchiladas to the response of my grandson, “Who picked that?” I’m sure you can hear the sneer in his voice. Other favorites are steak, marinated chicken, prime rib and lasagna.
Today my husband and I are actually on the road, traveling to Hoboken, NJ, for a family gathering. On our way back we will stop in Binghamton, NY, to visit two of my sisters, one of which is digging me up some ground sedum to bring home. That’s a plant. The other one is buying us lunch. It will be a quick non-stop talking weekend but at the end of it we will be caught up on the family news with lots of stories thrown in that never make it to Facebook or e-mail. When we get home our chairs will feel good, but we’ll have added to the memory banks and hug meters. The cats can feed themselves for a couple of days and I’ll get to see the New York City skyline up close and personal.
I hope you have a nice weekend too. Try to make some time to visit family.
Idaho is dominated by the Rocky Mountains range and the Snake River winds its way through the rugged western border of the state carving the deepest river gorge in North America. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area provides spectacular views of the dramatic landscapes the Snake River took thousands of years to sculpt.
Fossils are prevalent and entire cityscapes of stone appear. The City of Rocks was encountered by native peoples, pioneers and modern-day adventurers. It became a kind of way-station or landmark for those who were westward bound. Today it is well-known as a destination for rock climbers.
Inventors seem to like Idaho too. Beyond the list of patents for improvements to printing presses and railroad technology, Idaho is the home of the television. Philo Farnsworth invented the necessary technology that brought the small screen to mass market.
One of the famous people born in Idaho is Sacajawea – Explorer and Guide – (May 1788 – December 20, 1812) In 1805, Sacajawea joined the Corps of Discovery expedition with her husband Touissant Charbonneau and her son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. As a guide and translator, the Shoshone woman’s presence signaled to others that the expedition’s mission was a peaceful one. I had no idea she died so young.
My favorite memory of traveling through Idaho was a stop in Coeur D’Alene for lunch. The restaurant had a wonderful salad bar with refrigerated plates. I thought it was a grand marketing tool that the plate receptacle cover was a toilet seat lid. Others in my group didn’t see the humor in it. That was about 35 years ago and I’m still talking about it. While eating we got to watch a logger running on logs in the lake outside our window. He was moving them around with a long pronged gaff. Of course we were waiting for him to go in the water, but he didn’t. It was quite the entertainment.
Where would we be without biographies of famous people, and more so without the people who write them? I think biographies are so popular because we like to know what makes other people tick, or what adversities they overcame to achieve their status in life. We like to have the back story of how a famous person started as just another little kid in a poor town in the Midwest, or any other location or learn how famous sports stars learn to deal with throngs of admirers and spend their money, or what foundations they start to help others. The list could go on to include famous scientists, politicians, historical figures, movie stars, artists, musicians and teachers. I’m sure I missed someone. Continue reading “Getting to Know Famous People”