Murphy's Law says, "If anything can go wrong, it will." Notice the left-hand side of the lights.
“I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once.” Jennifer Unlimited-
Wouldn’t you know it, my husband and I spent all day getting out the decorations, going through the lights, putting them up. We checked every strand before we started to string them, but . . . as you can see, a section is out. I keep telling myself – people aren’t perfect. Patience…patience…patience… I had a lot of practice at this art of patience, when the kids were little - but that was a long time ago.
“I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” Gloria Steinem-
Marriage and a career – that’s nothing, try adding kids into the equation – especially at the holidays.
We, Moms, want to pretend we’re perfect - at least for our kids - but Christmas is no time to pretend. . . at least when it comes to perfection. ‘Cause, come on, you might as well admit it right now, parents aren’t perfect. Heck, like I said, people aren’t perfect.
(So, tomorrow, we’ll redo the lights.)
And, here's my one helpful holiday site for you. I'm hoping this might help make your holidays a little happier and maybe even run a little smoother: if you're looking for a holiday recipe, just click here. Maybe, with the help of an EZ recipe, you'll be able to pretend you're perfect.
Today is officially Black Friday. The Day after Thanksgiving is always the biggest shopping day of the year. And my daughter and I will be out in the throng. We will definitely be buying books and a few other things.
But yesterday was Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for. I had all my kids home with me and we had a wonderful day.
First my husband and I got up early and took the dogs for a walk. Then we came home and did some meal prep. After that, Jake, Luke, Kara, MacKenzie, Lars and I all went to the movies. The Boys watched Quantum of Solace, which is the 22nd James Bond film. We, girls, went and watched Twilight. It was the second time for me. But I sure enjoyed it.
We came home and had a wonderful dinner together and my brother, Steve, stopped by for a bit. A very nice evening, a very nice holiday. So much to be thankful for. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too.
My husband and I ran down to the library to stock up on books for the long holiday weekend. The Multnomah County Library has a Tree Growing in It!
The Beverly Cleary Children's Library has a brass tree sitting in the center of the room. It has all sorts of things carved into the tree and children come and rub the animals' faces. The more an animal is rubbed, the more he shines. It's a beautiful sight to see.
What a wonderful way to spend a holiday weekend: reading.
And, now on to more serious holiday subjects. It's time to talk turkey. If you need help calculating how long to cook your Thanksgiving bird, just click on the upcoming link and then scroll down the page to the "calculator" and this little helpful link will give you your exact Turkey Time.
• Decorate using items found in your yard. Make a centerpiece out of pinecones, popcorn, cranberries, leaves and branches. • Buy local produce, meat and fruit – if possible. • Go green when you clean. We all may be doing a little extra cleaning up around the house. Why not try a few organic cleansers. Check out these ideas here. • Compost your leftovers, or even spread a little peanut butter on left over corn on the cob and roll it in bird seed or sunflower seeds and put it outside for the birds. • Turn off your t.v. and take a hike, go to a local park, or ride your bike. You’ll save energy and burn a few extra calories before the big meal.
However, I did not expect to love the movie like the books. So when I went to see Twilight the movie with a girlfriend from my bookclub, it was with no preconceived expectations.
Actually, to be honest, I thought I wouldn't really enjoy it too much. Was I ever wrong.
From the trailers, I thought that Jacob would look about 12 years old, not much of an arch enemy for Edward. However, in the film, Jacob was much better than I'd expected.
The only thing I really didn't like was Dr. Cullen. He wasn't what I'd expected, he wasn't what I'd hoped for, he just wasn't...
And, the makeup was over the top and could have been thought of as campy - by someone - but not by me. The vampires from the Cullen family were more "white" than pale, which I thought was a mistake. However, I loved little perky Alice - she was perfect.
And Edward was much better than I'd expected. The movie was a lot better, all around, and a lot of fun for a girls' day out.
ANSWER TO THOUGHT FOR THURSDAY: R.S.V.P. comes from the French expression "répondez s'il vous plaît", meaning "please respond". And etiquette requires that you send your regrets, if you won't be attending. You are supposed to respond one way or another.
And now for EARTH-FRIENDLY FRIDAY:
Portland State University envisions city as its green lab. Read all about it here.
PSU plans to use a $25 million donation over ten years to become a leader in sustainability. How cool is it to get a $25 million donation and what an earth-friendly thing to do with the money.
I sat down a few weeks ago to watch a show with my husband and daughter, which is a rare occurrence in my house. Usually, I’m reading a book or writing. Anyway, we were watching True Blood on HBO, when I got a little uncomfortable. I mean I turned to my 20 year-old daughter and said, “Can they do that on T.V.?”
She shook her head, like I must be an alien pod person, and said, “It’s HBO.”
I said, “Yeah, but can they do THAT on t.v.?”
She looked at me like I’ve been living in a cave or something and groaned, “Duh. They can do whatever they want.”
So anyway, I’ve been enjoying the series but a friend told me the books are even better. So I ran out to my local Borders and bought Dead Until Dark.
It’s a quick read at 292 pages. And I read the entire book on my airplane ride from North Caroline to Portland, Oregon.
So, you can grab this story and finish it in no time. And, to be honest, I liked the story better in the book than on t.v. Not that the actors aren’t all gorgeous on HBO but Sookie Stackhouse comes across as a smarter character in the book – at least to me. And, Bill Compton seems stronger in the novel than in Hollywood.
This isn’t a Twilight experience even though it has romance and is a vampire novel. It’s more complicated in some ways.
In Dead Until Dark the vampires have “Come Out of the Closet” and are living amongst the humans. They drink synthetic blood – or at least the ones who are “mainstreaming” and trying to live their lives without sucking off the humans around them. Plus, there are more characters with special abilities than were found in Stephanie Meyer’s books. Sam is a shapeshifter and Sookie is a clairvoyant and – I have a feeling – there’s more to it than that.
VB (Vampire Bill) and Sookie seem like star-crossed lovers. They both are unique and drawn to each other. But, VB isn’t all good. He’s got one wicked temper when pushed too far. And, with super human strength, a bad temper is a real BAD thing.
I just bought the second book in the series, Living Dead in Dallas, and I’ll update you all after I read that story.
But, if you like a quick story that keeps you turning the pages, Dead Until Dark is a fun book to pick up. And if you don’t have time for a quick story, you can always turn on the t.v. and watch the HBO show. But, remember, the books are better.
Rena challenged writers to post their wedding picture on-line. Brenda posted her photo here. Kelly posted her picture here.
3 kids, 3 dogs, numerous pets and homes later, my husband, Lars, and I have been married for more than 25 years. It's hard to believe that the years have gone so fast.
Do you remember taffeta dresses? These are horrible!!! But at least they make me look thinner ;-) There's always a silver lining.
The wedding party is my sister Brook, my sister Tammy, Linda, Andrea and my niece Shawna. On the men's side is Skip (Dan), my husband's brothers and my nephew Michael.
We were married at Crystal Lake Church, which was also called the Little Church in the Woods. Our marriage has lasted longer than the church. The Little Church in the Woods isn't there any more.
It was a beautiful setting but no one told us there was going to be a parade the day of our wedding, which blocked off all the roads to the church. My aunt and uncle couldn't make it and some of our friends never got to the church. But, luckily, the reception was on-site so by the time the reception was over - so was the parade.
Maybe some people might have gotten upset - I didn't even notice. I was just so happy to finally be Mrs. Kasch.
Okay, Rebecca is a classic and I’ve even seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie – maybe 30 years ago. This mystery-movie was filled with shadowy suspense and intrigue; however, the book is an entirely different beast.
Du Maurier fills the story with beautiful settings, scenes and thoughtful reflections but, for me, it was rather slow. I actually had trouble getting through the entire story.
I was half-way through the book when my book club met to discuss it – and I can usually read a book in a day or two. But, nowadays, life competes with my reading time so the story has to be quick-paced to keep my attention.
Maybe I’m a little ADHD – but Rebecca would not be on MY list of “must reads”. I know there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with me because, like I said, after all, it is a classic and the book that du Maurier is most known for.
I'm not saying anything to knock Daphne du Maurier. She is a beautiful wordsmith and able to get the reader “into” the story but, for me, it was just too slow.
Another odd thing about this book is that du Maurier never names the main character. It's not until after she marries Maxim that she becomes Mrs. de Winter but she is always overshadowed by his first wife: the beautiful Rebecca – so much so that she never has a name of her own.
By the time the second Mrs. De Winter (the unnamed MC of this book) comes down the stairs for the ball, I knew what she’d be wearing and what would happen – so no surprise there. And, by the time Maxim revealed the truth to her, I knew what he was going to say – so no suspense or mystery there for me either. And, without Hitchcock’s wonderful cinematography, I found the book lacking.
Maybe in the late summer of 1937, when Daphne started to write Rebecca, life moved at a slower pace and weaving words in a wonderful mesmerizing way was enough for most readers but, like I said before, it was too slow for me and I found my mind wandering away from the story.
But, if you are looking for a quiet, slow, literary read of an old classic, perhaps Rebecca is just the book for you. And, the last third of the book IS interesting - especially if you've stuck with it to get here.
Here is one more review, in case you want a second opinion.
ANSWER TO THOUGHT FOR THURSDAY: According to everything I've read, the Advent Calendars originated in Germany. You can read more about them here.
NOW FOR EARTH-FRIENDLY FRIDAY:
I was shopping this past weekend with my gf, Des. And when we both bought some items, she told the clerk, "No thanks. I don't need a bag." And then she took the socks off the itty-bitty hanger and handed it back to the cashier.
I asked her what she was doing. She said, "I'd just throw it away and they can reuse it."
I never even thought about that. Des is sooo smart.
So, next time you're out shopping, don't get a bag and hand back any reusable packaging to the clerk. It will leave more room in your garbage can and help save resources at the same time.
So many people are involved in the writing Nano challenge - trying to write 50,000 words in a month. YIKES!! I didn't join in this year - maybe next year, when I'm older, wiser, and - hopefully - a better writer.
Agent Rachelle Gardner did a post on the process of getting published, you can read it here.
But both of these things made me start thinking about the writing/publishing industry and how hard it can be to navigate the writing waters.
I have a couple of manuscripts I'm hoping to get published and the only thing I can say about this industry, at least for me, is: Waiting is the Hardest Part.
I think it is so sad that "no good deed goes unpunished." I mean, come on folks, we all know what the intent of the law was. No one wants people to bribe people for votes - but the intention was to keep people from being paid to vote for a particular candidate or ballot measure not to punish people for saying, "Good job" for having already voted.
There is common sense and then there is . . . I don't even know what to call it when people complain for getting free coffee. What is the world coming to?
Here's the article that sent me on my rant:
Authorities Eye Voter Perks By Frank Ahrens Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, November 4, 2008; 12:27 PM
Businesses that hope to reward voters today for exercising their patriotic right might be committing a felony.
A number of companies, including Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's and California Tortilla, said they would give out free food and sweets today to customers displaying an "I Voted" sticker.
But such freebies might be a violation of election laws -- they could be viewed as bribes even after a vote has been cast.
Leave it to the law to spoil all the fun.
In Georgia, the secretary of state's office issued a statement yesterday reading: "Businesses are free to offer 'Election Day' specials or sales for all of its customers, but gifts, incentives or specials just for voters is prohibited under this provision." Which is good news for the cheap, hungry and disenfranchised of the Peach State.
To comply with similar election laws nationwide, businesses have devised a work-around.
For instance, Krispy Kreme has tied its voting promotion to its famous "Hot Doughnuts Now" signs that glow in store windows when the circular treats roll off the assembly line, freshly bathed in warm glaze.
“Anyone who visits a participating Krispy Kreme shop today and simply mentions our 'Hot Vote Now' promotion will get a free doughnut," company spokesman Brian Little wrote in an e-mail today. "No one is required to show an 'I Voted' sticker." The stores in Alexandria and the District's Dupont Circle locations are participating in the promotion today.
Ben & Jerry's said it would give away a free scoop of ice cream from 5 to 8 p.m. today to customers displaying the sticker, but then learned about the law.
"Originally, we planned to give free scoops away just to those who voted," said Walt Freese, chief euphoria officer of the wacky Vermont ice cream maker. "We found out afterwards that certain laws may not allow it. So instead we're celebrating our election with a national party," he said.
At Starbucks, which promised a free "tall" coffee today to anyone displaying the "I Voted" sticker, free joe now flows for all, voter and non-voter alike.
"To ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee," Starbucks spokeswoman Diana Fullerton wrote in an e-mail. "We're pleased to honor our commitment to communities on this important election day."
So today's lesson is: Vote or don't vote -- either way you get free food. Probably not quite the message the companies had hoped to impart.
Lars and I spent the weekend with Bob, Des, Angie and Jack at their beach house, which has a beautiful view of the ocean.
Lars and I drove down to the beach on Saturday, right after Kara's team had their first home game.
Sunday afternoon we all drove down to the beach access, which was about five minutes from the house.
See, here in Oregon, the ocean and beach are public property.
No one can own the beach. That is just one of the reasons why living on the West Coast is soooo wonderful.
Anyone can visit the ocean and enjoy it. You don't have to be rich to walk along the sandy beaches. So we did.
But that was just part of the fun.
Angie and I did some bead work Sunday afternoon. Together we designed a pair of earrings and then Angie designed a pair all by herself, too.
Des turned the designs into earrings, which they gave to me as a gift.
Then we ate chocolate covered bananas, which Angie made for us as a treat.
We (Des and I) also worked on some of our knitting.
Des made this beautiful Scotty bag by knitting the material and then felting it. She said it would be easy to hide any mistakes with felting - not that she needed to hide anything - I'm sure all of her projects have been perfect. But, I'm going to have to try that felting.
Des made three beautiful bags. And, it looks like a fun project to try.
Coming home, along Highway 101, we saw the most beautiful trees and fall colors - it was peaceful, relaxing and a wonderful weekend. Even if we were, like Kara clarified for me, first losers.
That's what she calls coming in Second Place - at Trivial Pursuit.
Bob, Des, Paul, Kathy, Lars and I went to play this team Trivial Pursuit at the Rogue Ale Pub. We played under the team name of Chuck's Brother and the Dweebs (that's there for Bob - who just happens to be Chuck's brother).
It was a lot of fun and I think we were tied for 2nd place - with a couple other teams. Some of the questions were super hard but people managed to get them (all 18 of them) correct - I have no idea how they did it. Jealous of those brainiacs.
And, I'm not saying they were looking up their answers on their Blackberry or anything - but don't think the thought didn't cross my mind. It's just that I don't think it would be fun to Win if I wasn't playing fair.
Remember, I never made any accusations - just saying the idea popped into my own head - but then I'm waaaay too competitive.
Anyway, back to the fun and games.
Mr. Bill asks the questions, three at a time, and each team writes down their answers then turns them in to the scorekeeper. Most teams compete for the fun of it - but like I said, I was playing for the prizes.
We even won one $7.00 off coupon. And some people won t-shirts, hats and other prizes.
I'd never done this Traveling Trivia before but I would definitely do it again - even if I am a DWEEB.
Portland, Oregon (the home of Powell's Books) is one of the prettiest places in the Pacific Northwest. Of course we tell people it rains all the time - to keep them from moving here ;-)
Actually, it rains in Seattle a whole lot more. Plus, Seattle seems to always have gray clouds hanging over head. And, I love Seattle.
But Portland is only an hour from the Mountains and some amazing winter sports. Mt. Hood is about 50 minutes away and offers so many ski resorts I couldn't name them all. But a few of the best known are Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood Meadows and Ski Bowl.
Then travel an hour and a half the other direction and you'll be at the ocean.
Still, it's about two hours to the high desert, and we live smack dab in the middle of the valley.
Oh, and the Gorge, is right down the road, (hwy 84), which offers some of the best windsurfing in the world.
And Portland is the home to Forest Park, which covers over 5000 acres and is the largest city park in the country.
Only about 5 minutes from downtown Portland, Forest Park offers a 40-mile loop trail system.
JUNE 1st - SCHMOOZE, 9:30 a.m. - noon ? Vancouver - Clark County Children's Writers and Illustrators Our next schmooze is scheduled for Saturday, June 1st at 9:30 a.m. at the Cascade Park Library ? 600 NE 136th Ave. Vancouver, WA. 98664. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Vicki Lindstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org. ?
June 29, 2013 - MAKING YOUR FIRST PAGES SHINE with Chronicle Editor Melissa Manlove - this Rogue Valley Connection workshop is in Ashland. See website: www.scbwior.com/events for more details.
June 8, 2013 - Our FIRST SE PORTLAND schmooze is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th at 10:30 a.m. at the Holgate Library, a branch of the Multnomah County Libraries. This is your chance to Meet and Greet the Co-RAs, ask them questions, and get acquainted with each other. We will meet in the meeting room at the Holgate Library ? 7905 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Carol Bloemen at email@example.com ?
SCBWI - The Great Critique - July 20th at Tabor Space
Thanks for visiting my site. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." DC Talk