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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Focus On Love

Last month, a friend persuaded me to take part in National Novel Writing Month or NaNo, as it’s called by those who like to suffer. (Sorry, I’m joking.) While I love writing, I feel a goal of fifty-thousand words in one month is unreasonable. It’s a big deal to finish and miraculously, I finished. At first, I didn’t think I could do it. Plus, I started three days late. Things looked hopeless.

Finishing however, had to do with the fact that I had a story running around in my head, which had to get out. So, even though I complained about the thirty-day deadline, in some ways I feel lighter. Free from a heavy-duty tale about world peace. Half way through, the topic felt enormous. In the mornings I did research and, in the afternoons, I typed away. I had to write like the Dickens to make sure my version of War and Peace came to a resolution at fifty thousand words. And so, by the grace of God and of course His legions of angels, who give me ideas and help me write, I completed my next novel. Hooray!

Speaking of angels, it’s almost Christmas. A time to reflect on the year, to remember others, and to share delicious snacks and special moments with friends and family. It’s also a time that can be hectic and filled with tension, traffic and old-fashioned traditions that seem overdone, almost ridiculous. The best we can do is focus on what’s important. 

Our mall Santa
Once we’ve tuned out the mall-muzak, perhaps we can hear the little bells, the song of the bird in the yard, the trickle of rain on the window. We will hear the excitement in the child’s voice upon receiving a gift, a tone of gratitude in the shopkeeper’s ‘thank you for your business’ and the delightful sound of wrapping paper ripped off packages.
I know it's hard to see the singing yellow bird
in the middle of this tree but he almost looked like a canary!

Beyond the bustling crowds are families baking cookies in cozy kitchens and elderly friends wearing bizarre sweaters, gathering for a social at the Senior Center. There are childless couples, empty- nesters and those who are alone but still volunteer and try to be part of the festivities. The intangible gifts are everywhere. Every new day is a memory tomorrow—every moment is yours. If you focus on what’s important, (like I did with Nano) you can do anything!  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends and family!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thank You Lord!

Thank you, Lord, for this day.
Thank you for sunny skies this morning.
Perfect for our walk.
Send us rain while we sleep.
Thank you for the roof over our heads.
Thank you for keeping us safe from raging wildfires.

That includes friends and family.
The morning glory that twists around the bottle-brush tree,
The hummingbird that greets us at the park.
The reassuring pitter-patter of tiny paws.
Thank you for holding our hand during trying times.
Thank you for faith, hope and most of all love.
The gift of laughter and smiles we share.
Delicious home cooking,
unlimited dreams.
Thank you for today,
thank you for tomorrow,
and all the incredible blessings you bestow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thought I’d write a small Thanksgiving post about mindfulness and gratitude. After all, I live in California, home to the Hollywood lifestyle. A place where not too many people take things seriously anymore. I look around at the way people dress for work or even church and it’s obvious this is the land of casual living. We also know that Hollywood is the land of Max Factor cosmetics, face-lifts and plastic surgery central.
I feel sorry for those movie stars because even though they look slim, all they want to do is portray regular humans like us. And we rock!! Yes us--the regular people with lives filled with real drama. Real lives that have tension and excitement. Lives that are impossible to duplicate. Let them try. We are originals. One of a kind.

First off, we have less troubles Probably less taxes. Under those fancy clothes and all that makeup are zits and skin imperfections. Even famous actors and actresses suffer from bunions, STDs and hemorrhoids. They are imperfect humans. In fact, you—most likely—have less imperfections.
Make Every Day An Imaginary Movie
Turn on the radio. Try a classical channel. That’s the soundtrack to your wonderful life. When you look out the window that is your movie set. Your family is your cast and you are the director. How will you approach this beautiful day? As the camera pans the neighborhood and the sound technician picks up the barking sounds of the neighbor’s annoying pooch, how will you respond to the cues? Will a telephone call pull you into a melodramatic scene or will you attempt to keep things neutral until the final moments of the day?

We all get the sad texts or the shocking emails about plans changing. We all have those sinking moments that create pain in our heart. Like commercials that blare into the middle of a great show, they are expected. They are akin to the twists and turns of a harrowing plot created by screenwriters and fiction authors. Except your pain is real. What you feel inside your heart is the hardest thing to describe. It’s your special emotion. Your salty tears, your real blood and your family. Hopefully, the pain will pass quickly.
I can be watching an exciting movie and all of a sudden, they break for a long string of annoying ads. I am jerked from the make-believe into the here and now.  Do I have time to run and grab a bottle of water? Go to the bathroom? Make some popcorn? Not usually—hurry up. Our film is back and we feel relieved.

Tonight, you might want to set the stage for a lovely evening. The sun is setting earlier now. I love those sparkly ‘faux’ candles that use batteries and can’t burn down the house. We have solar lights lining a pathway by the garden and twinkling lights throughout our home. A pot of soup simmers on the stove, filling the air with a wonderful aroma. It’s also cooler and we might have cocoa with marshmallows for dessert. Next week is Thanksgiving. A time that can be filled with family angst. Except this time:

The camera pans over the valley and zooms into the kitchen where you're helping with the holiday dishes. Make it sweet. Warm and cozy. It can be nice. Closeup on your smile. Remember, you're the star. Breathe.

Whether life is a romantic Hallmark movie, ending with a kiss, or a comedy where everyone falls asleep on the couch. Keep in mind, you are in charge. Make it a blockbuster, a bestseller. Make every day the best movie ever!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Meet Bentley

Bentley is a fluffy canine character in my latest novel, Penniless Souls. Usually a playful pup wanting to fetch a ball, until he bares his teeth and acts wild, as if he wants to kill the bad guys. In other words, he's a great little dog. The following snippet is when I introduce him in Chapter Four, which is written from Lani's point of view. Lani is Penny's daughter and she has allergies.   
So cute, huh?
My model's actual name is Bambi.
 He's exactly like Bentley.

From Chapter Four of Penniless Souls

“What?” Aunt Bess shrieked over Bentley’s continuous barking, accompanied by Lani’s sneezes. “Bentley,” be quiet she shouted in a kind-hearted way. Aunt Bess didn’t scold her dog. She treated the dusty mop looking dog like a member of the family.
     “We’ll see you on Tuesday,” Penny repeated, reaching towards Bess and giving her a hug.
     The dog ran around and around the dining room table like Secretariat at the Kentucky Derby. A tiny pink tongue hung from his lips and drool flew in the breezes he created. Aunt Bess gave Lani a quick hug and went back to clapping and yelling at her dog. On Tuesday, Lani would begin a new chapter in her life--a life that included a very rambunctious dog and two cats that might kill her. Her boat capsized on a deserted island. She felt like a hostage, held against her will, a caged captive, in a strange place filled with unusual wildlife.

Hope this short piece about Bentley makes you want to read more! Have a great day! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Eve Sightings! Opportunities to Meet

October 10th-Anniversary dinner at Tresino’s Restaurant—26 years!!Whoops, sorry that was yesterday, but you might have seen us walking along busy Catt Road on our way to deliciousness. I wore navy blue lace and he had on a Quicksilver Hawaiian shirt and golf shorts. You'd think we were married in Hawaii! 😂

October 20th I’ll be at the Diamond Valley Arts Council Festival of the Arts from 10 until 4pm on Harvard Street in Hemet. As far as I know, I'm handing out brochures at the Diamond Valley Author’s table. Stop by and say hello!

October 27th Is our regularly scheduled Diamond Valley Writer’s Guild Meeting from 9 am to 12 noon. It's held at the Hemet Library on Latham. It’s our last meeting of the year!

November 6th at the Vail Ranch Farmer's Market in Temecula
I'll be there from 1 to 4pm 
That’s all for now. I’ll keep you updated. Will I be lucky enough to meet you?  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Impossible Dream of Julian Pie

This week, we took a short day-trip over to San Diego County to visit the town of Julian. We haven’t been there in ages and wanted to see if anything had changed. The last time we came, over ten years ago, we stayed to watch a wonderful theater production of The Man of La Mancha.

Other than a few price increases, the California historical landmark has stayed the same. It’s an old west town known for picking apples. They also sell apple juice, hard cider and the secret reason for our trip—yes—delicious pies.
Downtown Julian
 There are antique shops, crafts and specialty foods for sale on Main street and plenty of hiking opportunities for the entire family.
I think that's the fire-station

 We passed a few campsites on the way, noticed some wineries and after we parked the car, we took a stroll in the old Pioneer cemetery. 
Resting under a lovely oak

From what I understand, there used to be a gold mine around there, and it’s still open to visitors.
This place had some unusual antiques.
I knew if I went in there it would take hours to get me out.

 We were lucky to be able to go during the week, as I imagine it gets busy on the weekends.
My chivalrous knight in front of the pie place.

 All in all, we had a wonderful day and recommend it as a short getaway from the noise, stress and general hullabaloo of the city.

Have you been to Julian?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Bakery Rebellion

Are you on the Ketogenic diet?
The gluten free diet?
Going Vegan?
Vegetarian not Vegan. (Learn the difference or you will be embarrassed.)
Low Carb?
Low fat?
High Protein?
Raw Food?
South Beach?
Grapefruit diet?
Cabbage Soup?
Carnivore diet?
Eggs and wine diet?
Apple Cider Vinegar diet?
Cake cleanse?
Smoothie detox?
No, and no.
Eating is harder to figure out then gender identity. But my new trans-
ition lenses help me see things clearer.
With over one hundred newly recognized genders this year, there will be people celebrating.
Hooray! They will probably have cake!
I made this delicious walnut cake last week.
Walnuts are very good for you. 😋
 Maybe I'll post a recipe soon.
Anyway, dieting is something I’m supposed to be doing. (Seriously, I replaced white bread with croissants.)😍
The more I read about the dangerous, long term consequences of dieting, the more I rebel.  
"Let me eat cake," is up there with Russian Roulette and cliff diving in Mazatlan. These are perilous times folks. I'm saying folks to be inclusive to everyone.

Husband can cut out one soda and lose twenty pounds! Just like that! Poof! He misses one meal and looks like a haggard, homeless man. 
Men. Yeah, it’s a gender thing and I’m not too keen on the way they can brag about having great metabolisms.  
Meanwhile, I’m swimming my heart out and walking our lazy pooches all over the place. Apparently, I'd have to walk to the moon and back to burn all my calories.

They should have the Exhausted but I Can't Give Up Cake Diet. It could consist of three hundred calories of anything delicious three times a day. Maybe three generous slices of chocolate cake and a few carrot sticks to equal things out? Hmm.
I didn't think so.