Friday, November 30, 2012

Famous Last Words

On November 30, 1900 the playwrite Oscar Wilde died at age 46, after declaring his famous last words: "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

150 Ways to give a Book

Okay folks.  It's time to put your thinking caps on.  How many of you still have people on your list to buy gifts for?  (putting up my own hand)  Don't be shy.  I know there has to be more people out there who are procrastinators like me.

Well, MotherReader has a blog post that will help give you ideas.
She calls it -- 150 ways to Give a Book.
Great title.
Great ideas.
Click on over and take a look.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why read nonfiction?

A great article spelling out why it's important for students to read compelling narrative nonfiction has just been pointed out to me.  It's called, What Should Children Read?, produced by the New York Times writer, Sara Mosle.

You may be aware that there's a new push in education circles to have students reading and studying great nonfiction as well as great fiction, called The Common Core State Standards which is being adopted by school systems across the country.  (maybe not in Texas, but that's their loss)  By the time they are Seniors in high school, their reading should be half fiction and half nonfiction.

This article makes a great case explaining just WHY it's important for children to read nonfiction and to learn how to write it well.  I recommend that you click on over to read it.

Much thanks to Roberta Gibson who writes the Wrapped in Foil blog for the link.

For some more great children's nonfiction, click on over to the Nonfiction Monday roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect blog today.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The search for green, and apple pies in Julian, CA

Friday we drove an hour into the mountains East of San Diego to Julian, CA.  The twisty, cliffhanging roads reminded me of some in West Virginia and the town reminded me of Harper's Ferry and other historical towns in the Maryland/ Virginia area that are now so touristy.

One of the 12-year-olds I took with me had been there before, so she enjoyed showing us the best stores and restaurants. The girls came home with jewelry from a craft show and teeny marbles from a store. (they both had brought money, so the only thing I had to pay for was parking and food.)

Even though the town was above 4,500 feet in the mountains, there weren't many trees that had colorful autumn leaves; everything was green -- California long needled tree green.  We did see some autumn leaves at about 3,000 feet as we passed through another town.  (Every time my 12-year-old had complained about there not being any fall leaves here in San Diego, people had told her she needed to go to Julian to see them.  Not true.)

The thing that stood out in my mind was the difference in the Mountains.  Mountains in the east are made up of solid upthrusts of granite mixed with layers of coal and a variety of other hard stone.  They are covered in either pasture grass or shaded with trees.  Solid green, in other words, with only an occasional outcropping of solid rock.

California mountains, on the other hand, seem to have huge boulders sticking their bare bones all over the hill -- like the lumps on the back of a toad.  Huge things.  With nothing but brown-ish growth in between.  

We arrived too late to do much driving around Julian, so we walked the few blocks of tourist stores, instead.  There may be more green forest around the town that we missed. And maybe even some autumn leaves somewhere.

We were hoping to see snow in Julian, after all it's late November and we were high in the mountains.  (and I had seen snow in some mountains as I flew home from Maryland last week.)  But no snow, either.  The temperatures were only about 10 degrees cooler than at our San Diego condo. But as the sun set, it did get cold and we were glad we had sweatshirts with us.

The stores in San Diego had been flooded with "JULIAN PIE COMPANY" pies before Thanksgiving and people had told us they were delicious.  However, the only pie store we found in Julian was MOM's pies. The 12-year-old friend told us that those pies weren't very good and that she knew where one of the Julian Pie factories was located.  We never found the factory in Julian, but on the way home she located the other one and we bought a pie there. Cooked it tonight.  It's yummy.  (Deutsch Apple Pie) Just as good as people has said it would be.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Shopping Tips

My sister posted some tips on Facebook that she received in an email from a place called LIFESPAN on how to be a better (and safer) shopper on this most horrible of shopping days -- Black Friday.  (of course, if you were in line last night, all this won't help you, but might be something to think about for future holiday shopping trips.)

Five Things Not To Do At The Mall

Thieves are suffering during this economy just as much as the rest of us. They’re more brazen than ever so it pays to take some precautions. Read on for LifeSpan’s Financial Counselors’ shopping do’s and don’ts for a safer and “on budget” holiday season:

· Don’t carry your checkbook or more credit cards than you will use during that shopping trip. If your wallet is lost or stolen, this will limit the damage. Do: Make a copy of the front and back of all credit cards, and put the list in a safe place at home so if a card is stolen you can report it immediately.

· Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Even if you are committed to paying for your purchases with cash, be aware that pick-pockets take advantage of crowded areas and distracted people. Do: Break up shopping trips, replenishing cash for each trip.

· Don’t shop while in a hurry or at the last minute. You’ll end up spending more than you should so mark the item off your list. Do: Block out a specific time for shopping.

· Don’t shop without a list. Santa thinks it’s a useful tool, and so should we. Do: Make your list specific: recipient’s name, gift idea and what you’re going to spend. Having an overall holiday budget floating around in your head isn’t good enough. Without a plan, you’ll likely get caught up in the hype and overspend.

· Don’t pile new debt on top of old. Some of us are still paying for 2011 holiday expenses. Do: Think about it. You’re buying for friends and relatives who will understand if you need to cut back. Tell them! Then do something personal such as writing a heartfelt note or offering to do something – clean, babysit etc.

I added these tips to her list:

This list should also have mentioned safe and proper ways to carry your purse to discourage thieves.  If you carry it with the strap across your body from one shoulder to the opposite hip is best.  Always make sure the zipper of your purse is closed after every transaction to discourage thieves dipping their hands into it in crowded areas. (open purses that can't be closed should be left at home.)

Don't use purses made of fragile material that could be easily cut open.

The bags the APPLE store give you have a lovely string handle.  However, don't carry your APPLE purchase by this string around your arm or wrist because a thief can grab it and break your wrist getting it.  APPLE products are a favorite goal of thieves because there is such a demand for them and they can easily be sold.  Grab the Apple bag by the neck, or carry the purchase in your arms, or put this bag into another shopping bag if possible, or into your purse if your purchase is small.

Don't overload yourself with open store bags.  At some point, take all your goodies back to the car, place them hidden in your trunk (not on a car seat), then MOVE your car.  Thieves also watch the parking lots and rob cars if you simply walk back into the mall.  Driving away and finding a new parking place makes them think you've left the area.

Above all BE SAFE -- You are the only you that you have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Time to Bake the Pies

First you gather the ingredients:

Then you make the pies:

Oh dear, Someone's already tasted it.
Probably me. My family likes it cold, but I'll eat it warm or cold.

This year I won't make as many pies as in years past, which I talked about here, and here.

Do you always make pumpkin pie in November?
If not, then what is your favorite fall pie?

Monday, November 19, 2012

NonFiction Monday

Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is at Perogies & Goyoza.
Click on over and discover interesting nonfiction books.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Writing for a living

Without going into whether or not you actually CAN earn a living with your writing, much-pubhished author Marion Dane Bauer has written a blog post (on her blog, Just Thinking) about HOW to organize your life when you write for a living. Click on over.  Words to think about.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bookcases. Bookaholics can't live without bookcases.

Some years ago I attended Science Fiction Convention, one of many that I attended during that time period.  Late on the last day (it always was held during a 3-day weekend), there was a panel discussion about -- Bookcases.  Being a bibliophile myself, who lived in a house with built in bookcases, plus being a librarian, naturally I was interested.

Everyone on the panel agreed that you never have enough of them.
(so did everyone in the audience)

We were entertained with the tales of
-- how they managed to squeeze in 'just one more' bookcase into their tiny apartments.
-- how they struggled to transport them when they moved.
-- types of bookcases
-- and so on.

when I moved to California this past August, I did a horrible thing. I went through the whole collection of books (many left to me from previous generations), boldly making decisions as to what I'd bring and what was going to be left for the booksellers.  (the very HAPPY booksellers, I might add) And I chose which free-standing bookcases to bring.

Weight was a problem. (did you know that movers charge by WEIGHT?) I knew that moving across country was going to be very expensive. (didn't know it would be almost $10,000, though.)
So I chose only two tall bookcases. And one short bookcase for the 12-year old's collection of books.

Now, I can see you shaking your heads. You know already that this is going to end badly, don't you?  It was not enough bookcases. Once I unpacked and loaded one bookcase with nonfiction and the other with fiction, I was left with more boxes of books.

Off to Ikea.  A large bookcase made of cubes made a dandy place for my collection of picture books.  Easy-peezy.
A small, 4-cube bookcase became filled with CDs and DVDs.
I decided I was a wiz at putting these together.  Now to put two small 4-cube ones together upstairs. But one wouldn't go together.  I tried and tried, but the middle shelf was a quarter inch too large making the screws in the top shelf unable to find their holes.  They just ground sawdust.

After sitting unfinished in my bedroom for several weeks, I finally gave up and returned the complete, but not yet finished bookcase to Ikea -- and they took it back.  Crossing fingers and toes that the replacement box has shelving the exact size and I get this new one together, so that I can unpack the last of my books.

Hey!  It's Nonfiction Monday and the roundup of interesting nonfiction books   Is being held at Lizann Flatt's blog, The Flatt Perspective.  Click on over and enjoy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nonfiction Monday

I have two messages today.

Number 1 = Tomorrow is Election Day.  Please Vote.

Number 2 = Today is Nonfiction Monday and the roundup of delicious nonfiction book reviews is located at Anastasia Suen's Booktalking blog.  Click on over.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I voted

This is a very important election.

I voted.

Did you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing by Water

I love living near the ocean (even if it is on the wrong side -- I'm not used to the ocean being WEST of me and I still tend to head East to get there -- which makes me end up in the desert, not the ocean -- but that's another story.)

I love sitting in my car, by the water, working on manuscripts on my laptop while watching the tide roll in.  One of my favorite spots is by Dog Beach (an area where dogs are allowed on the sand, off leash)  in Del Mar where the San Dieguito River flows into the Pacific.  It's a real water fight when the tide is roaring in and the river tries to push out against the tide.

Where do you like to write?