Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Time to bake the Pies.

Not that pie!

Yes, it's time to bake pumpkin pies.
First you gather the ingredients.  (yes the whipped cream is very important. If you can't whip your own, the canned whipped cream is a satisfactory substitute.)

Readers of my blog will remember the years when I baked lots and lots and lots of pies.
For the workplace.
For home.
For my husband's birthday. (he hated cake)
For Thanksgiving. With enough for relatives to take home with them.
For after Thanksgiving because the pies are gone and we want to eat more PIE!

Well this year, we did it again.
Baked pumpkin pie in memory of my husband's birthday.
And now I just took the Thanksgiving pies out of the oven.
And later - more pies. Because we want to eat more pie - and the teen wants to give one to her boyfriend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A day in my life with the SMOG people

Monday -
A frustrating day.

Received a letter from DMV saying they could not send me my car license tag sticker until they had a copy that I had passed the California SMOG test.  (Environmental car test)
Thinking back, I remembered that I had enclosed the SMOG test results (passed) with my payment for license tag renewal.

So I went to the SMOG place and asked for a copy or two of my test so that I could keep on and the other could go to the DMV.  They suggested I take it to the nearby AAA office and get my sticker faster.

So, I went to AAA.
Showed them the letter from the DMV, the SMOG test paper, and asked for a sticker.

No Can Do.

It seems that I got my SMOG test too early. It had expired one week before I received the renewal notice from the DMV.  Expired!

Back I went to the SMOG people.
Got a second SMOG test.  (passed, of course)
Took the new SMOG test result back to AAA and asked for my car license tag sticker.

No Can Do.

Because I paid by mail, I now had to wait for the DMV to MAIL my sticker to me. AAA couldn't help me. They could only handle transactions that they had been in on from the beginning.  They assured me that the California DMV was just waiting for the SMOG results and (she checked) they had received it electronically the minute my car took the second test.

But Now I have to wait.
And since this is Thanksgiving week, when lots of people go on vacation, it could be into December before I get that sticker.

Drive Carefully.
Stay away from the highway patrol.
Crossing fingers and toes that nobody will notice that my automobile plates still have out of date stickers on them.
Don't anybody tell.
Maybe they won't notice.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - another Gary Paulsen autobiography

Gary Paulsen. This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.

Another snidbit of Gary Paulsen's life, this time ranging from himself at age 18 to an elderly 67-year old preparing to run the Iditarod race in Alaska. For the third time.
At age 18 he was part of the army's nuclear-warhead school and he had just learned that atom bombs wipe out huge populations so fast that people don't know what hit them - just POOF, and they were evaporated. And the dog who conversed with him.  Yes, he talked to a dog and it not only answered, but offered to share her stick and ball with him to make him feel better.  She couldn't change his job in nuclear-warhead school, but she could make him feel better inside.

The tale of the third Iditarod actually opens and closes this book. Firstly it is not about the Iditarod itself. (Eventually he decided that although the mind was willing, the body just wasn't cooperating.)  This first story is about the tiny house dog ( a toy poodle) who made it his charge to protect Paulson - from bears and other dangers.
And the last story is about how very, very, very smart ravens are - and how they train people and their dogs to serve their (the raven's) needs.  Mostly about food. His sled dog's food which became the Raven's food.  (with a side comment about how ants are the most successful species on the planet.)

In short - this book is all about dogs who interacted with Paulson's life. (except for the ravens who interacted with his sled dogs in training)

Written in the style of one of his other autobiographies, How Angel Peterson Got His Name (a book every mother of a young boy needs to read to learn some of the various disasters boys get into - on purpose), each chapter begins with an intriguing title and ends with a zinger. (see above about the ants.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Writing Advice

Patricia Wrede says:

There is "No ONE True Way to Write!"

That is all.
Think about it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm. New York: Scholastic, 2015 

The minute you see that Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm have done a new graphic novel, you immediately think of Babymouse or Squish
But not this time.

Sunny Side Up takes you back to Florida again.  But not quite the Florida of Turtle in Paradise.  This is based on another side of Jennifer and Matt's family - addiction from a child's viewpoint.
It's 1976 and Sunny's brother is either addicted to drugs or alcohol (it's not clear). Sonny is caught between him wanting her to not talk about what he does and the worry of their parents.

All Sunny knows is that suddenly she's being sent to Florida to spend a month of her summer with her grandfather - who has his own devils to fight - addiction to tobacco.
Despite this being a retirement community, strictly for older adults, Sunny does find a friend about her age who introduces her to a love of comic books. As the story, in comic book form, goes back and forth from this summer in Florida to what led up to her being sent there, the reader begins to understand how emotionally stressed Sunny is about all this.  Until she finally explodes. (Like a Volcano)

A deeper, more emotional graphic novel than Jennifer and Matt have ever done, and I predict awards and honors to come.

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