Friday, November 27, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Annual Vacation... Aaahhh...

We're on our annual family break to Pismo Beach. My parents, our family, and my brother's family meet up here each year for the last few, to celebrate the weekend before Thanksgiving and my dad's birthday. Even better, my parents often foot the hotel bill!!!

It's not the fanciest hotel in the world, but I love it. From the "north tower, southern side, fourth floor corner rooms" (yes, I sat down and figured that out before reserving!), you can see the pool, the town, and an incredible expanse of ocean lapping around Pismo pier.

By far the MOST exciting part of this trip is finally meeting my now four month old niece, Lillian Dae! She is absolutely gorgeous, just starting to smile and laugh. Last night she was playing peekaboo for the first time with J and B. Lily seems fascinated by her cousins, intuitively understanding that children are different than adults and just straight out more fun.

Friday, November 20, 2009

God Speaks... Through FM

I was driving home today from dropping off some paperwork at the donor transplant center and halfway listening to the radio. I've slowed my progress towards donation over the last few months but have just about decided to continue moving forward slowly.

Pros and cons were sort of dancing around in my mind, holding hands and spinning lazily in slow circles, when the DJ cut in with this:

"Do you know how great you are? First, you're listening to Jack FM. And, you've decided to be a kidney donor. All of you. You're just awesome."

I shook myself alert and did a mental double-take. Huh? Was that the voice of God suggesting the answer to me???

Sometimes life is too amazing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Dose of Inspiration

According to Robin Sloan, world traveler and creator of cutting edge fiction, he just received a tweet that his new book is done printing and ready for shipping to customers.

Using his online connections as a distribution base, Sloan was able to bypass a more traditional publishing route. Posting his writing project on yielded Sloan more than $13,000 in advance sales from committed backers.

Reminds me of the patrons and salons of the literary past.

Personally, I cannot wait to get my copies of this fresh book and see the results of a fascinating, new approach!

Surya Namaskar B by Ursula

For a fantastic example of a Surya Namaskar B sequence in Ashtanga Yoga, check out Ursula's blog at !!!!

Just One

In the clarity of morning-blue sky, beginnings arise.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Valuable Advice from

Again - my writing mentor ROCKS, and rocks hard!!!!

No matter what kind of work I throw at Mike, he handles it with grace and aplomb, lasering a crystal-sharp clarity into his insights and suggestions.

The last few weeks have been so busy with vacation, work, meeting up with my oldest friends, Christmas shopping, new pets, and more, I haven't written any new fiction at all.

(So much for my Nanowrimo dreams!)

So I gave poor Mike one of my newest grant proposals to critique as this week's assignment. Of course, he's so skilled that he has a successful background in grant writing as well as fiction, non-fiction, and editing!! The suggestions he sent back were right on, and the validation that the pages make sense and truly represent the non-profit are invaluable.

Truly, if you are ever looking for GREAT writing assistance, I cannot recommend Mike's consistently excellent work highly enough!

Mike Foley at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time Warner Cable Should Be Avoided!!!!

Time Warner Cable has not worked properly - ever - in the almost two years we've had it.

Despite multiple service calls, our reception keeps "tiling" or breaking up into fragmented squares of nothingness. It only tiles on the channels we want to watch when we want to watch them.

Repeated technical visits fix it temporarily and within a week, the problem returns. The only lasting thing the visits yielded was an incorrect charge on our bill for an extra cable converter box that we don't have. That I can't make go away!

Now, Time Warner refuses to discuss any billing or service with me, including their past promises to credit our account, because my husband's name is on the bill instead of mine. He's too busy to deal with their run-around any more than he already has.

Major NEW problem is that last month I sent them the wrong check by mistake. AND THEY CASHED IT!

That's right. They illegaly and unethically cashed a check made out to Southern California Edison for a different amount than what they cashed it for. Yep.

I just got off the phone with my credit union and they were appalled. Not only is this unethical, it is blatantly ILLEGAL behavior on the part of a business. Any individual would go to jail for fraud. The credit union advised me to prosecute.

But you know what? I can't talk to Time Warner about it, because they will not budge off of their "billing security practices" enough to straighten it out with me.

Apparently, they only break the law, not their customer code.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our New Pets

I've mentioned before that Patience isn't my strength. Less than a week from idea to inception. Meet the two newest members of our family, yet to be named.
They're sisters, three months old, and a bit shy, but J and B can't wait to tame them. And, yes, their cage smells. So does the hay that they have to eat every day. It's not a bad smell, the aroma of hay, very barn-like, but perhaps it is not a house smell. Still, though, they're cute as buttons and fun to watch!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

...from beneath like well water...

I've used this quote as writing advice for years, long after I'd forgotten who said it. Thanks to Red Bird and her blog for reminding me of it in its entirety.

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes."

-Annie Dillard, The Writing Life p.78

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Time Flies Along!

Sorry for the long absence. Everything's great - I've just been super-busy.

Halloween was amazing! Costumes, candy, neighbors and partying under the bewitchingly full(ish) moon. My witch costume was the most comfortable, appealing costume of my life!

The girls are terrific. They both won awards last week for their advanced state test scores! Two shiny trophies are now sitting on our mantle. Parent-teacher conferences also went well. (Can I admit that I beamed when both teachers complemented the girls on their extraordinary writing abilities?! Aw, shucks...)

I have a new obsession - Guinea pigs! I'm not sure why but I just decided I wanted to get more pets. We've been doing lots of research and looking for just the right little piggies to bring into our home. I want to adopt either some from a rescue organization (yep, there are guinea pig rescue nonprofits- two in our area alone!) or from someone who can't keep their beloved pets. I don't want to buy from a breeder and encourage ever more overpopulation of animals that people can't keep up with!!

They are SO beyond adorable, and you can totally train them to sit on your lap, whistle and squeak at you, and more. So lately whenever I get stressed by my workload, I relax by browsing through guinea pig photos online. Hey, it's cheaper than shopping!

I've stepped up my yoga practice and when I'm not in classes, of course I'm hanging out somewhere, writing grants. I'm also working on my first novel and submitting bits of it for my latest fiction course that I'm taking. I just love having the weekly feedback from a trusted mentor.

And I'm still tutoring my friend three times each week. Only four more weeks to go. I am SO ready for her class to finish and for J&B's vacation to start!

Shawn and I continue to get along better and better. I'm so proud of him for getting back into grad school and getting through two classes along with his workload from his job. That's not easy to tackle, but he's making steady progress. He should be completely done by this summer! Yay! Then more pay and less hassle ahead of us.

I should tell you he was quite a dashing vampire for Halloween. I really think capes are undervalued in our current fashions!

Well, this is cursory at best. I hope to get back to thoughtful, reflective topical posting soon. In the meantime, you'll know why I dropped out of sight.

Thanks for all the devoted reading and the caring thoughts that you so generously continue to send my way. It's a real community out here.