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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sunday Gardener

My neighbor Dale and I are planting food in my back yard. This is going to be a potato. I don't mind sharing the leaves with a hungry bug as long as it leaves the potatoes for me.

We had three tomatoes growing as of yesterday. Probably more today. They are determined, and in the spot Dale chose for them it's apparently not too hard.

We have garlic, cucumbers, eggplant, and onions. More to be planted on Sunday.

I tossed this purple onion into the compost because it had mold on it. The onion took advantage of the opportunity and sprouted. So I followed the onion's opportunist example and stuck it in the ground. We shall see. Maybe it'll turn out to be food, maybe not.

But as Dale says, "They're plants. They know what to do."





Friday, April 11, 2014

Apron Strings

Karen is a professional baker. Her business, Apron Strings, is small. When you visit her sweet Craftsman house you smell fresh bread. Always.

Knowing she was going to offer bread and I was going to accept, the other day I took Karen some fig preserves from Super King Market in Altadena. Fig was not an easy choice to make. This product from Armenia, called Ararat, offers peach, cherry, apricot, and a variety of berry flavors. (Look in the jams and jellies section.) The fruit in the jar, mid-right, is whole, preserved in sugar and citric acid. We smooshed it and spread it on thick slabs of buttered, homemade bread.

Karen baked this loaf in a cast-iron skillet, using locally-grown and -ground flour. She also sent me home with English muffins she made on the griddle. I can attest to the fact that they are divine.

Is it just me, or are we all seeking an agreement between grid and off-grid in our lives? My neighbor and I are growing a vegetable garden in my back yard. Several of my neighbors grow food. Those who don't, buy it at local farmers' markets (juncture between grid and off-grid in business form). We find the seeds, the instructions, even the farmers' markets on the grid that is the internet.

It can be a pleasing intersection. You can't beat relaxing on the porch with a friend on a hot afternoon while consuming iced tea and fresh, warm bread, especially when it's not just any bread but Apron Strings bread, and it's slathered with butter and Armenian fig preserves, and your friend is such good company, and then you can come home and blog about it.

That's Gracie at the upper right. Gracie thinks bread is all right, but she is particularly fond of butter.

You can contact Karen to order bread at khirsch743 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Act As If


Here's the cover of my new book, Act As If. It was designed by John Sandel. Tell me what you think.

When will the book be published? When will everything else be done? I don't know. Soon!

"Soon" is a relative term. I thought I could predict things with Camelot & Vine, but among the many lessons I learned during that process was the new old adage: "Everything takes longer than you think it will."

Act As If is a book of essays about my experiences as a journeyman actor in Hollywood, based on the column I wrote for several years for NowCasting.com.

jour·ney·man      
'jərnēmən 


noun: journeyman; plural noun: journeymen, a trained worker who is employed by someone else.


Because it's a book of essays, Act As If is excellent toilet reading. I think of that as a marketing strong point. I get a lot of reading done when I'm on the toilet. Mostly magazines and journals. I read Who Moved My Cheese? on the toilet (true story), but that's a different post.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pasadena Is in Shape


Pasadenans can feel good about this one: we've been named one of the 10 Healthiest Mid-Size Cities by MyLife.com. Click the link to find out how we rate, and who beat us to #1. You might be surprised to see which of our neighbor cities are listed in the top 10 as well.

MyLife has an interesting batch of information about us. Regular readers of Living Vicuriously might also recognize the spot where they took their representative photo. Thanks to Bryan Vu at MyLife for sending me the information.

More fun for those exploring Pasadena is the new Walking Pasadena Facebook group, started by Sarah Emery Bunn. You're welcome to join and share. Sarah's Flickr page gives you an idea of the treasures to be found as you stroll the streets of Pasadena.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Simple Needs


We had some rain last night. Not a lot, but it was nice to listen to for a while before I fell back to sleep. This sounds like what I heard. Thanks to Paula Johnson for that, via Monica Hubbard.

Lots of water flowing out at Hahamongna today. A lake and a river. Wind, sun, clouds.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Night Wanderer


photo by John Sandel

It’s 9:18 pm. Late for me but tame for anyone else. Tame time, tame night, tame street. 

I step outside. My crappy slippers from Sears, with the cardboard bottoms, give the cold cement sidewalk direct access to my soles. I huddle my arms around myself, though I’m wearing a sweater. When I lived in Chicago, fifty degrees would not have seemed cold to me. Of course in those days, Sears would have sold me better slippers.

I walk west, toward the troubled end of the block. Maybe I'll talk to the kids who deal drugs at the house by the alley. Even here, on this tame street. Those kids are bad enough but they don’t scare me, I hung out with kids like them when I was their age. The people north of the corner on Los Robles do scare me, though. They're adults and drugs are their business and the cops keep showing up.

The alley kids are not out. The lights are off in their house but I hear rock music. I turn south. Los Robles is parallel to Lake Avenue and the police and fire trucks like it as an alternative. Less traffic than on Lake, but still plenty. We hear sirens often.

I’m in my pajamas. Does anyone notice? No one can tell. Sweat pants, t-shirt and sweater. It’s the slippers that give me away. Slap slap, on the sidewalk.

We live on the edge of the middle-class, juxtaposed with what passes for poor in Pasadena. We're the gentrifiers. There might be danger if I cross Los Robles, but probably not if I stay on this side. Not much, anyway. Not this time of night.

I come to Mountain Avenue and turn east. At the next street I'll turn north again, back into the quiet quarter of Craftsman homes, inviting windows and well-tended gardens that is my neighborhood.

Or I won't go out at all. I'll stay behind my locked door with my book and my lamp and leave the sirens and the drug sellers and the poor people outside.

At least I won't go out in my pajamas. That’s something a crazy person would do. By the time I’m ready for that I hope to have better slippers.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Pharrell Makes His Mark and it's a Plus Sign

By now you've heard Pharrell Williams's worldwide phenomenon, "Happy." The song, from the film "Despicable Me 2" was nominated for a 2014 Oscar. I have a feeling Mr. Williams doesn't mind that he didn't take the prize. Do you remember the song that won? I don't.

I knew nothing about the International Day of Happiness, but Williams has taken part and "Happy" is the theme song. I like it in all the video renditions I've found:

Happy a capella with some hilarity and fun editing

Happy a capella a bit more slick

Happy in Beiruit

Happy in Beijing

Happy in Belfast

And we're just getting started.

There's a lot to like, not least of which is Pharrell Williams' own performance (my favorite, much of it shot at LA's Union Station and other downtown locations). He's got a bit of a Curtis Mayfield tingle to his tenor, and it turns out Williams is a Mayfield fan. I am, too. But though "Pusherman" is a great song, it's way different from "Happy."

[Verse 2:]
Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why
Because I'm happy...

"Happy" has a PR machine behind it, but I think it caught on because people are into the message: "You can try, but you can't knock me off my center because I choose to be happy." Yessir, happiness is a choice.

Now, if I'm in the process of being attacked or I'm at the point of starvation, that's too glib. But many of us live in less dire situations and we still grumble. ("My lumbago hurts"..."I have too much work to do"..."Wall Street bankers are crooks..." Well, they are.)

But poo on that, as Verse 2 addresses. I choose to be happy anyway. Some days I forget it's in my power, which is why I have little signs taped all over my wall.

I've been home all week with a cold and have barely moved from my armchair. I thank Pharrell Williams and video shooters around the world for the regular reminders that I have nothing to complain about. I have one hell of an earworm but I'm in a good mood.

Here's ours, from PCC.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Boz Goes to Sleep

Today marks six months since Boz died. For posterity's sake, I want to write down a few things about him. Also for myself. So, a tale, one last time.

*****

The first night we brought Boz home from the shelter to live with us, he had a good meal and passed out from exhaustion on his new bed in our bedroom. He hadn’t had a bath in who knows how long, and he snored. We couldn't sleep. John finally moved Boz, bed and all, into the laundry room and shut the door. If Boz noticed, he didn't complain. He just wanted to be a good boy.

The next evening after we bathed him, I made a place for Boz under a table in my home office with his pallet, some towels and a toy. I said goodnight to him there and petted him until he fell sleep. He was still tired from all the big changes in his life. He still snored.

I began to pet Boz to sleep every night. After he’d been with us for about two weeks we were going through this routine when he opened his eyes and looked into mine. He wasn't challenging me. He was checking me out. I don't put human emotions on dogs, but he might have been trying to figure out how to categorize me or wondering why I was being so nice. Or he might have held my gaze because I was holding his, and he was a good boy and wanted to do what he was supposed to do.

"I love you," I said. He sighed and laid his head in my palm.

It was Wittgenstein who said, "If a lion could speak, we could not understand him." Part of the reason for my overflowing love for Boz was that I couldn't explain it to him.

Every night, either John or I sat beside Boz's pallet to pet him to sleep. We made it clear in our cooing that we loved him. Every night I said the words, "I love you." Whether or not he knew what it meant didn't matter. It was part of his ritual and he liked to hear it.

Sometimes he would raise a front leg to allow better access for the petting of his underside. The more endearing gesture was when he pulled my hand to his chest with a gentle paw, saying, in effect, "pet me." Or "love me." Tickling his chest was the highest expression of love as far as he was concerned.

In our ten years with Boz we heard his low, threatening bark very few times. Instead he vocalized in little moans, or sometimes he’d simply breathe loudly to let us know he had a need to be met. At night he would send up a moan before he fell asleep, "Come pet me some more." In the morning I'd find him curled on his bed by the heating vent with his nose tucked into one of his towels. (He had a collection.)

I came to know the mass of his skull with its silky, pussy willow fur; the fleshy folds of his neck; the powerful shoulders; the string of big beads that was his backbone; the joyfully expressive stump where someone cruel and ignorant had chopped off his tail long ago; the waxy, black scar from his knee surgery; the slender bones of his legs, so close to the surface. His tummy was hairless. So, too, the soft, meaty spaces between his thighs. Between his footpads rose tiny, gold tufts, and his paws smelled like warm, buttered sand.

When he was young, he was smooth. He acquired lumps as he grew older. He had a little bump where the silky flap of his right ear met his skull. His fur was once reddish brown with black on his face and paws. As he aged the red-brown remained though it became less smooth, and all his black turned white until the only black parts were his nose, his eyes and his claws. Boz had the prettiest feet.

I still expect to see Boz in his places, the spots where he liked to relax: by the heater on a cold day, on the porch when it was sunny, and especially at my office door where he helped me with my work. He had a bed at each spot.

But he got old. He got cancer and a tumor. In his last few days the tumor bled. We washed and rewashed his things until he didn’t need them anymore. After, I saved one blanket and one towel. Like a spirit rising from a body, the scent finally left the blanket. The towel still smells of him. I won't let it go until there's no ghost left in it.

He was my little one. I miss him. That's just the way it is. Sometimes when I'm alone I hold the towel and try to smell him. My missing him builds up and I need to purge it with tears. I go longer between purges now. I don't want to make progress in my grief, but I have.

The box of Boz’s ashes sits on the built-in next to the fireplace, with his collar and a photo. All except two of his tags from over the years hang on a chain from my bulletin board. John took Boz's city I.D. for his own keychain, and I took the personal one, with Boz's full name and phone numbers on it. Funny that a dog should have phone numbers (both land line and cell) and a last name.

There are spots of dried blood on the front porch. They remind me of Boz's misery in his final hours, when we stayed up all night with him in shifts, promising we'd take his suffering away as soon as the doctor could get there. The spots remind me of the morning he died when I found him in the garage, weak from blood loss and unable to stand. They remind me how much Boz needed us, how vulnerable he was, how I loved him. Like my grief I don’t want the spots to fade, but I know they will with time.

People told me we’d know the right moment to let Boz go because he’d tell us. We knew, but not because of any message from him. When I woke up next to Boz that morning he was looking at me, his eyes seeming to ask, “What happens next?”

And the doctor arrived, and she took his suffering away, and it was right. Which perhaps makes it easier, but I wouldn't know.

While he faded into sleep I told him I loved him. He knew what it meant. It meant he was a good boy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 Things You Should Do If You Meet King Arthur In A Dark Forest

You have time-traveled to southwest Britain in 500AD. (You probably drank too much on the plane.) You've landed in the woods and there's this guy with a bloody sword. What do you do?

1.    Duck.
       (He has a sword.)

2.    Cover.
       (See item 1.)

3.    Speak in soothing tones like you would to an angry dog.
       (He doesn't speak English. He speaks something called Brythonic.)

4.    Keep your head lower than his and don't make eye contact.
       (Don't challenge him. He's not a tall guy and he gets defensive.)

5.    Allow him to smell you.
       (If you're still alive at this point, just be glad he inspects you in this way and not some other.)

6.    Maintain your dignity.
       (This may seem impossible after the man has sniffed your armpits, but you might need your dignity later so do what you can to hold on.)

7.    Give him your horse.
       (Or your bicycle or your roller skates or whatever you've got. Appease the man, for god's sake, he's a barbarian warlord and you're on his turf.)

8.    Be nice to his friends.
       (He has a lot of them. They wear metal outfits. You have no choice.)

9.    Go where he takes you.
       (It's dark. You're in the woods. It's 500AD. You have other plans?)

10.    Don't complain about the wagon ride even if they chain you.
         (It's a long walk to Camelot.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Birthday Month


It's birthday month and I'm celebrating in all my favorite ways: world travel, lavish meals, jewels--you know, jet-setting.

I've also got a couple of sales going on the Camelot & Vine ebook:

Get it now: only through tomorrow (March 8, 2014) at Smashwords, enter the coupon code REW50 at checkout and get C&V for 50% off, or $3.00

If you miss it on Smashwords, the book is on sale all month at Amazon for $3.99.

Feel free to review it, good or bad. I'm told that quantity rules over quality on Amazon. Go figure.

Off I go to Paris, Milan, Istanbul! Or somewhere.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Canned Lions

photo: Julie Hartz

You just want to cuddle them. You mustn't, of course, because they're dangerous.

Unless they're drugged. Then they can't put up much of a fight, and you can shoot them like tin ducks at a carnival.

This, believe it or not, is an actual sport referred to as "canned lion hunting."

Big, tough heroes, shooting drugged animals. Manly men! Womanly women! Powerful hunters defeating the wild beast!

Sheesh. Somebody's got an ego problem, and it isn't the lions.

There's a lot of information in this post, based on a press release which I've edited. Thanks to Susan Campisi for the information. She's been working tirelessly to organize the March 15th rally in Los Angeles. I hope you can go.

***


LOS ANGELES, CA On Saturday, March 15, 2014, over 46 major cities around the world join to rally to raise awareness of the “canned lion” hunting industry in South Africa, to educate the public about how endangered lions are in the wild and to advocate for legislation to protect them.

Speakers at the Los Angeles rally include actress and wildlife advocate Tippi Hedren, Founder and President of the ROAR Foundation and the Shambala Preserve, Martine Colette, Founder and Director of the Wildlife Waystation and designated wild animal expert for the city of Los Angeles, and Matt Rossell, Campaigns Director for Animal Defenders International. Members of The Tokens will sing their ageless 1961 hit song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” [The Tokens are not confirmed as of this posting, but there will be music.]

Marchers will walk down Wilshire Blvd in a funeral procession in memory of all the murdered lions to the South African Consulate, then return to the La Brea Tar Pits for the rally.

Canned hunting is a legal practice in South Africa where lions are bred in captivity, trapped within enclosures, then shot and killed as trophies. Lion cubs are hand reared at these murder farms, where unknowing volunteers habituate them to humans. When large enough, these lions are confined, often drugged, and killed by bullet or arrow in canned hunts. Their heads are imported to the US, Europe, and other countries and their bones sold to countries all over Asia for bogus “medicinal purposes.”

Today there are fewer than 4,000 lions left in the wild in South Africa, but more than 8,000 held there in captivity. The demand for lion bones through Asia is posing an increasing threat to wild lions. In 1970 there were 200,000 lions living in the wild around the world; today only about 20,000 remain. Lions will be extinct in less than twenty years if action is not taken today.

People around the world are calling for the South African government to ban canned hunting. Other goals of the global march are to:

Change the listing of lions under the Endangered Species Act from “threatened” to “endangered”
Ban canned lion hunting around the world
End the export of lion bones to China where they are used for “medicinal purposes”
Prohibit the import of lion trophies to USA, EU, and other countries
Educate the public about how threatened lions are in the wild
Advocate for legislation to protect lions

MARCH & RALLY DETAILS
WHEN: Saturday, March 15, 2014 | 11am - 2pm
WHERE: La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Front of the George C. Page Museum at the lion statue.

DETAILS: The march begins at 11am. Marchers will walk down Wilshire Blvd in a funeral procession in memory of all the murdered lions to the South African Consulate then return for a rally. Rally begins appx. 12:15pm.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Global March for Lions
Campaign Against Canned Hunting, co-founded by Chris Mercer
Los Angeles March for Lions Facebook Event Page (Go here to sign up for the LA march. 247 signed up as of this posting!)
Global March for Lions Facebook Page
Chris Mercer's PSA “Roar For a Cause”
Radio interview with Chris Mercer about Canned Hunting
Global March For Lions – Trailer Documentary Short
Tippi Hedren’s ROAR Foundation
Animal Defenders International
Martine’ Colette’s Wildlife Waystation
The Token’s hit song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
The Tokens
Background on the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight, written by South African Solomon Linda 

BACKGROUND
Tourists Lured to South Africa to Take Part in Shameful Trophy Hunts
Why Are We Still Hunting Lions?
Threat to Conservation: Lion Bone Trade on Rise
Canned Hunting: The Lions Bred for Slaughter
Louis Theroux’s BBC show “What’s the Value of a Lion?” 
Fish in a Barrel, Lions in a Cage
The Captive Wildlife Safety Act

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dad Words

Waldo W. Burchard, 1939 (age 23)

If you don't know the meanings, please ask. I'm sure we'll all be happy to share our definitions.

And don't forget to add your favorites in the comments!


DAD WORDS

balderdash

bumbershoot

canoodle

cattywampus

claptrap

dadgummit! and dagnabbit! (complete with exclamation points, courtesy of Ms M)

dungarees (with thanks to Eric Baker)

flibbertigibbet

flummoxed

gadzooks (thanks to Ann Erdman)

gumption

hornswaggle

nincompoop

nitwit

numbskull

pipsqueak

poppycock

post-prandial

rapscallion (thank you, Bellis)

skedaddle

smidgen

thingamajig

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Migraines

Sometimes I can go for almost two weeks without a migraine. In the past two weeks I've had nine. Nine! And I'm not sure why. A doctor can give you pills, which is great, but it's not enough.

Everyone who gets migraines experiences them differently. Some people don't get help from drugs. Some drugs help me, except when they don't. Either way, even if the pain is manageable the zombie effect is not. I slouch through migraine days dragging my body along like it's a bag of rocks, which, come to think of it, is also a good description of my thought processes.

Migraines are confusing. I thought I was going to have a tenth in the wee hours of this morning. The circumstances were the same as always. The pain in my head was in the same place. My brain felt dull and my vision pulsated. Rather than try to sleep I got up and went outside. It was cold and that felt good. I exercised for a while. Then I came in and made coffee. Slowly, whatever it was went away.

If that would work every time I'd be a millionaire. Or at least muscular.

Maybe it wasn't a migraine. But I haven't had a plain old headache in almost twenty years.

My mother had migraines. She was the most stressed-out person I've ever known. That tells you something about my upbringing and what I imprinted on.

So although some will tell you to omit wine and cheese from your diet, in my case migraines might not be based in physical causes. I don't have a problem with wine, cheese, coffee, chocolate or many of the other conventional "triggers" (an apt word).

But maybe I could limit my migraines by limiting my stress. I think this is a great idea. The only things I stress over are being out in public and being home in private.

Do you get migraines? If so, please don't share your cures, I've tried them all (except this one). But please do share the following:

Are your migraines caused by physical things? (food, drink, smacks to the head)
Are they caused by emotional things? (stress, fear, Mac vs Microsoft)
Do you continue working when you have a migraine? What makes this possible?

 
How do you relieve stress? Or are you out of ideas?


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A New Voice

 

Recently my life has changed quite a bit. It's not a tragedy, but some important things are gone and they've left some empty space.

I finished writing a novel I'd been working on for years. It was a passion project, a story I had to write. I wrote it and wrote it and wrote it until I got it right.

Then I published it. This was a major learning process, challenging and energizing. I studied the publishing business, hired people to do the things I didn't have the skills for, created a company and put out a product I'm proud of. It took more than a year of hard work.

Marketing the book has been time-consuming and rewarding. Then, when the book was finished and the publishing was finished and the marketing had become more fluid, Boz died. He was old and sick and it was time for him to go. Still, it was a blow and I haven't gotten past it yet. Since Boz died I've had to stop watching puppy videos on youtube because they make me cry. (But have you seen the baby goat video? How about the giggling meerkat video? These are what the web is for.)

A month ago I decided to take a blogging break. I've posted a couple of times since then, but not much.

Many of the things that were making my life busy are no longer here: writing, publishing, blogging, pooper. I've started a couple of new novels. I'll keep at it, but so far, meh. I'm looking for something new to be passionate about.

That's not exactly it. I have so much passion and gratitude for my husband, my home, my freedom. I care deeply about all kinds of stuff. John and I put down some mulch today in the garden and I was so excited I couldn't stop talking about it. That's true, really.

But anyway.

I'm looking for something new. I think it's a voice. A more honest voice.

It's been nice to be a cheerful booster here on the blog. But I want to speak more truthfully now, good or bad. Maybe I'll start a whole new blog for it. I haven't figured all this out yet. You know the phrase, "out with the old, in with the new." Well, the old is out. The new isn't here yet. But I've got a lot of room for it and I know it's on its way.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random Acts of Reading

Here's my way of keeping visitors from sitting on a bench that would collapse if they did. I call it backyard art. It has nothing to do with today's post, but I didn't have a picture of the library.

Come one, come all to the Central Library this Saturday, February 22nd, 10am-12pm, for the Love Our authors Celebration!
 
Many, many local authors and publishers will be in the auditorium with their books, looking forward to a chat with you. Even the Pasadena Symphony will contribute Random Acts of Music. I imagine if you don't show up we'll talk amongst ourselves, but it would be nice to see you.

You can buy a book or not buy a book or buy twenty. The event is free, so come and snoop/browse/schmooze. 

While you're at it, I suggest you sign up for the library's newsletter. There's so much going on there it's the only way to keep track.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Stinky

Stinky, photo by Joel Skelton

You can change his name when you adopt him. "Stinky" refers to the aroma he sported when he showed up looking for food and shelter at my neighbor's place. It's better than "All Bones," which would also have suited him.

I met Stinky out walking in the neighborhood. He's learning the rules of being a good dog. He doesn't need to learn to be around people. He loves people.

Here are some links. Check him out (and be sure to watch the videos).
* A full page of photos and video at http://joelsk.smugmug.com/Stinky
* A public facebook post here: http://goo.gl/5JPqUU
* A more professionally worded page here: http://goo.gl/EpEDxd

Stinky needs a home where he's the only child and only dog. He's young and powerful and you will need to be his alpha.

And by the time you meet him he will have had his shots and some of his male accoutrements will be long gone.

Poor Stinky. All he needs is love and guidance. And maybe some painkillers, just for today.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Brown Bags & Books

Bonnie Schroeder and I posed yesterday in the local authors section of the Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse, holding copies of our books. Bonnie's book, Mending Dreams, just came out; it's available in print and ebook form. You can read the first chapter at BonnieSchroederBooks.com. I haven't read it yet but I now have a signed copy!

The photo was taken by author and journalist Susan James Carr. Bonnie and Susan were both instrumental in getting me invited to the Flintridge Bookstore's Brown Bags & Books club, which meets once a month. Yesterday they discussed Camelot & Vine over delicious scones (homemade by head of Marketing, Advertising and Authors, Sandy Willardson) plus cookies, smoothies and gourmet coffee. There's always food and drink at a book club because sharing food is as convivial as talking about books. (In my experience there's usually some gossip and chat to start things up, too.)

It helps if people like my book, which they did, but it almost doesn't matter. So many other things made it memorable: the simple fact that they invited me to talk about it for one, and that they all read it and asked interesting questions and wanted to know more, and meeting the individual readers--all these things are valuable to an author. I had an absolute blast, which as you know is a very authorly thing to say. "Authorly" not being a word, and all.

I'll be visiting another book club on Friday via Skype. I'd love to fly to Chicago to meet with them, but Skype will have to do! I'm told there will be wine and food at their meeting so I'll have something at my desk to ingest and imbibe while we chat. Just to be in the swing of things.

I've read recently about authors charging fees for book club visits, but I'd be delighted to visit your club for the price of a few convivial comestibles.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Worthwhile

the Romanesque Room at the Castle Green

Maybe you remember our visit with Ron Hobbs of Castle Catering just over a year ago. He's organizing a special event, and he asks so politely for our participation "...if you are so inclined..." 

Here's Ron's email:

Again this year I am organizing a special Valentines Dinner for some very Special People. Forty to forty-five Soldiers and their spouses will enjoy an intimate dinner provided by Castle Catering and it’s Restaurant Partners at The Castle Green and The Romanesque Room.

I want to give you an opportunity to express your gratitude directly to one of our Heroes by delivering “your” message that you are proud of them and thank them in the form of a Valentines Day card.

If you are comfortable doing so, please help us get the word out by forwarding this email to your contact lists. As I ask this, I do not know if this request violates any kind of privacy issues for you….if it does, then don’t worry about forwarding. We are just trying to get as many Valentines Day Cards with a “message of thanks” as possible.

Here is what I am asking you to do if you are so inclined…

1)         Send a Valentines Card with a message of Thanks to:

                         “A Soldier and Spouse”
                          C/O Castle Catering   Suite 102
                          50 E. Green St .
                          Pasadena , CA .  91105
             
2)         Certainly NOT required….but if you would like to enclose a check for $5, $10 or $20….or whatever you would like, made payable to “The Wounded Warriors Project” the soldiers will see them and we will forward them all to the Wounded Warriors Project.

3)         Last, if you are OK to do so…..please forward this message to some of your contacts and give them the opportunity to also send a Valentines Day Card with a “Thank You” message.

That is it…..I hope you will participate.

Thank you so very much.

Ron

Ron Hobbs
Owner, Castle Catering
50 E. Green St. 
Pasadena, CA.  91105
(626) 792-4444
Fax  (626) 793-6769
ron@castlecatering.net
www.castlecatering.net

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Break

Guys, I'm taking a break.

Last year was a busy one, with publishing and marketing Camelot & Vine. And I don't mind telling you l've taken Boz's death very hard. Plus I'm finding it more and more difficult to find Zen Monday shots!

I need to get out and about, climb some mountains, read some books and get inspired again.

I don't know when or if I'll be back but I won't say goodbye. I'll visit blogs from time to time and there will be more to share with you once I've refueled.

Thank you for being here. Let's not get weepy! I've been weepy since September 18th and it's time to move forward. Keep me on your Feedly or whatever you've got and I'll keep you up to date.

love, Petrea