Archive for September, 2006

The Emphasis is On…

A random pretty picture that came on my new computer… and made me homesick. As much as I love Ohio, I started life in California, Richmond, right across this bridge from San Francisco. It’s been a very long time, and many states, in between that childhood of beaches, swimming pools, water ski’s and sunshine…

If I learned only one thing (and I actually learned many) by moving many, many times when I was growing up, it is that people are the same everywhere. They just put emphasis on different things. Even in the 60’s when I was growing up, California emphasis was on appearance. Kids were still hassled about grades, sunday school and the condition of their room, but foremost was instruction in grooming, fashion and fitness. Our first move was to Maryland, culture shock, their emphasis was on education and work, then all the other things. Pennsylvania – the state of your spirit, Indiana – how athletic are you?, North Carolina – manners, manners, manners. In every state, we adapted, changed our family dynamic and blended in. It was especially easy for me, I believe I’m one part magpie (my love of shiny things), one part chameleon.

I wonder, though, if someone trained in psychiatry would look differently at this lack of seperation anxiety? It would have been excellent early training for a con man.

September 30, 2006 at 9:37 am 11 comments

Nibbling Away at Our Rights


There is a company who has decided not to hire smokers. They claim that health insurance is higher for smokers. They’ve also said they’ll fire any employee that doesn’t try to quit smoking … that’s the palatable spin. Since they followed up that news with the fact that they’ll be doing random drug testing for nicotine, they should just say they’re going to fire anybody who smokes.

This policy isn’t really about smoking. While it may sound like a conspiracy theory, it’s really a test to see just how much power big business has to control their employees. Today they’ve chosen smoking, tomorrow they will fire all the red haired, fair skinned people. They have delicate skin and it’s more expensive to treat their sunburns. This policy is testing the ability to strip citizens of their rights.

Today it’s smoking, if they get away with it, tomorrow it could be our right to practice whatever religion we choose, or our right to own property. Unchecked, we are destined to repeat our most hideous pages of history. An employer has the right to control the environment in his workplace, they don’t have the right to control what I do at home.

September 29, 2006 at 6:34 am 19 comments

Rationalization

I walked to the day job today. Unusual for me, but my reason was compelling.

1) As a conscientious citizen I felt the need to save a days gas and oil, and decrease the ozone depleting exhaust from my car.
2) Ever health conscious, I decided I needed to work some junk off my trunk.
3) Always a social creature, I wanted an opportunity to say good morning to my neighbors and shop keepers along the way.
4) It’s pouring down rain and my convertible is leaking, therefore I had to leave it parked and under cover.

Isn’t it amazing how we can rationalize our way to reaching whatever conclusion we want?

September 28, 2006 at 12:08 pm 9 comments

When I’m 64….


I can distinctly remember thinking 40 year old people were ancient (then I turned 40 and got smart). The Beatles considered anyone 64 on deaths door. What do you think you’ll be doing at age 88?

I interviewed this lovely 88 year old lady today who is the driving force behind the Zane Trace Players, a community theater group. They are currently in rehearsal for the musical version of Cindrella, which means the cast is mostly kids. She produces and directs the show, makes all the sets, helps with costumes, lights, advertising, ticket sales… where in the world does she find the stamina? If someone wouldn’t have told me she was 88, I’d have placed her easily in her 60’s.

Because people in my family seem to pass away young (60’s and 70’s), I like meeting people older than that. I’m one of those concrete people who’s rarely sick, my kids tell me regularly that I’ ll live forever. A daunting thought, so I seek out really old people to see what they do with their time. The secret seems to be staying busy. The oldest guy I ever knew died at 100. At 96 he was still recording clerk for the county. Still driving at 98, but he probably shouldn’t have been, we all knew when we saw his cadillac coming down the street to leap out of the way and take cover!

September 27, 2006 at 5:46 pm 3 comments

Fighting Fall

My goodness, what’s up with blogger today? Slow…. This pretty picture from my friend Waldo, could be last year, could be the year before.

It’s fall, that strange time in Ohio, and other places I’m sure, in which you dress for the day in multiple layers. Tank top, sweater, jacket, parka for the morning. By lunch you’re down to the tank top and then you start putting it back on a piece at a time until you’re eating dinner in your down filled coat. Not being a native Ohioian, I refuse to dress in layers. My twisted brain truly believes that if I just keep wearing my flip flops and sandals, summer will not leave. I’m not the only one like that in my town. Two of our three postal workers have a competition to see who wimps out and switches from shorts to pants first. I’ve seen one of them delivering the Christmas Cards in shorts before. But then, a day like today…

It was so cold this morning I couldn’t even get the dog or cats to get up with me. They stayed curled up in the quilt against Pap’s back no matter how much I poked and teased them. I had to defrost the windshield on the car before I left, dodging the kids in coats racing for the bus stop that’s across from the house. It was cold enough on the day job that we turned on the furnace, first time since May, so we’ve had that burnt lint smell floating around. It wasn’t until mid-morning, when I was huddled against the back door in a sunbeam (smoking, shhh… you didn’t see me write that) that I gave up trying to hang on to summer. I heard the honking first, and then the V-of geese flying south.

September 26, 2006 at 1:29 pm 12 comments

Some Funny Things for Monday

Dr. John posted today on the value of laughter. Since he’s a wise man, and I agree totally, I found some funny stuff to share today. This joke was sent to me by my friend Waldo Schmidlapt, and then again by Library Lo, so it’s GOT to be funny.

A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after work cocktail with her girlfriends when an exceptionally tall, handsome, extremely sexy middle-aged man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not take her eyes off him. The young-at-heart man noticed her overly attentive stare and walked directly toward her (as all men will). Before she could offer her apologies for so rudely staring, he leaned over and whispered to her, “I’ll do anything, absolutely anything, that you want me to do, no matter how kinky, for $20.00……on one condition.”

Flabbergasted, the woman asked what the condition was. Then he replied,”You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words.”

The woman considered his proposition for a moment,then slowly removed a $20 bill from her purse, which she pressed into the man’s hand along with her address. She looked deeply into his eyes, and slowly, and meaningfully said….

“Clean my house.”
**********
While I was surfing around yesterday, killing time while a book was printing, I found this new blog that just cracked me up: http://smhootnnanny.blogspot.com/

September 25, 2006 at 5:18 pm 9 comments

A Diamond in the Rough

Every publisher’s dream is to stumble upon a book with bestselling potential. To pick a manuscript from the submissions list, start reading and see a Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or Ian Rankin like story unfolding.

With unsolicited manuscripts flowing into the big publishing houses like flood water, they have no choice but to find reasons to reject books in order to narrow their search. Bad formatting, bad grammar and sentence structure… these kinds of problems in a manuscript make it easy to reject it.

But if you’re a small house like ours, a shack really, a lean-to against the garage… you dream of the diamond in the rough. A writer like Zane Grey, pictured here. From 1910 until after his death in 1939, Zane Grey was the bestselling western author of all time. He wrote over 90 books, about the west, about fishing, for kids, adults. The man was a writing machine. There is a reason they say behind every great man there’s a woman, and Zane’s was called Dolly. Here is (as Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story:
Zane’s great success permitted him to have homes in Ohio, California and other places. He travelled frequently and on a trip to California he came up with an idea for a new book. In his usual prolific way he whipped it up and mailed it off to his agent. Sometime later the manuscript was returned to him with a scathing letter from the agent chastising “the imposter” trying to imitate the great Zane Grey. That is when Zane found out that the rest of his manuscripts had been retyped and corrected by his wife Dolly.

What nobody can take away is the fact that Zane Grey was a great storyteller. That he was not always so into proper format, punctuation and spelling can be forgiven, that’s what editors are for. These diamonds in the rough are the author’s my publishing house is hoping to find. Not that we aren’t doing cartwheels when a manuscript like Sandra Ruttan’s “Suspicious Circumstances”, or Theresa Leighton’s “Last” come our way – good stories backed up by professional presentation, but we read everything just in case that next brilliant storyteller isn’t so worried about the rules of the game.

September 24, 2006 at 3:39 pm 11 comments

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