Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How About a Little Happy Hump Day?

Hey, remember those two short stories I was telling you about last week? The one I re-wrote four times and the one the popped into my head, intact and ready to go, a couple days before the deadline?

Guess what. I haven't heard back on the multi-version one but the other was accepted!!

My short story "Picture Perfect" will be included in the anthology Day of the Dark, a collection of stories to celebrate the total solar eclipse coming this August, edited by Kaye George, and published by Wildside Press.  Boy, I'm sure glad I got that submission in under the wire. 

So let's celebrate Happy Hump Day style - 

with a couple of funnies.

Do you remember the famous Olympic skier Picabo Street (pronounced Pee-Ka-Boo)

Well, Picabo is not just an athlete. She's is now a nurse currently working at an Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital. But she's not permitted to answer the phone at the nurses' desk. 

It caused too much confusion when she would answer the phone, "Picabo, I.C.U." 

I know. I'm sorry.

But what's better than kids and church...

A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon. 
"How do you know what to say?" he asked. 
"Why, God tells me." 
"Oh. Then why do you keep crossing things out?"

One more...

After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother,
 "Mom, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up."

"That's okay with us," she answered, "but what made you decide that?" 

"Well," said the little boy, "I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, 
and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit still and listen." 

Yeah, I feel that way sometimes.
(Oops. Don't tell my Pastor I said that.)

Last week's post ran on forever so I'm going to cut this one short and go straight to your "aw".

Would you share your sunny spot with this little guy?

Yeah, I said it, too.

Okay, that's it for today. Just some sillies to get you over the hump and coasting toward the weekend.

Did you have a favorite?

Have a great week and I hope to see you next Wednesday.

Thought for the Day:

I went to the Air and Space Museum...but there was nothing there.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Tale of Two Short Stories

As most of us do, I made great plans for the start of 2017.  First, there were two anthologies I wanted to submit stories to, both with deadlines of January 31. One had to involve murder and travel. The other had to include some kind of eclipse. I didn't have any bright ideas for an eclipse story but murder and travel seemed easy so I tackled that one first.

I came up with a nice murder with my killer trying to get away with a piece of expensive jewelry. My plot wove around him getting through airport security by hiding the jewel in an animal carrying crate that was going on the same flight. And I added a fun twist of making the animal in the crate a goat - who ate the jewel. I was in the polishing stage (polishing the story, not the jewel) when my goat advisor (hi Maria!) informed me that the goats eating metal was an old wives' tale and they really don't.

Hmm. Scratch one short story.

No worries. I made some adjustments. The goat became a dog. The airline became an Amtrak train. My killer would retrieve the jewel from the crate in the baggage car. I wasn't quite finished with this one but it was coming together nicely when I went to check something on the Amtrak web site...and discovered they don't allow animals in crates in the baggage car.

Well, poop.

Fine. Scrap the animal angle. Now the murder takes place in a nursing home. I'll have a snow storm. Everyone's snowed in. He's stuck there with all these police investigating the murder and searching for the missing jewelry.  I came up with a clever (I thought) way for him to get caught. Alleluia. It works. Just got to fine tune it and send it in. No animals. No Amtrack. I had written the travel element out of the murder and travel story.


Back to square one. New setting. New characters. New murder. No jewelry. Definitely some travel. I fired it off to my critique group with time to spare. Well, time for that story. I had pretty much given up any thought of writing the second one. Remember, the one with the eclipse?

Friday, January 27. I'm on my way to my grandson's bowling match and an idea pops into my head. An eclipse story. I grab my trusty digital recorder and dictate the whole thing. I like it. But my weekend is booked solid and the deadline is Tuesday. When am I going to write it? 

Monday morning found me at my desk, typing like mad. By that afternoon, I had it posted on my crit group site along with some serious begging for anyone who could take a quick look. While I waited, I did the final format and polish on the travel story and sent it in Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, four of my wonderful crit partners came through with their usual quality input and I did a bunch of serious editing. When all was said and worked. I liked it. At 10:37 on January 31, I hit send on my second short story.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I didn't get back to blogging in January as promised.

As for the past couple weeks - I've been down with the flu. But as John Astin used to say on Night Court, I'm feeling much better now.  (Let me know if you get that reference. I guessing most of you are too young.)

Okay, I've got one quick joke for you.

In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the fortune teller delivered grave news:
"There's no easy way to tell you this, so I'll just be blunt. Prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year."

Visibly shaken, Laura stared at the woman's lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her hands. She took a few deep breaths to compose herself and to stop her mind racing.

She simply had to know.

She met the fortune teller's gaze, steadied her voice and asked,
 "Will I be acquitted?"

(I love that one.)

 And I couldn't forget your "aw".

Yeah, I know you said it. (Those eyes. Those eyes.)

One other note...
I have to wish my grandson Cooper a very happy sixteenth birthday today.

 Love ya, Coop.

So how about you? Ever have a short story fight you tooth and nail? Did you recognize the Night Court reference? How has 2017 been treating you so far? 

Interesting Fact for Today:

Q.... What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers have in common?

A... All were invented by women.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas from Whoever (Whomever?)

I'm still wrestling with my Google identity crisis but I can't let this week go by without a Christmas post, no matter who Blogger thinks I am today. 

This comes to you from LD Masterson (and hopefully, Blogger will agree).

It's been an up and down blogging year for me. More down than up. I disappeared to play catch up, got lost in a couple "his and hers" hospitalizations, and now I've got my mish-mashed accounts problem. So I'm just going to post this today, visit as many of you as I can over the holidays, and start fresh in 2017.

My Christmas gift to you is my favorite Christmas video -
The Silent Monks
(yes, I know the window runs over but if I shrink it, you can't see the image as clearly)

And after the laughs, if you'd like a less comedic version, here's one of my favorites .  
Peter, Paul & Mary with the New York Choral Society.

And now
Our stocking are hung...

the Nativity scene is on the lawn

and I'm wishing you and yours

Merry Christmas,
Happy Holidays,
and a
Wonderful 2017.

See you next year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Not Feeling Thankful for Technology

There are a lot of things I'm thankful for this week. After a couple health scares, my hubby and I are both doing well. All our kids and grandkids are fine and we'll see them on Thanksgiving. We have a nice home, good friends, and a strong church family. I've even had some luck recently getting my short stories published. All good stuff.

What I'm not so grateful right now is technology.  Everything seems to be fighting me. First there's Google, who in its infinite wisdom has decided to merge my LD Masterson blog account with my Linda Leszczuk personal g-mail account. Lately, when I log in using my ldmasterson email (not a gmail address) it tells Blogger I'm Linda Leszczuk and wants to identify my blog comments that way.  And if I try to sync my phone to my personal account to upload photos, it dumps all the images that have ever been on my blog down to my phone.

Yesterday, things got worse. I also handle the e-mailing for our church disaster response team. That gmail account was set up originally by a guy named Dan and is only used for maintaining an email address list and sending messages to the team. Yesterday, I left a comment on my blog and Blogger attached Dan's name to it. I have no idea why.

Then there's my phone, which won't play nice with my computer. All I want to do is transfer photos from my phone to my Windows PC.  But when I connect the phone, it immediately tries to upload my photos to Dropbox. Unfortunately, the only Dropbox account I use is for exchanging file with my crit group and they really don't want to see all my family photos. So I downloaded the software that's supposed to let Windows talk to Droid devices. The software sees the phone okay but insists the phone is locked and wants me to unlock it. Problem is my phone isn't locked. Arrrgh.

Bottom line - I have some issues to deal with and they're all going to wait until after this holiday weekend so I will probably be off-blog next week while I try to sort it all out. 

In the meantime, for all my friends here in the States, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and for everyone else, have a great week. 

And here are a couple of my favorite Thanksgiving sillies...

By the way, if anyone knows who to disentangle Google accounts, I'll take all the help I can get. Thanks.

Take care, everyone.

Thought for Today:

 Ain't technology grand?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Return of the Groaner!

Hi. When I first started blogging, I used to include a "groaner" (a.k.a. a bad pun) in each of my posts. It occurred to me that I haven't done that in a while. So today we celebrate

The Return of the Groaner!

Today's post will be all puns (except for the pictures).
Are you ready to groan? 
A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy. 

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes. 

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist. 

I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now. 

I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me. 

Well, I guess this picture is a pun.

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. 

A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption. 

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery. 

A hole has been found in the nudist-camp wall. The police are looking into it. 

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

 This one isn't a pun. 
I just picked it because my book group meets tonight and I haven't finished the book.

 Okay, let's finish up with a slightly longer one. 

A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him.

Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest and writers cramp. 

Oh, that one even made me groan.
Let's get to your "aw".

Look at that face.

You know you said it.

That's it for today. Too many groaners at one time could be dangerous. Did you have a favorite? Which one was the big grooooan?

Have a great weekend. See you next week.

Question for the Day:

Why do we call a double-vee a double-u?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Veterans, Marine Birthdays, Tweets, Publications, and Funnies. Whew!

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and, as always, I want to recognize those in my family who served their country so faithfully. 


My uncle George Masterson, US Army  
My uncle Leslie Masterson, US Army
My father Frank Masterson, US Army Air Corps

Korean War

My uncle William Masterson, US Army

Vietnam War

My cousin John Masterson, US Army
My brother Frank L. Masterson, US Army

My husband Stanley A. Leszczuk, US Air Force, ret. (20 years) 
By the grace of God, all of them came home,
 although some carried wounds that never completely healed. 

But today is also a special day in the military. It's the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps. I've never paid a lot of attention to the Marines. As you probably noticed, our family was Army and Air Force. Until this summer when my eldest grandson Drake enlisted in the Corps (deferred duty until he graduates from high school).

Drake graduates at the end of May and reports for boot camp the following week. I am extremely proud of him (and a little bit terrified). 
Happy Birthday to the United States Marines. Oorah.

If you check out my sidebars (go up a little), you may notice a couple additions. First, I've become a tweeter. Or whatever you call people on Twitter. I'm just getting started and still trying to figure out how I'm supposed to keep up with that steady flow of tweets. #overwhelming  If anyone has a tip or two, please share. And I'd really appreciate it if you'd follow me on Twitter to help me get started. I'll return the favor, of course. I'm @LD_Masterson. 

Now to the right, you'll see a link to New Zenith Magazine's Fall Issue. If you were happen to purchase New Zenith's Fall Issue and turn to page 44, you would find the fantasy short story "The Dragon" by yours truly. New Zenith Magazine is a relatively new publication but they put together an interesting assortment of stories, poetry, and art. Something for everyone. Check it out. 

Okay, you've been patient long enough. Here's your first funny.

A sweet old lady telephoned St. Joseph’s Hospital. She timidly asked, “Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?”

The operator said, “I can, what’s the name and room number?”

The old lady in her weak voice said, “Norma Findlay, Room 302.”

The operator replied, “Let me place you on hold while I check with her nurse.”

After a few minutes the operator returned to the phone and said, “Oh, I have good news, her nurse just told me that Norma is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back as normal and her physician has scheduled her to be discharged on Tuesday.”

The old lady said, “Thank you. That’s wonderful! I was so worried! God bless you!”

The operator replied, “You’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?”

The grandmother said, “No, I’m Norma Findlay in 302. No one tells me sh*t.”

You remember why I can tell little old lady jokes, right?

I have been trying to lose weight. Think this would work?

Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Running a little long today so let's get to your "aw".

The eyes. Oh, look at those eyes. 

That's all for today.  A little short on the funnies but I hope I gave you a giggle and an aw.

Do you have a special veteran you'll be thinking of tomorrow? 

By the way, thanks for all those great captions for Buster's picture last week. I do have a prize to give.  I tossed the names of everyone who offered a caption into a hat and did a blind draw. I know, I have to learn to use the electronic winner picker.  And the winner is (drum roll please)...Mason Canyon.

Mason gets a digital copy of New Zenith Magazine's Fall Issue. 

Mason, will you email me at lin[at]ldmasterson[dot]com to receive your prize?

Thanks, everyone. See you next week.

Thought for Today:

When you're feeling insecure, remember - you're comparing your ordinary days to everyone else's highlight reel.  (Or Christmas letter.)