Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

I just want to thank you all for visiting and commenting during the past year.  It's been fun sharing things with you.

Wishing all my friends a 

Joyful and Blessed Christmas,

Happy Holidays

of every kind,


 the Best of Everything in 2012.

Merry Christmas.

(No groaner today.  Consider it my Christmas gift to you.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Hump Day - and Head To Maria's

Happy Hump Day.  I'm over at Maria Zannini's DIY Christmas today sharing a family favorite recipe.  Hop on over and check it out.  Leave me a comment so I won't feel lonesome.

But I can't leave you without a little something to help you over the hump so here's a sign of the times.

This is the story of the Nativity - electronic style.

Have to toss this one in, too. 
Finally, a Microsoft Windows message we can use.

Have a happy hump day.  Don't forget to stop by Maria's

Groaner of the Day: A guy goes to his dentist for a checkup.  After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?"

"Well, the only thing I can think of is... my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it - Hollandaise sauce, she called it - and doctor, I'm talkin' DELICIOUS! I've never tasted anything like it.  So for the past four months I've been putting it on everything...meat, fish, toast, vegetables, you name it - I'm eating it with Hollandaise sauce!"

"That's probably it," replied the dentist. "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as though I'll have to install a new plate, but made out of chrome this time."

"Why chrome?" the man asked.

"Well, everyone knows that there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

(I'm so sorry.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Better Late than Never?

Okay, this isn't exactly Monday morning, but it's still Monday so I'm not officially late on this post.

Actually I have three pretty good reasons for being slow posting today. 

First, I'm still working my way through all the great posts and comments from last Friday's Deja Vu Blogfest.  Finding lots of new and interesting blogs as I go.  (Hi to all my new friends.)

Second, I took some time this morning to drive a couple of my grandkids to a local family homeless shelter.  The kids had sorted through their "pre-loved" toys and stuffed animals and set aside several bags to give to the children who were spending Christmas without a home.  A good reason, don't you think? (Yeah, I was proud.)

Third, I was up until 3:00 this morning doing my annual search for pictures for my Christmas letter. (Yes, I'm just now writing the letter, so you see this post is not the only thing I'm behind on).   This would seem to be an easy task.  I'm a regular shutterbug, especially with the family, so there are lots of shots to choose from.  But therein lies the problem.  Which pictures best reflect everything the family has been up to all year?  And then there's that other issue - God forbid I end up with more of one kid than another.  This is serious stuff.

Serious stuff I should have been doing several weeks ago. (Darn home improvement project.)  So I'd better get back to it.

What do you think?  Christmas letter material?
 How about you?  Ready for Christmas or frantically scrambling?  No doubt which mode I'm in.

Groaner of the Day: Two men were out hunting in the woods. One of them was a fanatical huntsman. The other was his friend, a peaceful nature loving fellow who didn't really want to hurt anything.

They had been out in the woods for some time when they picked up the tracks of a deer. They soon caught up with it, and it was easy to tell why the animal had been so easy to track.  The deer had been injured and obviously could not see out of one eye.

The hunter started to take aim but his friend begged him to stop.

"It just wouldn't be fair," he said.  "Can't you see that's a bad eye deer?"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest Presents:

Yea!  It's December 16 - Deja Vu Blogfest Day.

I've got to admit it was interesting, wandering through my past blogs, hunting for the one I wanted to re-post today.  I've only been blogging about a year and a half  (a little over a year as Linda Leszczuk and the last four months as LD Masterson) so there was no ancient history involved.  No gems to be found in the first few months and then we had a run of family losses that cast a shadow over most of last fall so I starting finding more posts of interest in early 2011.  This one is from March 7. 

I know more authors who have gone the self e-publishing route since I wrote this but I'm still very much on the fence.  What are your thoughts?

By the way, the groaner is also from the original post.

 As Clear as Mud - The New World of Publishing

It's There is a line in the long running play Chorus Line, spoken by a young dancer, which goes something like, "Don't tell me Broadway is dead. I just got here."

Sometimes I feel a little like that. I finally have the chance to throw myself full time into my life long dream - that of seeing my book on the shelf of my local bookstore - and all I hear is bookstores are dying and good old fashioned books aren't far behind. The reality of the future is the e-book.

I'm trying to adjust. I have a Nook. It's not my favorite way to read but I do use it. And I know several authors who have books out that were published in e-format only. It's a legitimate form of publication. But hope springs eternal and I'm still hoping to someday see my words in print. Old fashioned print...on paper.

Unfortunately, everything I'm reading these days says the sad state of the brick and mortar bookstore is impacting the publishing world as well. With less store shelves to fill, publishers will be publishing fewer books, especially from new and mid-list authors, and many may be published in e-format only. Also, publishers are expecting authors do to more self-promoting and marketing these days. This is leading a lot of authors to consider the option of self-publishing online. Cut out the middle man (the publisher) altogether. Increase the author's profits.

I see the logic in it. But to me the whole idea of "being published" has always meant someone, a professional in the publishing business, thought something I wrote was worth publishing. That was a biggie. Even if it wasn't a best seller (hey, we're talking dreams here) I would still be able to say, "Yes, I had a book published." Putting it out there myself would feel a bit like selling my work at a garage sale because it wasn't good enough for a store.

I have concerns from a reader's perspective as well. When I go into a book store or a library looking for something to read, I know I'm choosing among books that some professional editors/publishers thought were good enough to print. Will I always agree? Of course not. But I will have a baseline level of expectation. If I'm shopping online in a sea of self-published books, how much time will I have to waste separating the carefully crafted novel from sloppy first draft someone threw together and figured was good enough to put out there? If this becomes an issue, will e-book sellers offer readers the option of shopping for "published" e-books only and, if so, what would that do to the self-published market?

Lots of questions. Very few answers. What are your thoughts?

Groaner of the day: A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree 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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Hump Day - Ho Ho Ho

Happy Hump Day!

My apologies for not posting on Monday but I was off line due to the carpet installers. Now I'm in the process of moving everything back into my new "office".  Trying to establish order amidst choas.  I'm not there yet.

Something a little different this week, in keeping with the season.  This is a wonderful video of pre-school and kindergarten students explaining the story of the Nativity.

Wasn't that great?  That should help you over the hump.

I'm enjoying lots of Christmas concerts this week.  Fourth grade choir and seventh grade band (back to back) on Tuesday and seventh grade orchestra on Thursday.  If that doesn't get you in the mood for the holiday, nothing will.

Speaking of Christmas music, here are a couple questions for you - which do you prefer, modern or traditional; and what's your all time favorite Christmas song (include the artist if you have a preference).

In place of today's groaner, I want to share a true funny.  Conversation at my son's house involving Dad, Mom, Daughter G, and Son C:

D - Who has a favorite Christmas carole?
M - I like The Little Drummer Boy.
C - I like Jingle Bells.
G - I like the Dreidle Song
D - Um, G, I know you learned that song at school for the holidays but that isn't really a Christmas song.  That song celebrates the holiday of Hanukkah.
G - Huh?
M - You remember, that's the Jewish holiday where they light the menorah, the special candles, to remember-
C - [breaks in] I know!  I know the song you sing when you light the special candles.
D - You do?
C - Sure. [starts singing] Happy Birthday to you...

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Happenings at Maria Zannini's

Whoa! Where is my head these days?  On Monday, November 24, I told you about a great upcoming blogfest I found over on Lydia Kang's The World is My Oyster, but I forgot to post the logo/link on my sidebar.  It's there now.  This is a one day event, happening on December 16, so there's still plenty of time to join in.

Now for the bigger oops - I totally missed announcing the start of Maria Zannini's Christmas blog series, Do It Yourself Christmas. 

Maria's lined up a great series of guests who are posting on Christmas food, crafts, and traditions.  Even better, many of the posts include special giveaways.  What more could you ask for?  It started Wednesday so you'll want to go back and catch them all.  My contribution will be posted on December 21.  It's a recipe my family has loved for generations so I hope you'll come by.  The link to this one is also on my sidebar so you won't forget.

Is everyone getting ready for Christmas?

Groaner of the Day:  An enterprising journalist decided to get the scoop of the day by photographing the fearsome phantom that lived in the spooky old mansion house at the edge of town.

When he entered the house, armed with only his camera, the ghost decended upon him, moaning and wailing and clanking chains.

"I mean no harm; I just want your photograph," the journalist said bravely.

Surprisely, the ghost liked the idea and posed for a number of shots.  The happy journalist rushed back to his darkroom and began developing the photos.

Unfortunately, they turned out to be so underexposed that the ghost couldn't be seen.

The journalist was so distraught, he went to a local pub to drown his sorrows.  Some friends happened by and asked what was wrong.  With a sigh, he told them,

"The spirit was willing, but the flash was weak."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Hump Day (back on schedule)

Okay, today we have an all puppy collection.  I'd love to claim credit for the captions but they were already on the pictures when I received them.

Happy Hump Day, my friends.

What?! I didn't.....I....I was just thirsty.


Go on - tickle me. You know you wanna.


Heh heh heh. I went through your bag, man, and I found this little bag of green stuff. So I totally ate it. Awesome. Heh heh heh.

Why don't they want [sniff] to play with me?

My apologies to all you cat lovers.  Some Wednesday I'll do an all-kitten post.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Groaner of the Day:  A botanist was trying to research some details about a particular kind of fern, the braken variety.  He sent a request to all his collegues, asking them to send him any information they had about it.

Unfortunately, he didn't word his request very well and all the botanists he'd contacted thought he was looking for details about any ferns, rather than just the one species. So within just a few hours, his fax machine was churning out piles of useless documents about all kinds of ferns - there were tree ferns and wood ferns, ostrich ferns and cinnamon ferns... but very few about the particular type he wanted.

In desperation, he sent another message to everyone asking please...

if it ain't bracken, don't fax it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Knowing Who to Root For

Have you ever watched Harry's Law?  It's a TV show about a quirky group of lawyers staring Kathy Bates (the first reason I started watching it) and set in Cincinnati (the second reason). 

Last week's episode had a couple legal cases that made me glad I wasn't on the jury of either one.  One was a couple of parents taking legal action against their son's school after he died from injuries recieved in a high school football game. Their stand was that football is too dangeerous and should be banned.  Ridiculous, huh?  Until a number of recent studies were sited that showed the long term brain damage associated with playing football, especially with young players, even if no serious injuries were ever diagnosed.  Harry's closing argument was that she personally loved football, it's part of our culture, but...if medical studies prove the sport is far more dangerous than it was believed to be, should our youth still be allowed to play?

It was a good, thought provoking, not-sure-which-way-I'd-vote, kind of show.  I like those.  That is, I like those kind of stories on TV.  But for some reason, I don't like them in books.  When I'm reading a book, I want to know who to root for.  I want to know who the good guy is, or which is the right cause.  Maybe a little uncertainty for the sake of suspense, but I want it clear at the end.  I don't want to come away from a book thinking - you know, I would have been just as happy if the other guy had won, got the girl, whatever.

Maybe reading a book requires more emotional investment so I want a definite payoff.  I'm not sure.  How about you?  Do you want a story to have a clear cut right and wrong?  Is it different for TV verses books?  What about movies?  Do you want to know who to root for or do you like more gray and less black and white?

Groaner of the Day: William Penn, the founder and mayor of Philadelphia, had two aunts - Hattie and Sophia - who were skilled in the baking arts. One day, Penn was petitioned by the citizens of his town because the  bakeries in the town had, during the Revolution, raised the price of pies to the point that only the rich could afford them. 

Not wanting to challenge the bakeries directly, he turned to his aunts and asked their advice. When they heard the story, the two old ladies were so incensed over the situation that they offered to bake 100 pies themselves, and sell them for 2 cents lower that any of the bakeries were charging.

It was a roaring success. Their pies sold out quickly, and very soon they had managed to bring down the price of all kinds of pastry in Philadelphia.

In fact, even to this very day, their acheivements are remembered as the remarkable -
Pie rates of Penn's aunts.

(think Gilbert & Sullivan)

Thursday, December 1, 2011 After Hump Day

Okay, I'm still way behind. My computer is now on the floor, as am I at the moment, while I relocate the desk.  I haven't visited anyone's blog this week - please forgive me - and I missed my Hump Day post.

I haven't had time to dig up some good pictures for you so I offer this instead. I'll bet some of these strike a chord.


1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

8. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

9. Bad decisions make good stories.

10. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

11. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection ... again.

12. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

13. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

14. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

15. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day.  What a waste.

16. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

17. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

18. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid " routing option.

19. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

20. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

21. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

22. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

23. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent an a ** from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

24. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

25. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

26. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

27. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

28. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my behind everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Disclaimer:  Not all of the above reflect the opinion of the management.  But most of them...oh, yeah.

Don't give up on me, I'll be back to visiting you all again soon.  Promise.

Oh, one picture for you.  Yesterday, I was wondering why the birdfeeders in my yard were all unoccupied.  Then I spotted this guy. 

He was at least a foot tall, sitting directly above a finch feeder, waiting for lunch to fly in.  Beautiful, but I still went outside and suggested he try somewhere else.  Wish I could have gotten a picture of him flying off.  Awesome wingspan.
Groaner of the Day:  A mother skunk gave birth to twins, whom she named In and Out.

One day In was out, so she aked Out,"Out, go out and find In. In's out and I want him in."

"What?" said Out.

"In's out and I want him in. I've been looking for ages and can't find him, so I want you to go out, Out, find In and bring him in."

So Out goes out to look for his brother In, and within seconds of leaving, he comes back with In in tow.  His mother asks, "Out, how did you find In so quickly?"

"Easy," answered Out. "In stinkt."