Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best Laid Plans

This morning I decided to put the blog on hold for a week or two so I could get caught up with other things.

I guess those other things will have to wait.  I'm leaving tomorrow on disaster assignment with the Red Cross.  Shelter duty somewhere on the east coast.  No chance I'll be posting from there so I'll be offline for a few weeks.  Take care.

Going Offline for a Bit

I hate to do this, but after trying to get by with short and/or late posts for the last couple weeks, I'm going to admit I need to shuffle some priorities and just go off line for a week or two. 

I'll continue to pray for all our friends who have been struck by Sandy and I wish everyone else a Happy Halloween and good luck to those doing NaNoWriMo.

As Arnold once said..."I'll be back."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sights of the Season

Hey Gang.  TGIF

 No time to write much today. I've got out of town company arriving tomorrow and I am so not ready.

Instead, I offer these sights of the season.

Of course, there's football...

with cheerleaders...

and the marching band.

Some scary faces for Halloween.


All against this beautiful backdrop of color.

And, yes. all these pictures (except the tree) include one of my grandkids. This is why I'm often late with my blogs.  *grin*

So, what are your plans for the weekend?

Thought for the Day:

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hump Day Potpourri

Happy Hump Day

Here's our regular Wednesday post to get you over the mid-week hump and on your way to the weekend.

First, a computer tip you might find useful.

Next, a little video to get you energized (or maybe really tired).

What?  Isn't that how you warm up in the morning?

Okay, let's finish with a joke. 

Non-PC-Correct Alert!!!

My husband is Polish so naturally all his friends send him Polish jokes.  He loves them.  This morning he sent this one to me, and since I've been carrying his name all these years and have spent half my life trying to convince people it's not a typo (yes, Z-C-Z...), I'm claiming the right to share this one.

Milo and Stosh are standing on the 18th tee at the Polish Country Club. They are the final twosome in the Club Championship and are tied for the lead. The 18th hole is a beautiful par four with a deep valley descending down to a dogleg right.

Both Milo and Stosh hit long, straight tee shots which disappear down into the valley. A short time later, the fore caddie (also a Pole) appears at the top of the hill and announces that both balls are within a foot of each other, but there's a problem. Both of the golf balls are Titleist #4s.

Milo and Stosh look at each other and realize that they had not informed each other as to what kind of ball they were playing, nor its number.

They quickly descend into the valley and, sure enough, their two Titleist golf balls are right next to each at the bottom of the valley in the middle of the fairway.

Stosh looks at Milo and says, "We had better get a ruling from a tournament official to straighten this out. This is the championship and we don't want to be disqualified for hitting the wrong ball."

Soon after, a rules official appears and examines the two #4 Titleist golf balls. He then looks up at Milo and Stosh and says,

"Which one of you is playing the orange ball?

Oh, come on.  You know you laughed.  Or at least chuckled.

Now don't get all upset, I didn't forget your "aw".

What animals could teach us about friendship and acceptance if we'd only pay attention.

That's it for today.  Hope something here helped you over the hump and onto the downhill slide to the weekend.   Did you have a favorite?

Groaner for Today:

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar.  It was tense.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Big Brother is Alive and Well and Living in Your e-Reader.

I read George Orwell's 1984 back in the 1960s when I was in high school. The whole concept of Big Brother was disturbing but not too difficult to dismiss as impossible.  After all, this was before personal computers, cell phones, the Internet, and e-readers.

Now we have a TV show, Person of Interest, with a similar premise - that someone is always watching - and it doesn't seem quite so unbelievable anymore.

When I first started shopping on line, I had a terrible time giving out my credit card information.  How could it possibly be secure out there?  Now, of course, we put almost everything out there.  Financial data? Sure.  Medical information? No problem. Social gatherings? Absolutely.  Let have them on line.

But there was still the illusion that we were in control. If I entered my banking information on line, that was my choice. If I wanted to shop on line - knowing my purchases would be tracked and used for marketing purposes - well, that was up to me.  If I purchased books for my e-reader, I knew those purchases were recorded in a file somewhere so someone could look up my reading preferences, see what I liked to read.

But how about the way I read?  Could someone watch over my shoulder and see how fast I read a story?  Where I stopped?  What pages I re-read? If I skipped to the end of a mystery to see whodunit?  I mean, once I purchased a book for my e-reader, what I did with it was no one's business but my own, right?

If you believe this is true, you need to read this story in the Wall Street Journal, WSJ: Your E-Book is Reading You .

Does anyone else find this just a bit terrifying?  Or am I too old-school?

Funnies for Today:

Do you find Windows error messages annoying?  How about these soothing Haiku alternatives?

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

Stay the patient course
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that.

With searching comes loss
and the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Facebook - Professional or Personal Page?


I'm trying to make a decision and looking to you all for input and advice.

A few years back I set up a personal Facebook page. My motivation was simple - that's where my sons were posting pictures of my grandkids.  I used my whole name, Linda Masterson Leszczuk, so friends from high school could find me.

Next I started hearing/reading about social media for authors - we needed an "author" Facebook page, separate from our personal pages.  At the name I was still vacilating about an author name - should I go with my own or something a little easier to spell/pronounce/remember? So I set up a second FB account under Linda Leszczuk and created a professional/author page with "aka LD Masterson" in the title.

That worked fine for a while.  I had Friends on my personal page and was getting Likes on my author page and there was a fair amount of overlap on the two pages.  Then I goofed up somehow and FB spun off a personal page under the Linda Leszczuk account.  So now I have a personal page as Linda Masterson Leszczuk, which I use; a personal page as Linda Leszczuk, which I don't use but keeping getting friend requests on; and a professional page as Linda Leszczuk aka LD Masterson, which I've sort of given up on while I decide what to do. 

Since I've made the move to LD Masterson for all things author related, I think my best option here is to close the Linda Leszczuk account and open one as LD Masterson.

Now here's my question:  Should the new page be a personal page with "Friends" or a professional page with "Likes"?  I have a lot of authors as friends on my LML personal page and their pages seem to be pretty evenly divided between the two types.  

If you're a writer (pubbed or not-yet-pubbed), do you have a Facebook page?  Is it a personal or a professional page? Why did you choose that one (pros and cons)?  If you're not a writer, do you visit writers' Facebook pages?  Do you like visiting one kind of page over the other?  Why?

I'd really appreciate your input on this. You know what a pain setting up anything in Facebook can be. I'd like to get it right this time.

Have a great weekend.

Funny for the Day:

My Living Will -

Last night, my kids stopped by and were sitting in the living room when I said to them, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my beer.

They are SO on my poopee list ...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In the Beginning

Happy Hump Day

Last Wednesday we had some laughs courtesy of our senior citizens.

(Yeah, yeah, I know I'm one of those.)

This week I'm going back to the beginning...we're going to look at - and laugh with - babies.

I'm going to be honest here and admit I've got to put this post together in a hurry.  Just found out I'm going out of town first thing in the morning. But I think there are enough laughs packed in these two videos to do the trick.  If you need an extra boost, watch them twice.

If you can listen to these guys and not join in the laughter...well, then you're at work listening on headphones. 

This guy does a solo but you've got to love this giggle.

Admit it. You laughed, didn't you?

 I'm staying with my baby theme for your "aw" picture, too.  If you don't feel an "aw" right away, take another look that the expressions on these two faces.

Did you make it?  Over the mid-week hump? Excellent.
My work here is done.

Okay, I've gotta run.  I'm leaving early and will be gone all day so I'll be a little late coming around to visit, but I'll get there.

Quotes of the Day:

Did you know babies are nauseated by the smell of a clean shirt? - Jeff Foxworthy

“Babies don't need a vacation but I still see them at the beach. I'll go over to them and say, 'What are you doing here, you've never worked a day in your life!” - Stephen Wright

“Fo' Gawd, Miss Scarlett! We's got ter have a doctah. Ah- Ah- Miss Scarlett, Ah doan know nuthin' 'bout bringin' babies. -Prissy” ― Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind

Monday, October 15, 2012

Controversy and Social Media

A few weeks ago, an e-mail group I belong to got into a discussion about authors including personal information and/or opinions in their social media. The discussion was primarily centered on Facebook, although the issue carries over to other social media such as blogs, Twitter, etc.

Most everyone agreed that posting a little personal information - mentioning pets, children, hobbies - could be a positive thing. Readers enjoy getting to know an author as a person.  But the group was split on the subject of authors expressing their opinions on more controversial or divisive subjects, i.e. religion or politics.

Those who thought authors should refrain using their social media as a "soapbox" reasoned that doing so could antagonize half their potential audience, resulting in lost readers. One pointed out that, as authors, our social media sites were places of business and therefore not the proper setting for presenting personal opinions. 

It was also noted that a better place to express our opinions was in our writing (stories, books, etc.) where controversy could actually boost sales.

Others felt that, as artists, we had the right or even an obligation to speak out.  A few said they liked having a social media platform to express their opinions on all kinds of issues.

Overall, those not in favor of expressing personal opinions on controversial issues outweighed those in favor about two to one.  I was in the majority on this one. I enjoy sharing personal/family items but I keep my opinions on heavy social issues off my blog.

What do you think? As authors, what should be the role of your social media sites?  As readers, do you want to know how authors feel about controversial issues?  Would it impact your interest in their work?

An offshoot of this group discussion was the question of personal vs. professional Facebook pages.  That will be the topic of my post next Monday.

Quotes of the Day: (some differing points of view)

"If you're going to say what you want to say, you're going to hear what you don't want to hear.” 
― Roberto BolaƱo, The Insufferable Gaucho

"Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.” ― Mark Twain

“When we have to change an opinion about any one, we charge heavily to his account the inconvenience he thereby causes us.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

“It’s a fact that you’re going to have a different opinion or view on certain topics or issues. You need stand your ground by sharing your view.” ― Michael Barbarulo: Author God's Healing Hands: Allow God To Reshape Your Soul

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Get It From the File


Yup, I'm late again today.  The workman were back this morning and threw my schedule off.

Well, sort of.  I asked the nice workman to look at a problem with our sliding patio door. It's a double pane and there was liquid pooling between the panes. He determined there was a leak in the seal - a factory seal so, no problem, it would be covered under the warranty.  All I had to do was pull the paperwork from when we purchased the door a couple years ago.

Uh huh.

I want to point out here that my husband and I are both reasonably intelligent professionals.  He's a financial analyst who has tried to retire several times only to be talked out of it by his supervisors who think he's walks on water. I ran a successful IT department for two decades before I retired a couple years ago. 


It's not like we don't try.  Every year or so, we sit down and try to re-organize the family files - bills and receipts, financial statements and insurance policies, medical records and home improvements, warranties and manuals - a place for everything, all organized and clearly labeled.  Then we need the paperwork on a leaky door and it's nowhere to be found.

I did find the warranties for three phones, a clock radio, a CD player, and a microwave oven, none of which we still own.  And there were complete records from the vet on the dog we lost two years ago (God bless his little heart).  But nothing on the sliding door or, for that matter, on the new front door we had installed at the same time.

I'd like to blame my husband. After all, this is a home improvement receipt and that's his department. But...I am the one who's spent untold hours the past month searching for my missing digital recorder (with all the notes for my next book on it) and the only thing I found was the gold cross I'd spent untold hours searching for the month before.

So, anyway, that's how I spent my morning.  Searching in vain for the warranty papers on a very expensive door with a factory defect. I'll go back to hunting shortly, and when hubby comes home, we'll probably hunt together.  Maybe we'll get lucky.

Until next time.

How about you?  What's your home filing system? Nice neat, everything-at-your-fingertips?  Loose papers stuffed randomly in a drawer?  Somewhere in between?

(You know, I never had a problem with my files at work.  Maybe I can blame my husband.)

Hope you all have a great weekend.  See you Monday.

Quotes of the Day:  It is better to have filed and lost than not have filed at all."  ~ Masterson

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Getting Older - Hump Day Funnies

Happy Hump Day

A friend of mine (you know who you are) recently referred to my husband and I as "old geezers". Evidently she hasn't heard that sixty is the new forty. Or the recycled fifty. Something like that.

Anyway, I decided to devote today's Hump Day post to the joys of old age. Some of you kids (twenty and thirty somethings) might not fully appreciate these but I guarantee my older followers are going to enjoy a good laugh.

First, a wonderful video by the very funny Pam Peterson on Memory.

Hmmm, this one's on memory, too:

Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down, looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly I realized, I must have left them in the car. Frantically I headedfor the parking lot. My wife, Diane, has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Her theory is that the car will be stolen. As I burst through the doors of the church, I came to a terrifying conclusion. Her theory was right. The parking lot was empty.

I immediately call the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen. Then I made the most difficult call of all, "Honey," I stammered. I always call her "honey" in times like these. "I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen."

There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard Diane's voice, "Ken," she barked, "I dropped you off!"

Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, "Well, come and get me."

Diane retorted, "I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car!"

This vid by George Younce is on another joy of aging.

This one just made me laugh.

An old man, Mr. Goldstein, was living the last of his life in a nursing home. One day he appeared to be very sad and depressed. Nurse Tracy asked if there was anything wrong.

"Yes, Nurse Tracy," said Mr. Goldstein, "My Private Part died today, and I am very sad."

Knowing her patients were forgetful and sometimes a little crazy, she replied, "Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr. Goldstein, please accept my condolences.

The following day, Mr. Goldstein was walking down the hall with his Private Part hanging out his pajamas, when he met Nurse Tracy.

"Mr. Goldstein," she said, "You shouldn't be walking down the hall like that. Please put your Private Part back inside your pajamas."

"But, Nurse Tracy," replied Mr. Goldstein, "I told you yesterday that my Private Part died."

"Yes, you did tell me that, but why is it hanging out of your pajamas?"

(you gotta love this...)

"Well," he replied, "Today's the viewing."

I was hunting for a good "aw" picture in keeping with today's theme but didn't come up with one.  Hope you like this one instead.    

It worked for me.

Okay, that's it for today.  Hope you all (young and old) found enough smiles, chuckles, LOLs to get you over the midweek hump and on the downhill coast to the weekend.  Did you have a favorite?

Senior Thoughts for Today:

I was thinking about how a status symbol of today is those cell phones that everyone has clipped onto their belt or purse. I can't afford one. So, I'm wearing my garage door opener.

I also made a cover for my hearing aid and now I have what they call blue teeth, I think.

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

(Personal note: Welcome to my newest follower.  Hi, Sweetie.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

This is Embarrassing

Hi. This is a bit embarrassing but I'm deserting my blog buggies two blog days (for me) in a row.  A crew of workers who've been cancelling and re-scheduling on me for months showed up this morning ready to rip out and re-build. Chaos reigns.

Happy Columbus Day to my friends here in the U.S.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in Canada.

Congratulations to grandson Cooper's football team on their upset win to move forward in the playoffs.

And a gentle thought for dear Eleanora, my mum-in-law, who left us two years ago today.

We miss you, Mama.

Hope everything is going well for everyone and I promise I'll be around to visit as soon as I get things here under control.  (Or sort of under control.)

Quickies for Today:  (No, I'm not getting kinky.)

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Love You, But...

Hey blogging buddies.  I know Friday is supposed to be a blogging day for me but my beloved spouse decided to take the day off and has offered to help with whatever overdue house or yard project I'd like to work on.  Can't waste this opportunity so no blogging or blog following for me today.

Have a fantastic weekend and I'll see you on Monday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Time for Canines (Happy Hump Day).

Happy Hump Day.

Running a little late this Wednesday.  Lost several hours on the phone with tech support with an e-mail problem.  Blech. And spend time last night at a book signing with the Deadly Divas: Denise Swanson, Marcia Talley, Sara Rosett, and Heather (Webber) Blake.  Fun. Then I got home and found my grandson had taken over my computer to do his homework.  Groan.

So here I am, finally ready to offer some smiles to help you over the mid week hump and on your way to a fun-filled weekend.

Last week I picked on the felines so this week I'm giving equal time to the canine side.

Ever feel like you were in the wrong bed?

Don't you wish you felt like this?

I thought this was funny - one dog sitting on another...

But I guess it's just a dog thing.

Every comment I come up with for this just isn't appropriate.

You know these guys really want to bite someone.

And, of course, the "aw" picture. I love this one.   
Notice who has the pacifier.

Okay, hope that did the trick. Feeling over the hump?  Going to make it to the weekend?

Did you have a favorite?

  Idle Thoughts for Today:  (I might have thought these while I was waiting on hold with e-mail tech support.  Or maybe not.)  

I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

I went to San Francisco. I found someone's heart. Now what?

Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

If the world were a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

What is a "free" gift? Aren't all gifts free?

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home, and when he grows up, he'll never be able to merge his car onto the freeway.

Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

My weight is perfect for my height -- which varies.

How can there be self-help "groups"?

Is it me--or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thirty Eight Years Ago

It was supposed to be a plant party.  Really. Plant parties were all the rage in southern California in the 70's. But it was actually a surprise baby shower, for me.  It was a little late for a shower - I was nearing the end of my ninth month - but my friends discovered I never had a baby shower for our first born, courtesy of the Air Force moving us cross-country in the middle of my pregnancy, and they decided I needed one.

Everything was set.  My hubby Stan, who was taking evening classes toward his Masters degree, was starting a new quarter that night.  A friend was picking me up for the party and her husband was going to stay with our two year old.  Just before his class, Stan called to make sure everything was okay.  Remember, no cell phones back then.  I told him I was fine and I'd see him after the party.

Ten minutes after his call, I went into labor.

I called the hostess to let her know I'd was skipping the party without going into exactly why.  She whined and complained about all the other people who had cancelled out and laid a major guilt trip on me, trying to get me to come.  I didn't realized I was the guest of honor. In self-defense, I explained my labor had started.

I called my friend and cancelled my ride, but let her husband know we'd probably need his babysitting services later that night. Then I settled down to wait for my husband.  I wasn't doing this without him.

For the next three hours I dealt with an endless stream of calls from friends insisting I let them take me to the hospital. A couple showed up at the door.  They were panicking.  I was fine.

At 9:30, Stan came hone and wanted to know why I wasn't at the 'plant party'.  I handed him the notepad I'd been tracking my contractions on.  

"Okay, I'll call Art (the babysitter).  Let's go."

"But Rhoda's coming on."  Does anyone remember Rhoda?  I loved that show.

Well, Stan was bright enough to realize you don't argue with a woman in labor.  He told Art to arrive at 10:00 and I watched Rhoda...with a short interruption for heavy breathing every three minutes or so...while Stan dealt with the girls at the plant party who had decide not to let the wine and refreshments go to waste just because I wasn't there (especially the wine) and were calling for continuous updates.

Finally, the show was over and I waddled out and got into the car.

About four hours later, at 2:17 a.m., October 1, 1974, Matthew Alan made his grand entrance into the world. 

This is my favorite baby picture of Matt, sitting in his brother's lap when he was eight weeks old.  He was bright and happy and had a deep throaty giggle I can still hear when I see this picture.

Now he's a wonderful husband and father, as well as our beautiful son. 

Happy Birthday, Matt.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, we did have the baby shower, a couple weeks after he was born.  They didn't try to surprise me.

Quote for the Day: I still can't figure out why he gets the presents today.  I did all the work. ~ LD Masterson