Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just Read, Enjoyed and Marveled at "The Jim Dilemma" by Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua

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The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn by Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua




My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As a long-time Mark Twain aficionado (white, 58, grew up in a very white world in the Pacific NW), I was very taken with this book. I was out of the loop about "the controversy" re: the Jim character and whether or not Twain was a racist. The book was a real eye-opener for me in that regard. Now I want to poll my African-American friends and discover what they think of the novel -- and if they don't love it every bit as much as I did, I will refer them to Chadwick-Joshua's book if they regard Twain as a racist or Jim as an Uncle Tom!


Not once during reading THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN did I discern a racist attitude in its author. I twitched and twisted ruefully as Twain carefully revealed racism as it existed during the times in which the novel takes place (pre- and post-Civil War) but attributed it to his acute observation of people, places and his times, not to his own (contrary)belief system.


Of course he saw racism. As a child living in Missouri, he probably saw little else: it was all around him, even in the pulpit. (Even to this day, Sunday religious observances are reportedly "the most-segregated hour of the week" in most churches). But just like Huck Finn, the more often Twain was exposed to the African American slave plight and to slave-owners as a youngster and teenager, the more he recognized the attitude and behaviors for what they were.


I think Chadwick-Joshua does an exemplary job of peeling back the layers of Twain's book and exposing exactly what he was trying to say during a time when most folks really didn't want to be educated out of their biases and presumptions. He had to tread a mighty fine line. He had to show what the prevailing attitudes were, both north and south, and the inherent dangers of changing one's mind or allegiance during that period in America history.


I always felt that Jim was the hero and that Twain "channeled" him very well, so that readers would be carried -- willingly or not -- into admitting to themselves that slavery was far more than a "peculiar institution," -- it was Perdition to those who had to endure it. And Twain shows, too, that Reconstruction was no picnic, either... not that any year since then has been particularly jubilant for the African American until November 4, 2008.


Both books (Chadwick-Joshua's and Twain's) belong in every library. Yes, it hurts to see what has been done to other fellow sojourners in our country, but it's also instructive. Those who want to push away the history that we all wish hadn't happened, by banning Twain's most enduring legacy as a writer, are misguided at best. I hope those who feel negatively about THE ADVENURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN or Mark Twain will read this tome and then re-read Twain's book. The insights you'll discover will open eyes in the way Twain intended.


Jim is a hero. Always was to Twain -- always will be to me.


Bravo, Jocelyn!

Disclaimer: Hey, I don't kow if providing links to Amazon and these books makes me an Affiliate marketer, but if it does, here's my notice about that fact. I'm supposed to announce it according to new rules and regs... so I'm announcing it! This means that if you click on any of the books from my website and order the book, I get a small percentage as an affiliate...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Yeah, I Know... Where Have I Been?

I've been sister-chauffeuring and enjoying a long holiday weekend with her grandkids, son and wife. I also went to a movie that I LOVED: Invictus.  I plan to go see Up in the Air and The Blind Side, too, before the week is out.

I'm also rethinking whether to keep this blog going. I'll give it another couple of weeks to see if more people sign on as followers. If not, I may invite you all to a new blog I'm thinking about, but it will be copywriting-related, and there will be a monthly or yearly charge (not much) to access it, since it will be teaching interested parties how to write riveting copy (ads, articles, slogans, tag lines, newsletters, fliers, brochures, blogs, etc.) for their businesses and other venues.

Keeping up a blog is a helluva lot of work, and unless the time spent writing one regularly is paid for, it's too much time used frivolously.  But since I'm not in the habit of charging people to keep up with my doings, personal and professional, I'm not thinking of doing that with this particular blog. I'm more just thinking of updating it on the rare occasions when I actually have something to report that's worth the time it takes me to put it down and the time it takes you to read it. Time is valuable and no one should lay claim to another's time unless it's for a pretty significant reason. This has been my way to connect with far-flung friends and fans, but we have email and phones for that...

So if you'll feel lost and bereft without this blog and haven't signed on yet as a follower, now is your chance to vote with your fingers and BECOME a follower.  If I get 50 followers in the next two weeks, I'll feel encouraged to keep going on this more than just occasionally (at least once a week); if not, I think I'll invest most of my blogging time writing a blog that brings in some money while it helps people learn to reel in and keep the people who can mean the difference between success and failure in their businesses -- their customers: past, present and future.

You, too, might benefit from the new blog if you own a business. If you don't, when it's up and running, you may want to tell others about it who do own businesses.  That would be super!

Let me know what you think of this plan. Hailing frequencies are now open!

Thanks!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Yellowstone -- PBS Documentary Brought Back Memories

I just watched PBS's "Christmas in Yellowstone."  It brought back a lot of memories and made me realize that I have to go back again this spring, summer, fall, or winter.

In one segment, a female grizzly gave birth to two cubs during hibernation. That reminded me that, when I worked with the Animal Protection Institute (API) in 1981-1985, one of my first assignments was to meet a "courier" from Canada who was bringing two female grizzly cubs to Montana to have them turned loose in Yellowstone Park. Their mother had been shot and killed in Canada (where grizzlies aren't endangered). The original plan was to euthanize the two cubs, but API negotiated a deal that allowed us to get them and take them to Yellowstone (where grizzlies are endangered species) and release them there to bolster the ability of the remaining grizzlies to procreate without inbreeding.

I met the courier from Canada in Kalispell, Montana after driving from Eatonville. The two cubs were still small enough to fit into large plastic canine crates. I remember looking at the cubs and the crates that would airlift them into the back country. I noticed that one of the crates only had three (or maybe four) bolts holding it together (as opposed to the six or eight it was supposed to have). No one else noticed that but me!  I mentioned it to the guys (there were six Fish and Game and fire service folks out that day, engaged in the project) and they, rather sheepishly I thought, agreed that it was probably a good idea to secure the crate better before they hauled it aloft beneath a helicopter!  I was mortified, thinking that if I hadn't been there and noticed the precariousness of the crate, API's "rescue" operation may well have become a grizzly drop from several hundred feet.

Watching the PBS program tonight, it occured (poignantly) to me that the she-bear I was watching give birth might well be one of the cubs I helped rescue and release -- or the cub of a cub we released back then.  I think grizzlies live beyond 25 years, if I'm not mistaken-- that is, if they aren't killed by illegal hunting.  I got a little misty, thinking that way!

One of my earliest memories is of Mom and Dad driving us to Yellowstone and seeing Old Faithful and lots of black bears, bison, moose, raccoons, eagles, skunks and other wildlife. The trip doubled and trebled my lifelong love of the environment, wilderness and the creatures that share out world with us. One of my books, LET NO DAY DAWN THAT THE ANIMALS CANNOT SHARE certainly speaks to my passion in this area.  I need to get a new edition of it out -- this time strictly as an e-book -- and put down many more of my experiences with wild ones. I bottle-fed and released two fawns whose mothers were killed during the eruption if Mt St Helens in 1980. I rehabilitated and raised another fawn that had fallen into an irrigation canal in Cle Elum in 1965 or '66. I've rescued, rehabilitated and released hawks, small birds, skunks and raccoons as well.

While at API, I also helped rescue and release hundreds of beavers from a beaver farm that had gone bankrupt before the powers that be could make arrangements to have another beaver ranch take them and pelt them out.  We're taking families of beavers -- males, females, and youngsters, all of whom had been raised in small cement dungeons with a "stream" of water running through their pens so they could jump in and keep their skin in good shape.  Yes, what we did was entirely legal -- we weren't being unethical in the least -- we were just staying one step ahead of any other decision that would cause the beavers more grief.  It worked. 

And of course I raised Deaken, a serval kitten, from the time he was just a few days old until he passed away at 17...  So I have a lot of stories that remain to be told.

The Yellowstone documentary brought it all back to me.  It occurs to me that if I go wireless I can work from anywhere in the country I want to... and if I can do that, I can travel to these marvelous places and find even more to write about.

I may need a grant to get me going, but they're available if I can find out which ones offer what I'm looking for and hoping to do.

With a wireless PC, a digital camera and a tape recorder, I could really be getting things done!  Worth thinking about!

Does anyone else want to travel to Yellowstone with me this year and share expenses?  Let me know!  I need to put a date on it, or it'll never happen. And it needs to happen!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

T'is the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The only thing stirring
Is my keyboard and mouse...

Well, that's not exactly true. Jackie is in her half of the abode preparing a breakfast casserole and cursing her temporary disability. She can only stay down for so long before she has to charge around on her knee skateboard (or whatever you call it) and do stuff.  One week of being crippled up is about her limit... don't tell her she has a week and a half to go before she gets a boot she can walk on.

Phil, Wendy and the kids have been here two evenings making cookies and fudge; tonight they're at church and then at Wendy's Aunt Donna's until later, then they'll come here -- as will a number of other  folks (all four of Jackie's grandchildren and their parents)-- to spend the night. I don't know if the overflow will stay in my living room, but they're welcome to, since I inherited Jackie's couch with the double recliner a few months ago when she got new furniture.

We'll be up at the crack of dawn (about seven) if we can keep the kids down that long.  We usually manage to get up before they do, for some reason.  (When we were kids, we were always up first!)

I've ordered a bunch of used books (on writing and other subjects) -- wintertime causes me to become a bookworm, since I can't be outdoors much...

But the weather today was so warm at one point that I went outside with the pups and pulled up my pant legs and sweatshirt sleeves and soaked in some rays from the sunshine.  This is insane warm weather for this part of the hemisphere. I don't recall sunbathing on Christmas Eve before unless I was in California, Louisiana, Georgia or Florida!

I even saw a dozen or more robins yesterday, and at one point our back yard was filled with other birds.  And I've seen squirrels and woodpeckers. Unheard of, for this time of year, up here!

My Elance clients have gone silent until Monday, and all but two of them are completley wrapped up, so I'll check for and bid on more projects over the long weekend, but I'm taking Christmas off. Totally. Completely. Absolutely.

I hope you do, too. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Counting My Blessings...

Not long ago -- I think around Thanksgiving time -- when I was dog-sitting not far from home, I spent about 35 minutes just writing down as many blessinsgs as I could think of.

I was amazed.

I ran out of time long before I ran out of blessings, and I was bunching up a lot of them: i.e., I was being thankful for my friends (in aggregate), my family (in aggregate), my pets (ditto), my home, health, job, PC, health, faith, government, country, church elders, military, sense of humor and fun...

It just all came in a flood!  It was pretty amazing. 

Now suddenly here we are, approaching Christmas, and I'm still feeling completely blessed. It isn't that I'm rolling in dough or that we're out of the woods yet, but I can tell it's coming. A better day lies ahead. I haven't felt this way in YEARS, but have felt this groundswell of hope and promise all year long, and that's what keep me putting one foot in front of the other and keeps me smiling on most days.

I hope your Christmas is warm, inviting and filled with love.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self-Promotion is Embarrassing for Shy Types Like Me...

I wonder how many people are laughing their fannies off right now?

It's true. I'm shy. I've learned not to look or act shy when I'm out and about -- and I genuinely enjoy most of the people I talk with -- but my gregariousness is an effort.  I was super-gregarious as a very young child, but it was shamed out of me by the time I entered kindergarten. I became adept at being "seen and not heard" when among others outside my family members and very few close friends.

My shyness trips me up every time, in private and in public. If I'd just become a little more self-revealing, it would benefit everyone. But I always think, "Who needs to know anything more about me?"  And my knee-jerk answer? "No one, really."

I mean, I offer a blog, I've written five books, I do blogtalkradio and other radio interviews whenever I'm asked. All of these venues reveal my interests, passions, and concerns... so I figure that anybody who wants to know more about me has ample opportunity to find out, without me shamelessly (or, in my case, what feels like shamefully) promoting myself!

So I need a publicist. I certainly fall very far short in this vital area!

I blew a perfect opportunity yesterday -- didn't even think of it until I got home! -- to sell a few books.  Same thing happened two weeks ago.

I was asked to read something at two different Christmas parties. Both were well-attended. At yesterday's gathering, there were probably a hundred people in attendance. At the first one, there were at least 60. That's 160 people I touched but did not pursue!

Yesterday I read They Call Me Walrus Woman from Floating Around Hollywood and received a warm, enthusiastic response and some quick positive comments as I blasted out the door on my way back home to resume my sister-sitting duties.

It didn't even occur to me to add, at the end of my presentation, "If you want more, you can find my books at kristinemsmith.biz!" It would have taken all of six seconds -- but I just didn't think of it!!!

I'm hopeless as a self-promoter.

So that's why I often ask you more gregarious types to do for me what you'd do for yourselves if my books were your books.  Maybe there's even a way for you to sign on as Amazon Associates and link to my books so that whenever anyone buys them from your sites, you'd get 15%.  I'm all for that -- I just don't know how to make it happen for you, or I would!

If you're a De fan, a TREK fan, an animal aficionado, a lover of humor, or a Christian, or if you need an exemplary copywriter -- or if you know others who share these passions or need a good writer -- let them know about my books and my business/books website (http://kristinemsmith.biz/).

I certainly can't do this alone without getting an Intestinal Fortitude  Makeover which, at my age, is highly unlikely.

So I really, truly, do need your help to get the word out.

I'm down on one knee. Please? Pretty please?

All I need is a foot in the door. I can do the rest. It's just the introduction and the "invitation to interact" that I need to put me into motion. I'll always show up and do a good job.

I might even remember to mention my website link if I'm forced to do it often enough!  You just never know...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quick Update...


Jackie's surgery went great -- thank you so much for your prayers. She has had much less pain than she was told to expect. Today is supposed to be the "worst" day before things start getting better, pain-wise, and I can tell she's hurting today, but she says it's less than she expected it would be. She takes a pain pill and an antihistamine every four hours -- up until today she was taking them every 5-6 hours. The antihistamine boosts the effect of the pain pill and makes her drowsy, so she sleeps when she takes those. That's the best way to get through the uphill part of any post-surgical procedure...

I went to another CFAN Christmas party this morning -- was asked to read something -- so I read THEY CALL ME WALRUS WOMAN from my book Floating Around Hollywood and my new Christmas poem. Our friend, Carol Beitz, watched Jackie while I was away. They wrapped Christmas presents while I was gone.

By the time I got back, I could tell Jackie was hurting. She returned to a recliner and has been there ever since, trying to sleep. I massaged her good foot for 30 minutes; that helped a lot, she said; the pleasure overshadowed the pain.

I hate seeing someone else in pain. I have a very hard time dealing with pain myself so when I see it on another's face, I sorta "feel" it with them. I try to think of ways to alleviate it as much as possible.

Another of Jackie's friends, Georgia, picked up a knee-based roll-about so Jackie can rest her recovering leg on it and push herself from place to place instead of having to use crutches. That has been a real godsend for her.

Anyway, other than that, I'm playing nurse and chauffeur for the next few days for Jackie. I'm reminding her when to place the ice pack under her recovering leg and when to take it out, when to take her pain pill and her antihistamine pill, and fetching her food whenever she gets hungry.

It is for times like these that we actually co-purchased a house and property -- so we can take care of each other when either of us has a malady or some surgery.

The doctor says she'll feel so much better when she's back in action. The snapped tendons "were a mess" and a tangle of blood vessels were being impacted, causing much of the pain she was having. She also had a bone spur that was removed. So she should be able to walk without pain for the first time in a long time. She still needs to get a bunion fixed, but the surgeon said he didn't want to do three things at once because the post-op pain would be too severe. I think today Jackie is very glad she agreed to his suggestion to leave it alone for now!

The puppies are doing well. I have to give them their final puppy shots tomorrow or the next day. I'm looking forward to having that over with so I don't have to "ouch" them anymore for another year -- except for when we have them spayed in a few more months.

Kiki is in seventh heaven with "her" puppies. She has been lonesome, methinks. She isn't anymore -- that's for sure! All three have so much fun together!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Snow...



We're getting the first snow of the season, but so far it hasn't amounted to enough to accumulate. We hope it doesn't accumulate, in fact, because I need to drive Jackie to the Baker Center tomorrow for her foot surgery and there are a couple of appreciable-sized hills between here and there. The forecast calls for snow north and south of us, but not much here.

I went to Bible study at church this morning. It's always SOOOOO good. After that, I had to come straight home because Jackie needed the vehicle to get the rest of her shopping done. (Her Mustang is in the shop for repairs.)

I bathed and groomed Buffy yesterday and Jansy today. Jackie bathed Kiki while I bathed and blew-dried Jansy, then we clipped the hair on their muzzles and their toenails.

I'm teaching the dogs to accept "toothbrushing" with dental wipes. I thought it would be a real struggle, but after the first two times, they decided it really wasn't worth worrying about, so they let me do it without too much dodging and feinting. Never thought I'd be the type of pet owner that brushed their pets' teeth but hey, if you start them young, it has to cut back on dental cleanings and gum problems, one would suppose... We'll find out!

Wendy just took Casey to an American Girl doll tea, so Jamie and her dad are having a nap, as is Jackie. I ought to be but I still haven't decided whether to write something for the Christmas gathering on Wednesday or read something from my book, PURPOSEFUL CHRISTIANITY, or read what I read at the Christmas party a week ago. I can't decide...

Did I ever publish, here, the Christmas poem I wrote a few weeks ago? Can't recall, so I'll do it now:


CHRISTMAS DAY
Small and mild
The Christ child
Has come to save the world.
Little fingers,
tiny toes
He's God not yet unfurled.
She'll watch him grow
But does not know
He'll free us from our past.
He'll live to serve
And speak God's word
And suffer at the last.
What had she heard?
An angel's word:
"You've found favor with God."
What could she do?
She followed through,
Assenting with a nod.
And because she did
We truly live
Engaged in joyful song.
For God's gift -- free --
A Son like He --
Was His promise all along.
c. Nov 24, 2009 by Kristine M Smith

Friday, December 11, 2009

FREEZING But Light at End of Tunnel



We've had to ask our contractor out to bolster the insulation in areas of piping that he put in earlier this year, 'cause they've frozen but haven't (thank God!) burst. That'll happen today and should make the vulnerable pipes all better. He's also running around rescuing other neighbors, friends and folks who have frozen or broken pipes. What a guy!

Jackie goes in for foot surgery on Monday. I drive her in at 8:00 am and either stay there for six hours until she can come home (surgery is at 10, lasts 60-90 minutes, recovery takes a while) or come home in between. That will depend largely on the weather. If it's treacherous, I'll stay right there so I have to drive less. It doesn't sound like it will be, though. (I may stay anyway. She's my sister, after all, and being nearby seems the right thing to do!)

She's having a bone spur taken off and a tendon re-atttached on her left foot. Please keep her in your prayers, as she has clotting issues and her meds have been reduced prior to surgery; will be reintroduced slowly for two weeks following surgery. People with clotting factors have greater risk of complications, so your prayers are very greatly appreciated!

The pups are doing fine. They may experience their first snow in the next day or two, so if they do, I will be sure to capture it on film so you can watch their antics.

I (shhh! this is a secret!) got Jackie a mouse pad with photos of Jansy on it. I hope it arrives this weekend so I can give it to her as a "get well" gift. It's on its way, so we'll see!

Can you tell I feel very confident that Jackie never reads my blogs? By the time she finds this entry, I may be dead and she'll get a smile out of it. (Not that I'll be dead, but that I was thinking of her and doing things behind her back PUBLICLY that she didn't have a clue about!)

My sister loves me but she is NOT a "follower." She doesn't need to be -- she lives one hollow core door away and gets enough of me every day! HA HA HA HA! Maybe too much!

Elance work has slowed down a little. I think everyone is focused on the holidays right now. There's still enough work to keep my head above water, so I'm all right, but I do get fidgety when I'm not writing, so here I am, writing to you!

Hey, it keeps me out of trouble -- out of the cupboards, away from shopping, out of the puppy pen...

I look pretty silly in the puppy pen, and until Buffy gets the message that pee goes outside, every single time without fail, the puppy pen is where she stays, unless I'm holding her in my arms. She won't pee in the pen -- asks to be let outside -- but if she runs around, she doesn't pay attention to the cue that she has to pee until she REALLY has to pee, and unless I watch her like a hawk, I miss the proper moment to take her outside.

It's so dry around here that almost everything I touch -- cat, blanket, shirt, coat -- sparks and shocks me. (The dogs seem fine -- no electrical discharges that I can discern when I touch them.) So for now the cats and I just appreciate each other from a distance -- interacting hurts them! Poor babies... Maybe I should run a static eraser (dryer sheet) over them... I wonder if that would be safe and healthy. Does anyone know?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BRRRRR!!!!!!

Okay, this is getting ridiculous...

The pipes in the garage froze last night, so we have a heat lamp and an oil heater out on the washer-dryer platform thawing things out so I can start the wash. I have to start the wash because Buffy peed on my bed last night.

It was my fault. She asked to go out (several little whimpers and warm body near my face), but I was half comatose and didn't respond in time. Good thing: we both would probably have been frozen to the grass outside had I taken her out there to pee!

Of course, I could have placed her on linoleum and let her do her thing -- it would have been far easier to clean than letting her pee on my bed -- but that would have given her "permission" to pee in the house. And since her output amounts to about a tablespoon, if that, I ... let her go on my bed and forgave her immediately. Not that I praised her, or anything! I just didn't pitch a bitch, since I was fully capable of waking up enough when she cried, and I "put it off" for too long... (The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.)

The Noriega radio visit last night was fun. There was only enough time after the reading for one question, which I pretty much blew, but the rest of it went very well. You can still listen to it, if you missed it, by clicking on the link that exists about five blog entries back...

A number of people who usually listen weren't available at the right time last night, so they'll be catching up after the fact and letting me know how I did. Lisa Hamner (De's new star polisher; she's an actor in Long Beach at De's old thespian stand) got to the program right on time and said I get better every time and that she thinks I should have my own radio program or start acting.

I wanted to act as a child and teenager, but being a professional writer is risky enough for me! Acting takes a lot of time, and probably a lot more talent than I have. For every minute someone spends on stage or on film, they spend hours and days preparing, being rejected, rehearsing, etc. etc. etc. I'm not sure the roar of the greasepaint/the smell of the crowd could compensate for that. As a writer at Elance, I spend significant time looking for projects to bid on, but I charge enough to compensate for that time. It rarely works out that well for actors. Not that I would ever discourage anyone from acting! It's an addiction, like writing. And people need what actors do: offer much-needed diversion from everyday trials and tribulations, offer hope, laughs, feelings... They're valuable , valuable people! My hat is off to every one of them -- especially Lisa Hamner and Alison Winter! If you're not familiar with Alison Winter's story, get my e-book about De, ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY. I hope Lisa will contribute to the next edition!!! (Hint, hint, Ms. Hamner!)

I should be getting a project or two at Elance today, but they haven't come in yet, so while I'm at loose ends, thought I should "catch you up" on the shenanigans from the cold, frozen, Arctic Pacific North-Wet -- er, North-Frozen!

God forbid we should lose our power at a time like this. Some people have up here... I'm praying for all of them and for the line workers who have to be out in this getting the power back on. I know a couple of them, too. Stalwart, hardy folks... who go out when everybody else rushes in to save themselves! I salute you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't Forget Tonight's Radio Show at 6:30 PM Pacific Time



I'm ready to roll -- my excerpts are picked and marked (thanks for your help!) and my one minute intro is written. I'm hoping to keep everything to under 10 minutes so there will be time to answer a few questions...

Let me know if you'll be listening in! Thanks!

The link to the show is a couple of blog entries down. (I can't get it to cut and paste into this blog --- grrr!!! ---- or I would.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Any Suggestions on Which Excerpt to Read Tomorrow Evening on Blogtalk Radio?



I'm going through my books trying to decide which excerpt to pull out and read during the radio visit tomorrow night. I have several favorites and don't want to repeat the one I read last time (in case the same listeners tune in, I don't want to bore them).

Do you have any ideas? Any particular faves? Let me know -- and if you know which page it starts on, let me know that, too...

I like the silly stuff a lot:

Dinner With the Kelleys (first real sit-down-and-chat session)

Request for Signed Photo from my "penpal" De

"Letter of Complaint" re: De calling me Krazy Kris at the L.A. Con

"Shambala Pachyderm Poop Plaques"

"Fake Star Ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" (We were there. Where Were You, De!?)


I could also step away from the books entirely and read my stand-up routine, 'HUSBAND HUNTING ON THE ENTERPRISE.'

Or read from FLOATING AROUND HOLLYWOOD:

Baywatch Wrap Party

The Oreo Cookie Affair

They Call Me Walrus Woman

When You Wash Upon a Star, People Think You're Quite Bizarre!

I dunno. I just dunno. I want to do something different... something exclusive... something I've never read before publicly. Most of all, I want to leave all the listeners wanting more, so they'll get a book or two.. and some for friends for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'll Be on Blogtalk Radio Again Monday Night at 6:30 pm Pacific Time

Calling all De Kelley fans! Roger Noreiga has asked me to spend fifteen minutes with him again on Blogtalk radio this coming Monday at 6:30 Pacific Time. I hope you can make it. We'll visit... I'll read a couple of excerpts... and after the visit I'll stay in the chat room to answer questions and send virtual hugs... so TELL YOUR FRIENDS right away!

Thanks!


http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ndbmedia/2009/12/08/kristine-m-smith-is-in-the-house

The call-in number is 914-338- 0314. Register beforehand so you can be seen and heard in the chat room or on the phone!

Jackie's Pup on the Run!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pups at Play -- ENJOY!

Buffy after a romp in wet grass
Jansy Airborne

Jansy in hot pursuit of Buffy


Jansy asking to be picked up




Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When Jansy Gets Wet... She Reminds Me of Yosemite Sam!

Isn't this hysterical?!!!

Hurry and take a look before Jackie freaks and requires me to delete this photo!

HA HA HA HA HA (Not really. She's a good sport -- because she agrees!!!)

Jansy has about the same rootin' tootin' attitute as Yosemite Sam, too!


Finally! Here They Are!

New Pups Jansy and Buffy
My puppy, Buffy, Close Up
These aren't the best photos -- the best ones are on Jackie's camera, I think, but she isn't home yet to download them and email them to me from her PC...
On Jackie's camera, I got a couple of photos of the pups in mid-air -- like popcorn! Hysterical! I'll post them as soon as I get them...
These are teacup poodle/shih tzu/Pekingese mixes...

Puppy Photos This Evening! Check Back!



I have taken some of the cutest puppy photos, but my camera won't download them to my PC! So I grabbed Jackie's camera and took some more. She says she'll download them to her PC and send me copies tonight... As soon as she does, I'll post them here.

Stay tuned! It'll be worth the wait!

I trimmed their feet, rear ends and snouts a little bit this morning, so I'll post a couple of the "trimmed" photos, too...

Gads, they have feet and leg bones line toothpicks, they're so little, and they're 12 weeks old!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Here I Sit, Bleary-Eyed...

For a person with a relatively high IQ, I can't figure out why I don't go back to bed.
I got up at 3:30 and let Buffy, Jansy and Kiki outside to take a leak/poo, setting off the two labrador retrievers next door, which set off their owners: "Bob, that's enough! Quiet down!"

...blush...

It would have been fine if I had just set them down and, in silence, waited for them to finish their lawn duty. But no, I'm in the habit of congratulating the puppies when they go out to potty. And it was Buffy asking me to go out that got me up in the first place.

Praising the puppies sets Bob off. He wants to be praised, too, and comes running to the fence, barking and wagging... to the displeasure of his sleeping owners.

Oops...

So I have to curtail my early-morning congratulations and just stand there and remain mute while the kids score a touchdown -- in doggy terms.

I didn't go back to bed after the dogs came back in. That was a mistake. I responded to Elance clients -- both of whom were very happy with what I'd written for them -- and took a bath, and fed the cats, and ate breakfast...

Now it's 7:45 and I feel like I've been clobbered by Mr. Sandman. My eyelids are heavy, my mind feels dull and feeble. The only things working are my heart, other autonomic anatomical functions, and my fingers.

I should really, really, really go back to sleep for a while. No one needs me right now... and later today I'll be bathing and clipping my ex-brother-in-law's dog Kokomo and going out to the store for a few items. I avoided shopping this past four-day weekend because I like to get through check-out lines in under 10 minutes whenever possible, and I very much doubt that would have been possible this past weekend.

Oh, drat... just remembered. The comforter for my bed is still in the dryer, so even if I decided to crash for a while, I couldn't... without freezing... unless I find a spot in the dog bed next to the upside-down, snoring puppies. Alas, I wouldn't fit...

Oh, well. At least you got a blog out of it! Such as it is.

I promise: I'm getting camera batteries TODAY so I can post puppy pictures for you to see. I know you're dying to see them... or you should be, dagnab it! It's your duty! Puppies are precious! Dogs are 'dorable. Cats are contagious. Fish are fantastic. Guinea pigs are guilty pleasures. Horses are... okay, that's enough alliteration for one paragraph. I'm afraid I'd have to call horses something R-rated in order to complete the thought as an alliteration, and this is a G-rated blog!

So I'll rest my case, instead of my bones, and see what other kind of mischief I can get into while my comforter dries...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bad Dreams and JibJab... and More on Buffy


Yesterday I posted some fun "starring you" cartoons from JibJab onto my Facebook page. You'd think that would have been the end of it, but I dreamed about it last night!

I tried a lot of JibJab options before choosing the ones I posted. I pasted my face into a caroling card alongside the faces of Obamas and Joe Biden. (I didn't see Dr. Jill Biden as an option, which is an extreme oversight on JibJab's part.) Decided not to use it because it looked like I was "replacing" Mrs. Biden in a White House Christmas card... and that wouldn't be kosher, even as a joke!

Anyway, I guess the juxtaposition really weighed on me, because last night I had a dream that I was somewhere at a big to-do when the Obamas and Bidens walked in! VP Biden came right over to me with his big grin and said he wanted to introduce me to his wife and the Obamas! I stood there thinking, "How do you know me?!?" but of course I nodded my agreement that I would like to meet them! (Maybe he reads my blog! HA HA HA... I hope not! But if he does, I beg him not to read the next part of this blog entry until he gets to the <<<<<< >>>>>!!!)

Unbelievable... The subconscious mind is a wonder... and at times a terror.

The dream morphed into a nightmare. There was a gunman in the crowd and as the First and Second family (adults only) scrunched together for a photo, I heard shots and lots of people went down. I dived (dove?) to the ground and pretended to be dead... The shots continued.... I didn't know if they were from Secret Service people or the gunman, so I stayed "dead."

Finally, I got up. I wasn't able to see who, if anyone, had been hit, but a young Chinese lady next to me was standing and looking over to see if she could discern who had been hurt. Trouble was, she was holding her upper leg -- she had a serious, deep skin wound that was squirting blood. I took her by the hand and led to where I thought there might be a first aid station. (That was the Warner Bros. emergency training kicking in.)

I found someone to help her just before she was ready to hit the desk from loss of blood, and then realized I should call my sister to let her know I was all right... in case the incident was on television by now and she knew I was attending the event.

In the dream, my cell phone became a giant, wind-it-up-with-a-crank thingy. It also had a combination -- kind of like a lock with a combination -- and I couldn't get it to work. People sitting near me were wondering why I didn't know how to dial my own phone -- they had identical versions and were doing just fine with theirs! (Translation: This entire situation was completely out of hand and I felt helpless!)

I decided I'd better walk home to let Jackie know I was okay, but I took a detour....

and on and on and on...

I prayed for the Obamas and Bidens, thought of their children and prayed harder, thought of our country and prayed even harder...

So my dream of meeting the Obamas and Bidens became a freaking nightmare. It was just awful. I can't say whether they were injured at all. It could be that the gunshots I heard were all Secret Service shots. All I know is that the nightmare left a very unpleasant taste in my mouth.

And I pray to God it's the ONLY incident of the kind that will ever occur in the lives of our nation's leaders. I've been concerned and fretful about assassination since even before Obama-Biden were elected. I guess it comes from being "a child of the 60's" and knowing how quickly a situation can change from smiles and hope to tears and fears.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Let's get off THAT topic and on to something more wonderful... Buffy!

Friday night was my first night at home after getting Buffy on November 24th, so she has slept with me for two nights now. She sleeps either beside me on a pillow near my neck or over the top of my pillow between the pillow and the headboard, so I know she's safe.

Last night she started making whimpering sounds, so I asked her if she had to go potty. Since she doesn't talk, I had to assume she said "yes"when she continued to whimper.

Sure enough, when I set her outside in the grass, she squatted immediately and did her thing, then ran a few more yards and went #2. I praised her to the moon and carried her back to bed.

Whimper, whimper. She wouldn't quiet down, and started licking my mouth. (In case you haven't a clue, this is dog talk for, "I'm hungry. Throw something up for me, will ya, Mom?")

So we got up again, and I got her some dry puppy food, wetted it a little bit, and then sat in a recliner with the kibble on my bathrobed chest while she scarfed down an entire handful of kibble. It took about three minutes.

We went back to bed and she feel asleep immediately.

She woke me at 7:15... whimper, whimper... wagging tail, puppy licks to my cheek.
Yep. She had to go again.

That's my girl.

I need to get some new batteries for my camera today or tomorrow. As soon as I do I'll take a few photos of Buffy (and her sister, Jansy, Jackie's pup) and put them here for you to enjoy...

Four Lakewood Police Officers Executed This Morning

This hits too close to home!

Four police officers -- three men and a woman -- were slain, execution-style, in a local coffee shop not more than five miles from here.

Just a few weeks ago, two Seattle officers were targeted, with one executed and the other injured. They apparently got the fellow responsible in that event, but it looks like we have a copycat on our hands.

He's a "scruffy-looking" black man in his late 20's or early thirty's. He was on foot after the shooting, so he probably isn't far away. The entire Tacoma police department is out looking for him.

What is going on?

The four officers were getting ready to start their day. They had their laptops open and were looking at them when the man came in, pulled a handgun, and opened fire. It doesn't sound like the officers even had time to react.

So now do police officers have to post someone on duty when they take "down time" to eat breakfast or lunch?

My heart hurts...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh! I Promised to Post Casey's Photo. Here T'is!


What can I say about being NINE?
Nine is awesome and mighty fine!
And what can I say about my dear niece,
Casey?
You are fun. You can get crazy.
(Sometimes you even get a little bit spacey!)
But one thing I'll say for super sure:
You're a delight and your heart is pure.
Watching you grow is a beautiful thing.
Hearing you laugh makes every day Spring!
Love you without limit, sweetie!
-- Auntie Kris --

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!


With deep, steep and wide dedication I've managed to get every one of my current Elance projects "put to bed" (at least for tomorrow). It has taken days and nights of work, but by golly, I've made almost a thousand dollars in the past five days. They've been great projects, too. If I could repeatedly make $1K every five days I would be one happy camper. Alas, opportunities like these are not all that frequent. It's kinda feast or famine, a writer's life is... but what better life is there, in all the world? I can't imagine a single one -- at least for me.

Perhaps the best/most fun news is that I was given an adorable new puppy. I've named her Buffy. She's 12 weeks old, a tri-color (at this point) miniature mutt; Peke, teacup poodle and shih tzu. Yes, she's the sister (litter mate) to my sister's new puppy. They look a lot alike but mine is slightly darker. Kiki (Jackie's other dog, age 3) is their auntie. *sigh* I haven't had a dog in eight years. It's going to be a blast...

Tonight and tomorrow night I'll be dog-sitting again for a neighbor's two dogs. I was there last night from 4 pm to 7:00 am this morning. It'll be the same tonight and tomorrow night. As I leave to dog sit, Jackie arrives. As she leaves in the morning for her workplace, I arrive from dog-sitting, so the new puppies have someone to take them outside to potty, and they're catching on fast. Hallelujah!

Tomorrow we'll both be here during the daytime, because Jackie has four days off.

I had every intention of working from where I'm dog-sitting, but my laptop connection with the Internet keeps warning me that if I open to the Internet, my laptop will be infected... so I'm not going to be working from there! It's okay. I usually don't work past 4 or so anyway, because I usually start around 6 a.m. Pacific Time.

Every year Jackie and Phil are among the gazillions of people who turn out at oh dark thirty to get the best Black Friday deals. If I wasn't dog-sitting, I'd be among them this year, but only fleetingly. Jo Ann Fabrics is selling the first version of the Cricut for $74. I just about wet my pants when I saw that. I've been eyeing them for years. But alas... by the time I get to JoAnn's, they'll probably be all gone.

It just means that God wants me to be doing something else with that $75.00. I'll live.

Grrrrrr...

I love making homemade cards and a Cricut would make it so much more fun.

But there's a new model out, so the prices will probably keep coming down on the first model...

We'll see!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY, CASEY McNIVEN!

I got up in the middle of the night thinking I'd write a poem and put it into a card to celebrate Casey's birthday. I found a particularly great photo of her (one I took last year that I don't think anyone else has seen yet) and put it on the front and back covers, with some additional words on the cover. It turned out REALLY GREAT! I can't wait to watch her unveil it this evening before or after dinner.

After she has, I'll post the photo here (just her photo, not the whole card). I just don't want to give it away ahead of time. Casey's mom and dad occasionally visit this blog. I want to stretch out the suspense a little...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Update...



Got back from Eatonville yesterday but have been "on call" all day just in case I needed to go back out there. I stepped away at 2:30 to get my hair cut; had to delay the earlier date (Thursday) because of the Eatonville stay...

I got a $500 project last night that has to be finished by Wednesday. I think it's about a third of the way done: I'm waiting to hear back from the buyer with his reaction to what I've created so far to be sure I've mirrored the style he wants. I also need to find out what style he wants for his auto-responder emails...

I landed another quick $50 project today, too (writing an inspirational message of 10-20 words for a t-shirt seller's tag), in addition to another project I'm also working on: four scripts for 60-second ads for a mortgage broker. I've completed the $50 project but the buyer liked what I came up with so much that he wants me to do more of it, so I'll initiate a REPEAT PROJECT or add on to the existing one and keep going on that till he calls a halt...

Yesterday I submitted the first draft of the 60-second ads to the buyer but he hasn't responded yet. It's the weekend -- he's probably pretty rushed weekends, in the business he's in, so I probably won't hear back from him before Monday. That's okay.

On the $500 project, I was surprised to learn that the buyer received three reputable bids... and mine was the highest... but he and his partner decided to go with me anyway because he liked my feedback at Elance and he LOVED my new website (
http://kristinemsmith.biz/).

That was my first official notification that my website actually landed me the job -- and it has only been up for three days. That's very gratifying. The Elance profile is truncated because of space parameters, so it has to be very "quick and dirty." With my own website, I have the space to really capture an idea and showcase it (as I did on the home page.) It makes a difference! That's good to know, because I set it up on a trial (30-day FREE) basis. It has already paid for itself for 3 1/2 years (at $9.00/month)! Guess I'll keep it when the trial period runs out, eh wot?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Update... All is Well...

My friend is out of surgery and did just fine. Thanks for all the prayers. Now please keep his wife in your prayers: I thinks she's battling the signature signs of swine flu! I'm keeping my distance and washing my hands a lot, but I could use your prayers, too, because I have a critter-sitting job most of next week and cannot afford to be laid up!

She's asleep right now, sitting up in a recliner because lying down stuffs her up too much. She's in the front room; I'm in the couple's den.

I've been following up on my Elance duties since getting back from the hospital a couple hours ago. There isn't much new to bid on today, but I have a lot of bids out there already and know that some of them will fall to me. (I've already been told that.)

I'm getting 22% of the sales and marketing projects I bid on, 12% of the Writing & Translation ones. Those are good averages. Of course, I bid on a lot more W&T projects than I do Sales & Marketing. In fact, the vast majority of the Sales & Marketing projects are "mis-filed" (in my opinion) and should be listed in W&T because they're landing pages, sales pages, PRs and other things that require exemplary writing.

The folks I'm staying with right now have a new dog -- an itinerant yellow lab who dropped in two weeks ago and hasn't dropped out again. My friends have an ad in the paper to see if anyone is looking for it, but so far no one has called. It's a young lab -- perhaps just over a year old, sweet as pie, as most labs are. A lovely dog. I wish I had the capacity to keep him (or her) if they don't find his/her owners, but I don't. I'm trying to remember that I'm nearing 60 and need to curtail critter-owning against the day when I'll be too stiff and/or fragile to care for them properly. Cats and dogs live up to 18 years -- some live longer. I may be in assisted living (or dead!) by the time a youngster pup or kitty gets old, if I adopted one now. But I've never been without a pet, so keeping my hands to myself in a pet store or where wee ones are sold or given away isn't easy. I satisfy myself with the pups Jackie seems to get like clockwork every few years...

Monday Jackie and I are going to lunch with our older sis, Laurel. We hardly ever see her. She's an attorney in a small town south of Olympia and keeps very busy. Self-employed people are like that -- yeah, they are! (I'm one of them these days, so I know!) It has been many months since we were together last, and it will likely be many months hence before we get together again. It stinks, but them's the berries!

Casey's ninth birthday is Sunday. Hey, I haven't heard a word about a party for her, so don't know what's going on there. Very odd. Perhaps it'll happen on Thanksgiving Day.

What else? Can't think of much else for now, so will close and see if I can catch a nap before dinner. Sleeping in a strange bed is not terribly restful. I did okay, but not quite as well as I do in my own.







Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Plans for the Day...

I'll be taking in a webinar at 11, then driving out to Eatonville (much later this afternoon, after Jackie gets home) to stay the night with a friend whose husband is having surgery tomorrow morning here in town. I'll bring her into Tacoma for the surgery vigil and probably come home during that time (or on the way back out to Eatonville, depending on how long the surgery takes and how in need of companionship she is) to let Jackie's dogs out (more on this in a moment) to poop and pee. After the surgery, I'll be back out to Eatonville overnight (Jackie will be back home for the critters by then) in case my friend gets a late night emergency call from the hospital. She's nearly blind and can't get herself to and fro, and the surgery will be a little dicey because of her husband's underlying health issues...

Please keep them in your prayers. It isn't normally a risky surgery, and is relatively easy these days (he's scheduled to come home Friday), so pray for the optimal outcome, please.

This is the same couple whose critters (three horses, three big dogs and three small ones) and home/property I oversee when they take a trip or a vacation. I'll probably be there again close to Christmas for a few days... but can work from there, so won't miss any work.

Oh, "the dogs." Yes, Jackie got another puppy! She hasn't named her yet because she's having a contest at work for a name, but the puppy is just a handful in size; ten weeks old, a combo of Peke, shih-tzu, poodle and ??? Jackie's other dog (full-grown, under 3 pounds, same mixed breed) is this puppy's "auntie." Auntie is black; the new one is tri-color right now but will probably be mostly blond by the time she's grown. I'm taking both of them outside about every 2-3 hours to show the new pup that her opportunities to play and pee/poop outside are plentiful, so she learns to wait for outdoor opportunities to relieve herself. She has been here three days and has only had a minor accident (a "wee" one), so she's on the right track. And she's cuter'n a button, with a personality to match!

Next week for several days I'll be staying nights at another friend's home watching her two knee-high dogs while she and her husband take a few days off to spend Thanksgiving Day at his parents' home in Spokane. I'll be home in plenty of time every morning for the day's Elance projects, and I'll be available for Thanksgiving dinner, too. I just have to be there first thing in the morning, evenings and overnight to be sure their critters have a human companion who feeds and loves on them frequently. (They've never been alone at night before.) So I'll even be here to resume my "puppy runs" outside by the time Jackie goes off to work every morning. The home I'll be pet-sitting at is less than four miles away.

This seems to be "critter season" for me, after a long, dry spell (except for Jackie's and my own). I love taking care of critters. For some strange reason, I had a dream about a four- or five-foot long iguana this past week. I was supposed to be taking care of it, but it didn't look any too pleased with the prospect. (Iguanas never do seem any too pleased, even when they may be... they're inscrutable-looking.) I've never taken care of one, except for the time I helped a vet at UC Davis move one and give it a shot. I was there because that was the week Deaken's (my serval "son") rear leg had to be amputated. It happened on a long weekend when the students were all out of town, so when I stopped by to fetch Deaken, the vet was enormously busy doing everything himself. Since I had worked for a vet for two years in the past, I offered to give him a hand which he gladly accepted. He was Davis's exotic pet/zoo vet. So I helped with an owl, another raptor, a coyote pup or two, and this iguana. It was pretty cool. I loved it.

I failed to put this story into my book LET NO DAY DAWN THAT THE ANIMALS CANNOT SHARE, but there are other great stories in there, as well...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WHEW! Just Missed Getting "Iced," Hailed or Whatever!

When I left on my four mile walk an hour and fifteen minutes ago, the skies above me were blue with only billowy white clouds overhead. By the time I got halfway out/halfway home (as far away from home as I could be before beginning the return trip), I noticed some dark, liquid-laden clouds wafting (er, being shuttled by winds) my way. "Uh-oh..."

I picked up my pace and got to the last six blocks before a light rain began to hit. That was okay.

Within two minutes, the wind picked up, the rain picked up, and then tiny hailstones the size of sea salt began to fall. Not two minutes later, the ominous black clouds were directly above, the wind was whipping steadily, and the hail was getting bigger and began to HURT as it hit me.

Thank God I was practically outside my front door when that happened.

By the time I got inside, my coat, hat and jeans were drenched.

Winter in the Northwest is a gift God wraps in... fickle weather!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And While You're at It...

...how about registering officially as one of my followers if you haven't already? I know more people follow this blog than are listed below, because I hear from you quite often.

You can sign up as Anonymous if you want so no one knows you're a closet "whatever" (Kelley, Obama, Jesus, Kris, cats, fish, fun, etc.) fan...

No one has to know. I just like to know how many followers I really have here!

Thanks!

BRRR! The Frost is on My Punkin' Head!

Wouldn't you know it? The moment it started to get teeth-chattering cold, Casey had two final soccer games to play -- one as dusk fell on Wednesday and one not long after dawn broke on Saturday.

I bundled well the first time, except for socks and shoes, and just about froze to death anyway because of the oversight. Yesterday I bundled well and wore two pairs of socks, but some of the other attendees (Casey's cousin among them) wasn't dressed quite warmly enough so I ended up "rescuing" her by giving her my warm headpiece (because I also had a hoodie on) and showing her how to pull her arms into her jacket and against her body to keep her freezing hands warm. So I've had my share of cold for a day or so.

It isn't so bad when I walk four miles because I'm moving fast. It's just standing still gawking that gets to me. But it was worth it. The girls are getting so much better. The games really are exciting. Casey's team won.

On Friday I took Marian, a former pew mate, 85 years old, to lunch at Red Lobster. We had a blast. She had gall bladder surgery a couple months ago and this was her first outing since then. She was like a kid in a candy store -- animated, cheery, full of fun. She embarrassed herself by "offering" me some of her fruit smoothie by accidentally flinging it on its side onto the middle of the table. I just shook my head and laughed.

When the server, Shawana, came over to rescue us from the spreading mess, Marian somehow also managed to fling her fork at her as she finished cleaning up the mess. Shanawa feinted right and got away safely, then stepped away momentarily because another customer flagged her down. Marian and I started laughing again. I said "Woman, you're DANGEROUS!" She looked around and couldn't see Shawana, so she asked, "Where did she go?" and I joked, "She got out of harm's way until you settle down!" Marian asked for a bib after all this -- and got one! I howled! (And of course it remained pristine.)

It was a hoot, every single moment. We have to do it more often. Who needs to drink alcohol to get nuts? NOT US! We're higher than a kite on LIFE!

This coming week I'll be working from Eatonville for a couple days -- possibly three -- because the people I usually critter-sit for need me to ferry the missus to St Joe's Hospital to see her husband. He'll be having gall bladder surgery there and she doesn't drive. So I'll be her house guest in case an emergency arises at the hospital in the middle of the night and she has to get there. It'll be a chance for me to get to know her better, too.

Marian gave me a 2 gallon betta tank with all the trimmings, so naturally I had to go out and get a betta. I got a boy yesterday and a girl today, plus some fake plants so they can hide and go seek till they get to know each other better and until the plant pods I dropped in start to grow so they have REAL plants to hide in a couple of weeks from now. I read up on bettas and know males fight but males and females sometimes get along. (DUH! Otherwise there wouldn't be any bettas in the world!) I learned that it's the male betta who tends the bubble-nest after the female lays the eggs. I've had lots of fish before (mostly tropical fish) but never bettas. It's going to be an education.. or a disaster. I'll keep you posted!

What else? Tomorrow I'm having lunch with Edward Smith again -- you remember... the Papa Lion of Yelm, Auroara the lion's human "dad." He borrowed some of my TREK magazines last time he was here and wants to return them. Good. I can't tell you how many I've lost because I loaned them out and then forgot who I loaned them to! And these are the magazines that I was IN, talking about De, so they're precious to me. So if you're one of the scoundrels that has some of my magazines, bring 'em back, okay? Thank you! 'Cause I can't remember who I loaned them to and can't come after you with candy, cake or a machete to retrieve them. You're on the honor system. (Dr. Phil: "How's that workin' for ya?" Don't ask.)

Oh, well. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. I'll survive. T'aint the end of the world...

WAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!

How refreshing is a brief breakout of emotion. I'm all better now!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gorgeous De Before We Even Knew Him --

http://community.livejournal.com/dekelleyfans/20352.html

Prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor!

Photos courtesy of Terry Lee Rioux and Carolyn Kelley

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Am I Almost Always So Freaking Happy?

It comes with the territory... and I have PROOF!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33830268/ns/health-mental_health/?GT1=43001

We Washingtonians (the state, not the Capitol) are among the happiest people in the country... and for many good reasons...

Monday, November 9, 2009

One of My Elance Clients is on the Cover of RISEN! Magazine!

Check it out!

http://risenmagazine.com/category/film/danny-ray

CONGRATULATIONS, DANNY RAY!

The Berlin Wall Came Down 20 Years Ago...

Wow! Has it been 20 years already? I'm flabbergasted.

I'm also thrilled. If it hadn't come down, I never would have met Kirsten Dartsch and other De Kelley fans from (formerly) East Germany. (That story is in my first book aboout De.)

It was a great day for the entire world.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Here Come the Holidays!

Several clients have had me write up holiday pieces for them recently, so that put me into "holiday spirit" mode a lot sooner than I would otherwise be. One had me talk about holiday threats to life and limb (an emergency services website); the other asked me to edit and copy-enhance a holiday email greeting and a several-page list of ways to keep stress levels down during holiday preparations and celebrations.

Whenever I think "Christmas," I think of Currier and Ives greetings cards... caroling... sleigh rides... and of course the real reason for the season: the birth of Christ in a little town called Bethlehem just over two centuries ago.

I also think of people who have lost loved ones either this year or last, and of those who have lost a loved one on, or close to, Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's hard to muster through the holiday season without the people they used to share it with. These folks need our prayers and our ministrations. Visit them, call them, send them a card and a letter.

This is also a season that depresses a lot of people:

* Some suffer from SADS (seasonally affective disorder syndrome). There is special lighting therapy that can help those whose SADS is so pervasive that they feel hopeless, unerringly unhappy or depressed, or suicidal. It's expensive, but so is feeling lousy for four or five months every year.

* Some don't have the wherewithal to buy presents in this economy -- they've lost their jobs or work several jobs and still don't have enough extra to buy gifts for people they adore. Not long ago I wrote an eHow article on how to give gifts without spending a cent. You can visit it here: www.ehow.com/how_4605931_free-gifts-appearing-broke-cheap.html.

* Some are just Scrooges for no particular reason, and only visits from the ghosts of past, present and future will blast them out of their self-imposed exiles. (In other words, don't hold your breath!)

If you know an older person or a shut in, be sure to invite them over for a holiday meal. If they decline, visit them at least once during the holiday season and take them a small gift... even if it's just your time and attention. It will mean the world to them.

Take extra time this time of year to count your blessings. You're blessed dozens of times every day. Every breath you take, every smile you receive, every step you take, every hug you share, every drive you take that ends safely, every meal you enjoy... the list goes on and on.

Take extra time to let those who bless you know that they do. I hate to break it to you, but you may never get another chance... so don't assume you will. (Yeah, I know it's a real drag to think about that, especially this time of year, but think about it once in a while and verbalize your thanksgiving for other folks. And don't reserve it for just this time of year, either.)

Because I've just launched my own business the past two years, I don't have any discretionary income this year: it all has to go somewhere other than to gift-giving. That won't always be the case but it is right now, and everybody is okay with that. That's because they know I love them. I don't remember the stuff I got last year. Do you? I just remember the love... and that is quite enough!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lazy Day

Nothing's happening here at "work" today (no Elance projects underway), so guess I'd better catch you up on my doings!

I wrote my holiday newsletter earlier this morning. It's weird -- but holiday newsletters are all about "me." They're the news of my life since last year at this time, and it has all been good, so this year the letter seems kind of "braggy." That's not good! But I've been so inundated with blessings this year!!!

*My writing career has taken off; I'm a Premier Provider in two categories at Elance

* My fifth book is out (THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY)

* I did three radio interviews

* I've taught at Writer's Edge twice and two of the eight PRs the class wrote actually went out and did a lot of good (the rest weren't real PR's, just exercises)

*Etc.

See? Hey, when I put the accomplishments into bullet points, they don't seem as braggy... but if I do that in the newsletter, it'll be a really short newsletter!

Doing that would allow extra room for religion and politics, though... and then I'd have extra room to tick off a lot of friends who aren't progressive Democrats or Christians! hee hee hee

OK, that would not be nice... so guess I'll leave well enough alone...

Gotta go pick up Jackie's dog. I took her in for dental cleaning this morning.

Later, alligator! Caio for now!