Category Archives: Stories and curiosities

June Gloom, June Cheer

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Days seem to blend into one another, forming one repetitive entity — one of too many engagements — and there is never enough time to do everything, not even a fraction of things, in fact, as we trudge along like a programmed multitude of wired brains.  

But that stops in June, doesn’t it? June is filled with the promise of summer fun, family togetherness, vacations, picnics, and leisure. It’s the one time of the year when I seem to catch up on work … to some extent.

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For many people June symbolize the beginning of summer, but here in Southern California, June brings us gloom, hence the term June gloom — another reason I like June, a break from the heat. And it follows May, which is known here as May rain. (Yes, everything must rhyme).

And, of course, curiosity kicked in as I was writing this post, and before long I learned that June was named in honor of Juno — protector and special counselor of the Roman state, queen of the gods, daughter of Saturn and sister of the chief god Jupiter.

However, the name is believed to also come from iuniores (young men; juniors) as opposed to maiores (grown men; majors) for May, the two months being dedicated to men of all ages. Here’s to you, gentlemen!

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Juno

The month of June, for me, is symbolic of peace, of new scenery — as we’re planning a vacation to Coronado Island here in California. New places, new attitudes, a perfect time to make new memories, get re-inspired, refreshed, perhaps take a moment to reevaluate the journey and start the second half of the year with a clear mind and heart.  

Would love to hear what you have to say on the matter, dear blogging friend. Give me your June thoughts, or any thoughts.

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Images: paintingsIlike.com, rgbstock, pinterest.com

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What in the World?

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What does sending a new book out into the world entail? A lot of hits and misses.  Comedy of errors. Insert favorite cliché.

It also involves marketing, which I am learning about at headache-inducing speed. But that’s apparently what we’re supposed to do while having a book on pre-order, and ahead of release date. Luckily, I find this new, enthralling dance fun. So far, anyway.

While going through the ‘to-do’ list ahead of release, I started with goodreads and updated my profile, as instructed.

Voila. So easy, I thought, let’s explore the site.

As I clicked away, there was a part about inviting folks to my page/book, so I clicked and it opened my gmail contacts. I clicked okay, and before I knew it an email was sent to everyone on my gmail contact list, with this message: “check out my book.”

Spam.

I hate spam.  So, if any of you were affected by this oversight, ignore and forgive me. I’m still learning the ropes.

Next on the ‘to-do’ list was a twitter chat.  If someone had articulated this term to me last year, I would’ve shaken my head at the weird word combinations.

Luckily, I have heard of twitter chats when we chatted our hearts away ahead of the blogging challenge. Thank God for blogging.

Fine, I replied. I will chat on twitter, if you want me to.

An hour later, another message:  Okay, you’re on for our twitter chat, Friday March 13th (why Fri. the 13th, of all days?) at 8:30 Central, 9:30 Eastern. Meaning 6:30 AM my time in CA.

Is there no end in sight to this strangeness, you ask?

No idea.  What I do know is that I have a hashtag for tomorrow’s twitter chat, which is #StrangerorFriend. If you happen to be at your computer, and feel like stopping by, come chat with me and my publisher on twitter. It’s something like a short, informal Q&A.

I’m afraid to look at the next item on my ‘to-do’ list.

It Finally Happened!

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It finally happened. I gave my public speech.

Thank you, dear readers, for putting up with the previous blogs throughout my preparation. As promised, I’m here to report back.  (Sorry about the photo quality. I had no control over picture-taking.) 

While I had spoken at my local club before (twenty members), this speech took place at Toastmasters Division — an audience of 150 people.

Before taking the stage, nervousness came often like the flick of a light switch, forced out by many deep breaths.  The butterflies refused to fly in formation, playing havoc with my body temperature — hot one moment, freezing the next.

When The Chair called my name, I had no choice but to ignore everything unrelated to the speech. Either that or run for the door. The first step was hard, the second not so bad. Once the words took mercy on me and came out, the gestures and eye contact followed. To my surprise, everything gelled together beautifully.

The speech “Happiness Right Now,” centered on the idea of marketing concepts designed to delve into our psyche; the theory of 95% dedicated to marketing (visual textures, colorful lights, music) and 5% of capital to quality.  

The call to action, something every speech must incorporate (I’m told), concluded: “it’s up to us — all of us — to decide quality matters.”

Applause never sounded better, mostly because the sound signaled The End. One hurdle cleared, many to go. And only at the end of my speech, the pesky butterflies settled. I was mentally and physically drained, but it didn’t matter anymore. I was done.

You know what else I learned? Or re-learned? As writers, and generally speaking, we have to put ourselves out there. What’s there to lose? Maybe complacency? :)

So tell me, when was the last time you put yourself out there?

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish

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Thanksgiving is one of the few times I eat turkey. I don’t dislike it; it’s just not my go-to meat. For some reason, I’d rather have chicken in my salad, or a chicken sandwich.

So, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is…. ta, ta, ta, tam … dessert. This being the time everyone brings something to the table, whether homemade or bought; the assortment is amazingly delicious.

Anything and in any form goes, just bring it on because come Thursday I’m not worried about calories or sugar. Ice cream over pie, yum, sooo good. Any kind of pie will do (pecan, pumpkin, fruit and almond tart, cherry pie … and the list goes on.)

Can’t say I’m a great cook, but I can whip up a pretty good pie. Not the crust, thought. I tried one year and whether it was the phone call I received in the middle of preparation, or my less than terrific cooking skills, the crust came out a bit burnt. The rest of the apple pie, though, was delicious.

My aunt’s famous pasta salad comes in as a second favorite (not sure how she makes it, but I’m sure she uses vinaigrette for the dressing), and then homemade stuffing is third. 

We’re not hosting this year, but driving to Orange County — an hour and a half away. And while I look forward to the meal itself, I can’t wait for dessert.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dinner dish?  And do you make it yourself?

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Photo courtesy: blogs.mydevstaging.com