Thursday, December 20, 2007

A little holiday music

I've been collaborating with a gentleman who goes by the name Wal4u at iCompositions (along with his son, Wal4uJr). We've done two duets in a holiday theme so I thought I'd share them with you.

The first is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and it's nice and jazzy.

The second is Baby, It's Cold Outside. I really like the way this one came out.

Have a listen, drink something warm and inebriating, and have yourself a jazzy little Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday. When you have a birthday in December it tends to get wrapped up in Christmas and the new year. People like to give you "combination" birthday and Christmas presents. And you are a year older very near when the world is also a year older (in a calendar sense of the word, of course). It's a time for introspection and resolutions, for family and friends.

For me, this is also one of those nasty "decade" birthdays that appear to exist simply to make a person feel old. It's doing its job well. Of course, it doesn't help that there's a very high decibal party next door with loud music, shouting 20-yr-olds (it's really just conversation, but it's so loud that shouting is the only way to communicate. I know because I popped in last year and nearly went deaf). They share a wall with me and there is a small hallway leading to their front door where one of my windows is. No way to temper that noise level.

No one local is doing anything for my birthday but I've already gotten a great gift from one of my best friends. I also know there will be phone calls from my mom and brothers today, as well as cards.

I'm now going to bake myself a cake. No candles needed. I know how old I am.

Friday, December 14, 2007

5 random or weird things about me

I have been tagged and need to give 5 random or weird facts about myself. Here’s how it works:

Link to the tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share five facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag five people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I was tagged by Dawn over at It Had to be Said (she's also the wise and mysterious tarot card reader I mentioned before in this blog.) Okay, here's my list and let me figure out whom to tag next. Hmm...

1. I am double-jointed. My hands are especially double-jointed and although this was loads of fun as a kid (I could do bizarre things with my thumb and fingers as they bent in unnatural ways -- the pose in the photo at left is something I call "cauliflower hand". It's quite unatractive in person, though it does have a fascinating "Escher-like" quality to it, don't you think?.) eventually it led to me getting trigger finger. That stopped my career as a technical illustrator in aerospace. No biggie because I really wanted to pursue voice acting at the time anyway.

2. I was a huge fan of Barbra Streisand when I was a little girl. I had all her albums and used to listen to them every day and sing along in front of a mirror. I bought my very own record player (a cheap yellow plastic beauty) for $40, using all of my savings, birthday and Christmas money. I used to put the speakers next to my ears and lie under the small record stand, pretending I had headphones.

3. I took a year off of college between my sophomore and junior year, worked as a member of a grounds crew at a resort, then as a factory worker at Carnation Co. and finally as a parts finisher in a fiberglass company to earn money for six months. I then spent the next 6 months back-packing through Europe with two friends. It was the adventure of a lifetime.

4. I can crochet. I've crocheted a number of afghans and 'lapghans' for myself and for friends and family. I can also crochet lace and have made pieces for several friends. I learned how to crochet lace when I visited my relatives in Norway during that European trip I mentioned in #3. You can see a sample of my lace in the photo.

5. I have a fantastic family. I constantly hear about the difficulties friends and acquaintances have with mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and I feel completely blessed. I adored my father, who died too young. I get along great with both of my brothers. And my mother is my favorite person on the planet. I adore and admire her to the depths of my soul. It isn't that we don't have differences in my family. We do. But what matters to us isn't what separates us, but what holds us together. I feel for anyone who has difficulties in this area. I figure I just won the lottery when I was born.

There are my five random and/or weird personal facts. They look more random than weird to me. I guess I'm just too normal for interesting weirdness. Well, except for that double-jointed thing. It can get weird.

And now, here are my five unsuspecting victims:

Laura Hamby, romance writer and chocoholic who can be found at Laura Hamby's Musings of a Chocoholic Romance Novelist

Amelia Elias, paranormal romance writer without shame whose blog is This Wasn't In The Job Description

Grace Tyler, romance writer and businesswoman who can be found at Grace Tyler

Fred Sandsmark, professional writer, independant businessman, a possible relative (we don't actually know, though probably not) and a fine human being who has many blogs including Fred Sandsmark's Blog


Ed Pahule, technical writer and novelist whose blog is worth reading at Upon Reflection

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Give Blood

Today I donated blood at the Red Cross. I'm type O-, the univeral donor. Hospitals always need a big supply of O- so the Red Cross has special incentives for us. Depending on how much we give, we can get t-shirts, jackets, etc. Last year, I donated my prize back to the Red Cross. I'm just in it for the free cookies. (Well, not really but my donation center does have Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies -- not too shabby).

If you're able to give, consider donating some blood. I stopped at 7-11 prior to going to the donation center and talked the clerks into donating. It doesn't take much time and your donation can save up to 3 lives. Pretty easy way to be a hero, don't you think? G'won, give it a try. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit their website and make an appointment. Free cookies and juice -- can't beat that!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Absolute Write Blogchain #13: Give Peace a Chance

The December Absolute Write blogchain (lucky number 13) has begun and tag, I'm it! Kat, over at A thoughtful life wrote about making lists, something I do occasionally. They tend to frustrate me because I'm forever not doing at least one item on my lists. Then Gillian over at Gillian's Food History talked about cheating in order to accomplish the day's tasks. Tina at Getting Confused and Coming All Undone took up the idea of food as a source of nurturing and the difference between gardeners and flowers (care-givers vs. care-givees). Then it was a smooth punt to me.

I suppose if my thumb were even the slightest shade of green (and it isn't. I'm a notorious plant-killer) I would probably try to make the flowers and weeds get along, claiming there's enough sunshine and water for everyone. I have a peacemaker streak in me that doesn't remain silent for long.

Online flame wars can be a lot of fun to watch, as long as you're not involved. However, if the subject is something close to your heart they can be very unsettling. Without the visual cues of body language and the aural clues of tone of voice, we are left with only the printed word. Words can hurt (that sticks and stones axiom never did make a lot of sense to me).

I've mediated a lot of flame wars but rarely take part in them. Last night, was quite a struggle. On a message board I belong to a member was denigrating the striking writers in the WGA (hence, last night's post). His arguments were filled with falsehoods, basically called writers lazy money-grubbing leeches (and the multi-billion dollar studios and producers were made of cotton candy and angel dust and deserve to keep those extra four pennies of profit or else he won't get good special effects in his entertainment. Quite an interesting take on things, huh?).

I desperately tried to stay out of the thread, but like a Godfather film, it kept pulling me back in. I did my best to keep my responses short and tried to end the flood of anti-writer posts that ensued. I'll admit, it hurts when people you considered nice intelligent men call you and your profession a string of invectives simply because they're going to have to watch reruns for a bit. That is, of course, at the heart of the argument. "I want my TV!" Well, shoot, so do I. But some things are more important than sitting through a rerun.

Yeah, I failed at my peacemaking mission. When I'm sitting squarely in the crosshairs, it's not my job to make peace. I either have to remain silent, burn people to a crisp or do my best to control my responses. I did the latter. I suppose that's the way it always is. If you're a nurturing person, you do it as much as you can but there will always be those who refuse the help. If you're a peacemaker you will occasionally find yourself in the middle of the war, much as you hate to be there. In the end we can't control everything around us. Lists won't do it. Food won't do it. Gardens won't do it. Peacemaking won't do it. Life will always throw you the occasional ringer.

And now let's see if Jen over at So You Want to be a Chic Chick can handle this ringer I've thrown at her. Take it away, Jen!

Here's the list of the blogs in the chain. Go read'em all and comment!

A Thoughtful Life

Gillian's Food History

Getting Confused and Coming All Undone

Life in the Middle

So You Want to be a Chic Chick


Twisted Fantasies

It Had To Be Said

Finding Boddie

Virtual Wordsmith

Random Acts of Unkindness

Chocolate for Your Brain

Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!

The WGA Strike

I'm a member of the WGA (the Writer's Guild of America) and right now, we're on strike. I've found there's a lot of misinformation out there and wanted to get some of the facts out instead of the made-up crazy stuff. Here's a great video that explains it very well.