Thursday, January 31, 2019

"A Mighty Fortress," The Fourth Mormon Steampunk Anthology...Is Accepting Submissions!


At first there was supposed to be only one. It became obvious one volume wouldn't be enough. 

Then there were three.

Then there was one more.

It was announced a fourth Mormon Steampunk installment is accepting submissions right now! If you'd like to get a story in the next anthology, here's what you need to do to be part of history!

A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV Call for submissions

Immortal Works (editor Holli Anderson) hereby calls for submissions for an anthology of MORMON STEAMPUNK to be called A MIGHTY FORTRESS.

Here is the deal:

1.  The writer’s religious affiliation is completely irrelevant. We don’t care; we don’t even want to know.

2.  The story does not have to be set in any particular world. The story must be in some sense “Mormon” and in some sense “Steampunk.” We’ll try to interpret those categories both broadly.

3.  If your story is faith-promoting (Mormonism is “true” in the story), we’ll stop reading it. If it is mean-spirited (Mormons are all idiots), we’ll also stop reading it.

4.  Stories should be at least 2,000 words long and generally no more than 8,000 words.

5.  The deadline for submissions is April 23, 2019 or until filled.

6.  Authors will not receive up-front payments. Authors will share in the revenues from sales of the book over time and will receive one (1) complimentary author copy.

7.  Send submissions to hollia (at) immortal-works.com. Include the words “A MIGHTY FORTRESS SUBMISSION” in the subject line.

Volumes I and II are available now, and Volume III, Press Forward Saints will be here before you know it. You've got until April 23, 2019 to get your stories in.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Goodnight Newel...


We live in such interesting times. We can follow news--not just national, or international news, but news of family and friends--in real time. Instantly, we can know not only the location of loved ones, but with a digital message, how people are doing, how they feel, even what they're eating. And we navigate our lives as if this has always been the case, as if communicating with others anywhere on the planet with only a slight delay for a signal to bounce around the curvature of the earth is as normal as breathing.

We know of weddings, births, goals met, games won, lives enriched.

We also know the moment loved ones pass.

For there's opposition in all things.

Today I learned a man I've known almost all my life passed away. He's the father of my dear friends, a patriarch of a family that, at times, I felt as close to as my own. And I morn with them.

As is the case with many relationships, seeing them, talking with them--sharing their company, has not happened in years. But the time apart melts with the power of memory. I can easily recall the times spent in my friend's home, a structure bordered by road and stream, a home that if you look at it today, it's difficult to imagine raising five children in it because it's so small. But they did. I remember the kitchen transitioned to the living room and beyond, bedrooms. It was the living room where the guitar lay waiting patiently for its owner to pick it up and lovingly, respectfully, create music, a physical manifestation of the home's soul.

I remember also a story, told by the oldest son, of a time when he called upon his father to help him unfreeze a frozen car door lock. The adventure involved, among other things, a hair dryer, and an Exit sign in parking garage. Though I wasn't there, the telling of the experience brought me to tears, not only because of the hilarity of if all, but because imagining such a brilliant man and son using their combined intelligence not finding ultimate success was truly funny, honest, naked comedy.

Even though I've gone through what my friend's family is experiencing now, everyone's reaction to the passing of a parent is different. They, along with me and my siblings, are now without parents, both having left. It opens a chapter all will face if we but live long enough. So I join hundreds, if not thousands of others--both here and beyond--who simultaneously morn and celebrate the life of a good, honest, decent, brilliant man, a man for whom there will be shed both tears of pain and of joy.

For there is opposition in all things.

Goodnight Newel.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Christmas Lights Still Up...And I Love It!


Around 2002 - 2003 my sister and her husband built a house on a hill. When finished the house offered an amazing view of the valley below, and because you can see so much from above, those of us below can see the house they built.

Especially at night when bright lights burn in the windows.

My sister moved and sold the house. It's been bought and sold several times since. The current owners moved in a few years ago. They've a wonderful family with a couple of beautiful dogs that visit us from time to time. 

And they still have their outdoor Christmas lights and Christmas tree up.

I love it.

When I lived in Europe, I can't exactly remember when Christmas lights and decorations went up. At that time they didn't celebrate Halloween (I think that's changed since...) and they definitely didn't celebrate the American Thanksgiving as we do, so they're free to put up Christmas decorations earlier. There's few things as beautiful as Christmas decorations adorning the streets and homes of Denmark.


But, as with all things, when the time comes the lights and things are put away, to rest for three seasons.

Our neighbor isn't the only one to keep the holiday lights up, but it's the closest one to us and every night we can see the colors and white tree shine from above. I don't know now long they'll keep the lights and tree up, but I'm glad they have. After all, is there a better time of year than Christmas?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Get Ready Everyone...Emily Butler's "Freya & Zoose" Arrives On The 29th!


A perk of getting to know authors is to share the excitement of a book launch. Over the past half decade I've met many authors in various degrees of publishing success. Tomorrow another friend will wake up and be able to proclaim to the world, "My book lives today!"

That book is Freya & Zoose.

And that author is Emily Butler.

Freya & Zoose is a children's book, but as with most great children's literature, it's not just for children, or to put it another way, it appeals to the child in all of us, reminding us of the child we once were. Here's a taste of the book from its Amazon web page:

Freya has always craved--and feared--adventure. Traipsing all over the world is simply not what dignified rockhopper penguins do. But when she hears about Captain Salomon August Andrée's hot-air balloon expedition to the North Pole, Freya packs her copy of Hints to Lady Travellers and hops on board.

Only moments after leaving land, Freya discovers a fellow stowaway! Meet Zoose, the scrappy, uncouth mouse whose endless wisecracks and despicable manners make him a less-than-ideal travel companion.

When the hot-air balloon is forced to land in the Arctic, these polar opposites must learn how to get along. Their very survival depends on it.

Another amazing benefit that comes from knowing several authors is getting to know the stories of how their book came to be, the struggles, the heartaches, the highs and lows that is the writing and publishing process. I know Freya & Zoose was not an overnight venture, or even something that went from literary thought to finished product in weeks or months. This one, like almost all books, took a long time.

The book is illustrated by Jennifer Thermes who drew over fifty illustrations for this publication. If you are interested in picking up Freya & Zoose for yourself, you can order it on its Amazon page by clicking: HERE. Or you can check out Emily's website for more information about her and the book. You can reach that by clicking: HERE.

A book launch is an exiting and nerve wracking experience. Tomorrow it's Emily's, Jennifer's, Freya's and Zoose's turn. What a great day to launch a book!

Emily Butler

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Winter Is Here...But LTUE 2019 Is Coming


When people think of February, many things come to mind. Valentine's Day, Black History Month, President's Day, Groundhog Day. But if you're a writer living in the Intermountain West, February means it's time for the Life, the Universe, and Everything Writing Symposium, otherwise known simply as LTUE.

And it's coming.

I've written about this event several times since beginning this blog back in 2011. Over the years I've attended several writing conferences and symposiums. Though I haven't attended any out-of-state, the variety and information from the ones I have attended is rich and entertaining. I've always walked away from each event feeling good about attending and having learned something to help me in my writing career. I've also made no bones about the fact that LTUE is one of my all-time favorite events. I've never had a bad time attending.

This year, the event will be held (again...) on Valentine's Day. It runs from February 14th to the 16th in Provo, Utah. If you'd like to attend, click: HERE for more information. For the past couple of years, I've not participated in LTUE as a panelist, but this year, whomever makes up the schedule decided to add me and it's an honor. I'll include information on the specific panels as the convention gets closer.

LTUE--it's fun, informative, and a great place to hang out, chat with an author or artist about their craft.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Behind The Scenes...At Our Little Church


After church last Sunday, I picked up my phone and took a short tour through a door and into history. I snapped a couple of pictures of what I saw.


Like an old car sitting in a field or a suit that hangs in the closet for years and years, the entrance to the oldest part of the church remains unused, an entrance used as decoration. There was a time when Sunday arrived, hundreds of people filed through the doors, bringing with them hopes and fears, leaving, perhaps, changed.


The Memorial Chapel is used each week, but few go behind the scenes. You pass through a door and into a small room which leads to a hallway. From there you can see the door to outside is barred shut. Now, now one enters, no one leaves. We all enter through the much newer "modern" doors (the most recent door on the rest of the building is around forty years old...) without thinking about it. We go inside--we leave when we're finished.

Tomorrow the back of the chapel will once again be neglected by parents and children. It will remain a quiet place, a place removed from noice and little children's sticky fingers. It's a space alone in its memories.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Making Life Better...One Door At A Time


We are fans of the Walmart Pick Up Shopping. If you haven't tried it (and you're a Walmart shopper...) you should. You go on-line, complete the order, and if it's more than $30 worth of goods, you don't pay for their service.

It's saved us a lot of time over the months and years.

At our local store, they set up the Pick Up location behind the store. It was very convenient, but a little strange. We had to drive to the back of the store to a place where there were no windows--just a door.

So, when Walmart changed their pick up location, it was an upgrade--an upgrade for the customers, not so much for the Walmart employees. They moved the pick up area to the front of the store, but the door where the goods existed the store was the same place, which meant, the employees had to haul everything the length of the store to the waiting cars, trucks, and minivans.


We really didn't see a solution for the employees. There was only one door and it was on the other side of the building.

Looks like changes are a' coming!

This morning as I waited for the Walmart employee to make the long walk north, I saw a cement truck pull up and stop. When the employee brought over our stuff I asked what was happening. She said they're putting in a door on the same side of the building as the Pick Up parking. She said the employees would still need to make the walk, but it would now be inside, away from the elements and the cars driving by. Hopefully, it'll make life better, one door at a time.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

I Finally Got It...A Sharp Picture Of The Moon


Years ago, I'm not exactly sure how many, we were gifted a telescope from my father-in-law. A telescope is one of those things that many people get and enjoy, but it's also a thing that can sit in a corner and collect dust. 

If you've been following this blog for the past couple of weeks, you know we've been de-cluttering our home. You can probably guess what has happened to our telescope over the years. It wasn't used. It wasn't used because the small--and important--parts that make the telescope work, i.e. the small lenses you use that focus the object you're wanting to see close-up, were missing. They were put away and we didn't know where they were. Without the lenses, the telescope is basically a long tube on a tripod.


We even considered donating it to the thrift store.

But, that didn't happen--it didn't happen because my wife decided to clean up yet another room in the house. It was there she found the lenses that make the telescope work.

I couldn't wait to try it.

On the same day we found the lenses, I set up the telescope on the front porch as soon as night fell and an almost full moon rose in the east.

Finally, I could see the moon. My next goal--to get a picture.


I've been trying to get a good shot of the moon for years. I only had my iPhone cameras, my point-and-click cameras, and my Nikons. Nothing worked. I just got a big white ball in the sky. Now that I could see the moon, how was I going to take a picture. I ended up taking out my phone and holding it over the top of the lens. It took some patience, but I was finally able to get a good shot.

Twenty-four hours earlier, the whole family sat on the same porch watching a lunar eclipse and a blood moon. If we had only cleaned the room one day before, then the lenses would have been found and I could have set up the telescope during that amazing event. Oh well...next lunar eclipse/blood moon, I'll be ready!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

My Artist Friend Simon...Had A Good 2018


Scrolling through social media today while at work (and on a break...), I happened to spot a post from an extremely talented artist who happens to be a friend. His post mentioned an Art Give-A-Way.

I was definitely interested.

Because his art is amazing.

Here's what he posted earlier today:

PAINTING GIVE-A-WAY!!! 2018 has been a GREAT year for me! It makes me want to do something for someone else. So here's your chance to have a painting. No charge.
This isn't a gimmick. Just make sure you follow me and interact with this post in some way. That's all you have to do, in a few days I'll pick someone at random and ship it to her/his door.
Thank you all for your support over the years!
This image is what you'll receive. Measures 18x24

And here's what he made that's he's giving away.


I met Simon a few years back. We did a show together. We both wore costumes, we sang, we danced, we had a good time. And because life on the stage does not pay the bills, we both have day jobs--I work in a cubicle staring at computer screens and Simon works in a studio staring at works of art.

If you'd like to follow Simon, you can find him on Instagram by clicking: HERE. Check him out. Comment on his art. Who knows--it just might be hanging in your house some day.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Just Hanging Out...Looking At A Blood Moon


I read somewhere that it was coming. Good thing my wife was on a social media site Sunday evening or we'd probably have missed it. Sunday the earth passed between the sun and the moon and created a lunar eclipse. That amazing display was followed by a blood moon.

Very cool indeed!

There were a few disadvantages with our watching of these astrological events. First, it was cold. That happens in Utah in January. It wasn't as cold as it could have been, but it was cold enough. 

Second, this event took time. The fact that I didn't have to work the next day helped, but see Disadvantage #1 to see why Disadvantage #2 was a problem. 


Third, we had clouds. The cloud cover wasn't so bad that it ruined the evening, but when the lunar eclipse was completely blocking the moon and that red glow that gives a blood moon its name washed over the usually white object, the clouds moved in and blocked our view. I was lucky to snap a couple of pictures, neither of which was very clear, but it was clear enough to see what's in the photograph.


The whole family, minus our oldest child, decided to stand outside and look up and the night sky. It struck me as we all watched and waited, this will hopefully be one of those experiences that my children remember. As my kids get older, there's going to be fewer and fewer of these events. I look back on my childhood and remember things we did as a family. I don't suspect they'll remember that night every time they hear the phrase "blood moon," or "lunar eclipse," but they might. 

I hope to remember the night as well.


Monday, January 21, 2019

"Put Your Shoulder To The Wheel"...Comes Out Tomorrow!


Last year, a brain trust got together and thought up an idea for an anthology, a collection of stories highlighting an untapped literary genre of unlimited potential. And thus, the Mormon Steampunk Anthology was created.

A call for submissions were sent out and the stories came rolling in, so much so, an envisioned "one book" became three. Tomorrow, Book #2 comes out, Immortal Work's Put Your Shoulder the the Wheel.

I can't wait!

If you're interested in this particular collection, here's the book's lineup:

Goat in the Machine Scott William Taylor
A Reckoning in the Night Angie Taylor
Rachel’s Prayer Megan Rupp
Sisters Sorenson and the Mechanical Man Scott E. Tarbet
The Shop of the Clockwork Master Finlay Lofthouse
Blackhand Christopher Baxter
An Incident at Oak Creek Bryce Moore
The Miracle of the Gulls D. J. Moore
Solids Don’t Evaporate Mindie Erb
Many Hands Heidi Wessman Kneale
By Ailad’s Bootstraps Kurt F. Kammeyer
Painted Ghosts Kim May
Dame Ginny McLaserbeam and the             
Dastardly Duke                                               Judith and Michael Collings

I knew I was in this particular collection, but I didn't realize my story was the first. There's a lot of pressure being the first story--the first impression someone gets when they pick up the book and scan the first lines of the opening story.

Being a part of an artistic project is an amazing thing. Today Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel doesn't exist--tomorrow it does. Being human means creating. There's a drive within us, a need to make something, write something, bring into existence something that didn't exist before. I know it's just a little story in another book, but for me, it's an honor to have my name included with others, all trying to create something good. 

A special thanks goes out to John M. Olsen, Dave Butler, James Wymore, and Jason King at Immortal Works (and anyone else I'm forgetting...) for including my tale. I hope you get the book, and if you do, I hope you like my story about a man, an airship, and a precocious goat.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Yes...We Gave Away Books


There's something almost sacred about a book, and not just religious books--any book. Until recently, books were the best way to store knowledge, everything that's known to humanity (many think it's still the best way...). When mankind took that giant leap from recording history on rocks and cave walls and began writing on paper, skins, scrolls, and finally, books, it changed the world.

Because books were so valuable, people have been collecting them for centuries. Once a true test of a person's wealth was the size of his/her library. 

So why did we load up a couple of hundred books into our minivan and give them away?


It all comes down to space.

Last week I posted (and blogged about...) some de-cluttering activities we've begun at our house. There's an organizing revival that's sweeping the nation and her name is Marie Kondo. She leads a new-age religion of which she's the pope. Books have their own category in her book of scripture. And for good reason. Many of the people she helps have a lot of books...

A lot of books.


Because of space issues, we went though and removed several hundred books from our home. Many were duplicates (you know you have a lot of books when you didn't realize when buying a book that you already had the same book at home...) and most were bought from the same place--our local thrift store--that we donated them to. 

Couple of thoughts. I do feel bad that we couldn't keep the books. If I had my way, we'd have a room, about the size of my house, just for books. I know I'd never be able to read all of them, but they would be--because they are now--a treasure. And two, we are donating these books so others can have them. Others can buy the picture and children's books so their kids can learn and read and love the books they way we have. So, even though we won't have them, some other people can and it will make them richer. That's a good thing.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Few Photographs...Ten Year's Old


I guess the latest social media rage is finding a picture a decade old and posted next to a picture of yourself in the present day. And I fell for the immense pressure of the latest fad and posted a couple of pictures.

Thanks to the miracle that is Facebook, it time stamps every photo you've that's ever been posted on their site. While I was looking back at the pictures I noticed they were posted exactly ten years ago today, January 19th, 2009. In fact, the picture of my son and I was the first picture I ever posted to Facebook.


Back then, my son--who was four at the time--liked to sit with me and fool around with the Photo Booth feature on my MacBook Pro. We did that for years. And because everything can be saved and memory is so cheap, I've kept all those pictures my son and I took over the years.


Speaking of pictures, another picture that was date-stamped 1/19/09 on Facebook was a photo of my family the day we all took the Frontrunner for the first time. I believe it was the last family photo we've had taken, and it was not shot by a professional photographer, but a stranger to whom we handed a camera and asked them to take a picture of us all together.

I've taken tens of thousands of photographs since 2009. I wonder if I'll ever go back and look at them all. Maybe one day, but probably not.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Checking Out Today's Sky...


We are in the winter stormy season. Storms blow in and blow out. A few days ago we had several inches of snow--last night we had a skiff. A huge storm hit California earlier this week and we're feeling the effects now.


Like most places, we have interesting weather. In winters we get inversions, cold smoggy skies where all the pollution is trapped in the cold air. It's not the best, but after a storm, all the gunk and junk in the air is gone. That's what we all saw today, a pollution-free sky.


I just had to take some pictures.

Here's some of what I saw:





Yes, it was a day to look up and just enjoy.

Enjoy.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Writing Group...Writes Again!


I admit, I have not been the best writing group member for the past year. In fact, I haven't been the best writing member for several years. Part of the reason is because I have been involved in several theater productions--I'm averaging between 1 - 2 shows a year. And since a show usually lasts three months, I end up missing sometimes almost half a year of writing group meetings.

Last week, we all gathered and resumed the tradition.

Of course, the rest of the group has been continuing the tradition all along. They're swapping stories, giving suggestions in kind, yet helpful ways, and enjoying each other's company. I was not there. Attending brought back some good memories. The only thing I didn't do was provide pages to be critiqued. I know, I know, it's something I need to do.

I don't know about your writing groups, but I doubt you have a mascot. We've got one--Lucy the dog. She's wonderful. She'll come and go, obviously enjoying some stories more than others. She'll take refuge under a desk, or at the feet of a participant. She's always entertaining, always unpredictable.

It's good to be back.My goal going forward--have material on which to be judged...by human and dog.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Then Incredible...Almost Unbelievable Story Of John Scott


I have, on occasion when I feel justified in doing so, recommended a podcast to those who follow this blog. But, it's not often I recommend a specific podcast episode. I'm doing that now.

When you listen to a lot of podcast, sometimes they can all blend into one big steam of words and thoughts and feelings. I've listened to NPR's Radiolab out of WNYC Studios for years. I like the "less bells-and-whistles" approach they have, and their subject matter is diverse and interesting. I had no idea what I was about to hear today when I pushed the PLAY button on the podcast entitled: The Punchline. 

I just wasn't prepared.

I don't follow hockey much, except for the play-offs. I could, and I probably should. There's just as much drama, emotion, raw talent found in the NHL (and the farm teams...) as there is in the NBA, NFL, and college sports. So, when the podcast began talking about a story from the NHL, I thought it might be interesting. 

It was way more than that.

It chronicled a story worthy of Hollywood.


I'd never heard of John Scott. He wasn't the best player on any team he played for. According to the story, he had a skill, if you're not born with, you'll never get--shear size. A 6' 8" player he found his way into the NHL because of size and intimidation. For those more familiar with John, I apologize I'm not doing his story justice.

I'm not going to tell you what happens to John Scott and his family here. I really want you to download the podcast and listen to John's story. You can access the story from their website by clicking: HERE. From the pictures I've posted I've given away the ending, but his journey more than makes up for any spoilers. 

I've written several stories, short and longer. I've even written several screenplays. This story, if made into a movie, has all the elements to make what happened to John Scott both on his way to the 2016 NHL All-Star game and the game itself, an amazing sports film. I hope one day someone makes that movie. It's a story worth telling, and one definitely worth hearing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Misty Grays Of Winter...


We're in the thick of it, the misty grays of winter. They roll in every year. They make the cold days colder, and for those who love and worship the sun, the separation can be excruciating. 

There's peace in the mist, a stillness as if the clouds lower just to give rest to everything below. Sounds are dampened just like the light of the sun...it's filtered, smoothed, muted. The humidity surrounds you, it covers everything, encases all it touches in a frozen cocoon waiting for warmth to make it disappear.

Venturing out into the haze can be problematic. It clogs the lungs, limits visibility, and leaves surfaces slick with ice. It's as if nature warns us to stay inside, light a fire, and warm up chocolate in a mug. If you're lucky, you've got someone with you to enjoy the "hyggeligt" night.

As with all things, the misty grays of winter are temporary. Soon the earth will move, its tilt allowing the sun to warm the ground and the air above it. The mists will disappear like ghosts in the night. The sun worshipers will rejoice and those who love the cold will lament the passing. But all will know that if you wait long enough, the misty grays of winter will return. They always do.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Bulova Accutron 2181 Turning Fork Men's Watch...


Last year my father-in-law passed away. I blogged about it at the time. I also blogged about some items I inherited after he passed.

Watches.

I was given my wife's father's watches.

There were half a dozen of them. You can check out the blog post: HERE. Most were of the wind-up variety, but a couple required batteries to run, a fairly new Seiko, and a vintage Bulova. I'd seen the Bulova at my in-laws's house several times. To be honest, I didn't know anything about the watch until my mother-in-law, for a Christmas present, gave it to me again. This time it ran beautifully.

I've collected several watches over the years--not so many now. The ones I really like don't require batteries, and they're harder to come by. But I knew nothing of the Accutron models. What I've learned about them, after doing a little research, is fascinating.

Here's some information about the watches from a website:

While a mechanical watch uses a mainspring and a balance wheel, Bulova came up with a battery that makes a tuning fork vibrate – the tuning fork replaces the balance wheel as a regulator, powered by electromagnets attached to a battery-powered transistor circuit. The vibrations of the tuning fork are impossible to see – the Accutron’s frequency is 360Hz; later models from other brands vibrated at even higher frequencies. The mechanism is very small compared to a conventional watch mechanism, and is virtually invisible. A tooth of the ratchet wheel measures 0.025 mm in width and 0.01 mm in height. The wheel itself has a diameter of 2.4 mm and carries 300 teeth. The material used here is beryllium copper, which can be easily milled, especially in such miniscule size ranges.

A tuning fork--are you kidding me? Who'd have thunk it?

I guess smarter people than me. You can access the website: HERE.

My wife remembers her father wearing the watch and listening to it hum--you can actually hear the hum when you hold it up to your ear...no "tick-tock," just hum. It's very cool!

I have several favorites out of all the watches I've collected--most used to belong to my dad. Over time those watches have stopped working. No wonder since many are over seventy years old. But I'll be adding a new watch to my favorites, a Bulova Accurton 2181 watch with a 14K gold-filled case and a tuning fork inside making it all run smoothly. 

Very cool, indeed!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Apparently...All Good Things Must Come To An End


It was that kind of day, the kind of day you spend resting, resting from the previous week, resting to re-charge to take on the upcoming week, resting just to rest. It's also the kind of day when you may meander about the house and find yourself in the kitchen looking for a little nibble of food to satisfy that  hunger that can only be satisfied by something sugary. It's what the Danes call lækker sulton, which roughly translated mean, "hungry for something delicious."

It's also the kind of day, because of the time of the year, when your search for something delicious and loaded with calories is unsuccessful. All the yummy treats we've come to rely on during the holidays are gone...all gone. 

Of course, we've done it to ourselves. We've trained our bodies--and minds--in a short period of time to expect treats whenever we want. They're just waiting for us in the kitchen, in the fridge, in the freezer, to snatch them up and gobble them down. And I think it's even subconscious--even when we're not thinking about snacks our bodies are and that's what they want.

Last year and this year we bought one of those big tins of Danish butter cookies (even thought I'm not 100% sure they're made in Denmark...). You open them up and you're not sure just how many layers of deliciousness there are inside. Is it four, or maybe five? Well, there's only one way to find out.

And so we do. We  dig into the tin, remove the empty paper cups that once held several cookies and causally toss the cup into the bin. After all, there's lots more.

And then, there's not so much more.

But, that's okay, because we still have cookies and some other holiday offerings here and there. Time goes by and the six people living in house do damage to the cache of cookies--no matter how many were in the tin to begin with, they're no match for five adults and one teenager. 

Now, the cookies are gone and only the tin remains. We went shopping Saturday and I found a package of Ghirardelli Holiday Baking Peppermint Chunks sold only during the holiday season. I bought them and now they're my last remnant of the goodness that previously spread lovingly over the entire kitchen counter but are now just a delicious memory of the season that once was.

Proof that all good things must come to an end...

At least, until next fall.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cleaning Up Words...Can Be Exhausting


Back when the Macintosh computer was only four years old, I was hired to work as a computer sound technician. My job was to edit digitized sound bits for a computer program. I enjoyed the job a lot and, truth be told, I think I was pretty good at it.

Unfortunately, the program didn't sell and the company shut down, but I've always remembered that job. Decades have passed and I haven't had the opportunity to edit many things, at least, as far as audio files go.

That changed last month when I was given an assignment to edit an audiobook for my publisher. I was given the audio file and a deadline. I thought it would be tough, but I also thought I could complete the assignment in no time.

Turns out, it's been a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Today I spent several hours editing several chapters of the book. I worked on it off-and-on all day. I'm beat.

I've wondered why it's been so hard. I'm basically doing the same work I did years ago. Then it hit me--back then, I was editing sentences. The entire program maybe had only hundreds of sentences that needed cleaning. With this audiobook, I'm responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of sentences, words, phrases, paragraphs, and chapters.

It's a tad daunting.

But it's also a lot of fun. I love zooming in on a word or phrase and zapping that "click" or "pop" out of existence.

I've got a ways to go yet. Little by little, chapter by chapter, I'm getting it done. There's something wonderful that happens when you listen to an engaging story written by an amazing author and read by a talented voice performer. I'm glad I can be part of that magic. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

A Marie Kondo De-Clutter Storm Has Hit Our House...


Both my wife and I saw the same meme when we opened Facebook tonight--the same meme posted by different people. A week ago, I'd never heard of Marie Kondo.

Now, she's everywhere.

That's how trends go.

And, as trends go, becoming a disciple of the Marie Kondo method is not a bad thing.


If you've been living under a rock you may not know who Marie Kondo is or what she does. I don't know much about her--I haven't read her book--but I do know she has a show on Netflix. What she does is help people de-clutter not only their living spaces, but their lives.


My wife has watched several episodes of Marie's show and yesterday, she began her de-cluttering adventure. She followed the plan and organized her side of the closet (notice I'm not showing pictures of my side of the closet...). She hit a home run. 


Of course, it's only the beginning. There's mountains of books, papers, and other things against which my wife will go to war--all the time finding joy in the process. It' something I should learn and do, as well. Then, I'll be converted to a Marie Kondo disciple, too.

That's not a bad thing.