Monday, October 31, 2011

The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50

The Phantom Tollbooth is a book that helped shaped my childhood. I read it around the age of 10 and promptly announced it the BEST BOOK EVER.. (although it was quickly usurped by LotR but that is an entirely different story). Over the years I have spoken about this book to many, encouraged others to read it and given it to just about every 10 year old child I have come in contact with. My own kids all read it between the ages of 8 and 10, depending. Only Blond Girl fell in love with it the way I did but oh the fall was glorious.

 Because I loved the book so much when I found this article and just wanted to share...

The Phantom Tollbooth turns 50 this year, and we've joined Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, Milo and Tock, and a host of authors, critics, teachers and kids, to celebrate the classic 1961 children's book, by making the definitive documentary film about this beloved work of the American imagination.

We follow Norton and Jules as they return to the house in Brooklyn Heights where Norton began writing a little story "to get his mind off of what he had to do." Working as an architect, Norton was awarded a grant for a book on Urban Perception, which he promptly didn't write. Instead, he created Milo. When he showed his notes to his neighbor, a young political cartoonist bent on overthrowing the government, Jules began sketching – and The Phantom Tollbooth was born. 
Through the lens of Milo and his adventures, we get to know Norton Juster – an incorrigible punster with a "delight in glorious lunatic linguistic acrobatics" (Maurice Sendak, in his appreciation to the 35th Anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth). Bored as a kid, wondering why he had to learn so many useless facts, Norton is Milo, we learn. And we get taken into Norton’s personal Phantom Tollbooth: where his imagination gets him in trouble for demoralizing the Navy battalion with his drawings of elves; where his friendship with Jane Jacobs and her critique of American cities shows up in Digitopolis and Dictionopolis; where “beyond expectations” takes on a personal meaning for Norton’s daughter and granddaughter as they confront their learning disabilities. 
And there’s Jules Feiffer: “that rare artist who can draw an idea," as Maurice Sendak writes in his appreciation. Or as Jules puts it “this was the first children’s book I’d ever done and I thought it was going to be the last. This was the Cold War Fifties, I was interested in overthrowing the government". We’ll look at Jules’ emergence as a voice of his generation through his comic strip at The Village Voice. How much of that era – the politics, the ideas, New York in 1961 – worked its way into his Phantom Tollbooth illustrations? Jules may argue that he illustrated the book more as a favor to a friend – but we just might find his wit, his deft criticism, his radical politics, embedded in those iconic sketches. 
And then there’s the cast of authors, historians, teachers, fans, kids, and many more who all have their favorite parts: The Whether Man – “for after all it’s much more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be;" The Island of Conclusions - which you can only get to by jumping; The Terrible Trivium "demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs;" and faithful Tock who just can’t stand to waste time, but does love a nice ride in an automobile.
Join us on "The Road to Dictionopolis: The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50." Our documentary is a key part of the celebrations, and will, we hope, help bring a fourth generation of readers to Norton and Jules' masterpiece.
We've been filming since January 2011 and expect to have the film ready for release in 2012. 

I hope you can find the time to read and enjoy this book. It doesn't matter when it was written, it feels like it happened yesterday. I think all of us have a bit of Milo in us. Let's just hope we learn our lessons as well as he did

* this article was found at The Phantom Tollbooth

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Did You Catch That Game?

As I may have stated a time or two.. I LOVE College football and yesterday to be enjoying the game..

Three undefeated teams went crashing, loosing any chance of a national championship. Penn state and University of Illinois played an historical game during an October Snow.. and that wasn't the historical part. Joe Paterno has won 409 college games.. WOW!! Can you imagine how long he must have been coaching and in the same position.. The man is 84 years old. In this age of ageism and quick turnovers it is amazing that Joe Paterno is even still working, let alone being appreciated! And now he shows us all just why.. He has a job that he loves.. he has people who admire and respect him, he is truly one lucky man..

At the end of the day was the best game of all. Stanford, at the top of the leader board safely ensconced at number 4 in the national rankings had until last night been undefeated... Along comes USC, a team that has been nationally ranked over and over and over again. Although, Stanford has beaten them the past couple of years.. This year USC was out for blood, in their last year of sanctions they had nothing to loose. No chance at the PAC 12 championship let alone the National Championship. This Game WAS their national championship! And they came to win...

Taking off to an early lead.. and honestly as late as teh early 4th quarter I was sure Stanford was TOAST.. but then Luck was with Stanford. I know people are getting tired of that statement.. But Andrew Luck showed the world just what he was made of. Can we say number 1 draft choice? Tying the game with seconds, yes that's right seconds to go.. Stanford went on to beat USC in triple overtime!!

What an amazing game!! Let me tell you if you love football and missed this game.. you missed a great game..

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days when every thing goes right until things just start collapsing at your feet?

Yesterday was one of those days for me! I started my morning off early, well I didn't sleep as I was overly busy and had excess energy (first mistake as I am a known crab if I don't get my 8 hours). I wrote a review for the book Ascension by Caris Roane at Bodice Rippers and was able to post our tribute to our Author of the Month as well as announcing our contest and give away of an autographed copy of Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day . Believe me this had me totally and completely stoked! And then things just got BETTER! We heard back from Author Anne Bishop about doing an interview for our site! And we were in talks with people at Christine Feehan's for the same! All this before 9am!

Then the trouble started! I went onto a website and read a conversation going on between some of my friends. Now this particular group of ladies is known for giving their opinions.. in an accurate manner no holds barred! If they like the book, they like the book and if they don't... well they tell you why. This is not always a good place for me because I become so very passionate about my books that I feel personally insulted.. Hello? I didn't write the book. Why should it bother me? Who knows? But it does... One of my friends, probably the nicest of all of us, made a comment and I exploded.. (See yesterday's rant).The problem with reading words on a website is the fact that well.... you read what YOU think they meant... no tone of voice to tell you what they meant. Now put that together with no sleep by an admitted sleepless witch.. and you get just nasty.

I immediately reacted.. responded with a pithy comeback.. now had my partners in crime over at Bodice Rippers been online I would have gone to them and they would have told me the same thing I tell them when they get upset.. Let it go.. take a breath.. write a letter to yourself.. don't react!! They weren't they were both off living their lives.. the rats... I realized within moments of posting it that I was wrong.. I went back and immediately deleted the post.. Which would have been ok, EXCEPT.. on this site when you make a comment all the people on the post get a notification... yeah that's right.. a notification. My snarly, snarky remark hurt someone's feelings.. She responded on my wall.. I got angrier.. I mean I took it down.. let it go right? Well I should have listened to my own advice.. I came here and posted my rant.. She saw it.. yeah that's right.. I am/was good enough friends with her that I had shared this blog with her. BUT WAIT.. it gets better.. Next I made a snarky remark on twitter.. oh yeah AND on facebook.. She saw the twitter.. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she didn't see the FB.. Of course if she reads this she will now!!

Was I right? NO!!.. For several reasons..

  1. I have no idea what her tone was and her comments may not have been and knowing her probably weren't meant as in insult.
  2. I know myself well enough to know that when I am tired I tend to over react. Grow up
  3. Not everyone is going to like Bodice Rippers get over yourself
  4. As a professional.. well that just wasn't
  5. I lost a friend... over my stupidity...
Now with that being said... plenty of people have said some pretty nasty things to me and I let them.. I don't take them to task... I don't even make them apologize..From a friend I could have used that same treatment. I also know that plenty of times people have read things into my words that I never ever meant or sometimes even thought of.. I still apologize for hurting their feelings.

Of course as a Christian, someone who tries to live a Christ like life.. I should have just offered my hurt up to God, maybe taken my friend aside, sent her a PRIVATE email and let her know that the comment hurt my feeling.. You know acted like an ADULT!! Not a freakin two year old!!

So I am sorry.. I am sorry that I responded angrily, I am sorry that once I knew that my response hurt that I took it further.. and I am most sorry that I lost a friend..

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Hard Lessons Learned, Again and Again

    Be prepared this is a Rant in the truest form.. I am angry.. really really ANGRY.. If you read my blogs at all you know that along with two of my friends I have started a book review site..Bodice Rippers. We are really really proud of it and have been getting an awesome response..

    A Couple of authors have agreed to our interview requests and have complimented us on the site. We have been having book reviews, discussions and yes even disagreements.. Today I found out that one of our staunchest supporters was gleefully slipping the knife in.. She didn't like our choice of reads.. didn't enjoy the books.. which seriously, there are plenty of books I don't like that people have recommended to me. I either read them or don't. If I do, I generally keep my mouth shut and don't tell them what I disliked about it.. usually I will find something positive and elaborate on that.. But even bad mouthing a series is really no skin off my nose.. (ok, yes I take it personally but I know that is on me...)

    Today, I read a comment that not only insulted the books, the author and everything about them but my site.. the one I am nurturing so very carefully.. and that just made me blow a gasket!! It hurt.. yes I admit I lashed out.. I responded with a pithy post.. that I then deleted. too late as it is because all posts get email notifications so the people who read them will know.. I shouldn't have.. I should have taken the high road. My behavior was unprofessional.. I was just so very hurt...

    Oh well, lesson learned.. watch your back.. but don't let it slow you down.. look towards the horizon and keep going!!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Top soccer team booted from playoffs for strange technicality

    I was completing my normal routine this morning.. Reading my emails, responding to posts and comments on Bodice Rippers, talking with my BR associate, reading Dear Abby (every day since I was a kid.. can't help myself) and cruising through Yahoo News..

    I admit, I like Yahoo News because it not only informs me of important stuff but tells me what other people consider important. Believe me I rarely agree with what they think but I do find it fun. Today I found a rather interesting article about a Soccer Team that was disqualified from the playoffs. The picture shows the team all decked out in their uniforms posing for what I can only assume is their yearbook picture. You are SUPPOSED to feel sorry for them. I find that while I do feel bad for the girls, they didn't do anything wrong, I have to agree with the decision.

    The team, which is one of the best in the State of NY and who could conceivably win the state championship was disqualified because it played one too many regular season games. This is a newer rule as it is only two years old.. But that should be a reason why they actually are aware of it. It is not as the title implies a strange technicality, it was a rule that has been enacted for a specific reason. And the people who scheduled games for this team screwed up. Obviously, by playing one more game than the rest of the teams gives them one more chance at working together in a game environment. Fine tuning their team work and learning just a bit more about each other.

    The school petitioned the State athletic board for a dispensation, fortunately they were turned down. Sorry girls, yes you are one of the best and you should be playing in these championships BUT don't blame the State. It wasn't the State that broke the rules. They didn't create it to hinder you.. it was in place in plenty of time for your schedulers to be aware of..

    Part of athletics, the part parents today like to forget, is learning to work within the rules.. If you hit a ball between these lines you may advance to a base or two or three, if you shoot a ball while standing outside these lines, you get extra points, if you pitch a ball between the shoulders and knees and directly over the plate that is a strike!! There are rules for a reason.. life has rules, mommy and daddy don't get to go to your boss and make him change the reasons why you have to go in on Wednesdays, or how much you make.. No you have to do it yourself, these are the rules..

    I hate the need to "FIX" everything for our children.. well not the need we all have that inside us, but rather the action of actually doing it. Ask any of the Beasties and they will tell you from an early age I expected them to fight their own battles, follow the rules and respect others.. So far they are pretty great kids/adults so I think I have done the right thing..

    you can find the entire article I am speaking of Here

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Frustration! and More Frustration!

    I don't have a car so I tend to use a lot of cabs. Over the years I have tried out all of the local cab services and for the most part I find that Flash Cab/303 Taxi has the best service.. Both in arrival time and driver service. That being said... I have had a few annoying incidents. Today was one of those days.

    My cab driver showed up and of course wanted to put my coordinates into his GPS.. great idea!! Except I was basically going around the block.. maybe a mile or two combined.. he didn't need GPS.. I would give him directions.. Ok, sure no problem.. EXCEPT.. why bother asking for directions when you aren't going to take them...

    Here is how my trip went...

    1. I have a parking lot with only one entrance, the best way to get out is to go back the way you came in. Yes you can go around the building but hey that is .20 cents.. In this case it was .40, that tells me he is running a hot meter so my entire trip is going to cost more than usual.

    2. The parking lot that we turn into is really really weird and requires an entrance at an odd place. Which I explain in detail.. even to the point of saying.. see that green street sign going into the parking lot? See where that car is turning? Of course he didn't want to actually turn there.. wanted to go AROUND the block. Heck NO this is a cab.. every turn of the wheels costs..

    3. Upon arriving at the grocery store, he pulled up and blew a stop sign, then stopped the cab in a crosswalk.. When I told him that I would be right back he turned off his engine.. IN A FREAKIN CROSSWALK. I had to tell him to move up!!

    4. Upon leaving, his trusty GPS chirped up and told him to make a left turn at a street (the wrong street but a street) considering the fact that I had said we were returning to the original pick up location he should have realized he would not have to turn.. BUT he didn't not only did he go to turn he tried to turn RIGHT!! Which means hello? wrong way!! I caught it but still..

    It's not that GPS doesn't have it's uses, but there are times when it is just plain WRONG.. and when a customer gives you specific directions listen to them. I always try to smile, say please and thank you, use a cheerful voice.. and I apologize if I get crabby...

    That was Frustration #1, #2 is worse

    Since I don't have a credit or debit card at this moment.. I use prepaid cards on occasion. This was the first time I used a pre paid card on the internet instead of using Pita Boy's debit card.. I didn't register the card.. grrrr and that caused an entire host of errors..

    1.Amtrak, denied the card because the zip code wasn't the same as what was on the card... I was sure Amtrak was wrong so I tried FIVE times, yes I am persistant!!

    2. It finally dawned on me to see what I was doing wrong so I called the credit card!! The money of course had already been taken out.. so now my money was in billing limbo.

    3. Call back to Amtrak to see if they can figure something out.. NOPE.

    4. Call back to the CC company and was told, too bad so sad, the money will be reimbursed in 3-5 business days.. WHAT!! 3-5 business days? Now we all know that means FIVE business days no way are they going to give me my money back before then!! So next Wednesday I should see the money show up on my card!! Yep that's right a week from today.

    5. Call Amtrak again... I tried to see if they could figure out a way to apply the limbo money to the ticket.. nope, no such transactions exist.. So now I get to start all over again.. Next time, I am just gonna deal with Pita Boy and use his stupid card!!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    A Mother's Relief - All Praise to God

    Good Morning!! I have not forgotten you my friends... just have had a really hard time getting back into the swing of things since Blond Girl's incident. She has an official diagnoses of Syncopy.. which means she has a fainting disorder and there are some drawbacks. Most notably, she can never swim in an unsupervised manner again. Just think, no going into the ocean for a fun day of swimming, now diving in the lake with friends (unless one of them has the ability to care for her) and even a hotel pool... where there is no lifeguard on duty.. I can not imagine not being able to go in the water this way. We are a water based family.. It has been a central part of our entire life!! With that being said.. she is alive and well with a healthy heart and joyous spirit. All the thanks and praise to God for this!!

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Blond Girl's Senior Solo

    Today was the first of three choir performances for the school year where they allow a Senior Solo. There are only seven solos for the entire year and 12 or 13 kids auditioned. Blond Girl was one who got a solo and hers was today!! 

    I was quite nervous because she was singing the song awfully high and no way was she ever gonna hit those notes!! I tried to be encouraging but I will admit I was really really nervous!! Hope you all enjoy the song!! Sorry about the shaky video, I wasn't too stable as the photographer!!  I would suggest that you listen and not watch!!


    Friday, October 21, 2011

    A Pleasant Conversation

    I talked to my mom tonight, it was amazing we spoke for almost two hours, told stories, discussed books, talked about family and it did not end in me either hanging up mid sentence cuz I was just so angry (ok, the way I hang up on my mom is to say.. I have to go now and then hang up the phone but in my head I am slamming the phone down!) OR after a brief polite conversation I seethe about it for weeks.

    So to have a pleasant conversation is a rare treat...  Most people love my mom, well I love her too but we are just so different and see things from just different perspectives on well, EVERYTHING.. and being that I am the kid.. most conversations end badly. Of course this entire thing was brought on by that article on Bodice Rippers that claims an avid reader is someone who reads 9 books a year. Since my mother is the person in my life that gave me my great love of books I knew she would understand my apall!!

    So we talked, we chatted, we discussed and the very best part is.... I got my phone call quota in for the next three months! *giggles* not really.. She did say she would post flyers for  Bodice Rippers at her sales. So that is cool.. free advertising!!

    I appreciate my mom's organized mind.. it is so interesting to see how 2+2 always equals 4 in her world. Wonder what that would be like?

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Just Astounded

    As I have previously stated my friends and I have started a book review, discussion and debate site. The three of us each bring a different perspective and talent to the table. Sandy, is an awesome researcher and can usually find information in moments..

    One of the things Sandy does for the site is find interesting articles about  Romantic Vampires and what's Under the Kilt and the consequences and effects of Romantic Sex Novels Which are all very very excellent articles full of fun facts and have some very interesting responses from our followers.

    BUT, yesterday Sandy posted and article entitled Do Women Read More Than Men and totally blew my mind! Not the title subject because I firmly believe that women read more than men for an entire sundry of reasons.. But one line, one line has left me dumbfounded... I would say speechless but I am writing this blog so I must have something to say about it..

    Among avid readers surveyed by the AP, the typical woman read nine books in a year, compared with only five for men. Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography.

    Yes, that's right an avid reader is considered someone who reads only NINE books a year. On a good week I can do that in three days.. ok, I have to have nothing to do but read and the books have to be kinda short.. but still!! I had just had a conversation with Sandy about all the 52 books in 52 weeks programs and we called them amateurs.. and giggled.. We never knew how few people could actually accomplish such a fact.

    I have spent my life as an avid reader, I do not remember a time in my life when I didn't have a book in my hands.. Many of my friends would like to forget my Tolkien years but that is an entirely different story. Books have been my treasured friends my entire life. From Dr Suess, to the Phantomn Tollbooth, to Little House on the Prairie, to Poe and Shakespeare and yes Tolkien. From Mitchner to Dumas to Feehan and Kenyon.. These books have enriched my life.
     Even as a single mother with four small kids and a full time job I found time to read!

    With all that being said, I have to seriously thank Ms Rowling and Ms Meyers for writing such amazing stories that interested kids and teens.. and brought them back to reading. Because of such gifted authors, I see more children and teens reading than in several generations before! They have discovered that books are even better than movies.. and seriously, I love a good movie.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Lemony Snicket Explains Occupy Wall Street

    Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance

    1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.

    2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, but that does not mean the word has two definitions.

    3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.

    4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.

    5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.

    6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.

    7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.

    8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.

    9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.

    10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.

    11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

    12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.

    13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Turn Back Tuesday

    Yes I really was that young a very long time ago!! That was me the cute blond! Disneyland circa late 1960's

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Death of a Sportsman

    I admit it, I follow the Indy circuit. I grew up watching the Indy 500 and really enjoy not only the races but the drivers, the families and the legends. The Death of Dan Whalen was a complete and utter shock. Today we see cars flip and twist several times mid air and the drivers walk away. We have been lulled into a false sense of security. We forget that this job is indeed dangerous.

    I feel deeply for Dan's young family, for his wife who must now raise those boys alone, on stories of their dad. Who, seems to have been the kind of man you want your boys to become like. I feel for those babies who will never know their dad. Always wondering if they are like him, would he be proud of them, would he have been there for them.

    I hope he has found his place nestled in God's palm. Resting from the journey and praising his deliverance. 

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Eye Candy

    Didn't want to post but thought I would share some Eye Candy with y'all, ENJOY!

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Life Goes On

    Does it ever amaze you that no matter how integral you are to something that if you step away from it.. Life goes on just fine without you? That in the grand scheme of things you are not all that important, after all?

    I have been working on our new blogsite  Bodice Rippers I had been the one to create the site. Make sure it had a daily quote, at least one blog a day, the entire layout.. I kept telling my partners that we were partners but yeah in my head this was my baby... well.. real life struck and I had to let go. You know what.. the site did not crash! Posts were made, a daily quotes was given, new followers registered.. yep every thing was smooth sailing.

    The question I have to ask myself.. Was this a good thing? For the blogsite of course it is.. to know this early on that if one person stepped away the others could handle everything. No way should any one person become so important that it would crash without them. BUT from an ego thing.. well come on.. this was my baby.. and just like any mom, it matures and poof.. mom gets pushed aside for the new hipper kids..

    Yes my ego was trampled just a bit and yes I had a very hard time letting go but to know that our site is starting to grow and flourish was well worth the lesson. It is like watching your child ride his two wheeler for the first time.. you know he is taking those first steps away from you but you have many years left. I am excited as all get out to see what is happening and how it is already growing.

    Can't wait to see what happens next..

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    A Nightmare

    Last Tuesday while Blond Girl was at a swim meet, she laid down to rest, fell asleep and stopped breathing. When her friends attempted to wake her up she was unresponsive and CPR was administered. Fortunately, she came to and was rushed to the emergency room.

    Once there all tests were negative she was "fine" and "nothing" wasw wrong. The Doctors realizing that this was just wrong.. sent her to a children's pediatric ICU at another hospital for observation. Two days later and we are still not sure what is causing the problem but we are pretty secure in knowing that her heart is fine. WHEW.

    Let me tell you, I had plenty of falling apart moments in the quiet of the night while she was sleeping. Fortunately, each morning she would wake and smile... everything was fine. There were plenty of prayers that started with God you gave her to me You just can't take her away.. and yeah I know I am being selfish.. Then I would give thanks for what I do have and move on. Finally about 2am this morning I woke to angels singing in my head. A full ensemble to Because He Lives.. What a great gift God gave me. Not just a reminder that He lives but that He will take care of the details..

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Turn Back Tuesday

    Recently on FaceBook there was a page created called.. You know you grew up in Whittier, if.... The page was opened and exploded within minutes by the end of the day it had well over 500 posts and just kept growing from there. People want to touch on their history. They want to remember the good old days or rather the days when the possible seemed impossible and yet they made it through. Was it better back then, probably not. Oh if you were a kid then of course it was, you didn't have to worry about real life issues. But in general probably not.. adults worried kids played..

    But there are so many fantastic memories.. With my youngest coming closer and closer to graduation it of course brings back such memories for me. Of course back in the day, we had no clue what we were doing. There were no seminars for parents.. there were no explanations of fasfa? I am not sure there was even a fasfa. Of course I do know that while we were considered adults and our parents had no say in our education.. the government took into account how much their house and car was worth as well as their income, while deciding what you were qualified for. Thank goodness fasfa has changed just a bit. I remember all the schools I wanted to go to and then listening to my parents about what was best... why don't my kids do that?

    At Whittier Christian we took football very seriously so at this time back in the fall of 1979 we were in the throws of football season. Not yet realizing what a special year it was going to be. Shoot, we hadn't even seen Scotty Varco, the drum major, dressed up as Darth Vador or Dave Carr, the tuba player, all decked out in a pink tutu.. None of that had happened yet. We were just settling in, Senior year with all it's moments was just beginning.. 

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    A Lesson Learned or Rather Learning

    Do you ever go to a website and really like it? Spend some time there? Maybe even join it? Interact on it? Get so comfortable that you start making suggestions as to what they could do to make it better? I have..

    I always think I am being helpful, that if they don't like the suggestion they can ignore it.. usually it is one where I feel comfortable or am a member in longstanding. They say they welcome all suggestions.. Well let me tell you they don't.

    I have been working hard on creating  Bodice Rippers along with my two partners and believe me... I have said many times, I appreciate all the suggestions.. Yeah RIGHT!!! Last night I learned just how much I appreciated them when one of their suggestions countered my idea. It didn't help that they were right..

    After days of focusing on creating this page.. Hours of exhaustion while learning basic and I mean very basic HTML.. so I can make little changes to my page (it is a blogsite template after all). Suddenly my partners think I am the expert.. *facepalm* yeah.. that's right, me the expert!! They keep coming up with these little tweaks that are wonderful.. fantastic.. and I am at that loopy stage where I either laugh myself silly or snap at them. Like I said, it doesn't help that they are usually right..

    So, I have learned.. whenever I am a mere member or participant.. I am gonna sit back and attempt not to take charge.. anyone believe me?

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    That's Just the Way it Was

    Do you ever hear the phrase "That's just the way it was" and want to respond yeah, but it doesn't make it right?

    As a student of history, I firmly comprehend that the way things were was not always perceived as bad. That what we would find as totally abhorrent behavior was pretty much considered the norm. I can even accept that it was and how we as a culture benefited from it. When one is generations removed, the cold clinical acceptance is easy.

    But when something happened in your lifetime, when something happened was just the way it was... back when you can remember it seems to change all the dynamics. At least it does for me. I recently read an article about  Darrell Brown an amazing man who managed to live with dignity and grace and remain true his convictions in the worst of circumstances.

    Darrell Brown was the first African-American man who attempted to play for the Univ of Arkansas. This story sent me into tears.. rolling down my face. I am fortunate that I was raised by a woman who never recognized racism.. I never understood it and can honestly say that it has never played a part in the choices or friends I have had in my life.

    I can say this as a white woman who has never had to face racism in any way shape or form. I can say and mean that the color of your skin means nothing to me. BUT.. I also understand that I was never blocked from something because of the color of my skin, never refused admittance, never watched my parents denigrated or insulted.. never saw my parents defeated, never watched my brothers refused or turned away.. So yes, while I can honestly say I am color blind I do understand that there are those who aren't. That almost can't be.. That is why this article affected me so very much. Darrell Brown rose above so much and became an amazing man.. Someone I would love to meet. Someone I would wish my children could emulate.

    I watched the Univ of AR/Auburn game hoping against hope that ESPN would show this amazing half time acknowledgement.. They didn't. Shame on you ESPN!!

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    The Joys of Nieces

    I have two of the most amazing nieces! Complete and total sources of pride. They are a constant joy to me and always make me smile!

    Due to the insanity of my life I have not always been able to be the fantastic, always there ready with a present Aunt. Nope, for the most part I am a voice on the phone or an email.

    Thanks to email, I have been able to connect with my older niece (from now on referred to as Daisy)as she is almost 10 and has her own account now. We usually just send little one line communications but they certainly brighten my day.

    Recently in one of our emails, Daisy informed me that both she and her sister (now to be referred to as Rose) both have American Girl Dolls. Now when my girls were younger their dolls had immense wardrobes mostly due to my sewing abilities.. I often made clothes for their friends and sold some of my fancier pieces. For a while it was all the rage for the my daughter's friend's dolls to have velvet capes.. all made and designed by me. So.. while talking with Daisy, I offered to make both Daisy and Rose's dolls a cape. I just needed to know what colors they wanted.

    According to my sister, their conversation went something like this..

    Daisy, "Rose, Auntie Shauni is going to make our dolls capes, we just need to tell her what color. I am going to have blue and silver. What color do you want?"

    Rose, "Are you sure Auntie Shauni can make these?"

    Daisy, "Of course she can. She made them for Word Girl and Blond Girl and all their friends!"

    Rose, "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm"

    My sister was quite offended for me. Insulted that Rose dared to question my sewing abilities.. Honestly.. It just made me giggle.. Gotta love a girl who has the sense to question when something seems too good to be true!!

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    The Death of Steve Jobs

    It is amazing what one man can do. In an age that still held some innocence Steve Jobs called the president of HP and asked for some spare parts.. and a dynasty was born! Yes that is an extreme summation of this incredible story but when you cut out all the fat there you have it.

    Steve Jobs had a wonderfully creative brain, a fluid mind and was willing to think in not outside the box.. but rather he re created the box. What would our lives be without his input? Would Microsoft have happened? Would we still be using some interesting form of lotus? Oh my wouldn't that be fun?

    I remember when my parents got their first home computer, yes the apple II, oh my what a monstrosity that was. But it was a huge improvement on the computer my friend had in her basement.. Yes she had this COMPUTER.. that's right floor to ceiling across the entire wall and they only had that because her dad was in the business.. No way would she have even considered using it. Suddenly, computers were in the home.. That first time we dialed into the library of congress via modem.. or chatted with a friend.. yes we actually chatted via modem the first time we played on that computer.. Of course it was soon outdated and newer and better models were made but without that first step..

    Remember when you first heard the word mp3 player? Did you have a clue what it was? Not really, it wasn't until you discovered iPod that suddenly wow!! this was such a cool thing. Was iPod the first mp3 player? I really don't know.. I am not sure if it was even the best... but it was the easiest and in the end, easy trumps everything..

    iPhone anyone? oh how about a nice iPad? Do you realize that India is working on a 35.00 tablet to offer to people in the poverty level.. so that they might have contact with the web... would that have happened without the iPad? and would the iPad had happened without Steve Jobs?

    Maybe it would have.. who knows? But how many people have the guts to call a CEO of a major corporation and ask for spare parts? Better yet, how many of today's CEO's would even take the call, let alone send out the parts?

    RIP Steve, you made a difference.. would that we all could say the same

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    It's Football Season!!

    It's my favorite time of the year!! I love football!! While I am not crazy about Pro Ball.. I love watching college ball. There is just something so cool about these young men playing the game because they love it! At this point it is about talent, skill and love of the game! Oh sure some are already jaded and feel entitled but there are so many more who just play...

    I can easily spend an entire Saturday watching games and my Saturday night isn't complete without watching College Football Final on ESPN.. I am so bad I have 6 teams I watch on yahoo.. so they can just pop those scores up!!

    This year, I am following USC (DUH), Oregon, Stanford, Wyoming, Boise State and Northern Illinois. I would follow Western Illinois as well but it plays football in 2A so yahoo doesn't offer it.. But that's ok, it's still fun.. A good day is when most of the teams win.. a GREAT day is when all of them do.. Of course it is hard since WY and Boise State play in the same division (fyi, I love Boise state but Blond Girl is thinking about going to WY so I have to cheer for them) and of course the USC, Oregon and Stanford are all in the PAC 12..

    I also love the rare games that actually show the marching bands.. I remember when I was a kid and USC and Ohio State were in the Rose Bowl and my Dad.. THE HUGE SPORTS FAN... was just as excited about the bands. He said these were two of the best Marching Bands in the country and the half time show should be spectacular! What a great thing.. I was taught early on the importance of the players not on the football team. I am sure, he would have acknowledged the cheerleaders as well if they had evolved to the same level they have today. I guess I was lucky, I was raised by a man who honestly had a love of the game..

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Amanda Knox

    Why is it the plight of this girl has so captured the world? Why is it, I find myself overjoyed for her family and yet still oddly worried that she may have gotten away with murder, literally?

    I am oddly confused.. as a mother I have to think her parents have to be on their knees, eternally grateful to bring their baby home. To know that their child is safe and home. I don't know that I would ever allow her out of my site again..

    As an American, I was happy to see the Italian Court work to right the wrongs that had occurred. Oh not the wrongs of who did what but rather the total and irrevocable lack of due process and a fair trial.

    As a tv watcher, well I am all astounded that DNA isn't the miracle cure.. you know the answer to every crime.. available imediately upon request. No lengthy waits...

    And yet, I look at this mess and cry for the victim.. Meredith Kercher lays ignored.. her senseless death never  avenged.. Alone in a cold grave.. her parents needing to know.. deserving to know. Her brother, her family all oddly dysfunctional.. waiting and hoping.. an eternal turn on the nightmare merry go round... I hope Meredith is remembered. I hope her family is remembered..I hope justice prevails and this family can allow their child to rest.

    Then and only then will I be satisfied.. Amanda Knox got a reprieve because people made mistakes.. Let's hope those mistakes lead to the right end..

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Day Two

    Wow!! I find it amazing that I am back here, two complete days in a row.. It seems like only yesterday I was worrying if I would ever again have anything to say.. I know, run out of things to say? Highly unlikely, though it does happen.

    I filled my day yesterday with total and complete, eye glazing insanity!! I started a new blog.. Yes that's right!! I was worried about not having enough to say so I started a new blog. This one is near and dear to my heart..

    As many of you may know.. I enjoy Romance, PNR and Fantasy books. I have spent most of my life hiding this fact because well... everyone I know claims to not read them. Amazing isn't it? This is one of the largest genres out there and I don't know ANYONE who actually reads it? Yeah, right... Methinks, most of my friends and/or acquaintances do what I did.. buy there books then sneak off to read them like a guilty pleasure.. hidden and in silence..

    Well NO MORE!! Recently, I have been hanging out on Christine Feehan's website.. she has a great forum where we are all allowed our own pages and circle of friends, much like FaceBook but for CF fans.. While there, I discovered a group of ladies who love to read the same books I do.. and we love to discuss them! Debate them! Sink our teeth into the fun of them!! A few of us decided that discussing on her site alone is not quite enough so we joined together and formed Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy. Feel free to pop on over and check us out..

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Beginning Over

    It has been so long since I posted a blog, I am going to once again consider this beginning over. There is so much to say and so little time spent on saying it. I am not sure of the direction of this particular blog.. I am thinking to keep it at my rambling best.. just a catchall of things I think and feel..d

    I have already committed to writing my Juggling Teens blog on a regular basis and plan on getting back to my Shauni's Dreams that come.. Along with that I think I am going to work on a blog about my faith.. A day to day journal on my walk with Jesus.. I am not good at that.. I tend to hide my light.. keep it a a low flame hidden with in the recess of my self.. I think it is time to light the bonfire and let my light SHINE!!

    I also have one more blog I am considering.. this one will be a step towards insanity.. I am going to start a blog strictly for reviewing and discussing the books I love.. I have some friends who are going to work with me and get this show on the road.. Initially, we will be working with blogspot because it just makes sense to use it to get it on it's feet.. but eventually... well again.. we shall see..

    My life has never lacked ideas.. but focus and direction. I am hoping that with some prayer (ok, lots and lots of prayer) God will provide both the focus and the direction.

    Oh yeah.. I am gonna be playing with the new website stuff but am not sure what I am doing so bare with me for a bit...