Thursday, October 17, 2019

30 Years Ago Today

If you lived in Northern California in 1989, you will remember what happened 30 years ago today.  Even if you didn't live through the quake,ou likely still heard about it, since it struck at 5:04 PM, just as the third game of the 1989 World Series was getting underway.

I can still remember what I was doing that day. I had graduated from high school in June 1989, and was now going to community college. I had gotten home from my classes about an hour earlier and was listening to music when I felt rumbling under my feet. It then hit me (no pun intended) that an earthquake was occurring. It lasted 15 seconds. I was very shaken (again, no pun intended) as was everyone that day.

This was one of the few times my hometown, Hollister, California (San Benito County), made the news. It's about 100 miles south of San Francisco, which sustained a great deal of the damage. But Hollister was just as hard-hit. Electricity was out for the next two days or so, and my college classes were cancelled for the rest of tea week. Only one place in Hollister had electricity that night, a local grocery store that had a power generator. Half the town gathered at the store, where the employees were gathered on tables on the front sidewalk. Residents were attempting to buy emergency supplies. Here is a look back at what happened in Hollister. And just two days before the 
anniversary, Hollister felt an earthquake. Hollister is one of three towns in California known as "The Earthquake Capital of the World."  Here is a photo of some of the damage (from the 20th anniversary in 2009):

Nearby counties Santa Clara, Monterey and Santa Cruz were also hit very hard.

Read about the quake here.

Do you remember what you were doing that day?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Epistolary Reading Challenge 2020

Once again, I'm bringing back the Epistolary challenge.

Definition of an Epistolary Novel (from Wikipedia):
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries,newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary is derived from Latin from the Greek word ἐπιστολή epistolē, meaning a letter (see epistle).

The epistolary form can add greater realism to a story, because it mimics the workings of real life. It is thus able to demonstrate differing points of view without recourse to the device of an omniscient narrator.  

The challenge, then, will be to read books written in the form of letters, diaries, blogs, e-mails and such, either completely or partially written this way. Here are some links to get some reading ideas:
Goodreads Best Diary Novels
Goodreads YA Diary Novels
List of Fictional Diaries
7 Variations on the Epistolary Novel


  • Challenge will run from January 1 to December 31, 2020.  Books must be started on or after January 1 to count.  Re-reads will be allowed as long as they are read during the specified time period.
  • Books may cross over to other challenges in which you are participating.  
  • Fiction (all genres and subgenres) and nonfiction that fit the challenge description may be read.
  • All book formats are allowed (paper, audio, electronic, graphic novels/manga, picture books). 
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.
  • There will be no levels.  I will let you choose how many books to read.
  • You do not need a blog to sign up.  You may keep tract of your progress on Goodreads, Amazon or other similar sites with a shelf dedicated to this challenge.  Or sign up on Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • You do not need to post reviews, nor will there be any check-ins.

Friday, October 11, 2019

It's Getting to Be That Time

As you can see, I have begun creating my signup posts for two of my reading challenges for next year, with three more to come. In the next months, more of these will be popping up on other blogs and sites. I'm not sure how many I will be doing next year, but there are several I will be doing once again. More to come.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to finish up the ones I am in for this year. I recently noticed that the blog hosting one of the challenges has been deleted. Not the first time that has happened this year, or any year. It seems to happen each year. I've decided to call this one off for the rest of the year, since the host blog has been deleted.

Memoir Reading Challenge 2020


It's back for a third year, once again using a checklist. Some categories have been changed, however. To participate, you must read a minimum of five memoirs from any of the categories listed. One book can only count for one category. Re-reads are acceptable. You do not need a blog to participate. All book formats count. 

Other Rules:

  • Books must be read on or after January 1, 2020 to count.
  • Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2020.
  • Books may cross over to other challenges in which you are participating. 
  • Books must be labeled as memoirs to count. 
Need some reading ideas? Here are some lists to get ideas for reading:
    Goodreads Memoir Book Lists
    10 Famous Memoirs Everyone Should Read Once
    17 Memoirs By Women
    Best Celebrity Memoirs of All Time

    Fictional Memoirs

    Here are the categories:

    1. _ Mental Illness Memoir
    2. _ Other Illness Memoir
    3. _ Political Memoir
    4. _ Food Memoir
    5. _ Animal Memoir
    6. _ Music Memoir
    7. _ Travel Memoir
    8. _ Written by a person of color
    9. _ Written by a woman
    10. _ Written by a person who identifies as LGBTQIA
    11. _ Written by an actor or a comedian
    12. _ Written by an author or journalist
    13. _ Written by any other celebrity
    14. _ Written by someone under 40
    15. _ Written by someone over 40
    16. _ Written by someone from a country different from your own
    17. _ One you find thought-provoking
    18. _ Made into a movie
    19. _ Graphic Novel memoir
    20. _ Bestselling memoir
    21. _ Humorous memoir
    22. _ Fictional memoir
    23. _ Published in 2019
    24. _ Published in 2018 or earlier
    25. _ Under 300 pages
    26. _ Over 300 pages
    27. _ One you want to re-read
    28. _ Subject of your choice
    29. _ Author of your choice
    30. _ Free choice
    31. _ Free choice
    32. _ Free choice

    Mental Health Reading Challenge 2020

    This will be returning in 2020 for a second year. This is a topic very important to me.

    General Rules:

    • Any book depicting mental health counts, whether fiction or non-fiction.
    • Challenge takes place from January 1 to December 31, 2020. All books must be read during that time to count.
    • All book formats (print, audio, e-books) are accepted.
    • Books may cross over to other challenges in which you are participating.
    • No levels, read as many books as you like.
    • Need ideas for books? Check this Goodreads page for several lists of books on the topic.
    • You do not need a blog to participate. You may sign up on Goodreads, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. 
    • Sign up below and leave a comment.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Costume Decision

    I have now decided what to wear for Halloween. I was inspired by this reversible costume:

    I plan to do something different: Hide the ears under a hat and wear a long-sleeved jacket. I definitely plan to do something that won't be skimpy. More info to come.

     I got this idea after looking up reversible costumes last year and using this one for an idea:

    I decided to make a half bee-half lady bug costume and wanted to do that idea again. So I looked at different reversible costumes for ideas and narrowed my choices down between the magician/rabbit and this one, a taxi driver and racer. I did almost go with that one.

    Saturday, October 5, 2019

    Remember These Costumes?

    Today this came up on my Facebook Memories:

    And then this came up on my newsfeed:

    I can't seem to remember ever wearing one of these costumes, even though they were around for so long. I guess my mom was good at making costumes for me. Just why did we need the names and a picture of the characters on the smock?I cannot imagine this idea being used with characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants or Angry Birds, so it's probably good that these went out many years ago. 

    Friday, October 4, 2019

    Halloween Wreaths

    Here are some of the Halloween wreaths made at work this week. Some are already finished (including mine), others will be completing theirs next week.  The last photo is of mine, taken at home.

    Thursday, October 3, 2019

    Chapter Break Bingo – October 2019

    Here is the card for October.

    My books for this one:

    1. Spoon River Anthology--Edgar Lee Masters (4 squares): Historic Setting, Not in a Series, Earth/Land Mass on Cover, Compilation
    2. The Mothman Prophecies--John A. Keel (3 squares): Reluctant Hero, Non-Human(oid) on Cover, Free Space
    3. An Unquiet Mind--Kay Redfield Jamison (2 squares): Shelf Love, Physical Book 
    4. Apples and Pumpkins--Anne Rockwell (2 squares): Trick-or-Treat, Holiday
    5. A Corner of the Universe--Ann M. Martin (2 squares): Vacation, Library Book
    6. Obsidio--Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (4 squares): Free Book, Squad/Friends, Future Setting, In a Series
    7. Twilight--Stephenie Meyer (reread) (7 squares): Audiobook, Romance, Vampire, Immortal Creature, Afterlife/Souls, Shifter Creature, Kidnapped
    8. Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy--Jane Love (1 square): Candy
    25 squares completed on October 14

    Monday, September 30, 2019

    October Eve

    I have been seeing the phrase "October Eve" in various images on the Internet.
    Now it is October Eve.

    As you saw on my blog yesterday, I've already decorated the front porch for Halloween even though the first of October isn't till tomorrow. It was just easier doing it on Saturday and Sunday, even thought I'm off on Tuesday. I wanted to get it up by the first. 

    Now I have to decide on a costume. More on that to come.

    Sunday, September 29, 2019

    Decorating for Halloween

    October is still two days away, but the porch is now decorated for Halloween. I made the scarecrow myself from the following: a trick-or-treat tub and scarecrow hat from Goodwill, worn-out jeans and hooded jacket (with the hood cut off), skeleton tongs for hands (from Dollar Tree) and an old pair of boots found in the garage.  The patches were from worn-out clothes as well,  and the scarecrow was stuffed with newspaper. 

    Tuesday, September 24, 2019

    Unique Places to Look for Writing Inspiration


    Sometimes it can be challenging to keep coming up with new, fresh, and exciting ideas for our stories. Or, perhaps we get halfway through our latest one and then suddenly hit a blank wall where we can’t for the life of us figure out where the story is going to go next.
    Continually coming up with new ideas and being able to continue to write new stories is, of course, imperative for any writer. If our inspiration suddenly dries up, we can’t write!
    It can be very unnerving for writers to have a bout of ‘writer’s block’ (or whatever you want to call it), but the most important thing to do is not panic and remember that it happens to the best of us!
    Getting out of this state as quickly and painlessly as possible, however, is a priority. We might try all our usual methods to get those creative juices flowing again, but if nothing is working, it might be time to try a different tactic.
    Here are some more unusual places to looking for writing inspiration - ones that just might give your imagination that boost it needs to get back on track.
    Social media
    OK so some of us love social media and some of us hate it, but no one can deny it is a fantastic resource to tap into what other people are talking about, the latest news and trends, weird and hilarious goings-on in the world and much more. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and endless wells of information, and an excellent resource for understanding how people communicate, how they think and feel, and what’s important to them.
    Classified ads
    Classified ads are full of unusual things for sale, of things people are looking to buy, and everything else in between. If you browse through the classifieds as well as the dating sections of newspapers you can find some great ideas for stories right before your eyes!
    Local and national papers
    Local and national newspapers are also great for pinching story ideas and developing them in new ways. Local papers are great for small-town news events which you could turn into powerfully dramatic stories with dark twists and amusing turns! The national news is ideal for learning more about the state of the world - using the news to inspire our stories is always a great idea - and gives them a grounding in reality that people can relate to too.
    Public transport
    Eavesdropping on other peoples conversations is an interesting way to get some new inspiration for your writing. Buy an all-day bus ticket and sit on it with a notebook and make notes about the people you see and the conversations you hear. You’ll be sure to end the day with lots of exciting ideas that might just inspire you to create your next novel!
    A picture is said to speak a thousand words! Get out old family albums or go to your local library or charity shop and look at history books and old photographs. Something about the way a person is looking into the camera or the body language of people in a particular picture might well spark an idea - and all it takes is one little spark to create a great story.
    Children’s books
    Children’s books are fantastic places to look for inspiration for more grown-up tales. Children’s stories have all the elements of a story, just told more simply. Browse through some of them in your local bookstore and think about how you can use them as the foundation for your next piece of work.
    Taking up a new hobby or class
    Writing inspiration comes to us not when we are sitting and fretting at our desks, but when we are out and about in the world, experiencing all the richness and wonder it has to offer. Get out there, try new things, and see what you can see. If you do, you are sure to feel refreshed and inspired in no time!

    How many of you out there have used any of this ideas? By coincidence,  I recently used a few of these ideas in my class at work. One was the newspaper idea. I bought that day's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle to use in class. I had read about the newspaper idea in a book I have been using for the class. I would have never considered using the classified ads for ideas, though and no one else who participated that day thought of that one either. One person that day used a line that was in a full-page ad, another idea I would not have considered. The idea was to write a story based on one in the paper or use a headline to make up a story (without reading the original). But the classified ads idea sounds good, too, as does the ad idea.  
    Public transport isn't very big in my small town, however, there are many places people can go to for eavesdropping and people watching. I did the Legitimate Eavesdropping exercise in my class as well, going to a coffee shop near the center where I work. I want o go try going outside to write at work more often, and maybe do so myself. I have tried this on my own, but it's been a while since I have. 

    And just this week, I tried the writing from photos. We used photos from magazines at work. It was amazing what people came up with for this one. I now want to try this one again at home.

    As for the other ideas listed, I have done fairy tale retellings, which goes with the kids' book idea. I've not tried to use social media much for writing ideas, though I may just find some story to use, much like with the newspaper idea. 

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    Clay Pot Scarecrow

    Here is the one I made at work this past week. Our boss was only able to find tiny clay pots at Walmart, so that is what we had to use. But it looked good and took less time to paint and decorate the pots.

    Here is the Youtube video where I got the idea (everyone decorated theirs using their own ideas):

    Tuesday, September 17, 2019

    An Unusual Week

    It has been an unusual week what with 9/11 and Friday the 13th both occurring last week. I didn't get around to blogging about either last week, so here some brief recaps.

    I can still remember what I did on the fateful September day in 2001. Click here to see what I wrote on the 15th anniversary in 2016. My decision to leave the house that day was good one.

    As far as Friday the 13th goes, I have never been superstitious about that date, but I have known a few things about it. Click here to read some weird facts

    And you may have seen this meme:

    Yes, that is often true. This past weekend, the weather was nearly 100 degrees  (though fall hasn't officially begun). But yesterday, it was reported that there was a chance of rain, which did prove true, but only for a while. And the rain wasn't very heavy. Then the weather became somewhat warm but still cloudy. Now the weather is expected to be in the 70s for the next three days. Weather in my neck of the woods at this time of year is always unpredictable.

    Saturday, September 14, 2019

    Quiz: The Gourd Test

    Agree with most of this one.

    You Are Quiet

    You are a natural introvert, and you enjoy as much peace as you can bring to your life.
    You are easily overwhelmed, and you often retreat from the world to recharge.

    You go unnoticed in a crowd, and you feel like your close friends and family are the only ones who truly "see" you.
    You like to observe and take notes on what's going on around you. You don't let on to how much you know.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2019

    Quiz: What Color Apple Are You?

    Agree with most of this one. Quiz here.

    You Are a Golden Apple

    You are humane and compassionate. You are merciful and kind whenever you can be.
    You don't get too caught up in how you think things should be. You know there's not much you can control.

    You are principled and conscientious. You try to behave as virtuously as possible.
    You are easy on everyone you meet, including yourself. You can't stand harshness of any sort.

    Sunday, September 8, 2019

    New and Old Signs of Autumn

    Saw this on Facebook today:

    Wow, is there really toothpaste, mouthwash, milk, yogurt and deodorant with the pumpkin spice flavor? If so, I won't be getting any of it. Pumpkin space candy is all right by me, but I think the craze may have gone a little too far with some of the other items it has found its way onto.

    I must admit I did this Pumpkin Spice costume 10 years ago. At the time, I wasn't quite aware of the pumpkin spice craze.  Some people who saw me wearing it then did not know what it was supposed to be, but one actually knew it was called "Pumpkin Spice."

    And I hate to admit it, but I am now eager to eat some candy corn. I just like the stuff. And there's a costume for that:

    I won't get too much into the candy corn craze right now.

    Friday, September 6, 2019

    National Read a Book Day

    I did not know this day existed. There seems to be a "National Day" for just about everything these days. But since  I'm always reading book, knowing that such a day exists seems unnecessary to me.

    Tuesday, September 3, 2019

    Chapter Break Bingo – September 2019

    Here is this month's card.

    September Bookish Bingo

    My books for this one:
    1. The Astronaut Wives Club--Lily Koppel (9 squares): Physical Book, Shelf Love, New-to-You Author, Tournament/Competition, Ship, Not in a Series, Nonfiction, Travel Guide, Actor/Actress
    2. All's Faire in Middle School--Victoria Jamieson (2 squares): Library Book, Set in a School
    3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe--C.S. Lewis (5 squares): Audiobook, Magical Academy, In a Series, Water on Cover, Free Space
    4. Wolves Eat Dogs--Martin Cruz Smith (1 square): Thriller/Suspense
    5. A Confederacy of Dunces--John Kennedy Toole (2 squares): Man on Cover, Beard
    6. Chocolate Cream Pie Murder--Joanne Fluke (1 square): Free Book
    7. Lady Midnight--Cassandra Clare (2 squares): Angel, New Adult
    8. Daughter of the Pirate King--Tricia Levenseller (1 square): Pirate
    9. Flunked--Jen Calonita (2 squares): Single-Word Title, Piercing
    25 squares completed on September 23

    Saturday, August 31, 2019

    It's Almost Time...

    ...though it probably already has been turning up in stores. I haven't personally seen any just yet, but then I haven't been looking.

    Wednesday, August 28, 2019

    Trying Not to Buy So Many Books...

    I saw this today on Sandra's blog:

    This is how I have felt lately. 

    As for buying books, I have been trying to avoid that lately, though I did find a few books this month at second-hand stores that I just had to have. I was looking for two of the books in particular and had to get them while I found them. One in particular on the day I got it was half-off the price that the thrift store usually charges. So that was a good buy.

    But for the most part, I've been trying to buy fewer books, if any. Only about three this month, so far. It gets hard to  want to read what I have purchased, as I like to get out and one of my favorite places to go is the library. It's hard to leave the library without checking out books, but I have been able to make this work when I want to. I went last Saturday to return some books and also to see the free movie that was showing that day. My county library shows free movies on Saturdays and last week they showed Poms. It was a good way to pass the time before my class reunion that same night. I left without checking out any books that day, deciding to read some of the stuff I have at home for a while. I've been trying to do this at least once each month, getting as many books as I can for my shelf at home for a while each month. Though I miss going to the library after staying away for a while. If I can't find a book at the library, and don't want to buy it on Amazon if it's not at any thrift stores nearby, I can get it through the library's promotion known as Zip Boooks. This allows readers to order a book not already at the library. The book is then shipped free via Amazon and mailed to the customer's address. The customer then has three weeks to take the book to the library, just as they would for borrowed books already at the library. I like doing this because it's free, but only one book can be requested at a time, and only up to five books per month.

    One of the books I got this month I have just finished. It was Eat, Pray, Love which I'd been wanting to read and which is not at my library. When I saw it at the thrift store, I decided to get it so I could read it.  As I said above, it was half-off that day, which I was unaware of, so it was a good buy. I'm glad to have gotten it so cheap.