Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Happy Halloween, everyone.

Again, here is me as Tropical Depression.  Planning to wear it one last time today. And I'm waiting  to see how many kids show up tonight, if any at all.

And last Saturday was a Zombie Crawl at the local karaoke bar. I got to see some of the zombie action, including a dance done to "Thriller." Here is a video:

Some photos of the zombies:


Monday, October 30, 2017

Color Coded Reading Challenge 2018

Once again I will be doing this challenge. Sign up here.


Read nine books in the following categories.

1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover:
The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe--Mary Simses [link]

2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgundy, etc) in the title/on the cover:
The Red Pony--John Steinbeck [link]

3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.) in the title/on the cover:
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library--Chris Grabenstein [link]

4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover:
Green Calder Grass--Janet Dailey [link]

5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Beige, Sand etc) in the title/on the cover:
Tan Lines--Katherine Applegate [link]

6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover:
Black and White--Paul Volponi [link]

7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc) in the title/on the cover:
Girls in White Dresses--Jennifer Close [link]

8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magenta, etc.):
Hot Pink in the City--Medeia Sharif [link]

9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.):  
ThBoithStriped Pajamas--John Boyne [link]

Challenge completed on May 26

National Candy Corn Day

From this link:


National Candy Corn Day is observed annually on October 30th.
Candy Corn was created by George Renninger of Wunderle Candy Company in the late 1800s. He created this sweet treat to represent the bright colors of corn kernels.   Originally, Candy Corn was yellow, orange and white, but it has become popular in other colors as well.
This confection was originally made by hand using corn syrup, sugar, water, marshmallows, fondant and carnauba wax (a wax made from the leaves of a palm tree), but it is now produced using machines.  The original ingredients are still used in the recipe.
Whether you want to go whip up a batch or go and purchase a bag, go and enjoy National Candy Corn Day.  Use #NationalCandyCornDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to find the creator and origin of National Candy Corn Day.
I now feel a need to go out and get at least one more bag of candy corn before tomorrow.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pictures From Yesterday

Here are a select few pictures from the work party yesterday:

Some selfies taken before leaving for the work party.

Me at the party

The Dark Mad Hatter

Group photo. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Preparing for Today

Last night I made my acorn cookies for the party today. Here are some photos of the ingredients and the first few cookies I assembled. I made the acorns until I ran out of the vanilla wafers, setting aside the broken ones. Still lots of the Hershey kisses and butterscotch chips left!

And here is the shirt I made for my tropical depression costume.  I finished it on Tuesday. I made the words TROPICAL DEPRESSION on my word-processing program. I then copied my prescription info from one of my receipts from the pharmacy. I tried this idea after being unable to enlarge the label from one of my empty vials without cutting off some of the image.   I had also searched on line for a fake prescription label template, but did not know how to change it to make it my own. So I looked up "Prozac label" and found a sample of one, that I enlarged to put on the shirt.  The white part of the label is from used white tank top I got at Goodwill. I cut off the sleeves and used the front of the top, on which I glued the printouts. I then tacky-glued the "label" not the shirt, folding over the raw edges. I will take and post pictures of the costume later.

Side note: I placed sheets of aluminum foil between the shirt to keep the glue for sticking the shirt together.  Not wanting to waste the foil sheets, I folded them up and put them back in the drawer. When I began to assemble the acorn cookies, I did so on the meat block in the kitchen. I used the same pieces of foil to cover the meat block surface as I made the acorns.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

How to Deal With Negativity About Your Writing

From Writerslife.org:

Show information about the snippet editorYou can click on each element in the preview to jump to the Snippet Editor. SEO title preview:How To Deal With Negativity About Your Writing - Writer's Life.org

Every writer who puts their work out there is going to receive some negative feedback at some point or another. Whether that be a rejection from a publisher or an agent, or a less than impressive review on Amazon, it’s important to remember to try to deal with negative comments about your writing in the best way.
Of course, it’s going to feel horrible when it happens to you. Writer’s put so much time and effort into their writing, and sharing it with others puts them in a vulnerable position. However, there is no point in overreacting or making yourself so miserable about it that you put yourself off writing altogether.
So how can you deal with negativity about your writing in the best way? Here are some helpful tips.

Try to understand their point of view.
Believe it, or not there is always something to learn from negative commentary about your work. Pay attention to what they are actually saying. Are any of their points valid? Or are they just criticising you for no reason? Many authors complain that the negative comments they receive are unjust or not relevant to their book - if that’s the case then it’s important to just acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their opinion and move on. If however, the person who has commented has a valid point such as ‘there were spelling errors and inconsistencies’ or ‘the pace felt a little slow in some parts’ instead of just dismissing them see if you can use their comments to make your writing better!

Look on the bright side.
A review is just a review even if it is negative. It still means your book was eye-catching and exciting enough for that person to buy it over all the other millions of books out there that would have been available to them. That’s something at least. Finding positives can help you get over the negativity much more quickly!

Know that it happens to everyone
You must accept that not everyone can like what you’ve written, regardless of whether it’s a great piece of writing. Everyone has individual tastes, and even the most famous and successful of authors get negative comments about their work too. When it comes to rejection from agents and publishers the same is true. Even the very best writers have experienced rejection at some point. It’s tough, but it’s just part of the writing process, and the sooner you can get over it and move on, the better.

Use them to inspire you.
Whatever you do, never let negative comments stop you writing. If writing is your passion, you should keep going. Making a success of yourself as a writer is a battle. You’ve got to put up a good fight if you want to get anywhere.

By making sure you view negative comments, rejections and feedback as an opportunity to learn and develop as a writer, you’ll find that you quickly get over it, and get even better as a result. There is no point wasting your time feeling down about negative feedback, and the sooner you can pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and just get on with it, the better.

It seems weird that I happened to see this article just before going to see the instructor for my memoir (that will be this afternoon). But I knew this all along. When you write something, you can't expect everyone you let read it like it. And  you can't expect everyone you let read your work to have the same opinion. It's just individual tastes, as noted in one of the paragraphs above. I'm not sure how many people I know would want to read a memoir on depression (aside from those who attend mental health service with me), but seeing as some mental-illness memoirs have been best sellers, there could be some interest by different people. And I can see many people I know from my neighborhood (and even some I don't know) just wanting to read something written by one of our town's residents, no matter what the topic is. I did just act when a local bar owner released a memoir of her dealing with her husband's alcoholism. Not something I have ever had to deal with, but I do go to her bar often, so I that was my reason to read her book. 

And yesterday, I began feeling anxiety (typical of me) as I began awaiting the meeting today.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017


Today I discovered this challenge put on by Blydyn Square Books. 

Book Only Logo
Today you can start signing up to participate in the first-ever, official Blydyn Square Books Reading Challenge for 2018: Read 18 Books for 2018.
Starting January 1 and ending December 31, 2018, we challenge you to read at least 18 books. The list below is only for suggestion–we’ll be thrilled if we can get most people to read ANY 18 books!
Sign up for the event and post your progress throughout next year. Anyone who manages to read 18 books will entered in a random drawing to win any of our books free PLUS an Amazon gift card (so you can keep reading even past 2018).
Hope you’ll join us!
Blydyn Square Books 2018 (18 for 2018) Reading Challenge
1. A book with a number in the title: One With You--Sylvia Day
2. A book with a person’s name in the title: Barnaby Rudge--Charles Dickens
3. A book based on a myth or fairy tale: A Court of Thorns and Roses--Sarah J. Maas
4. A book with an animal name in the title: The Red Pony--John Steinbeck
5. A book taken out of the library (or am I the only one who still does that?): Pandora's Daughter--Iris Johansen
6. A classic novel: Mary Barton--Elizabeth Gaskell
7. A biography: Amos Fortune Free Man--Elizabeth Yates
8. A book you loved as a kid: Little Women--Louisa May Alcott
9. A book written in the present tense: Hot Pink in the City--Medeia Sharif
10. A book written in the first person: The Ice Queen--Alice Hoffman
11. A story told from more than one character’s perspective: I Hate Everyone But You--Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin
12. A book that mentions a holiday: Three Wishes--Lianne Moriarty
13. A book about siblings: The Banana Split Affair--Cynthia Blair
14. A book that features a divorce: Green Calder Grass--Janet Dailey
15. A book by a writer from a country that’s not your own: Born a Crime--Trevor Noah
16. A book with a character of an ethnicity different from yours: P.S. I Still Love You--Jenny Han
17. A book with a season, month, or day of the week in the title: Wintergirls--Laurie Halse Anderson
18. A book that has a movie based on it (and you haven’t seen it yet): The Boy in the Striped Pajamas--John Boyne

Challenge completed on June 14

The Week Ahead

Only eight days till Halloween and four till the parties start. II'll be going to the one at work and one at the local bar.

I've got one last thing to work on for my costume.  As I said on this blogpost, I will be doing the tropical depression costume as inspired by this photo:

Witch, Emo Roker, Tommy Lee, Mad Scientist and yours truly dressed as a Tropical Depression (That's a bottle of Prozac I have in my hand).

I had also seen this costume and briefly considered it as well (this was before I had see the one above):

Complete Costume

I had seen this one more than year ago and written about it then. I then reconsidered this idea before seeing the one mentioned above. I liked the tropical depression idea more, but wanted to incorporate the idea of the prescription bottle as well.  I plan to wear an orange shirt under a Hawaiian-style one (which I already have). But trying to duplicate my prescription label was a bit hard. For one things, trying to center it on my printer to copy and enlarge it has been difficult to do without getting some of the image cut off. So I came up with another idea. Will explain more about this later once finished.

As I also said, I want to make these Acorn Cookies for the party on work on Friday.  I plan to make them on Thursday night before bed. Here is the recipe from a blog I read regularly. They look fairly easy. I  began looking around the local Safeway to find the ingredients while picking up my prescription last week.

Another thing coming this week--I finally got to set up a meeting with the memoir writing teacher this Thursday afternoon in Gilroy  to look over my manuscript. Another such session will follow, I hope for next week after Halloween.

And I worked some more on my diary novel last night. I wanted to get back to it as I have said, and I did.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Being a Writer is Incredibly Brave

From Writerslife. org:

Why Being A Writer Is Incredibly Brave - Writer's Life.org

It’s sometimes easy to forget how incredibly brave it is to choose to be a writer. We can get so caught up in the negativity and worry - the writer’s block, the rejection, how much competition there is, how difficult it is to sell our books, that we can all too easily sidestep the fact that actually, we are doing something pretty amazing.
Writers are:

Writers are experts at ‘getting back in the saddle.’ Even the very best of us gets knocked down - by publishers, by agents, by critics, by trolls, by ourselves. But when we do we know that there is no point in scurrying away to a dark corner to lick our wounds but instead to learn, to get better and to just keep trying.

Writers know all too well that they might never get the results they want from their work. But they keep trying anyway. If something doesn’t work, they’ll take another look at it or try another route. If someone tells them they are not good enough, they’ll keep searching, and hope that eventually, they will get their chance to shine.

Writers are passionate about what they do. Even when it’s tough, and they are unsure of themselves, they remain committed to their writing, find time for their writing and always remember that they love what they do.

Writers are fearless, courageous and brave. They are willing to explore their deepest emotions, to battle their demons to be vulnerable in ways that most people would shudder at.

Writers don’t mind trying new things, in fact, they embrace it. They are happy to give new styles, new techniques, new genres, new voices all a go, and they’ll try their best. They know that trial and error, being open to learning and not afraid to try new things could make them a better writer, so they will always try to gain as many experiences and experiment in as many ways as possible.

Problem solvers
Writers face many obstacles in their journey, time and time again. There are always hurdles to climb over, but they don’t shy away from problems or give up, they instead work out how to solve their  problems, how to make things work, and keep going no matter what.

Writers have incredible patience. Whether it’s waiting to hear back from a publisher, the patience and resolve it takes to write and edit a book in the first place, or just the patience and quiet belief they have inside themselves to keep on writing.

Followers of dreams
How many people can say they truly follow their dreams? Writers can and should be so proud of themselves for making it happen. Who cares about fame and fortune when you are taking that risk to do what you love?

Saying, “I am a writer,” and truly believing in it is scary, but also liberating and genuinely courageous. So next time you have a day where you feel your writing isn’t going well, or the next time you get a rejection or a bad review or have those niggling self-doubts, read this and remember just how brave you are!

I agree. Some people I know whom I told I was writing my memoir said they themselves could never write a book. They seem to be thinking something along the lines of what this article says. I think it was brave of me to being a memoir. It took a lot of thinking about what  I felt was necessary to include and how much detail I needed to give. It started out small, but got to what seems to be a typical number or words for such a genre. So many of those I have read seem to be in the 80K word range.  It's been some time since I last looked over my memoir, but I am trying not to add anymore. There are some things I remember that I think I could add, but am trying not to. There is so much I can recall, but I do not have to include it all.
I also feel I was brave to have started another writing. For many years, I have had ideas for writing that I never got down. But now I'm doing one such idea. The idea of a diary novel and that of a book set in the 1980s only recently occurred to me, but there is an element to the plot that I have thought of trying to write about and am now doing so. I haven't worked much on this one lately, either, but I intend to get back soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2018 Picture Book Reading Challenge

Still another from Becky's Books Reviews.  I'm doing this one again next year. I will read as many picture books I can, per option 3.

Original artwork by Charles Haigh-Wood (1856-1927)
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: To have adults read more picture books. To celebrate the fact that picture books are for everyone! Families are, of course, welcome to join in!
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 1: Read six picture books of your choice.
Option 2: Choose one author to focus on. Perhaps read through an entire author's work. 
Option 3: Read as few as six, or as many as you like, from the checklist below

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
X3. Title beginning with B: Bear Make Den--Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner
_4. Author beginning with B
X5. Title beginning with C: The Cat in the Hat--Dr. Seuss
_6. Author beginning with C
X7. Title beginning with D: Don't Push the Button--Bill Cotter
X8. Author beginning with D: Cranberry Thanksgiving--Wende Devlin
X9. Title beginning with E: The Egg Tree--Katherine Milhous

X10. Author beginning with E: Drummer Hoff--Barbara Emberly
X11. Title beginning with F: Five Little Pumpkins--Ben Mantle
_12. Author beginning with F
X13. Title beginning with G: Grandpa's Teeth--Rod Clement
_14. Author beginning with G
X15. Title beginning with H: Henny Penny--Paul Galdone
X16. Author beginning with H: The Christmas Wreath--James Hoffman
X17. Title beginning with I: I Am Peace--Susan Verde
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
X21. Title beginning with K: Katy and the Big Snow--Virginia Lee Burton
X22. Author beginning with K: Pearl's New Skates--Holly Keller
X23. Title beginning with L: Leo the Late Bloomer--Robert Kraus
_24. Author beginning with L
X25. Title beginning with M:  My Heart is Full of Wishes--Joshua Grishaw
_26. Author beginning with M: The M&Ms Brand Counting Book--Barbara Barbieri McGrath
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
X31. Title beginning with P: Press Here--Herve Tullet
_32. Author beginning with P
X33. Title or Author beginning with Q: Queen of the Class--Mary Engelbreit
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
X36. Title beginning with S: Spooky Pookie--Sandra Boynton
X37. Author beginning with S: Mary Had a Little Glam--Tammi Sauer
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
X40. Title or Author beginning with U: A Unicorn Named Sparkle--Amy Young
X41. Title or Author beginning with V or W: Words and Your Heart--Kate Jane Neal
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
X43. Title beginning with Y: Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam--Fawzia Gilani-Williams
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
X46. An alphabet book: Dr. Seuss's ABC--Dr. Seuss
X47. A counting book: Grandma's Tiny House--JaNay Brown-Wood
_48. A color word in the title
_49. A number word in the title
X50. Concept book of your choice— picture book: Oh, the Things You Can Do That Are Good For You--Tish Rabe
X51. Concept book of your choice — board book: The Tooth Book--Dr. Seuss
X52. bedtime book —board book: Time for Bed--Mem Fox
_53. bedtime book — picture book
X54. book that rhymes —picture book: If I Ran the Zoo--Dr. Seuss
X55. book that rhymes — early reader OR board book: There's a Wocket in My Pocket--Dr. Seuss
X56. holiday of your choice — board book or early reader: Peek a Flap Boo--Rosa Von Federer
X57. holiday of your choice — picture book: Bee My Valentine--Miriam Cohen
_58. wordless picture book
X59. new to you author: What Makes a Rainbow?--Betty Ann Schwartz
_60. new to you illustrator
_61. favorite author
_62. favorite illustrator
X63. free choice: A Giraffe and a Half--Shel Silverstein 
X64. fairy or folk tale adaptation: La Princesa and the Pea--Susan Middleton Elya
_65. fairy or folk tale traditional
_66. a title with the word “first” in it 
X67. a book set in the state you live: Goodnight, San Francisco--Adam Gamble
_68. a book set in a place you’d like to visit:
_69. a book set in an imaginary place
_70. a book set in the past — fiction or nonfiction
_71. a book set in the present
X72. picture book for older readers — fiction: Smoky Night--Eve Bunting
X73. picture book for older readers — nonfiction: Her Right Foot--Dave Eggers
X74. early reader — fiction: Happy Pig Day!--Mo Willems
X75. early reader — nonfiction: Baby Animals: Cheetahs--Katie Marisco
X76. picture book with photographs: The Fall of Freddie the Leaf--Leo Buscaglia
_77. one word title
X78. long title (four or more words): Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Science--Greg Paprocki
X79. oversized book: EEK! Halloween!--Sandra Boynton
_80. tiny book
_81. a book about playing (hide and seek, tag, or peekaboo, etc.)
X82. a book about school: Don't Go to School!--Maire Zepf
X83. a book about hobbies (art, dance, music, crafts, sports): My Family Plays Music--Judy Cox
X84. a title that is a question: Where's Prancer?--Syd Hoff
X85. a title that is an exclamation: On Beyond Zebra!--Dr. Seuss
X86. an award winner or an honor book: One Cool Friend--Toni Buzzeo
X87. a collection (of poems OR stories): Little People's Big Book About Animals
X88. a book with animals (fiction): They All Saw a Cat--Brendan Wenzel
_89. a book with animals (nonfiction)
X90. a book about books or reading: Our Library--Eve Bunting
X91. a book celebrating family: The Relatives Came--Cynthia Rylant
_92. first book in a series
X93. any book in a series: Vampire Bite!--Beatrice Costamagna
_94. book with an adventure or misadventure
X95. a book about a pet: A Cat is Better--Linda Joy Singleton
_96. A title with the word “yes” or “no” in it
X97. A title with the word “big” or “little” in it: Big Cat, Little Cat--Elisha Cooper
_98. a classic published before 1968
_99. a book you think should be considered a classic
_100. Out of print
X101. Library book: Stay Close to Mama--Toni Buzzeo
X102. Impulse Pick: Millions of Cats--Wanda Gag
_ 103. Board book published in 2018:
X104. Picture book published in 2018:
 I Am Enough--Grace Byers

Challenge completed on December 1