Bookmarks

sunshine-2Before we get started on today’s Saturday Smile, I have to get this off my chest: WHY DOES WORDPRESS HAVE PUBLISH IMMEDIATELY AS THE DEFAULT?!

For those of my dear readers who received two email notifications for this post, my heartfelt apologies. *Sigh*

Okay. I feel better now. On to our Saturday Smile (actually on Saturday this time. *Sigh*):

As many times as I have purchased bookmarks or received them as gifts, rarely is there one available when I need it. Usually I just wind up using a scrap of notepaper, a playing card, or even a piece of string.

Back when I worked at a library, I found out I’m not alone. We used to find grocery lists, electric bills, dental floss (ew!), and yes, occasionally money. Recently I read an article about items found in books by used booksellers. Some of the things they find are pretty interesting.

Have you ever visited AbeBooks? It’s a book lovers paradise. I can lose hours on that site. Literally, hours.

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During a particularly boring day at work this last week, I read this article on their site. It lists a variety of things their booksellers reported finding. My personal favorite was listed under “Mysterious”:

A hotel cocktail napkin with a name and a room number on it – from Spain – found inside a 1945 mystery paperback.
Nathan from Kayleighbug Books, New York

Was it the rendezvous that never happened? Or was it a rendezvous so memorable, the lady (or gent) kept it as a bookmark, sighing with every turn of the page … ?

We may never know, but sounds like a nice plot for a novel, doesn’t it? 🙂

Open Letter to My Spammers

ladyatdeskMy Dear Spammers,

Thank you so much for your interest in my blog and the dedicated attention you continually show to my posts — some of which were written several months ago. Your unwavering support of my writing cannot be denied. It is touching, truly.

Why, I remember when I was just starting out as a blogger: nervous, unsure of myself, wondering if anyone could possibly be interested in what I had to say. But there you were, giving me feedback and leaving comments — once I checked the spam folder, that is.

Which leads me to my main purpose in writing this letter, that being, how to keep your comments from winding up in a spam folder. I mean, if they hadn’t, I’d have something like 300 comments in my first month alone! Not to mention how many people would have seen your comments, which always included helpful links and business offers.

I’ve spent some time studying the situation, and I think I might have some tips for you. Please consider these points for the next spam .. er … comment … you leave:

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The Perfect Mug

sunshine-2I’ve never been a terribly possessive person. In fact, my family gets pretty nervous whenever I start cleaning.

However recently I became aware of how much a particular item meant to me. To whit: my coffee mug. Or rather, my tea mug. For I drink tea in it.

I inadvertently left it in the staff break room earlier in the week. When I returned, it wasn’t there!

*Gasp*

Someone must have stolen it! For surely, it was such a glorious mug — everyone must have coveted it! Oh gawd, my mug … my beautiful mug … gone forever! Who could have done such a dastardly deed?!

*Sob*

Then I spotted it, sitting in the sink. Someone had placed it there, thinking it was dirty.

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It makes me smile every time I use it. Here’s where you can find one too — masculine pronouns available.

Guard it well, my friends.

How to Beat Writer’s Block

It happens to the best of us — and the worst of us, for that matter. That horrible time when you’re just stymied for an idea … or just a spark of an idea … or just anything at all to write about.

Here’s what I do when it happens. Who knows? Maybe it will work for you too.WP_20150920_10_14_03_Pro[2]

  • Stare at the screen for an indescribable period of time, focusing on the little blinking icon that indicates where you begin typing, only you’re not typing. You’re not doing anything but staring at the little blinking icon. It’s taunting you, that little blinking icon. It’s laughing at you. You hate that stupid blinking icon.

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Lutherans Do It Right

Since we both had a long weekend coming up, Husband suggested we escape somewhere quiet, where we could both relax, recoup, and so I could write.

That’s actually what he said: “and you can write.”

What can I say? Some girls are just lucky.

The tricky part was finding a place that wasn’t too expensive, was far enough away that we felt like we were getting away, but not so far away that I’d get carsick. After much discussion back and forth and exploring all possible options, we finally decided on a retreat center located in Carefree, Arizona, about an hour and a half from our home. Yeah, yeah … big whoop. But there are retreat centers, and then there are retreat centers.

This one was run by Lutherans, which neither of us are but as I was raised Lutheran, we figured that gave us an in. Best part? They were running a special of $50 a night.

I know what you’re thinking. What kind of place can one get for $50 a night? It crossed my mindWP_20150907_09_31_56_Pro[1] too, but I survived Hotel Horror with relatively few scars and really all we were wanting was someplace quiet. We figured as long as the bed was one step above a cot and we had a private bathroom, we’d be doing pretty good.

The retreat center is called Spirit in the Desert. Let me show you around the place.

Continue reading “Lutherans Do It Right”

On Wine, Jalapeños, and World Famous Chili

We arrived at the party late because as Husband said, nothing our friend does ever starts on time. He was right. The dinner party was to start at 6:00, we arrived at 6:30, the food wasn’t ready until 8:30.

But there was beer, wine, sangria, and over in the corner of the room I spotted people making simple cocktails. Except for Husband and Friend, I knew no one at this party.wine-beer-cocktail

Normally this would have caused me deep distress, but I decided to relax and observe, just like a real writer would. (Make note of that, please. I was impersonating a real writer.)

Husband brought me a glass of wine and soon we were in the midst of a conversation with a woman from Seattle. Her place was near the ocean and we simply must visit her, we must, she’ll give us her card, she’s completely serious, we simply must visit her.

I was half-way through my glass of wine when I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since 10 a.m., and there were no appetizers in sight.  As Seattle Woman talked, I whispered my dilemma to Husband. He spotted a basket of muffins in the far corner of the kitchen – leftovers from their breakfast, perhaps?

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Ode to My Cell Phone … With Apologies to Keats

cellphoneI spied you in the phone store,

 Cradled in your cubby, attached by a cord,

Your screen was dark, waiting for more

Than a passing glance or a mumbled word.

For a part time clerk, seeking a sale,

Shows the popular model, the better known brand,

I checked your features, my skin grew pale,

I held you aloft, I took you in hand,

Cool to my touch, you were eager to please,

Never have I selected a phone with such ease.

Continue reading “Ode to My Cell Phone … With Apologies to Keats”

A Tale of Two Kitchens

It was the hottest of times, it was the hungriest of times …writing at computer

I stumbled upon a blog a few days ago, a charming blog from a charming man named Bruno, who lives in Belgium. You can find it here. If you visit it, one of your first thoughts will be, “What a charming blog!” Followed closely by, “He must be a charming man.” Speedily met with, “OH WOW, THAT LOOKS GOOD, I WANNA EAT THAT!” dry heat

Meanwhile, in my kitchen, it’s hot. Dang hot. Like, really hot. Did I tell you I live in Phoenix, Arizona? Granted, it only hit 109 that day. Practically balmy for Phoenix. But still. It’s hard to think about cooking dinner when the mercury level is triple digits.

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I Never Claimed to Be Erma Bombeck

My second year of college I took an evening class in writing. From what I remember there were only about a dozen of us in the class, including the teacher. It was called “Writing for Publication,” or something hopeful like that. We were young. We didn’t know any better.

The class was taught by a middle-aged woman who had some success in getting published. Her big claim to fame was getting an article published in one of the airline magazines. We were in awe.

Also, she wore the same green shoes to every class. I’m not sure why I bring that up. It’s just something I remember.WP_20150512_16_00_21_Pro[1]

Anyway, every week we had to present something we wrote, read it in front of the entire class, and then listen to everyone’s comments. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Writers live by a code. If I say nice things about the crap you write, then you have to say nice things about the crap I write.

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