Happy Third Blogoversary!

Do you remember this picture? I sure do. It was used on my very first post, “Hanging On For Dear Life”, three years ago.

Three years ago? Can you believe it’s been three years already? Where does the time go?

Lots of things have happened in our lives since then. For most of us, they’ve been too numerous to count. I mean, some of us have been thrown a curve ball or two in the midst of trying to eek out a living and at the same time, follow our passion. And for those of you who are fortunate to make a living off of your passion? Congratulations to you!

As you may have noticed, my blog has grown silent over the past couple of months.

Why, you may ask?

Well, because of life actually. I had too many things that demanded my attention. And the blog, for one, was not a priority. So I let it go. But then, as weeks went by, it became easier not to blog. I mean, who cares if I blog or not? Does it really matter?

It’s not like I’m saving lives or changing the world. It’s just little ‘ol me writing a little ditty about nothing very earthshattering. Nothing that could put an actual dent in someone’s existence.

So I thought, why not take a look back at my first post and see what my purpose was for starting this venture. What was my core motivation for blogging? After all, there had to be some reason why I had decided to jump into this crazy endeavor.

Here’s what I said:

“Since this is my first blog, that picture got me thinking. What is my purpose for writing a blog? Yes I’m petrified, but I’m certainly not dangling on a rope suspended from the rooftop of a high-rise hotel.

“My hope is that through my writing I will be able to touch people’s lives and connect with others that will in someway benefit them and not just myself. Just know that as I embark on this new venture, I will be hanging on for dear life while I look out from on top, ready to descend that steep and slippery slope, putting myself out there amongst the unknown galaxy of the universe, otherwise known as the internet, sharing a little splice of our lives.”

Ah, interesting. That picture says more than a thousand words. It’s a great motivator, is it not? But notice something else. The purpose of this blog was not to write strictly about myself. And I think that still rings true. I get great satisfaction writing about life and other people. I find it stimulating to share things with you that stem from a variety of topics.

No, it’s not all about me. Although some day it may be when I get ready to release my new little baby out into the world. Yes, I’m still working on that one. But believe me, when it’s finished, you’ll be the first to know!

Meanwhile, it’s Happy Third Blogoversary!

It’s good to be back!
 

So what do you think? How has life been treating you? Do you find it easy or difficult to blog? Does life get in your way, or are you able to navigate through the muddy waters? What helps to keep you motivated? What topics have you found interesting lately?
 
 
Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

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God Made Girls

Y’all know how much I love The Voice, right? And I can hardly wait for the new season to start!

This Monday! Yay!

So anyway. Hubby and I were out running errands when we heard this adorable song on the local L.A. country radio station.

Okay, yes, I’ll admit, I do listen to country. Not all the time. I’m basically a rock ‘n roll girl. But on occasion, I like to switch it up and broaden my horizon. You know, see what the other half of the universe is listening to.

Well, let me just say that when hubby and I heard this song, we cranked it up.

Now, granted, because we aren’t the most knowledgeable people regarding the latest and greatest in the country music world, this song may not be new to some of you, yet it was certainly new to us. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a moment.

First, because I was tagged by Cate Russell-Cole to participate in the “Inspiring Spaces Blog Hop”, I need to share with you what ignites my creativity. Not that you’ll find it all that interesting, but apparently, inquiring minds want to know.

So here is goes…

I think creative people have their own triggers that help them to produce no matter what art form they excel in. For me, there is no secret ingredient that sparks my imagination. My inspiration comes from many sources.

For one, I need to read in order to write. And I mean a lot. I find that certain writers will ignite my creativity. If I find myself stuck, I’ll pull out a book from one of my favorite authors and away I go.

Certain tastes, scents and textures can ignite my muse. I am inspired by nature. So if I’m on a walk, or down by the beach, or in the mountains, gazing at the moon and the beautiful stars above, I am inspired. So I guess being aware of all my senses can spark that gift of creativity.

Yet, if you noticed, I left one of our senses out.

Hearing.

But not just hearing. Listening. As you know, there is a difference. And it’s this difference that can have a huge influence on our creativity. If we really listen and take in all that surrounds us, there is great potential for ignition in our creativity.

It’s so awesome, isn’t it?

And that brings me back to our country song.

“God Made Girls”, by Rae Lynn, a twenty year old, third year contestant on The Voice, under the tutelage of none other than Blake Shelton. The fact remains, the lyrics to this song are so clever that it inspired me to share them with y’all.

Check them out…
 

God Made Girls

Somebody’s gotta wear a pretty skirt,
Somebody’s gotta be the one to flirt,
Somebody gotta wanna hold his hand,

So God made girls

Somebody’s gotta make ‘em get dressed up,
Somebody’s gotta give ‘em a reason to wash that truck,
Somebody gotta teach ‘em how to dance,

So God made girls

He needed something soft and loud and sweet and proud
But tough enough to break a heart
Something beautiful and breakable that lights up in the dark

So God made girls, God made girls,
He stood back and told the boys
I’m bout to rock your world

And God made girls (For singing in your front seat)
God made girls (For dancin’ to their own beat)
He stood back and told the boys I’m bout to rock your world

And God made girls.

Somebody’s gotta be the one to cry
Somebody’s gotta let him drive, give him a reason
To hold that door

So God made girls

Somebody’s gotta put up a fight,
Make him wait on a Saturday night,
To walk downstairs and blow his mind,

So God made girls

Someone that can wake him up and call his bluff
And drag his butt to church, someone that is hard to handle
Somethin’ fragile to hold him when he hurts

So God made girls, God made girls
He stood back and told the boys
I’m bout to rock your world

And God made girls…
 

See, I knew you’d like it!

And for your listening pleasure, here’s a little inspiration from Rea Lynn.

That was easier than I thought! Now it’s your turn only if you wish to participate. Since we’re all curious what inspires other writers, I am asking a few to join in the fun! They are: Jenny Hansen, K.M. Huber, Tameri Etherton, Christine Claire MacKenzie, Angela Ackerman, Pat O’Dea Rosen, Amber Medina West, Jennifer Oliver, Jennette Marie Powell and last but not least, Coleen Patrick!

Inspire one another! Use a photo, video, any medium desired, which will show off your muse’s playground. The purpose is to discover something about another blogger that inspires you and to share the love around, so blogs are being seen by a new audience. Oh and please mention that the blog hop started here. (Thank you.) Happy hopping!

inspiringspaces
 

So what do you think? What do you have in your writing space? What do you need to get into the creative groove? Which of our five senses affects your writing the most? Do you find music inspires your creativity? If so, what kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
 

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 

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A Dry Spell

I shared this picture on Facebook the other day. I have to say that I am spoiled with all the lush, green vegetation right in my own backyard. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Walk at PR

But this is not South Carolina, this is Southern California. And we are in the midst of a drought.

Do you see a problem here?

Over watering? Oh yeah. Just a little, don’tcha think?

Yet, in comparison, sometimes as writers we may hit a Dry Spell. Those times when we rack our brains, searching for the right word, the right sentence, the perfect…well, you know. We walk along on a creative path, all green and lush as our subconscious liquidates on the page. And then something happens.

We hit a dry spell.

For some, this may happen all at once. For others, they may notice a drain on their stored creative juices over a period of time. Either way, their well runs dry.

Let’s be honest. Many of us go through our daily routines more numerous than a single human being should be allowed. And some of us are ready to commit ourselves after a long, exhausting day spent fulfilling the many tasks that lay before us.

With that kind of schedule, how is one expected to be cognizant of every single issue that happens in our world? It’s just not humanly possible.

But we in California are in a dry spell and severe drought restrictions have been put into place.

May I just say…Finally!

Hello! It certainly took them long enough. I mean, come on, this drought has been going on for years. The water supply is down to an eighteen month reserve. Yes, you read that right. Eighteen months!

Blink, and it will be gone!

Okay, I guess I’m as bad as the next guy because the reality of the situation didn’t hit me until I returned home from my trip from Phoenix last month. And I thought it was dry there. Practically the whole state of Arizona is desert, right? But it isn’t quite in the same league as this western Golden state which has now turned into a scorching golden-brown before our very eyes.

82 percent of the state of California is in an “exceptional drought”, the driest conditions since 1895. Record-low rainfall has sent rivers, lakes and water reservoirs to their lowest levels in many decades, threatening the water supply of many cities. In turn, this has also increased the risk of wildfires, which has already ravaged parts of the state, most recently an area near Yosemite National Park.

Although the drought may alter the way we use water, the people that it affects the most is the farmer. In an attempt to keep up with water demand, many farmers are drilling new wells. Recently, in Kern County, one farmer drilled five new wells at 2,500-feet deep a piece — twice the height of the Empire State Building — in a desperate attempt to tap into new water sources below.

And for the farmers less fortunate? They are bulldozing hundreds of acres of thirsty, but still reasonably healthy crops because there isn’t enough moisture to keep them alive through the worst drought people in the area have ever seen.

There is a growing sense that nobody outside the San Joaquin Valley really understands the far-reaching implications of the drought, how it’s put the main source of the nation’s food supply at serious risk, threatening to disrupt an entire industry and ruin people’s lives.

One farmer went as far as posting a sign on his property that says,

“No Water. No Trees. No Jobs. No Food.”

No food? Oh, that’s just great!

I can’t stop thinking about “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Can you say Dry Spell?

Yet, before we get upset because of the lack of urgency, let’s take into consideration that a drought doesn’t cause the immediate excitement that perhaps a tornado, earthquake or hurricane can. It’s been said that a drought is like watching a movie in slow motion. It’s a slow death, a silent killer—with a potential to be just as destructive.

So what can we do?

Here are the top ten suggestions:

10- Check your faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks. Replace your toilet with a low-flow model. That old toilet and a small faucet leak can waste up to 20 gallons of water.

9- Replace your shower heads with low-flow heads which use less than half the water. (I know, I know, I hate then too. But do we have a choice?)

8- Take shorter showers or perhaps take a bath instead.

7- This one’s for the kids. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth!

6- Run the dishwasher only when full.

5- Use recycled water for your plants.

4- Store drinking water in the fridge in lieu of running it in the sink to get it cold.

3- Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator instead of under the hot water at the sink.

2- Take precautions to prevent fires which occur most often in the kitchen.

And the number one suggestion is…

1- If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.

Okay, you caught me. That wasn’t the number one suggestion. I just couldn’t help myself. But it is a real suggestion used in previous droughts across the country. And if we all do our part, perhaps we can help preserve our water supply for future generations, but more importantly, our Farmers!

Although forecasters are now expecting an El Nino weather pattern for Southern California this winter. Yay! But I’m not counting on it. So for those of you who are being plummeted by an overabundance of rainfall this year? Send that excess moisture this way!

As for the creative dry spell? I don’t think those top ten suggestions would be of any help.

Yet like a drought, whether as an individual or collectively, we need to take immediate measures to keep productive. Don’t wait until you’re faced with the dangerous feeling of discouragement. Do whatever it takes to replenish that creative well!
  

So what do you think? Have you ever experienced a Dry Spell? Did you know how bad the drought was in California? How have you recovered from a lack of creativity? What are your suggestions for water conservation? Have you been affected by the weather in your neck of the woods?
 

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 

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Here’s Looking At You!

Lauren Bacall
 

Lauren Bacall.

She died last week at the age of 89.

And with everything else that happened–the death of Robin Williams, the horrible riots in Missouri, I thought we would take a moment and look back on a few of the highlights from the life of this beautiful actress.

Lauren Bacall became synonymous with the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. Although unlike Katherine Hepburn who brought trousers to the forefront, or Audrey Hepburn, who gave us the little black dress, Lauren Bacall’s allure had nothing to do with fashion, but the use of her face. An irony since she started her career as a teenage fashion model who graced the covers of both Harper’s Bazaar as well as Vogue magazine.

It was the cover of Harper’s Bazaar that got her noticed for her first motion picture, even though she had already taken acting classes with Kirk Douglas and performed on the Broadway stage.

The picture?

“To Have and Have Not.”

It is said that during the screen test she was nervous—so nervous that her head would quiver. So in order to quell the shaking, she created the effect that has now became known as “The Look.”

You know, “The Look.”

That infamous pout, framed by high cheekbones and a long reaching delicate nose, with gothic arched eyebrows that framed the hood of her eyelids and the downcast edge of her lashes.

A “Look” that became her trademark and caught the eye of her co-star, Humphrey Bogart.

It is incredible to think that she was only nineteen when she made her extraordinary debut in that movie, acting opposite Humphrey Bogart in such a way that she appeared to be ten years older — the same age as Bogart, or perhaps even older.

Lauren Bacall was smart and sexy with a certain iconic toughness that was a contradiction which helped to shape a career that would span over 50 years. Yet, she confessed, however sarcastic and cool she appeared, she shook with nerves on set and suffered from stage fright for the rest of her life.

Her films included:

To Have and Have Not
The Big Sleep
Key Largo
How to Marry a Millionaire
Blood Alley
Written on the Wind
Designing Woman
The Gift of Love
The Shootist
The Mirror Has Two Faces

And there were numerous Broadway stage and guest vocal appearances in her later years

Lauren Bacall is quoted as saying, “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”

So perhaps, rather than her “Look”, maybe we should celebrate her willingness to age in public.

Here’s looking at you Lauren Bacall!


 

So what do you think? Do you like to watch old movies? What are your feelings about this famous actress? Have you seen any of her films? If so, which one is your favorite?
 

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 
 

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Some Like It Hot

I can see that “Murphy” failed to keep you all entertained while I was gone. I tell you, that bird cannot be trusted. But then he’s Irish.

What was I thinking?

Well, how’s your summer been thus far? It seems that we are on the homestretch and I am seeing ads for Back to School supplies, so school is just around the corner or has it started already?

How has my summer been, you ask?

HOT!

As in Phoenix, Arizona hot!

phoenix_skyline
 
Yes, the hubby and I high-tailed it over to the Valley of the Sun to visit our son and daughter-in-law and other family members. And of course, the many friends that we had made from years spent living in the area.

Yep, I was a Phoenician. I cannot tell you how happy I am to use the word “was”. Don’t get me wrong. I really miss my kids, family and friends. Besides, Phoenix is a cool place to live, although I am not talking about the temperature.

Good grief, is it ever hot!

Oh, I already mentioned that, didn’t I?

Apparently, some like it hot. As in, most of the 4 million plus residents that live in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Umm, can I just say that I don’t miss it? The heat! It is unbearable. How did I do it? How did I live there for almost twenty years?

Well, I cooked right up like a short order of fried eggs on a Phoenician sidewalk.
(Bad one, wasn’t it? Sorry about that.)

It sure wasn’t pretty, let me tell ya.

They say…you know, all the advertisements that tell you to come to this desert oasis…that it’s a dry heat.

Don’t believe a single word they say.

They’re all liars!

Okay, granted, in the beginning of summer, if the outside temperature reaches 105, because of the low humidity, it feels like maybe, 95. And with a light breeze, you might swear you feel a bit of coolness in the air. But that’s from sweat, or should I say perspiration drying on your skin.

So the cool air actually is like a mirage. It is a figment of your imagination.

See, it’s a lie.

Cause some like it hot.

And just wait until the monsoon season. Ha! It’s even worse. That’s when the temperature stays in the 110’s and the humidity rises. Big thunderclouds blow into the valley causing gale force winds, shutting the airport down, trees to tumble, torrential rains and floods.

You’ve heard of a Haboob, right?

sandstorm_phoenix_az-134657
(courtesy of Google Images)
 
Well, when it blew into town, I blew right out!

Yay me! I so do not like the heat.

I am now back in southern California, ready to get back to my normal routine.

Whatever that means.

Is there such a thing as normal?

Yes, some like it hot. Me? Not so much.

Beach anyone?
 

So what do you think? Take any vacations this summer? Take time for a little R & R? A day trip perhaps? How well do you do with the heat? How has the weather been in your neck of the woods? Polar Vortex anyone? After Phoenix, I’m ready for it!
 

Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

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