Archive for category Blog Post
Can you hear it?
Can you hear it coming?
With immense passion it’s gaining momentum,
Like a huge thunderous cloud rollin’ in.
Do you know what it is?
And I can’t believe I’m going to do this.
Never in my life would I think of confessing to this.
I am going to admit to something I never thought would ever happen.
And that is…
I am listening to…
Yes, as in, Country music.
And I’m not alone.
Country has even taken over The Voice. Which is now taken over the Country.
I’m not talking about Hillbilly, Bluegrass or Honky tonk.
No, this is not the music Grandma and Grandpa used to play.
Somehow, over the last several decades, Country has infused with Rock.
Don’t ask me how it happened. But it is hap-pen-ing!
Hubby and I got an invite over the weekend to attend a free outdoor concert over at the Irvine District Mall in southern Orange County, California. This invitation came from some friends of ours that we’ve known, well, almost forever. It involved their son who is playing in a band called Black Label.
Well, may I just say this Country Band rocked!
Black Label is a group of five very talented musicians, whose background is mainly Rock. Confused? I was. That was until I heard them play. Or should I say sing. Well, sing and play actually.
But I was suspicious. Why would a group of obviously talented young men who lived and loved Rock ‘n Roll play Country?
It was the Voice.
No, not that Voice.
Let me explain.
The minute Hubby and I walked into the outdoor mini-amphitheater we heard it.
We heard—the Voice.
The voice was belting out notes with immense passion, like a thunderous cloud rollin’ over the crowd. It was powerful. It was resonating. It was captivating. It was a little Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Garth Brooks, all mixed into one. It melted like butter seasoned with grit. And it, the voice, is the reason why this group of musicians sacrificed Rock and made the switch-a-roo…
So can you hear it?
Can you hear it coming?
Country is taking country by storm.
Here’s a little of what I’m talking about…
And Lady Gaga no less! Not bad, eh?
And if you live in the vicinity, Black Label will be appearing for a free concert at the Surfin Cowboy in Capistrano Beach this Friday, June 14th. Should be lots of fun!
So what do you think? Do you think that Country is taking over Country? What kind of music do you enjoy? Are you a little bit Country or a little bit Rock n’ Roll? Does your mood reflect the type of music you listen to? Do you find that listening to music stimulates your creativity? Got plans for a summer concert? Who are some of the musicians that you like to listen to?
Thank you everyone for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts!
(Huntington Beach, California)
Yes, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer are upon us.
For most of us, what does that mean?
For those of us that have children in the house it means school is out. That is a whole other subject altogether. Although I will say that may fall into the category of crazy, IYKWIM.
For those of us who fall into the other category, meaning, for whatever reason, there are no children to disrupt our daily activity, we have our own challenges. Not to take away from those parents who pull double duty mind you. We all have immense respect for you. Been there, done that. And may the force be with you.
Yet, it was brought to my attention the other day that summertime may cause a lazy haze to creep into our daily routine much like a fog bank makes its way onto shore. One minute we’re enjoying the warmth of the sun and then a climatic change threatens to rearrange our good intentions and before you know it, we can’t make our way through the all the minutiae.
But do we give ourselves the time to appreciate life’s little pleasures? Most of us have trained ourselves to be self-disciplined people. And as such, we make lists and schedules that do not allow us to take a break from our normal routine. I would venture to say that few of us ever accomplish what we set out to do on any particular day. Which keeps us in this vicious cycle of frustration and exhaustion knowing full well it is virtually impossible to get everything done.
So what to do?
Take a small break.
No, I’m not talking about cleaning a toilet, or fixing a meal, or doing a load of laundry, or catching up on all your emails. Over the years, I have found that for some reason, those things will still be there for you to do later. It’s called job security.
No, what I am proposing is to take a little break. For some of us, we may have a vacation planned on some exotic Island for all I know. Yet, what I’m suggesting does not require that drastic of a measure. Here’s what I propose:
Get out of the house!
Yes, get out!
Go for a walk and breathe in some fresh air. It can be around the block. Or at a beautiful park. Or at the ocean, that is, if you live near an ocean. As you can tell by the picture above, that is one of my personal favs. Even if you are living under a deluge of precipitation that measures in seismic proportions, go to a mall or some other indoor arena available to you and walk.
I know some of you are working out. You may be doing potty squats with Ginger Calem. Or Crossfit like Jenny Hansen. But that’s not what I’m talking about. We need to get out of our normal routine and change the scenery.
And the best part— it doesn’t cost us anything.
Well, maybe our time, which I know is a precious commodity. But you will not believe how stimulating it can be. It helps to clean out the cobwebs in our brain.
Have you had writer’s block lately? Has a figurative “fog bank” rolled in across the page?
Then take a walk.
And you will be surprised how fast you’ll Whip your WIP this Summer into shape!
So what do you think? Have any special plans for this summer? Do you like to exercise? Do you have a hard time allowing yourself to take the personal time needed to regain your creativity? What things do you like to do to help stimulate your mind and keep your sanity?
Thanks everyone for stopping by and for all your amazing comments!
Who of us hasn’t heard the phrase, “Busy as a Bee?” For the most part, if we keep busy, buzzing around like a Bee, it means we are productive, leading a full, meaningful life.
Well, as it turns out, Bees are very busy. They lead an industrious life filled with lots of responsibility. Yes, they are pests and some of us are allergic, but what they do is crucial to our existence. Their role is an essential ingredient needed in the development of our food chain. It’s safe to say, that without the Bee, we humans couldn’t survive.
Because without the Bee, we wouldn’t be able to pollinate our crops. Without the Bee we’d lose valuable foods that sustain our lives. You see, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination.
So, to be honest, without the Bee…we are in deep doo-doo.
After 20 years of beekeeping, Tim Lovett, a public affairs director of the British Beekeepers Association, explains why bees are vital to our existence and why we need to care. “The more time you spend with bees, the more you get drawn into their amazing world: the way they organize themselves, control themselves, and what they’re responsible for.”
Just think. If there were no Bees, there wouldn’t be orange juice on our table. There’d be no jam, no honey. And that’s just for breakfast.
For the last several years, Beekeepers from around the world have noticed the dangers that Honeybees are facing. “I’ve been to China,” says Mr. Lovett, “where the bee population was wiped out, and you see men on ladders using paintbrushes to pollinate the fruit trees. Can you imagine the cost of our food if we had to do that ourselves? You’d only be able to afford half an olive on a pizza, and the mozzarella – which comes from cows raised on (bee-pollinated) alfalfa – would be absolutely prohibitive.”
Okay, I can do the math. No olives + No mozzarella = No pizza!
Say what? Ouch! That stings!
Here’s an interesting tidbit. Hubby and I were watching a documentary on the decline of the Bee population in the United States. It chronicled the typical life of a Bee and the business of Beekeeping. We watched as a Beekeeper traveled cross country from Georgia to central California to transport his hives where they’re needed to pollinate Almond groves, one of the largest crops grown in the state.
Then, after the bees finish doing what bees naturally do, they were brought back to the east coast in order to prepare them for their next job in Florida. But…they are not allowed to directly pollinate the next crop.
Apparently, as the Bee pollinates, they absorb the release of nectar to take back to the hive in order to produce honey. But…they’ve found that after the Bees have ingested the insecticide laden nectar from their last job, they need to detox the Bees before taking them to the next valuable food crop for pollination.
Detox the Bees? Have you ever?
Yes, I know. These poor little Bees cannot get rid of all the toxic insecticide they absorb from the heavily sprayed California Almond fields. The Beekeeper is forced to take them to another field to pollinate first, thus leaving behind the excess insecticide before being taken to the next job or else there’s a greater chance they will release the leftover toxins and pollute the next vital food crop.
Iy, yi, yi! Do you see a problem here? Or is it just me?
“It’s not a simple situation. If it were one factor we would have identified it by now,” President-elect Inouye, of the Ecological Society of America said. “The problems in Europe and United States may be slightly different. In America, bee hives are trucked from farm to farm to pollinate large tracts of land and that may help spread the parasites and disease, as well as add stress to the colonies, while in Europe they stay put so those issues may not be as big a factor.”
So, even though there are many factors that weigh in on the demise of our Bee population, I think there is something positive that we can all take away from this.
And that is…Detox.
Think about it. In order for the Bee to do its job well, it needs to rid itself of the toxins it’s ingested. I mean, if Bees do it, why shouldn’t we do it?
What? You thought this was going to be a Birds and the Bees post?
Ha, ha, ha, gotcha!
So what do you think? Are you concerned about the blight of the Bees? Have you been feeling a little bogged down lately? Feeling a little more tired than usual? Not producing like you think you should? Then perhaps it’s time for a detox. What is your favorite recipe for a great pick-me-up?
Thanks everyone for coming by and for all your wonderful comments!
Do you ever feel like you’re misunderstood?
Okay, maybe I should be more specific here.
As a woman, do you ever feel like you’re misunderstood?
Do people look at you as if you’re talking to them in a foreign language? More than likely this attitude comes from people you’re the closest to, people who live right beneath your very nose. Member’s of your own household gaze at you as if you’re a three headed monster. And the worse culprit of them all? Yep, you’ve got it. The man in your life.
Let’s face it. I don’t think we can argue the fact that we woman are walking hormones. With an ever so slight, flip of a switch, an imbalance can throw our emotions to one extreme or another. One may never know what to expect.
Hee, hee, hee. You know what I say? Why be predictable. Boring!
Yet, have you ever asked yourself if men are really meant to read women’s emotions?
There’s new research that suggests men do struggle to read women’s emotions — at least from their eyes. Yes, there’s a new scientific finding that shows men have twice the problem figuring out women’s emotions from looking at their eyes verses those of men. Apparently, the part of the male brain that is tied to emotion didn’t respond as strong.
Oh, I get it. Now there’s scientific evidence that woman are double the trouble.
Great, that’s all we need.
Now hold on just a minute. Let’s see what they actually said before we all get worked up about this.
Although the popular thought is that men and women come from two different planets, both sexes are somewhat similar. Yet, regardless if one comes from Mars or Venus, small studies have implied that men have difficulty with intuition and predicting what women think and feel.
Okay, so how do they know this?
This is the cool part.
Researchers in Germany put 22 men between the ages of 21 and 52 to the test. Using a magnetic resonance imaging scanner, they measured their brain activity when the men looked at images of 36 pairs of eyes. Half of them were women and the other half men. Then they were asked to use two words that best described the emotion the eyes portrayed, whether a neutral or negative emotion.
They found that men took longer and had more trouble guessing the correct emotion from a woman’s eyes. They responded stronger to men’s eyes and the results showed that when it came to fear and empathy, their brains activated differently when looking at a man versus a woman’s eyes.
It seems that men are worse at reading women’s emotions. So theoretically, this mental deficiency could lead men to have less empathy for women rather than men.
Hmm. How did this happen? I mean, mental deficiency? Really? I don’t know about you girls, but I find this very shocking.
Well, the answer is not totally clear. It is thought that this behavior in men could be hard-wired—that through the years it was more important for men to develop the ability to anticipate the intentions and actions of their male adversaries. Thus men have been conditioned to pay less attention to women’s emotional indicators due to their hunting and territorial nature.
Aha! Foreign language? Three headed monster? Moi? I don’t think so.
All these years women have been taking the blame for something that’s been embedded in men’s brains only to find out it’s not us. And the great news is women now have the scientific research to back this up! This just validates what women have known for years. I couldn’t wait to share this with you. This is exciting news!
So the next time that certain someone makes you feel misunderstood, have them look you straight in the eye and tell them there’s more than meets the eye here baby!
So what do you think about this study? Do you find yourself misunderstood? Do your loved ones look at you as if you have three heads? Are your planets in alignment with your loved one or do you find them in disarray? When talking to others, do you find it helpful to look them straight in the eye? And do they in turn make eye contact with you?
Thank you so much everyone for sharing your many fine thoughts and comments!
For more information about this subject please go to http://www.plosone.org.
As most of you know, I was chosen as “Mystress of Ceremonies” for Kathy Owen’s “Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour.” Why me? I have no idea. But since it’s my job, I’m gonna make sure that Kathy’s tour ends on a high note!
It’s been an exciting time for Kathy with the release of her very first mystery novel. So if you’ve had a chance to enjoy her book, let me assure you there’ll be more to come in the near future. And if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, there are links at the bottom of Kathy’s post that will direct you to your favorite book retailer.
Yet, for now, I’d like to hand things over to Kathy because she has an annoucement to make, cause we have winners! Yes winners, as in, more than one! Wahoo!
So take it away Kathy!
Hey, Karen, thanks for having me back to wrap up the Whodunnit contest! We had a great time spreading mystery and mayhem all around the blogosphere, bwahaha.
Here’s the original puzzle:
You have received a partial telegram, stating that the murdered body of Sir Reginald “Good Riddance” Crenshaw, your long-lost third cousin (twice removed) has been found. However, the rest of the message has been lost, scattered and garbled along a trail of multiple telegrams to other people by a drunk clerk at the telegraph office.
Before you can make a claim upon dear Reggie’s ill-gotten wealth, you must establish the particulars of the murder. Where was he found? What was he killed with? And, most importantly, WHODUNNIT?
Now, I know you’re all dying for the solution, but bear with me for a minute as I walk you through a few of the clues from various sites on my book tour. You needed four letters to solve each piece of the puzzle. Those letters, unscrambled, corresponded to a Clue-game style ROOM, WEAPON, and CULPRIT.
The first four stops (Elizabeth Craig, Janice Hamrick, Jill Edmondson, and Margot Kinberg) had the letters to the ROOM. Here were their questions, with the answers:
1. One of the following is NOT a rule of Golden Age detective fiction, as famously listed by literary critic Ronald Knox (in a preface to a 1929 collection of detective stories). Which is it?
Answer – B: The butler should be the culprit
2. What famous fiction private eye said: “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter”?
Answer – I: Sam Spade
3. This detective said: ”Warning. Assholes are closer than they appear.”
Answer – L: Ace Ventura
4. What percent cocaine solution did Sherlock Holmes inject when bored between cases?
Answer – R: 7% (some of those other percentage choices would have killed him!)
The next four stops gave us the letters to the WEAPON. Now that you have the idea, I won’t go into the specific questions, but here are the letter answers:
Nancy Lauzon: E / Renee Schuls-Jacobson: R / Julie Glover: O / Jenny Hansen: V
E – R – O – V Unscrambled, we get: REVO or REVOLVER
Then the final three stops (Tiffany had two clues) gave us the CULPRIT:
Rachel Funk Heller: U / Laird Sapir: M / Tiffany White: P, L
U – M – P – L Unscrambled, we get PLUM, or PROFESSOR PLUM
So, there you have it! Professor Plum killed Sir Reggie Crenshaw in the library with the revolver.
I’ve always thought that one of the defects of the Clue game, however, was that the motive isn’t part of the equation. Well, no more!
Professor Plum had murder in his heart ever since 2005, when Sir Reggie had written a mocking review of Plum’s beloved scholarly work: “T.S. Eliot and Geoffrey Chaucer: Reciprocal Influences on a Wasteland Pilgrimage.” It had been the loving work of 13 years and ran 1,847 pages long. Plum had considered it the crowning glory of his academic career, until that philistine Reggie ruined it for him. Then it was “bye-bye” tenure. Since then, Plum has gone from college to college like an itinerant farm-hand, teaching part-time writing classes to privileged college brats whose idea of writing was sitting in the back of the room, texting with their thumbs. Enough was enough – it was high time for payback.
He found Sir Reggie alone in the library. At first, Plum thought it would be poetic justice if he konked Crenshaw over the noggin with his “Wasteland Pilgrimage” volume – 1,800+ pages makes for a substantial weapon, after all – but he couldn’t bear the thought of bloodstains marring his precious book, even for a good cause. That’s what revolvers are for, after all.
And The WINNER Is: Julie Glover!
Congratulations, Julie, and great job! I’ll be sending you a free ebook copy of Dangerous and Unseemly, and a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice).
But, wait – that’s not all! I’ve decided to give away an additional copy of my ebook.
The winner of that drawing is…Nandini Lal!
Congrats! The Kindle version is on its way.
Thanks so much to everyone for commenting, visiting, and competing in the contest, and supporting me on the book tour. It was a blast!
Thank you Kathy! And congratulations to both winners!
Kathy Owen’s new book “Dangerous and Unseemly” is available now at:
And please check out Kathy Owen’s website for more historical mystery at kbowenmysteries.com!
Let’s all give Kathy a big hand for a most exellent Mystery game! She did a fantastic job, don’t you think?
So how did y’all do? Did Kathy stump you? She can weave a mean mystery, can’t she? Did you have a fun time? What was your favorite part of Kathy’s book release tour? Do you have a new book on the horizon? What are your plans for making the most out of its release? Are you self-pubbing or going the traditional route? Inquiring minds want to know!
Thanks everyone for stopping by and for all your wonderful comments!