Friday, March 16, 2018

A Walk on the Wild Side

The light says spring, but the weather is suddenly saying winter in Southern California. After months of dry days, lots of wind and mostly warm days, we have had one rain storm after the other for the past week. Nobody is complaining. Everything is turning a bright water filled green. Even the mountain sides along the San Diego Freeway that burned last fall have a covering of green between the black burned bushes.

I have been hovering over my computer. My editor’s suggestions were not extreme, but in a mystery every time you change something it has a domino effect. Thank heavens for the find features. The trick is remembering an unusual word that goes with the section I’m looking for, so I could put it in the find menu box.

I have been inside far too much, which is why when my son suggested an end of the day walk up along dirt Mulholland I jumped at the chance. We used to walk up there a lot, but it’s been a long time since we have and I’d just been thinking about it and missing it.

It was already close to getting dark and seemed to be between rain storms. We parked where the street ends and then walked around the barrier and up the steep dirt road to dirt Mulholland. And then suddenly its like the world took a step back. The air was damp and cool and smelled of sage. A hawk flew over me and there was an absence of noise.

I’ve walked the same route so many times, I know the curves by heart. There was a big puddle at the first curve and I had to maneuver around it and then it was straight ahead to a view of nothing but mountains. After the next curve, a hill rises on one side of the road and the panorama of the San Fernando Valley is on the other. The clouds were low and dark as the lights began to sparkle.

Somewhere hidden behind all the dark clouds the sun had already set when we got to the spot where we turn around. I took a look at the road as it continued on. I knew it would wind around getting lower and lower until it reached Topanga Canyon. Maybe someday. The air was so fresh and fragrant. All I could think about was how lucky I was to have this so nearby and so available.

As we started back I felt something wet hit my head and then there was more and the rain began to make noise as the drops hit my jacket. My son seemed to think I’d freak out and be upset. But I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West and I won’t melt with a little water. By the time I got to the road that led down to the car, it was too dark to see the ground I was stepping on. And then it was back to civilization and a stop at Peet’s for a cup of coffee before I went back to work.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Getting Over the Crafting Fear

This year, I spend some time every week doing something craft related, and part of that is at least once a month, trying a technique or a craft that I've been scared of doing...last week was Print and Cut with the Cricut. I have a bad habit of buying/collecting items to do a project and then convincing myself it is above my capabilities or that I'd going to somehow ruin all of the materials. by trying to make the item. I keep telling myself it's no more of a waste to mess up the materials than it is to have them sitting in cabinets. It's one of the items I'm working on during my year of "doing" as I labeled 2018.

One of the reasons I got a newer Cricut, the Explore Air 2, was for more intricate die cuts and also using the writing and print feature. I love the writing feature, especially for journaling. My handwriting isn't the best and I like being able to include journaling that doesn't look typed and matching the pen color to the photos is a huge bonus. On  my to learn list this year was the Print and Cut feature. I've been delaying trying this feature, even after purchasing a color printer so I could use the function as I've been wanting to make stickers for my planner.

Last week I wasn't feeling well, and since I wanted to continue with my completing a craft project every week, decided to give Print and Cut a try. Just one, I told myself. One item. And, I'd make it easy on myself by using one of the Printables from Cricut Access. Pick a design, add it, click Make It. Not too hard.

And, it wasn't as hard as I had convinced myself for months it would be. YouTube videos helped a lot as I'm a visual learner. I'm planning on using this item in a cruise album when we went on a "pirate ship" to head to Honeymoon Cove and swim with the turtles (or rather my husband swam with the turtles while I lounged on the boat, I'm not a swimmer). I was so excited to give it a try and see that it wasn't as difficult as I was telling myself it was. Now, I'm trying to learn how to turn a regular cut image into a print and cut, I thought I had it figured out, by attaching the image together, but it cut out all the pieces. I'm thinking I might need to weld and attach. There's no way I want to print out quite a few Tinkerbells,and have all the individual pieces cut out and have to glue her all back together. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Life, Driver's License and More

It's been fun seeing my new book SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER in stores, although there generally aren't many copies since there are so many Harlequin books published each month.  Even so, I always check and ask if I can sign them and leave bookmarks so people will hopefully learn that my new K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense has begun--and that it features dogs!

I spent one morning this week at a California Department of Motor Vehicles office because my driver's license needed to be renewed.  It was more of a project than usual because I wanted to get the new Real ID card because we travel some and the new type will be required in a couple of years anyway, at least if you fly.  I had to figure out which of the various proofs of ID I had that fit into each of the three categories required and finally wound up bringing my passport, my social security card, and my car registration, although there were a lot of other possibilities.  Plus, I had to take a driver's test on a computer, so it was a good thing that I'd skimmed the laws and requirements in the California drivers' brochure online.

It's done.  I passed and am awaiting my new license.  And right now, I also need to describe something cute that happened this week.  Not regarding my dogs, although they're adorable, of course.  But one day a squirrel came into our yard and began digging holes to find buried food.  My husband manages our yard and garden and he wasn't happy to see those holes--or the squirrel, who wasn't scared away by our yells at him or even our bringing the dogs into the yard, though I didn't let them onto the part where the squirrel was.  My husband finally tossed a small stone not at the squirrel but nearby.  Did that scare him away?  Not!  Instead, the squirrel went over and examined the stone, then buried it.  The stone is probably still buried there.  And the squirrel?  He eventually ambled out of the yard and we haven't seen him since.

So what's your latest connection with IDs and wildlife?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Love of Money

The chicken soup supper went off deliciously last Wednesday at St. George’s.  I did not allow enough time for the vegetables to cook, however, but my problem was very capably solved by my assistant Elizabeth, who suggested then helped me transfer the mix of chicken, water, chicken broth, herbs, onions, carrots and celery into two big pots we put on the stove to properly boil.  We added the spaetzle noodles, then transferred the soup back into the two very large crock pots in time (just in time) to begin serving at six pm.  The carrots were at that perfect state of a hint of al dente.  Got the recipe (for thirty!) off the Internet at JustAPinch. 

May I mention here a forthcoming event?  This coming weekend, March 16, 17, and 18, the Northwest Coin Club (of which I am a member) will be putting on a major coin event, The Money Show, in Minneapolis. One of the demonstrations will be how money was made in centuries past.  Literally, made. As in using a hammer to bang a pattern into a round piece of metal.  There will be lectures and an auction for the Boy Scouts.  There will also be a "bourse," a large room in which coins of many countries and eras (and prices) will be sold.  For an exhibit, I, myself, will bring my "1,000 Years of English Money" collection, in which the oldest coin will be from the reign of King Canute (crowned in 1016) and the most recent from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.  There are a few gaps in my collection.  Anyone out there have a Harold II, an Anne, or a William and Mary?  Maybe I’ll find one at the show.

The location of the show is The Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Y'all come!