Friday, May 30, 2008

Celtic Thunder

I fell in love with Celtic Thunder this week. If you haven't seen them on PBS, it's a group of five guys, all solo singers, who were brought together like the Il Divo group. It's an interesting group as they range in age from 14 to 39. The oldest guy, George Donaldson, is a Scot, Paul Byrom of the classically trained tenor voice is from Dublin, and the other 3, Ryan Kelly, Keith Harkin and young Damian McGinty are from Northern Ireland. Ryan Kelly (love that name, so Irish) comes across as a sexy, bad boy. He describes his on-stage persona as "evil" as you can see in his solo Heartbreaker and in the duet of That's A Woman. Damian's version of Puppy Love brought the house to its feet. What a big voice he has for a fourteen-year-old.

I made a pledge to my local PBS station so I'll be getting a CD eventually. (Probably could have bought it cheaper, but I like to support PBS.) I enjoyed the concert so much, I watched it twice, recorded it the second time, and watched part of it again while I was working on author information forms for my latest story. If you like Celtic music, check your local listings for the concert.

I've long been a lover of Irish and Scottish music. I adore the pipes and nothing beats a raucus pub song. Back in the 1960's, when my friends were caught up in Beatlemania, I was more into The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and the Irish Rovers. Not that I didn't like the Beatles, I just loved folk music more. I come from a long line of Scot Irish Presbyterians (the orange part of the country), but the stories of rebellion always appealed to the romantic in me.

I'm embedding this video of Ireland's Call from YouTube. This was one of my favorites; in fact, the first time I heard it, I was ready to sign on to the rebellion, lol. Guess I don't have Celtic blood for nothing. I love the way they lit up the stage in green and orange. I wonder if Ireland will ever be re-united.

Does anyone else like Celtic music?


Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Town Monday: Modjeska Park, Anaheim

I live a few blocks from Modjeska Park in west Anaheim, and I've often gone there to walk the winding paths when I'm in the mood to exercise, alas, a mood that doesn't strike often. It's a really nice park, with large shade tress, and it's larger than it seems: 24 acres in all. It includes a children's play area, basketball court, and a lighted softball diamond, complete with concession stand. There are picnic tables and barbecue facilities sprinkled throughout and the park is well-used, though it's hard to tell by the picture I took early Saturday morning. (It was still a little on the cool side.)

The park is named after the famous, 19th century Polish actress Helena Modjeska who lived in Anaheim for a time in the latter part of the century. Helena Street is also named after her.

I expect the park to be full for Memorial Day, though I won't be there. I'll be home writing. That may not seem very patriotic on a day designated to remember our veterans, but in fact, I think about them and our men and women in uniform a lot. I have ever since the two wars we're currently engaged in started. I'm really happy the new G.I. Bill passed Congress and I hope it will become law soon. Our veterans give so much and they deserve to be taken care of once they come home. That means good health care and opportunities to attend college and find good jobs.

What will you be doing on Memorial Day?


My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin. Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gemini

I'm a couple of days late with this and Mercury isn't even retrograde yet! Not until May 26 anyway.

Gemini is symbolized by twins, and the dual nature of those born under the sign is legendary, though not always obvious. I did have a Gemini boss once, though, who exhibited this quality. Whenever one of the engineers needed to talk to him, he'd first approach the boss's secretary to inquire: "Who's in today, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?"

Most Geminis aren't that schizophrenic, though some are. Take Gemini Marilyn Monroe, for instance, a sex goddess with a vulnerable, "little girl lost" quality. Men wanted to make love to her; women wanted to take her home and mother her. Her death saddened all of us. Another example is Angelina Jolie, another sex goddess known for her humanitarian work.

Gemini is a mutable air sign ruled by the planet Mercury, and the word "mercurial" was invented for people born under this sign. They are clever, versatile, changeable, impatient and easily bored. Geminis tend to think and talk fast, and just try keeping up with them when the ideas get to flashing quick and fast. Theirs is often a restless nature, and stick-to-it-ive-ness may not be a strong suit. Mercury rules writing and communications, and there seem to be an unusual number of writers in this month's list of famous personalities. Mercury's birthstone is variously listed as the aquamarine or the agate, both of which reflect different colors, in keeping with Gemini's changeability.

Famous people born under the sign include Johnny Depp, mobster John Dillinger, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bob Dylan, the Duke of Edinburgh, Senator John Edwards, Ian Fleming, Errol Flynn, Michael J. Fox, Morgan Freeman, Judy Garland, Paul Gaugain, Thomas Hardy, Bob Hope, Angelina Jolie, Al Jolson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Paul McCartny, Marilyn Monroe, Cole Porter, Rosalind Russell, Brooke Shields, Wallis Simpson, director Michael Todd, Rudolph Valentino, Walt Whitman, Frank Lloyd Wright and Brigham Young. More Gemini personalities can be found here.

Gemini is considered to be most compatible with the other air signs, Libra and Aquarius and with the fire signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. As always, much depends on the individual's chart.

Do you have a Gemini in your life?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Wacky May Weather

It rained in Southern California yesterday. I mean, it really rained, as in poured. Big fat raindrops beating on the roof of the house and thunder in the distance. There were mudslides in some of the canyon areas, some areas had hail, and others had tornadoes!

This may sound like normal spring weather to some of you, but it's not at all normal for this area. In a normal year most of our rain falls in the winter, typically in the month of February. If we get any rain at all in May, it's a tiny bit of drizzle. On Wednesday the forecast was at 20% chance of rain, not a deluge.

I'm not complaining, in fact, I love rain. It's good for the plants and it makes everything green. I was just so surprised, I opened the door, turned the digital camera on video and let it run for 30 seconds so I'd have proof.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yacht Party, Anyone?

This has to be the sexiest political ad since "Call Me, Harold".

The background on this is that California tax law had a loophole that allowed owners of yacht and private jets to avoid sales tax by keeping their purchase out of state for 90 days from the time of purchase. Apparently the state Republican party still supports the loophole, despite the state's massive budget deficits. Courage Campaign and the Calif. Nurse's Association teamed up to make the ad. They did a bang-up job of it, IMO.

I heard that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger chickened out of attending an actual "yacht party" in San Francisco last Friday, after the ad aired in Sacramento, the state capital. Thanks to YouTube, we can all enjoy it. It would make a great book trailer for an erotic novel, don't you think?


Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Town Monday: Fisherman's Restaurant in San Clemente

In keeping with my last blog, I'm slacking off a little, so this will be a short post without any historical background.

Last week my husband and I went down to the San Clemente pier and wandered around. It was a warm spring evening, but a week night, so the beach was pretty deserted, though there were surfers in the water. We decided eat to dinner at the Fisherman's Restaurant in San Clemente. The restaurant and bar have been a fixture on the pier since 1981 and is often crowded with locals and tourists. We chose to sit inside even though the view is better outside.

During the off season (from Labor Day through mid-June, they offer Sunset Dinners Monday through Friday from 4-6PM for $14.75, a real bargain. We had a delicious meal of mahi mahi, roasted potatoes and veggies, plus salad, sourdough bread and ice cream or sherbet for dessert. We'd eaten light lunches, knowing we were going to pig out for dinner. The food was delicious and the setting can't be beat.

I took some photos of the area before and after and uploaded them to Picasa so I could embed a slide show here.. The sunset pictures are from a visit to the pier last August.


My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin, Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Are You A Multislacker?

I recently signed up for the Word of the Day from Urban Dictionary, and one of the words that caught my eye was multislacking: doing multiple slackeresque things concurrently. I think this includes things like listening to a podcast while writing this blog, as opposed to working on my current WIP. Then there's reading while watching TV, playing Solitaire while listening to the radio. You get the picture.

Of course, we've had a perfectly good word for this for many years: procrastination. Serendipitously, Slate Magazine recently published a special issue on procrastination. Being a first class procrastinator, I haven't read all the articles yet, but I did read Ben Zimmer's on "Pro·cras·ti·na·tion: How we got a word for "putting things off." The word comes "rom the Latin verb procrastinare, combining the prefix pro- forward - with crastinus "of tomorrow" — hence, moving something forward from one day until the next."

In other words, the tendency to procrastinate has been with us for a very long time and is probably an integral part of human nature.

Are you a multislacker? If so, what are you favorite ways to procrastinate?


Monday, May 12, 2008

My Town Monday: Strawberry Season

Spring in California means strawberry season and the local product is delicious, which makes many of us rather particular about which berries we buy. I've mentioned before that there used to be a lot of strawberry fields in Orange County. There aren't as many now and it's harder to find a "direct from the fields" fruit stand any more, but the berries in the supermarkets are getting better. I've been able to find good, mostly ripe strawberries for the last couple of weeks. I had some on my Kashi this morning and they were delicious.

The city of Garden Grove still celebrates it's annual Strawberry Festival on Memorial Day weekend. This year the dates are MAY 23-26, 2008. Events include carnival rides, a parade, a "giant strawberry shortcake cutting", karaoke contests, a baby pageant, and live music. I've never been to the festival, but maybe I'll make it this year.

Since I developed an allergy to apples, berries are now my favorite fruit. What's your favorite?


My Town Monday comes to us via Travis Erwin, Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Dessert Are You Most Like?

This is shaping up to be a busy day, so I'm going to post a quick quiz. Anyone who knows me, knows what a sweet tooth I have, so I couldn't resist this one. I was a little surprised with the answer I got since chocolate isn't necessarily involved, but even though I tried changing my answers to a few of the questions, cheesecake was always the result.

You Are Cheesecake

Rich, sweet, and simply perfect.

You're not boring - you're just the best!

Which dessert are you most like? I'd like to know what the other choices are!


Monday, May 5, 2008


One of the downsides to living in Southern California is having to put up with really bad traffic congestion, not just on the freeways but on the city streets, as well. That was driven home to my DH and me on Saturday when someone ran into the back of our car while we were stopped at a light. Fortunately, no one was injured.

It had already been a not-so-great morning. The DH woke up apparently mad at the world, me included. Then we had to drive from Anaheim to Placentia to pick up my new glasses, which I'm glad to say are wonderful. After that, we decided to go to the Souplantation in north Fullerton for lunch. We almost stopped at the nearby Barnes and Noble to look around, but decided against it. That was our big mistake. If we'd stopped, the driver who ran into us would have been ahead of us instead of behind us. Isn't it odd how one little, seemingly insignificant decision can sometimes have unanticipated consequences?

The traffic going home was horrible because of road construction. We were finally less than a mile from home when the fender-bender occurred. We pulled around the corner and stopped to talk to the other driver. He stopped, too, and said his brakes weren't working right. Then why was he driving? Before we could get his ID or insurance info, he said, "let's move away from the intersection," jumped in his pickup truck and took off! Sheesh, what a guy.

As you can imagine, my DH was furious. He had managed to take one photo of the man before he sped off, but unfortunately didn't get the license plate. NOTE TO SELF: next time someone runs into your car, get the license plate first, before you even say anything.

Two hours later, we finished filing an accident report with the local police. (The young men there looked more like Eagle Scouts than police officers, they were that young.) The only good thing to come out of the incident was a change in mood. Now it was the DH and me against the world, or at least the part of the world that hit us. I guess that's called making lemonade when life hands you lemons.

What's the traffic like where you live? I hope it's better than around here.


I forgot to add that My Town Monday comes to us courtesy of Travis Erwin, Thanks, Travis! Click on his site to read his latest post and find links to the other participants.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I've BeenTagged!

I've Been Tagged by fellow blogger,Deborah Dale for a meme. (In case you're wondering, Wikipedia defines a meme as "any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another". In this case, a blog template that gets passed from blogger to blogger.

So, here are six random things you may not know about me:

1. I like beer better than wine - practically heresy for a Californian! (I like to joke that I'm not half-German and half-Irish for nothing.)

2. While on a college trip to Mexico, many years ago, a friend and I climbed to the top of the Caracol at Chichen Itza. (pictured here) I'd forgotten how many steps there were just to get to the dome. We climbed up a little wooden ladder and crawled through the dome to the top. The view from up there was great, but I'll bet they don't let tourists do that any more.

3. On a trip to Australia, a friend took me on a camping tour of Tasmania, complete with a mad flight from a bush fire. Such adventures in my youth.

4. I love to dance. In high school I took lessons in Scottish dancing. I wasn't good enough to compete, but it was fun. After college, I joined other folk dancing groups and learned to love Greek and Balkan line dances. It was good, clean fun and great exercise.

5. I've decided that life without chocolate isn't worth living.

6. I'm extremely near-sighted and got my first pair of glasses in fourth grade.

Here are the rules of the meme:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

OK, now I'm supposed to tag six people. Unfortunately, I don't know all that many bloggers yet. I tag:

Sandy Levin

Beth Yarnell

Lacey Savage who hasn't updated her blog since April 21st!

Catherine Snodgrass who is going to kill me!


Cindy Proctor-King

Carolina Valdez

If any of you have already been tagged by someone else, let me know and I'll let you off the hook.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Amazon Kindle Back in Stock

When the Amazon Kindle e-book reader was introduced on November 19, 2007, the existing stock sold out in 5 1/2 hours! After that, everyone who wanted a Kindle had to order it and wait weeks for delivery. Now, app. 5 1/2 months later, Amazon finally has Kindles back in stock.

I ordered my Kindle in late November and received it in mid-December, and I love it. It really has become my constant companion. I love the wireless connection and near instantaneous delivery of books, magazines and blogs. I love being able to adjust the font size of my books. I love the larger-size page (compared to reading on my PDA) and the fact that the Kindle is so lightweight. I could go on and on, but I won't bore you.

So the good news is, the Kindle is back in stock. The bad news is it still costs $399.00. Is it worth the price? It was to me, but I told my DH it counted as both Christmas and birthday present for the year. But I'm an avid e-book reader, not a new user, the the chance I would use my Kindle a lot was high. Obviously, this is an individual choice, but one I'm glad I made. What do you think?


For more on the Kindle, go to Me and My Kindle and Amazon's Kindle product page.