Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Town Monday: Camp Pendleton

San Clemente is just north of the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps flag flies below the U.S. Flag on the pier. There's even a park dedicated to the Corps near the pier (picture taken by yours truly) and a lot of retired military live in the area. So I thought it might be interesting to learn a little more about the base.

Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the USMC, was named after Marine General Joseph Henry Pendleton, who advocated establishing a training center on the West Coast. It was started in 1942 and stretches between the cities of Oceanside, in San Diego County, and San Clemente, the southernmost city in Orange County. The area was originally Rancho Santa Margarita y Los Flores, so designated in 1769 by Spanish captain Gaspar de Portola, who led an expeditionary force looking for sites for the famed California Missions. The closest mission is San Luis Rey, just south of the base. The original ranch house, still used as the home for the Commanding General of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, is a National Historic Site.

Today the base serves as the Corps prime amphibious training base and has been home of the 1st Marine Division since 1946. We often hear the Marines shelling San Clemente Island, an almost daily reminder that the Marines are on the job, and I'm glad they are.

Sunday, as I was leaving Wal-Mart, I saw an older gentleman with a cane who was taking collections for the children of men and women killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was happy to make a donation for such a worthy cause. I just hope our soldiers and Marines can all come home soon.


additional source:

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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Obamamania widget


I've been really bad about blogging this week, so I'm dashing off a post before bedtime, so don't expect too much. :)

I added the Obamamania widget today from Slate Magazine's Encyclopedia Baracktannica, just because I think it's so clever.

And here's today's "Bushism of the Day":

"One of the things important about history is to remember the true history." — Washington, D.C., June 6, 2008

If only. As someone famously remarked, history is written by the winners. It will be interesting to see what history ultimately records about the first decade of the 21st century. My bet is it won't be regarded as a "Golden Age" of anything, except maybe greed. There are times I was ecstatic over the 20th century, and I'd never have anticipated that.

What do you think? What will history think of this period?


Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Town Monday: Heat Wave

This last week Summer arrived with a vengeance. The good part was the fabulous full moon (pictured here); the bad news was the heat wave that followed. I'm not a big fan of hot weather, actually I hate it, so please pardon this rant. I'll do a better MTM post next week, I promise.

Summer in Southern California can be pleasant and it can be unbearable. These last few days fall into the unbearable category. Some cities have set new records as temperatures soared into triple digit territory, and Los Angeles and other cities have set up cooling centers for senior citizens or anyone else seeking relief from the heat. Though we had rain this winter, there's been very little in the last few months and the hills are dry as the proverbial bone. I'm expecting a bad fire season in the state, and as I write this, fires are still raging in Northern California. On Saturday, when the house in Anaheim hit 90 degrees in the kitchen, we took off for San Clemente where the temp was 15-20 degrees cooler outside and about ten inside.

I know some of you are wondering why the spoiled California brat is complaining so much, but you have to understand this: neither of our houses has air conditioning. Many older homes in Orange County simply don't. Until recently, it wasn't really needed very often, but in the last couple of decades, summers do seem to have become hotter. Or at least we're getting more frequent heat waves. I'm not sure which. All I know is air conditioning would have come in handy this weekend. It's supposed to cool off next week, but probably not for long.

Hope it's cooler where you are.


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.

Update: Tues. June 24, 2008

Check out Barrie Summi's Surf Diva post for an idea on how to cool off.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Cancer!

Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, as well as the day the sun enters Cancer, the fourth sign of the Zodiac. Cancer is ruled by the Moon and sometimes people born under this sign are referred to as Moon Children.

Like their symbol, the crab, Cancerians can have a hard shell, but underneath you'll usually find a softy. Cancer is a cardinal water sign and Cancerians can be very emotional, even moody, but don't be fooled by the unassuming manner. Moon children enjoy being the center of attention as much as any Leo, and they can be quite determined when they've got a head of steam up about something. They're also fiercely protective of family and friends, and will stick with them to the end.

In the horoscope, the fourth house represents home, and Cancerians are known for being homebodies. Their homes are very important to them, and some display real nesting qualities. This sign also rules the stomach and Moon Children will often have sensitive digestive systems.

For more information, click here:

Famous people born under this sign include Presidents John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge and George W. Bush, also Julius Caesar, James Cagney, George M. Cohan, Tom Cruise, John Cusack, Phyllis Diller, Will Ferrell, astronaut John Glenn, Oscar Hammerstein, King Henry VIII (I'd have put money on him being a Leo), Helen Keller, the Dalai Lama, Ann Landers, Lindsey Lohan, Nancy Reagan, Rembrand, John D. and Nelson Rockefeller, Barbara Stanwyck, Ringo Starr, Thoreau, Liv Tyler, Abigail Van Buren and Robin Williams..

Cancer is considered to be most compatible with the other water signs, Scorpio and Pisces, and the earth signs: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. As always, much depends on the individual's chart.

Is there a Moon Child in your life?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Town Monday: Surf's Up

San Clemente isn't known as a surfing mecca, unlike Malibu and Huntington Beach, but if you go to the beach you're almost sure to find surfers in the water. I'm not a strong swimmer and my sense of balance has never been particularly good, so I've never tried to surf, but I imagine it's an exhilarating experience. But I thought it might be interesting to learn a little about how surfing came to California.

Surfing appears to have originated in Hawaii, though it may have been brought to the islands with the first Polynesians. No one knows for certain. We do know that the first European observers were Captain Cook's crew. Captain King (presumable Captain Cook's successor since Cook was killed by the locals) kept a journal in which he wrote about surfing, known as he'e nalu (wave-sliding) to the Hawaiians. Ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs show surfers on their boards. The natives enjoyed the sport so much they made offerings at local temples and chanted prayers to raise the surf. One prayer can be found at

The first people to surf in California were three Hawaiian princes who attended school in San Mateo in 1885. But the sport didn't catch on until George Freeth arrived from Hawaii and gave a demonstration at Redondo Beach. In 1916, Duke Kahanamoku, famous Hawaiian surfer and Olympic athlete, demonstrated his skill at locations all over California. Surf clubs arose in the 1930's, and after the war, lighterweight boards appeared, made from balsa wood and fiberglass.

But the pastime didn't really become big until the surfing craze of the late 1950's and early 1960's, fueled by movies like Gidget and songs like Surf City, Surfer Girl and Wipeout. Who can forget the old Woodie with the surfboard strapped to the roof?

In researching this blog, I found out that there are three surfing museums in the state:

* Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, 701 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz CA 95060 (831) 420-6289

* International Surfing Museum, 411 Olive Ave, Huntington Beach CA 92648 (714) 960 - 3483

* California Surf Museum, 223 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside CA 92054 (760) 721-6876

The glory days of the 1960's are long past, but surfing remains a popular sport on California beaches. One evening last week, my husband and I went down to the pier where I took this video. (Please excuse the wobbling. I did my best to hold the camera steady, but there was a stiff breeze blowing off the ocean.)

Added 6-18-08, direct link to video.

More links to articles on the history of surfing:

And to check on surfing conditions:


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.

Update June 24, 2008

Check out Barrie Summi's Surf Diva post for a related article.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Corpse and I

It's not every day a girl gets her picture taken with a corpse, but that's what happened to me at BEA. I went to help out at the EPIC Authors booth and next door was a booth containing a corpse in a wheelchair. Naturally, I had to check it out and I couldn't refuse when co-author Lloyd Garner offered to snap my picture with the body.

Corpse of Freedom is the title of a book by brothers Dax and Lloyd Garner, two handsome and talented young men. BEA was a stop on their "Rot 'n' Roll Tour 2008" they'd peridically take the corpse on a wheelchair tour of the convention hall. I have to say, with their moxie and great marketing sense, they're going to go far.

The book is described as "a dark suburban adventure sprinkled with humor and suspense" in which a bored teen digs up the corpse of another teenager and befriends it.

Lloyd told me the screenplay is already written, so don't be surprised if you see a movie by this title turn up at the local theater one of these days.


Monday, June 9, 2008

My Town Monday: San Clemente

About 35 years ago, my in-laws bought a house in San Clemente, one of my favorite California beach towns. They've both passed on, but the house is still in the family and I love spending time there. Ever since I was little, growing up in Pittsburgh, PA., I wanted to live by the ocean, and now I get to, at least some of the time. The first photo shows the view from out street.

San Clemente is pretty new, even for California. It was founded in the late 1920's by a man named Ole Hanson. According to the city's website, it was "among the first master planned communities built from totally open land in the United States". Hanson's dream was to create a "Spanish Village By The Sea" and some of the Spanish-style architecture has survived, particularly in the downtown area around Del Mar, the main commercial street that winds down to the pier. He picked a lovely spot for his town. The beach is ringed by cliffs where houses perch overlooking the blue Pacific. The weather is temperate: cool but not cold in the winter and pleasantly warm in the summer, though there is the occasional heat wave. Most houses in the older part of town don't have air conditioning, because it's rarely needed. The ocean breeze acts as a natural cooling factor. Heat waves usually occur because of a Santa Ana condition where the prevailing winds shift from off the ocean to hot, dry winds out of the canyons to the north and east.

I'm not sure what Ole Hanson would think of the town he founded now. In the last thirty years, San Clemente has grown dramatically, both in size and population, now app. 68,000. The city has expanded inland, with new housing developments scattered over the hills. I'm pretty sure those houses have A/C because you don't have to go very far inland for the temperature to increase. Nor would the founders recognize the older neighborhoods. Mansionization has come to San Clemente with a vengeance. Many homeowners, and some speculators, have town down the typical California two-bedroom bungalows and replaced them with two-story mini mansions. It makes for an interesting neighborhood as no two homes look are the same, unlike the more homogeneous developments you find inland.


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

Friday, June 6, 2008

Swingtown Debuts

Swingtown, the series about married swingers in the 1970's debuted last night on CBS. I imagine the high concept for this was something like Desperate Housewives meets Love, American Style. I can't say it's great drama, but it is fun escapist fare, esp. for those of us like me who actually remember the 70's. The cast is attractive and sophisticated and the music is fun and familiar. The clothes, on the other hand... What can I say? Seventies fashions were comfortable but you can't call them classic.

Swingtown starts with the Bicentenial celebrations in July 1976 and does a good job of capturing the hedonistic mood of the era. The Vietnam War was over and the Sexual Revolution in full swing. In the show, Susan and Bruce Miller move into a new neighborhood across from Tom and Trina Decker, a couple who have an open marriage. The setting is, I believe, a suburb of Chicago, since there's a mention of O'Hare Airport in scene one (Tom is a pilot for a commercial airline) and the Millers new home is referred to as a "lakeside mansion". Susan, who is feeling restless, has mixed feelings about leaving her old house and best friend, Janet, but she is soon seduced by the Decker's lifestyle. (And presumably the great group sex which remains mostly off screen. This is CBS, after all, not a premium cable channel.)

Is the show over the top? Probably. Is it unrealistic for the time? Not so much. Group sex and infidelity weren't invented in the 70's but they were talked about more openly. I remember reading a little bit of Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples by Nena and George O'Neill when it came out in 1972. I got to the part where they said jealousy wasn't a natural emotion but a learned response and quit reading. That notion seemed to be a big part of their premise and I wasn't buying it. No one teaches a small child to be jealous, it just happens. Usually when a little brother or sister comes along, LOL. At the time I read this, my mom and dad had a little Chihuahua who went into a snit whenever one of us petted another dog. We didn't teach her that, believe me. It was a hoot to see her sulk, though.

Will the show catch on? Who knows. I'll keep watching though, at least until we get to the disco era. Who knows, I might pick up some ideas for an erotic story.

Did you watch Swingtown? If so, what did you think?

Linda / Lyndi

Monday, June 2, 2008

Book Expo America in LA

On Saturday, I went to Book Expo America, the premier trade show for the publishing industry, for the very first time. It was impressive, exhausting and overwhelming.

I'd offered to spend some time helping out at the EPIC booth, so that was my first stop. (For those not familiar with EPIC, it's the Electronically Published Internet Connection, an organization of e-book authors and publishers.) Here's a picture of the booth. I'm on the left, EPIC President Carol MacLeod w/a Lynn Crain is in the middle, and author Kathryn Sullivan is on the right.

We talked up e-books to people who stopped by, demonstrated our e-book readers and answered lots of questions. Amazon had a large booth at the show to demonstrate the Kindle, so there was a lot of interest in that. I took mine along to demo. We took turns wandering around. Here are a few more pictures.

On the left: RWA President-Elect and friend Diane Pershing at the RWA booth.

On the right: My good friend Patricia Thayer signing her book for a fan at the Harlequin/Silhouette booth.

By the time I got home that night, my feet and shoulders were sore, and I felt brain dead, but it was a fun day. BEA is in New York next year, so I won't be there.

Has anyone else ever been to BEA? If so, where and when?


Note: Links updated 6-3-08, 8:40AM