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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oil and it's Magical Qualities

It was well over a year ago when I read an article about oil pulling. The article said to do this twice a day for 20 minutes each time and recommended using sunflower oil. The act of oil pulling is to use about a tablespoon of oil and pull it through your teeth. The results are cleaner, whiter teeth with reduced plaque. I originally tried sunflower oil but my mouth hated the flavor so I have since started using grape seed oil which has a milder flavor and seems to get the job done. My teeth immediately felt smoother and during a floss less plaque. I oil pull only once a day in the morning. Below is a list of the benefits I have found:

1. less plaque
2. smoother teeth
3. whiter teeth
4. When a sore throat comes on an extra oil pull sends it packing

Oil pulling is said to kill the bacteria and that is what makes it work. As a science nerd that makes perfect sense as the oil will actually change the pH. All organisms need a specific pH to survive, if that pH is altered changing the conditions in their environment (your mouth) they die.

Oil isn't only good for your teeth but your skin as well as I discovered this summer when my face felt dry from the time spent in the pool with all it's chemicals. I'm sure some cultures have been doing this for centuries. I have within the past several months began using olive oil on my skin. For my face I use a dime sized amount and rub it in, after I cover my face with a warm cloth for 30 seconds or so and wash off. My skin is left feeling softer and fully moisturized. I do this once daily. Not only did the olive oil mend my dry skin patches but it equalized the moisture in my face. A small amount of olive oil in the bathtub will moisturize the rest of the body. I am not sure how or why this works but my theory is the oil locks in natural moisture.

I no longer remember the websites I found this information on and wish I had bookmarked them but either way I am sharing the information. Try it for yourself.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Royal Enigma, an Unforgettable Tale

Today's featured author is Krishna Bhatt author of The Royal Enigma. I was lucky enough to both read and review The Royal Enigma and interview Mr. Bhatt. I found it to be an excellent story which opened my eyes to a world I didn't know.

The Royal Enigma is a historical fiction about a young man, Nawin, who is living during a time of horrible political upheaval in India. The tyranny and caste system are in place where the rich are rich and everyone else is poor. Nawin is trying to decide his plight in life as a young man. He is unable to see anything beyond a never ending pit of oppression. He witnesses abominable injustices to innocents.Revolution breaks out, and many vie for political power and position. The country is torn between the past tyranny and a new democracy. The king himself becomes nothing more than a mere figurehead of sorts with his powers diminishing by the day. War and militant groups have encompassed the land. In the aftermath poverty, devastation and fear guide the people. Much older and wiser, Nawin finds himself back where it all began understanding what and who truly matters to him.

Krishna Bhatt does an excellent job vividly portraying the tragedy of a people and placing the reader inside the reality of a tortured country. The story was difficult to put down and I found a certain pizzazz to his writing style.

The Royal Enigma on Amazon
Interview with Krishna Bhatt

Elle: How long have you been writing and when did you fall into it?

Krishna: I used to read a lot in my younger days too. Where I grew up there was no electricity till 1978. Radios were rare. The only connection with the world out was books besides newspapers, apart from the stories my father told me. Travelling too was not very popular. So I read whatever I could find.
It was porn too at times, even at a young age, besides many religious papers and pulp fiction. But I came across many good writers like Prem Chand in Hindi. I realized the importance of a writer like him much later. When I saw more of the world outside my family and grew older and read more trash. 
Writing I started as I thought I have a story to tell which is unlike anything I have read so far. I have also discovered that my own writing calms my aching nerves, whenever I am agitated. Though it also is a source of more agitation for its incompleteness, at another attempt.
So I take seriously what a reader thinks of my writing.

Elle: Please tell us a little about your writing process.

Krishna: It is all in the head, processing the things around endlessly, talking to myself all the time, till I am exhausted to sleep. As soon I am awake it all resumes. But an actual writing happens when I am really inspired. Once I begin the work does not take long to take shape. After it takes a shape I do a lot of rewriting. It is when I have a project I am working upon. It is the time of some visible production process. So it is a lot of pain. Otherwise I remain idle. I have been idle for two years now in that sense. I do not want a distraction to this process of my lifestyle, as it could consume my energies and shift the balance of my life, which I have found after a lot of trials and errors. I like the boredom and loneliness of this kind of life. If you aren't entertained you feel the need to create something entertaining.
Newspapers make me agitated when my day begins. Full of rage, I try to find a literature which will soothe me. But mostly I am disappointed. Then I return to the good books in my collection and read a few paragraphs. But at times I discover something which agitates me more. I haven't tried writing myself for the last two years almost, since there was no inspiration. But I am not worried about it, as it is not a job. So there is no salvation if you decide that you are a writer. 

Elle: If a fiction writer, are any of your novels based on events in your life?

Krishna: Most good works are based on the life you have seen. Rest is pulp, porn, propaganda or occult. I religiously shun this type of work. I am older now. I do not claim to be writing of the things unknown to me. It is for the more gifted ones. But I am surprised by my own writing at times, as many things I find which I was not aware of. They existed in me subconsciously. It is the happy and funny thing. Had I not written them I might not have known them.

Elle: What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Krishna: Publishing traditional is challenging. More so when the industry is under cartelisation through mergers of publishing houses, after the advent of self-publishing. So I call it 'syndie' publishing. Then there is the trap of genre. You need to fit into a type, in order to be defined and published. A newer style based on experiment stands no chance. And the world is full of happy people, who read what they are told, along with the antidepressant medication they take. It is all a controlled show. Self publishing is the alternative. But it is an anarchic world. May be an order will be established in this new world, by the discerning readers, and not the editors. 

Elle: Do you have a favorite author or book?

Krishna: I like the short stories of Guy de Maupassant. I like the travel books of Colin Thubron and Bruce Chatwin. V S Naipaul has written a few great books. The writing style of Mo Yan surprised me recently, as did 'The Great Gatsby'. I read Prem Chand often. Paul Theroux has written well about the plight of a writer's life. There are so many others I like. 

Elle: Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Krishna: I think one good book from a writer in a life time is enough. Becoming ambitious to write trilogy is ugly. Not only for Indie but for 'syndie' writers as well. It is not a show business. So being seen too much beside your work is not the real success. But I feel old saying such things.

Elle: What genre or genres do you write and why?

Krishna: I think I write stories which could also qualify as non fiction or travel writing, looked at differently. So genres do not define the writer. If you think that writing is about telling truth to the readers, you are incorrect. You do not refer to history books to find the truth, but you read the fiction of the time.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, sharing and being with family. It's a time when we eat too much food without worrying about the calories and a packed house with love is better than a mansion alone.

From the time I was a very little girl I always loved Christmas. I was the child who couldn't wait to open gifts and shook, poked and rattled each one until I was sure I knew what was inside. I always had a list a mile long and believe I became more specific and even prioritized which gifts were most important. One year my parent's played a joke on me and clipped all the pictures of the items I wanted from a magazine and put them all in a box and wrapped them telling me I was getting everything I wanted. When I opened the gift everything was there. I love my parents and family because in my opinion they are the best. 

Today I don't receive but a few gifts and have more fun giving and being with my family, enjoying our strange holiday dinner conversations which usually land me in tears of laughter and pains of  joy. As my sisters and I have grown our family gatherings have become larger and include others such as my beautiful daughters and their boyfriends, along with my delightful and eventful grandchildren, my brother-in-law, and occasionally even my sister and her husbands Australian Shepherds whom add a unique element to family gatherings as they want to herd us and keep a very close eye on any food and action.

As a Christmas gift from me to all you wonderful viewers of this blog I want to give you something, a free download of my book As Snow Falls through smashwords.com. Simply click this link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/345088 
1. click buy
2. in the coupon code box type in RK95G
3. then click the checkout button
4. after you can choose which electronic format you want to download 

The beauty of smashwords is they convert the book  into all digital formats so the reader isn't tied to any one type.

Once again Merry Christmas and best wishes to all.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oh No Junior High! with Terri Klaes Harper

It was nearly a year and a half ago that I read my first Indie novel since I have read more Indie's than mainstream. I find Indie books to be refreshingly vibrant and exciting. The author's aren't tied into what the general public is currently purchasing. For any indie author who has tried sending their manuscripts to publishers or literary agents that's more or less the response given along with a it has promise. Indie author's aren't afraid to break the rules and write a fascinating story unlike other books on the market. The book that started it all for me was Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages by Terri Klaes Harper.

This fun read is about a young girl going into the foreboding junior high years whose family  moves from west coast  California to east coast Virginia as if junior high isn't difficult enough. Drew escapes the ridicule of her California peers also leaving behind the love of her life only to have it replaced by a new villain and hunky junior high boy. The author delves into those awkward years as culture shocked Drew adjusts to her new surroundings and that ever present junior high need to fit in socially. She vies for the attention of the popular while falling into the hands of the ordinary and has a great epiphany to what and who "real friends" are.

Terri Klaes Harper uses great illustration through character and dialogue to draw in the reader and keep the pages of the book turning. I started this read before work and couldn't wait until after work to finish it and did that I did in one day. The book is truly that good! It is a must read for young adults finding themselves trapped in Drew's reality to adults who remember those tragic drama filled years. I am currently and not so patiently awaiting the sequel.

I especially made a connection with this book as I have taught junior high for several years now and found this novella to put a humorous but true spin on the realities of junior high. I envisioned my students playing various characters which actually gave me laughter pains by the time I finished.

Below is a link to the book on Amazon and Terri Klaes Harper's Facebook author page:


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Fairy Tale Life

Continuing with my theme on marriage I am taking the opportunity to assess my story characters views on marriage and love.
I will begin with As Snow Falls as it was the first published. In this story the main character first encounters love from that of her family including her sister and parents. When she enters school that love reaches outwards towards her two best friends, Sarah and Sammy. It is a tragedy that spurs her first puppy love with a boy, Cobie. She does everything in her power to gain control of his attention which he sheepishly denies her for months. When she finally gets his attention she runs from it because he has proven too fickle. Soon after she meets a young man, Nathan, he is attractive, strong and her rock through high school. Having him helps her to quell her teenage hormonal emotional side bringing out the logic that resides inside her. She even imagines one day they will get married and live the perfect American dream life together. Powers beyond their control separate them and her outlook on life takes a severe downward curve as she sublimely moves through life. To her love has become evil, and she vows to never fall in love again but life surprises her and after years of taking up space and oxygen whilst moving through life as an inactive participant she falls in love. It isn't a new love but a love that was meant to be and has been with her for many years. They marry and create a beautiful life together and have a son, Reese. Through this marriage she realizes what love is truly about. It her lost love, a ghost presence that resides inside her heart guiding her life path.
In essence she is a romantic of sorts and believes wholeheartedly in true love and a happy fairy tale marriage.
In November for the first time I participated in NaNoWriMo and created a story called Eye Of The Storm in this book there are two women who share the stage as protagonists. Sunshine is a sweet and very cheery young woman who believes  deeply in love and marriage although not in the sense of destiny but in a "good logical choice". Her and boyfriend, Jerry, are old fashioned and too perfect for reality. They believe in waiting until marriage to live together and have sexual relations. Throughout the story she changes immensely and becomes someone else, and even succumbs to her feelings for another young man. This is where the story gets sticky and Eilida becomes more a part of the picture. She fears solid relationships and love; refusing her current relationship she is always running away from him, Jay. It is an inward sense and repressed memories which she is unable to touch that guides her fear of sexual relationships
Sunshine is the perfect optimist who believes in marriage as a logical choice. Eilida is a pessimist who has been thwarted by love and has no use for marriage.
Cleo in my new Baby Girl series grows up in a home with little love and attention, eventually leading to abandonment. She is forced to go it alone and runaway in order to survive. She meets other kids like herself and she begins to understand what love is about, a makeshift family is formed. She at the ripe age of approximately thirteen falls for a young man, Einstein, and they create what is to her a "beautiful normal life" until a catastrophe takes away the one true love and family she's ever known. In the upcoming segments the reader will watch her go from naive victim to in charge of her destiny. In Book 2 the secrets of her mother's disappearance rear their ugly head shortly after she meets a wealthy and extremely attractive young man, Didier. She forms a union with him that is possibly more survival based than true love.  As a whole Cleo is more like me than any character I've ever created. She is crafty, intelligent and resourceful but young and not immune from teenage paranoia and hormones.
Cleo believes romance is overrated and she has no time in her life to indulge in such actions as family ghosts and secrets force themselves on her whether she is seeking answers or not. She needs to discover who she really is before she can carry on a healthy future with any man. I won't say that love and marriage is not in her future...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Marriage vs. Divorce Survey

 I have added the link for a survey I'm conducting. It's anonymous and follows through with my Marriage, a money making scheme blog post. Don't be shy, survey away. Marriage vs. Divorce

Monday, December 16, 2013

Marriage, A Money Making Scheme?

Marriage is based on cultural idealization. In some countries it is legal for a man to have more than one wife, in other countries prearranged marriages still occur. In the U.S. we have free choice and are only legally allowed one spouse at a time. In America it has become common to get married more than once.  According to CDC in 2011 the marriage rate is 6.8 per one thousand total population and the divorce rate is 3.6 per thousand total population. Now this data excludes divorces for California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana and Minnesota, so the divorce rate is possibly much higher or lower. Some resources actually claim it could be as high as 50%. In either case the cost of marriage and divorce can be very pricey.

According to CNN and Today the average cost of a wedding is approximately $28,000. Wow! That is amazing since the median income in this country is anywhere form the mid $41,724 in Kentucky to $71,122 in Maryland. Twenty eight thousand to the average person is a lot of money and that price doesn't include the honey moon. Now that is the average cost which means some people spend more and some spend less. Who is pocketing all that hard earned cash? Caterers, bakeries, fashion designers and retailers, hotels, photographers, musicians and more. It would seem weddings overall feed the economy although economically placing a gouge in the wedding couples pocket. According to the Census Bureau 55% of Americans have been married more than once. I sure hope they don't go to outrageous extremes for each wedding, but again I'm sure some do and some don't.

Now divorce can be just as costly according to MSN and Legal Zoom one can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, and that is only for the lawyer and does not include the division of assets loss. According to the Census Bureau first marriages last a median of eight years. Delving further into my search I discovered that most people anywhere from 65% to 84% have married only once. Out of divorced people anywhere from 2% to 21% have been married 2 or more times. It appears that most people are choosing to stay single. I'm sure the reasons are not completely based on the cost of marriage vs. divorce but I have no doubt the financial factor is at least part of people's decision to not get remarried.

I myself was married for many years years and have now been divorced for several. Since my divorce I have often casually interviewed married and divorced couples. I have found an astonishingly high number of people who have been married for decades yet have no real relationship with their spouse. They live almost completely separate lives, although still living under the same roof. I say that loosely as most seem very pleased they no longer share a bed with their spouse. My question always is, "Why then are you still married?" The answer I always get is, "It's cheaper and easier than divorce?" What about happiness? If people are still married simply because it's easier can't one question the quality of their life and any other "relationship" they might enter into?

 I have met many people who have been remarried sometimes successfully but usually not. When I ask them, "Why did you get remarried?" They usually respond with something along the lines of, "I thought I loved him/her", "We had good times until we got married", "the relationship was fantastic when we lived together but once we got married it went down hill".

I am no psychologist but I can read between the lines and it appears a high number of people in this country get married for all the wrong reasons only to back out and get divorced or stick with it because it's easier, cheaper, more convenient. Myself I am in that 65-84% that married only once and will remain that way. Where do you stand? and how much did your wedding/ divorce cost you?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

IID, What's that?

If you, a friend, coworker or family member has had a DUI within the past couple years than you know what an IID is, an ignition interlock device. They are placed in cars after someone has a DUI. It hooks up to the ignition and the driver has to blow into it and pass before the car will start. I tested one for myself and have to say I was greatly annoyed and distracted by the device. It is a simple black handheld device on a long curly cord, similar to a phone cord, and it contains lights that flash passing or failing. It also beeps to alert the driver's attention.

Here is the short version of my experience. I sat down and turned the ignition on until the lights and radio worked then had to wait for the machine to beep. Once it beeped I had to blow into it and while blowing I had to hum. I believe that part lasted approximately six seconds. I then had to wait for the lights to flash pass before starting the car. After five minutes of driving it alerted me to complete a rolling check, breathing into the machine while driving. After another approximately twenty minutes I had to do another rolling check. What I found distracting was the awful wailing beep and grabbing for the machine while keeping my eyes on the road. 

My questions are, have drunk driving fatalities been reduced since IID's have been placed in cars and how many accidents have been caused be a driver with an IID that was distracted by it? According to MADD dated 11/14/2013, less than a month ago, fatalities have increased by 4.6%. MADD also stated that twenty states have laws requiring drink driver's to install IID's. I checked http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-ignition-interlock-laws.aspx for myself and counted twenty seven states that have IID laws and regulations but I didn't count how many for first time offenders. If nearly half the country is requiring these devices than why have drunk driving fatalities gone up? Are these devices really working? On the other hand it is good discipline to the driver. The car won't start unless the driver blows and passes. 

How many accidents have been caused by distracted driver's using IID's? Before I answer that question all fifty states have laws at some level banning the use of cell phones either texting/ talking or both according to GHSA because of distracted drivers, so why wouldn't an ignition interlock device be distracting? There isn't enough information presently to determine the number of accidents caused by the use of an IID although I did find individual stories and cases of people who have had problems with them especially the rolling tests and even some accidents. The DUI DWI foundation itself has said that dangers from the rolling tests have been documented because it's a distraction. Follow the link to read in it's entirety. http://www.duifoundation.org/news/ignition-interlock-devices-may-increase-accidents.html

I found a forum called the NMA blog Ignition Interlocks where people discuss their issues with the device and I found it quite interesting. I failed to mention earlier that the device is touchy and a person who has consumed no alcohol may fail. It is good to drink some water before blowing into the machine to rinse away food and other liquids.

To sum everything up I see no definitive evidence that ignition interlock devices work however it can't be ignored that they are a distraction to the driver. Food for thought; Is there something more effective that can be done to prevent drunk driving?

The author of this blog doesn't support drunk driving. She is merely being the devil's advocate.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Qualities of a Good Substitute Teacher From a Teacher's Perspective

As a public school teacher for over a decade there are some important qualities that I have found in substitute teachers. When finding these qualities I will request the substitute again. Before I start, I would first like to add that many teacher's deny taking time off because of the preparation required in doing so. First, we have to plan a lesson for a substitute who may or may not have any experience or knowledge in the given subject area. That being said the lesson can't be too subject area complex. Second, we have to leave detailed plans for lunch, planning period duty schedules and activities, seating charts, attendance, schedule rotation, dismissal and extra passes. An organized teacher already has these ready to go along with classroom rules and procedures  posted somewhere in the classroom. Third, the substitute may or may not know how to use the classroom equipment so detailed instructions should be left for that as well, especially if the teacher is asking the substitute to use it. As a rule of thumb a teacher will usually leave another teacher's name for the substitute to check with in case he/she has any questions. Luckily for me most of the subs my school uses are regulars and know the school well.  Last, I will add that I am an organized person (not all teachers are).

Qualities I look for:

1. A good substitute is organized and generally at school a little early in order to look over and prepare the lesson for the day. My last substitute came in the day before, while I was covering another teacher's class, and looked over the lessons. It's really awesome when they leave everything organized for the teacher's return  as well.

2. Good classroom management skills are a must. Not all classes are equal, some are much better behaved than others depending on the groups of students. A sub may not know any of the students but yet has to manage them for a day or more. I like substitute's that use the evil eye (I always hear about it later from the students). Also important that the teacher sets up ground rules for behavior before taking an absence although some classes are simply students who should not be placed in a classroom ever together.

3. Coming prepared. A good sub has brought extra pencils, paper, candy, a pen for themselves, a creative mind and even reading material. My school had a regular substitute that placed tape on the classroom door when he would leave because the door's aren't always unlocked.

4. When I come back to school after a leave I like to know how their day went and if there were any students whose behavior went above and beyond in a good way and in a not so good way. I have found most good subs, especially those there for more than a day will leave a description of how the day went for each class period.

5. A substitute who follows directions. As a teacher I write or type out detailed descriptions of the students assignments and anything else I deem important because I want the directions followed. That may seem like simple common sense but not all subs are created equal and some don't follow directions. I had a substitute once who took everything off my desk which I had left for him and went to the teacher next door saying I had left no plans. She then checked out a movie for him that had absolutely nothing to do with my subject area. During the day he proceeded to log into my computer, not using my password because I don't have it written down, but someone's password and played computer games the entire day. What I never understood about the situation is that I had left movies for them to watch, so why fake it? Needless to say he was never invited back into my classroom and shortly after banned from the school.

How does a teacher know when a substitute has these qualities? That is an easy answer, our rooms are left in the same shape if not better when we return, the student's have completed the work assigned, the teacher next door has no complaints, and last the students usually give a play by play upon their regular teachers return.

A substitute teacher who has these qualities is worth their weight in gold because sometimes teachers do have to take time off and occasionally we even take a vacation. Kudos to the many substitutes I've had that have made my life a little simpler and have done their job, occasionally more than they were asked. My sub last week was one of the best I've ever had. He did a fantastic job!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The cleanest little big city

I was pleasantly surprised during my recent visit to San Francisco on the cleanliness of the city. According to the 2012 census bureau there is an estimated 825,863 people living in the city which is approximately 46 square miles, equaling 17,179 persons per square mile. That makes S.F. a small and extremely crowded city. 

To put this in perspective let's take a look at some other cities. (I have left off the numbers behind the decimal)

Los Angeles California : Square miles-468, population- 3,857,799, persons per square mile-8,092

Dallas Texas: Square miles- 340, population-1,241,162, persons per square mile-3,517

New York City New York: Square miles 302, population- 8,336,697, persons per square mile- 27,012

Miami Florida: Square miles-35, population- 413,892, persons per square mile- 11,135

Washington D.C: Square miles- 61, population- 632,323, persons per square mile-9,856

My current home Jacksonville Florida- Square miles- 747, population- 836,507, persons per square mile-1,100

Across the bay from San Francisco, Oakland California: Square miles- 55, population-400,740, persons per square mile-7,004

Of those cities the ones closest in size would be Miami, Oakland and Washington D.C and their persons per square mile are extremely low in comparison to S.F. Population wise the only city that compares would be Jacksonville, and it has a meager 1,100 persons per square mile. Living in or close to both of these cities for most of my life, S.F.-19 years and Jacksonville- 14 years I believe San Francisco to be a cleaner city although Jacksonville is a fairly clean city but 747 square miles is a lot to keep up on. 

I can only think the trashcans and ashtrays posted sporadically throughout S.F. have something to do with the cleanliness of the city. Where ever I went I always had a place close to throw my trash away. In Jacksonville I feel I'm on a hunting spree when I have trash to toss. I also believe both these cities being so close to oceans have something to do with air quality. There is nearly constant winds that blow through S.F. not so much in Jax as the air seems to hang thick and heavy although ocean breezes can be felt on occasion sweeping through the air.

I did some further research According to http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/17/miami-seattle-orlando-biz-logistics-cx_tvr_0317cleanest.html Miami was named cleanest U.S. city with Jacksonville coming in at number three, and San Francisco at number six. The other cities I listed didn't even rank. This ranking and article was based air quality, water quality and street cleanliness. 

According to http://www.rd.com/advice/travel/americas-top-5-cleanest-cities/ San Francisco came in at number five, none of the other cities were listed. The article was also based on air, water and street cleanliness.

Kudos to San Francisco on being one of the smallest large cities in the U.S. and maintaining limited pollution. If you haven't visited the city yet now you have one more reason to do so.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baby Girl Saga

Within my collection of rough draft stories written throughout the past several years it has been difficult to decide which I want to redraft, edit, and publish next nevertheless I chose Baby Girl. It's about a young girl who is abandoned by her mother and runs away from the only skimpy life she has ever known.  I chose to publish it as my second novel because it's full of adventure as Cleo (Baby Girl) scrambles through life.

I have spent over a decade working with children her age and they are self centered in the fact that they know so little about life. Being a teenager is about discovery, making friendships and learning how large the world really is. At some point children begin to expand their horizons and venture into unnerving situations. Their minds are also developing at a phenomenal pace, at twelve their thinking is very concrete and centered around their families. By fourteen they have developed better problem solving skills and a higher level of thought as they encounter various dilemmas, and life is more about discovering their own limits in the world around them. They are learning who they are and what type of person they want to be.

I remember my own days of being invincible and the many adventures I found. I'm sure my parents would cringe if they knew even half of my teenage enterprises. It was these exploits that developed the story about Baby Girl. No, it's not about me, her incidents were not mine, and I never broke the law. I have great parents and a beautiful family and never could have imagined surviving on my own at twelve but I did have some awesome adventures in my middle class suburbia land and I grew up only miles from one of America's most unique and delightful cities, San Francisco. As teens my friends and I couldn't get enough of the city. Once we had cars we were there a lot, sometimes without our parents knowledge or consent. I had many adventures closer to home as well and yes, I did have a man chase me down with a shot gun. He was dressed in his boxer shorts and a robe and we were in a suburban cul-de-sac. He never fired the gun. My friend and I really hadn't done anything wrong I think we just bothered him too early in the morning. It was these experiences and how I perceived them that brought forward Cleo's adventures which are entirely her own.

This story started as a fifty some thousand word rough draft and a couple summers ago I began a sequel. I decided to take the first saga and separate it into three to four short stories as each segment of her life is an adventure of it's own. When I have completed the entire first novel in short stories I will combine them into an a book. I will then finish the sequel and maybe even make a trilogy. 

Eventually she does find out more about her morbid past. It is even more distraught than she ever could have imagined and skeleton parts are jutting out the closet door, making it impossible for her to close. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

See anything Jimi Hendrixish?

Huge delicious burrito at La Taquieria (I think)

B.A.R.T. Bay area rapid transit

Method to hotel when van failed, much cleaner than I remember.

Where van refused to pick me up.

16th and Capp

My Big Birthday Adventure

Today was interesting to say the least. Adventure from beginning to finish. I started out at Haight-Ashbury where hippies continue to hang out in smaller numbers and smoke pot freely and openly but I 'm sure it's medicinal, and ended up at bar local near hotel.

Stop one was Trax Bar in Haight- Ashbury. They sell $3 margatita's and the bartender was really cool. The gentleman whom I sat next to was a thirty five year veteran to the city. He gave me directions to get to Castro street, my next stop. He said take the 24 bus which I did and it went all of a few blocks. In S.F. the blocks are short, I could have easily walked it.

Stop two was 440 Castro. It was a gay bar, again the bartender was great. They also sell $3 margarita's. I sat by a cute couple who were extremely friendly. I won't publish their names but they were fantastic. After they left another gentleman sat down beside me. After maybe ten minutes he informed me that I was in a gay bar. I had already figured that out the moment I walked in the door, I stifled a chuckle.  The best place for a woman alone in S.F., who doesn't want to get hit on, is a gay bar. They had no interest in me except menial conversation.

Stop three Elixer another awesome place. The bartender gave me directions to Taqueria where they make huge delicious burrito's for $6.80. It was so monstrous I was only able to eat half then.

Stop four was a latin bar not far from Taqueria. It was packed and everyone there but me was latin and the only other females were the bartenders. I talked a little with man next to me who was from somewhere in Central America. He asked if I wanted to go home with him. What, really? I politely declined. I guess since I was a woman amongst a flood of men he thought I was there looking for a man.

This is where it gets interesting. It was getting late and I was ready to get back to hotel so I called the shuttle and he refused to pick me up, saying he doesn't go there. Huh? I was on the corner if Capp and 16th, odd is what I thought. My choices were an overpriced cab or BART was across the street. I chose BART and slipped in and bought a ticket. I haven't rode a BART train in decades and was pleasantly surprised how clean it was. I remember the stations and trains to be extremely nasty. The train took me to the airport where I snuck onto the shuttle heading back to the hotel.

Last stop was Houlihans across the street from my hotel where I watched the end of the game.
Seattle won, yuck!

That was my big birthday adventure.