Rave: Bloberger Hof
If planning a trip to Salzburg both my husband and I highly recommend the Bloberger Hof. A quaint and charming Bed &Breakfast, located outside the city, but right on the bus line, and just minutes from old town Salzburg. The rooms are very clean, have beautiful views of the mountains, and the rates are reasonable. Free wi-fi, parking, and breakfast buffet, with freshly baked pastries, variety of jams, boiled eggs, cereal, juice, coffee, and more. Their friendly staff helped us with all our arrangements from setting up our city excursion, to having a van come and pick us up, to even having a late night pizza delivered to our room. Should we return to Salzburg, we would most definitely stay there again.
See I Told You So
Yep, I knew it, and don't make me tell you I told you so, but I told you so.
The new cell phone law has not even been in effect for two weeks and a woman from Renton was pulled over because she had her hand up to her ear. That's right, she had her hand up to her ear, no phone, but she still received a ticket for the no cell phone violation. What happened to due process? What happened to the state having to be the one with the burden of proof, huh?
So now don't you dare scratch your head, put your hair behind your ear, or stretch while driving, because some officer who needs to meet his quota for the month might pull you over.
She says she's going to fight it and bring a copy of her cell phone bill as proof she was not on the phone at the time of the incident. Good for her, but it bites that we as citizens have to take time out from our day to go to court and fight bogus tickets like this.
Something similar happened to my husband last month. He was driving down the highway, and was pulled over and cited for not wearing his seat belt, yet he WAS belted. He showed the officer the belt clearly over his shoulder and across his lap, but the officer still wrote the citation.
He's mad and so am I; even if we comply with the laws of the state, we still get cited! Talk about abuse of power!
The only thing I can guess is my husband had on a grey hoodie and the seat belt is grey, so maybe they blended together. We plan to fight it in court, but he will lose a few hours of work, and we have been told if we want the officer to appear in court we have to subpoena him. No wonder why most people don't fight tickets anymore. But I know if the officer at any moment tells the judge he saw the buckle hanging near his shoulder, the officer needs to have his eyes examined, because my husband was driving an older Impala, and when not in use the buckle is near the lap, not the shoulder.
But from now on I'm going to drive with a wallet up to my ear.
Cell Phone Law
Feel free to eat a burrito, drink a cup of coffee, put on your makeup, read a newspaper, give your kid in the backseat a pacifier. . . but don't you dare put that phone up to your ear!!
I knew when the state legislator passed the cell phone law two years ago; it would only be a matter on time before they changed the law to being a primary offense. Last week, drivers could only get a citation as a secondary offense, meaning that if they were pulled over for speeding, they would get a ticket for speeding as well as talking on the cell phones. Now officers can pull you over for talking on the cell phone. They “say” it’s about safety, but when the ticket is $124 dollars, I don’t believe it’s about safety, it’s about revenue and the state of Washington is strapped for cash.
I personally, have had enough with the Nanny State! Where is personal responsibility? Not saying I don’t wear my seat belt at all times, or wear a helmet when riding the quad, or sitting on the back of a motorcycle, because I do, but I don’t think if you pick up your phone while driving you should be treated like a hardened criminal!
They “say” it is about distracted drivers, but there are already laws on the books about driving while distracted. Trust me, my husband received a distracted driving ticket not long after we were married, so it has been on the books for a least twenty years. Yet, it’s okay to talk on your cell phone if you are wearing an ear piece, or have the phone on speaker phone—it’s only illegal to hold a phone to your ear. I don’t know about other people, but I hate wearing those earpieces, they never stay in my ear right, and I spend more time fiddling with the thing, when it would be a lot safer having me just hold the phone to me ear. What about other distractions: changing a CD, adjusting the temperature control, talking with the passengers in your car, arguing with you children, eating or drinking? Why not ban all of them?
I know there are many people who have the philosophy of “Shut up, and drive.” I was surprised to see how many are in favor of this law. To me, it’s about taking away our civil liberties. I must confess I talk on the cell phone when I drive. Three active boys, keep me on the road most of the day, but talking on the phone has never impeded my ability to maintain my lane, react to slowing traffic ahead, or otherwise lose track of where I am or where I’m going. I also have never been in an accident, while talking on the cell phone (knock on wood). Of course, I am a mother and can multitask three or four things at the same time. I firmly believe this law is NOT aimed at safety, but gaining revenue. Just like the seatbelt laws, helmet laws, and red light ticket cameras. Freedom my A$$!!
I know some are not going to believe this, but I really don’t watch much television. Sure, I have my favorites, but I much rather read or write, so don’t be surprised when I say I never even heard of the television series Chuck until a friend of mine told me Bruce Boxleitner was going to have a guest role in season two, and I needed to watch the show.
So the summer before the beginning of the second season, I found the episodes on-line, watched them, and immediately fell in love with the show. Now, I’m a faithful Chuckaholic.
Chuck is an action/comedy/romance hybrid television show, a lighthearted spy drama, mixed with comedy and romance. The show is witty, full of action, with a spark of romance. . . in lots of ways like Scarecrow and Mrs. King, but in reverse. You know, danger, excitement. . . intrigue. You have an average, ordinary civilian, dragged into the world of espionage by extraordinary circumstances, but instead of a package passed to him at a train station, he is passed government secrets via an opened email.
This and That
Someone asked me the other day,
“What do you want?”
I merely said, “A Pepsi, please.”
But I lied.
What I want is to out on my own with a good job,
and dinner that tastes better than the pan it was cooked in.
What I want is an “A” grade point average,
but not to have to study until midnight to get it.
What I want is a life with no children tugging and pulling on my arms
until they drag on the ground.
But for now. . .
I’ll take a Pepsi
~I Saved A Winter Just For You
I like this poem, because I think it reflects what we say, when we really want to say something else. How something so simple as ordering a Pepsi, can make us think - is this what I really want?
Now, don’t get to thinking I’m unhappy about the direction my life went, because I’m not. Sure I had dreams and goals, and life didn’t exactly turn out the way I expected, but I’m happy. "Life turned out okay."
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, who is also my best friend, and even though we have our fights, (I can be a real hothead), they usually blow over. I also have a roof over my head, food on the table, shoes on my feet, I live in the greatest country on Earth, in one of the most beautiful states in the Union. We have three great children, even if they can be a handful, for the most part, they are good boys and stay out of trouble.
My husband "puts up" with my addiction to Scarecrow and Mrs. King and encourages me to write. He has a great job and makes enough money for me to stay at home and raise the children, and although, we don’t have a lot of the extras, we manage. We were even able to save some extra money a few years ago and take a once in a lifetime trip to Europe.
My health has not been the best. Currently, I have been having some lower back problems, which doctors have not been able to isolate. Pain pills are not working, nor did physical therapy, and I'm having a rough time sleeping. I can walk, but can’t stand or sit for a long length of time, which isn’t particularly good for a writer.
I know I said this blog wasn’t going to go in any one direction. This isn’t a blog on politics or sports or cooking. I don’t grow my own vegetables or have a beautiful flower garden (like my next door neighbor). I’m not a domestic goddess, by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, I hate cleaning, cooking, sewing, ironing. And although I do like a clean house, I gave up months ago on the boys' rooms. They are old enough to clean their own rooms themselves.
I recently watched the movie Julie and Julia. I loved it! Wasn’t Meryl Streep just wonderful as Julia Child? Again, I don’t cook, so I don’t plan on blogging about 200 French recipes in 365 days. No, this is more random, my thoughts, and my feelings about my life. But. . .
. . . for now I’ll take a Pepsi.
Many writers believe fan fiction is not “real writing." They feel we (fan fiction writers) are a bunch of wannabes writing stories based on characters and plot they already created.
Now you might be asking yourself, what is fan fiction? It's a story, regardless of length, whether a drabble, ficlet, or full length novel or epic, written by a fan, where the characters and/or setting are taken from a television series, movie, comic, game, or novel, with the intent of sharing with others who also enjoy that particular genre. Wikipedia describes it as:
A broadly-defined term for fan labor regarding stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator. Works of fan fiction are rarely commissioned or authorized by the original work's owner, creator, or publisher; also, they are almost never professionally published. Fan fiction, therefore, is defined by being both related to its subject's canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside the canon of that universe. Most fan fiction writers assume that their work is read primarily by other fans, and therefore tend to presume that their readers have knowledge of the canon universe (created by a professional writer) in which their works are based.
We writer’s of fan fiction think of it as a labor of love, continuing stories of our favorite characters or answering questions unresolved in the novel, series, or movie. Critics complain they think it’s easy, because the characters and plot are already established, but it’s not easy. Our toughest critics are other fans, because they are familiar with the characters and story line and will crawl the writer out on the carpet if they think they are wrong with characterization, plot, or setting.
Not only am I a tough critic of my own writing, but also on others. (Not saying I write nasty reviews, but I know what I like and what I don’t like). I'm a purist, I ship (which is the shorted word for relationship and if a fan ships it just means the really like the characters as a couple) Lee and Amanda on Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Chuck and Sarah on Chuck, their relationship progressed in a certain order, and that is the way I want to read it, but I'm not totally against alternative universe, if it's a good story and the situation and characters are believable. Alternative universe, unlike canon fan fiction, generally does not remain within the boundaries of the universe; i.e. Lee does not pass the package to Amanda on that fateful October morning, but meets 20 years later, or whatever. I tend to enjoy stories more that stay in canon, although there’s a great parody by Karen “Staying Within Canon,” and I really enjoy Ann’s "False Start" Universe.
I enjoy reading angst, especially Mary’s "With Or Without You" Universe series. That said, I don’t enjoy angst, because the author thinks there needs to be angst for there to be good drama. I also don’t like to read stories where there is so much angst, the reader loses a sense of what we knew and loved about Lee and Amanda, the lightheartedness, the comedy, the romance. Again, I’m talking Scarecrow and Mrs. King, because those are the fan fiction stories I have read the most and have written. I have only read a handful of other fan fiction genres and categories, so I feel I can’t comment on them.
The whole reason I became interested in reading fan fiction was I was hoping to find stories that revolved around Lee and Amanda following the end of the series, because I seek closure. Not having a season five or even a series finale has left me with a sense of feeling incomplete, not whole, as I search for the perfect story that gives me euphoria, “Yes, that was how I see a season five episode or finale.” Alas, I have yet to discover it. Several "after the series ended" stories I have enjoyed, but most leave me unsatisfied or in disbelief. “No, I don’t see Amanda doing this or Lee saying that.” So the search continues.
I rather read stories that have the happy ending, but don't mind being taken for a ride to get there. Nonetheless, I recently read another story about Amanda being sexually assaulted. I'm not knocking anyone's story, because the story was well told, and grammatically and structurally correct; however, I have an issue of losing the original "feel good" and lightheartedness about the characters and situation that was SMK, and although, towards the end of the series, the show attempted to focus more on drama and less on comedy, I could never visualize an episode being aired that discussed this issue. That is my gripe.
Another gripe I have about fan fiction is some of the reviews. I appreciate good reviews. Hell, who doesn't? But sometimes I read an awful story with bad dialogue, and bad grammar and spelling, or an unbelievable plot, and see 20 or so reviews telling the author how wonderful the story is and I just scratch my head. A good example was a crossover story I read few months ago. The story itself was okay, but it was chuck full of spelling and grammar mistakes, Los Angeles was misspelled throughout the whole story and not one reviewer pointed that out. Crazy! Now, I don't like people who flame another person's story, but still I think there should be a balance between good criticism and corrective criticism.
I still love to read a good fan fiction story, and really enjoy the one's that are well written, have a good plot, believable dialogue (where I can hear the characters talking in my head), and obviously someone has taken the time to either have their work beta-read or self-edit before posting. There really are some great writers out there, in whatever fan fiction category you like to read. Happy reading!
My Writing Hero: Walt Morey
Growing up, I was a very awkward young lady. I was taller than most of the boys in my class, yet not athletic, very shy and unsure of myself, and I was an easy target for school bullying. Glasses, and later on braces, did not help my self image. Moving twice in less then two years did not help matters either. I found it hard to make friends, and instead of spending recess outside on the playground, where I knew I would be teased, I spent my recesses in the library, where I would get lost in the Little House on the Prairie or Encyclopedia Brown books.
My parents moved my sisters and I from the large city of Santa Clara, California to the rural town of Hillsboro, Oregon. I remember the first day, the 'new kid' in school, and how scared I was, then my teacher opened up a novel and began to read aloud to the class. The Runaway Stallion was a story about a boy who was being bullied, because he was a little different, unsure of himself, and an easy target, but one day he stood up to face his adversaries. To this day, The Runaway Stallion has been one of my favorite novels.
An unforgettable moment in my life was when I got to met the author. The school librarian knew how much I loved the Walt Morey books, and since he lived in the area, she invited him to come talk to our school. At the school assembly somehow I found the courage to stand up and tell him how much I enjoyed his books, and asked him which one was his favorite. Of course, he gave the standard answer, "They're all my favorite." Then he asked me which one was my favorite. I replied, "Scrub Dog of Alaska;" another coming of age story about a young boy and his scamp of a dog, who have an unbreakable bond, just how I felt about my dog. My favorite Walt Morey books are the ones with dogs, as I have a special place in my heart for canine friends, because they love unconditionally, and without judgment. A continuing theme is his stories not only revolves around animals, but his love and respect for nature.
A few years later, I met him again, after he wrote what would be his final novel, Death Walk. He autographed the book for me, and I asked him, "Why don't you ever write about girls?"
He told me, "I do write about girls. Much of the woman in my stories are based on my mother."
"No, I mean, why are the heroes always boys?"
He smiled. "I know about boys and how they feel and how they think, I don't know anything about girls."
"We're really not that much different from boys," I huffed.
Then he gave me some sage advise, "Then write your own story where the girl is the heroine. Write what you know and draw from your own personal experiences." He held up one of his books. "My stories are based on my own life experiences. You know the story The Runaway Stallion?"
I nodded, remembering back to that first day in school in the fourth grade at Witch Hazel Elementary. "One of my favorites," I stated plainly.
"The story really happened. My parents did own that little country store and the bridge really did collapse, pieces of the bridge and bodies in the water, one of the worst things I ever seen in my life, but the town came together to rescue the survivors, and then we built a better, stronger bridge."
I stopped to ponder what he said. At the time, I must admit not publicly, but privately, I wanted to write. Then he looked me in the eyes, "The best advice I can give you is tell an exciting story and keep it simple."
To this day, I continue to love all Walt Morey stories.
Walt Morey (1907-1992): Author Gentle Ben, Home Is The North, Scrub Dog of Alaska, Year of the Black Pony, Angry Waters, Gloomy Gus, Kavik the Wolf Dog,The Runaway Stallion, Canyon Winter, Run Far, Run Fast, Deep Trouble, Sandy and the Rock Star, The Lemon Meringue Dog, Death Walk
"Hey. . . it's me."
I live in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains in the state of Washington and I love camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, and hanging out with my husband, our three adult children, and our Bernese Mountain dog, Henry.