Thursday, September 30, 2010

A summery-kind of fall ...


Fall has always been my favorite season. Growing up in southern California, we didn't see much of a seasonal change. Most of the trees I grew up around were live oaks, orange orchards, and avocado groves. None of those are very fall-like. Even so, it has always been a magical time for me. I will never forget October 2006 when we left California behind and came to Montana. The aspen and birch leaves were yellow. The breeze swirled the leaves around the roads as we drove. It felt surreal to me, like something I'd only seen in movies. And yet, here we are in the middle of autumn now. All our aspens and birch have turned yellow and the lawn and driveway are covered in fallen leaves. Very soon the western larch trees will turn yellow, which is pretty spectacular. I'd never seen a pine tree that had yellow needles until I moved up here.

I just took the picture of the sunflower. Most people think of sunflowers and relate them to summertime. These, however, were planted by the squirrels. They'd take a sunflower seed from my birdfeeder and plant it in a pot I had peppers growing in. They got pretty big, so Rick replanted them in another container. They're just now starting to open up. So far, there are two flowers, but I think there are at least three more in the pot. I'm hoping they open up before we get our first frost. The funny thing is that they are black-oiled sunflower seeds. I didn't think they'd grow like other seeds.

We also planted tomatoes this summer. The plant really took off and is covered in tomatoes right now. However, most of them are still green. We've heard that's common for Montana and it helps to pick them and put them in paper bags to ripen. I was just going to do that today when I realized the warm week we've had is helping them along. They're starting to turn red finally. Can you believe it? On the last day of September! We're due for a gorgeous weekend too, so I'm going to leave them on and see if they ripen even more. It's supposed to be 80 degrees on Saturday, so that should help them ripen a little more. We're hoping to get up into Glacier National Park this weekend as well. It's going to be a beautiful weekend!

What is your favorite thing about fall?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Denny


DENNY
By Neil & Nathan Jones

Once there was a kitten named Denny. He was a black and gray tabby cat. He had a sister named Kitty. She did not like Denny. He got slapped around and hissed at by her. Sometimes Kitty would say bad words to Denny. He would repeat them, not knowing they were bad. So Denny had to be locked up in his room. One day, Denny noticed that there was nobody home. So, he walked around crying. Kitty hears his sad little cry. She walked over to him and said with a nasty smile, "No one is here? Oh no. You don't have anyone to play with." Denny's mouth was trembling. "Tha-tha-that's becau-becau-because they all died!" Kitty sat up and thought to herself. "Now I'm convinced with a number of sobs," Kitty said to herself. All of a sudden, Denny heard talking downstairs. He stopped crying. "Do my ears deceive me?" He perked up his ears down the stairs. His eyes widened. "Could it be? They're home!" He shot up in the air. It turns out that they didn't even leave. Denny's owner was downstairs helping her two kids do school. Denny ran down the stairs and darted into the classroom. "Hi Denny!" his owner called.

Later that evening, Denny ran around upstairs. "WEEEEEEEEE!" he screamed as he darted from room to room. Then he jumped up on the cat post. He sat in his cave. All the family members were getting ready to eat. Then the father of the family sat down at the table. "That's the signal!" Denny said. He darted under the table. He started to beg. "No," the father said. That didn't work, thought Denny. Next, Denny tried to limp like he was hurt. "No, Denny, don't steal just one piece of turkey," the father said again. Denny crossed his arms and tapped his foot. Soon it was bedtime. Denny had to go to bed.

THE END

I just had to post this. A few things left me scratching my head, but considering Neil is 8 and Nathan is 10, I got a good laugh out of it.. These boys crack me up sometimes!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

National One-Hit Wonder Day


Do you have a favorite one-hit wonder? I have tons actually, so it would be hard for me to single out just one. Since September 25th is National One-Hit Wonder Day, I've decided to break it down and list some by decades from the 1950s to 1990s. Here are some favorites ...

1950s
"Sh-boom" by The Chords
"Earth Angel" by The Penguins
"The Book of Love" by The Monotones
"Get A Job" by The Silhouettes
"Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley

1960s
"Alley-Oop" by The Hollywood Argyles
"Rhythm of the Rain" by The Cascades
"Pipeline" by The Chantays
"Hippy Hippy Shake" by The Swinging Blue Jeans
"Double Shot of My Baby's Love" by The Swinging Medallions
"Green Tamborine" by Lemon Pipers
"Judy In Disguise with Glasses" by John Fred & His Playboy Band
"In The Year 2525" by Zager & Evans

1970s
"Mississippi Queen" by Mountain
"All Right Now" by Free
"Hold Your Head Up" by Argent
"Bang A Gong" by T-Rex
"Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks
"The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace
"Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede
"Magic" by Pilot
"The Hustle" by Van McCoy
"Because The Night" by Patti Smith Group
"King Tut" by Steve Martin
"Pop Musik" by M
"Cruel to be Kind" by Nick Lowe

1980s
"Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc.
"Cars" by Gary Newman
"Turning Japanese" by The Vapors
"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow
"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell
"Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo
"Putting on the Ritz" by Taco
"Der Kommisser" by After The Fire
"Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil
"I Melt With You" by Modern English

1990s
"I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred
"Macarena" by Los Del Rio
"Blue Da Ba Dee" by Efiel 65
"You Get What You Give" by New Radicals
"Mambo #5" by Lou Bega

Like I said, its impossible to pick just one. A lot of these songs I have on playlists, so I listen to them pretty often. "Blue Da Ba Dee" is the one I've been listening to a lot lately. Do you have any favorites?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Denster

Since yesterday's blog post was pretty icky, with an icky picture to match, I thought I'd post a slideshow of my new kitten today. His name is Denny, but I call him The Denster.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The buck stops here!


For the past 3 days I've been hearing and seeing ravens. We see them here all the time, but not in these numbers. There have been dozens and dozens of them flying around and squawking. I didn't think much of it the first day. The second day I started to wonder and took a quick video of them making all their noise. Then last night I noticed they were still around even as it was getting dark. I was pretty sure they were settling down in the trees, which I thought was unusual. I wanted to take pictures of the Harvest Moon, but before I could see it very well, my yard was totally dark. There were deer snuffing at me, ravens squawking, and all sorts of noises. Knowing that we have bears in the area, I was really freaked out, so something told me not to hang out on the deck. I ended up getting in my Jeep and driving to get some pictures of the moon. Once it was up high, the yard lit totally up of course.

Anyway, this morning the ravens were still carrying on, so curiosity got the best of me. I put on some jeans, grabbed my camera and the bear spray, and decided to check it out. I live on a small mountain, but we're in a subdivision, so there are quite a few houses nearby. They're also developing the other side of the hill and that's where all the ravens were, so I headed that way. It was pretty freaky because the ravens were NOT happy I was out there. They were screaming and flying all over the place. I came across some pretty wildflowers that seem to be in their final stages, so I was taking pictures of those as I went. I walked back pretty far, but didn't see anything. I decided to head up one hill where most of the ravens had been hanging around. I still didn't see anything, but I saw a pretty purple flower, so I bent down to take a picture. When I stood up -- I SAW IT!

Then I smelled it. Oh my gosh. It doesn't smell good. Its been there at least 3 days. And as you can see, the head is facing the wrong way. I quickly turned on my heels to walk away, but then I stopped. I knew I had to take at least one picture. I did a 360 scan around me, just to make sure I didn't see any bears, then snapped one picture. After that, I booked it out of there so flippin' fast. The last place you want to be in bear country is by a kill. However, the whacko in my just HAD to know why the ravens were here. I guess I found out. Nichelle had seen a bear on Monday, so I knew they were still wandering around. I didn't get any closer to see if I could determine what had killed the buck. Its impossible for me to tell, especially with the ravens feeding on it for 3 days. Like I said, the head is facing the wrong way, which made me think it might have been killed by a bear or mountain lion. I suppose it could have been hit by a car and then wandered up here to die, but it would have had a long way to go. I'm not an expert on that sort of thing and there was no way I was going to stick around to find out WHAT had killed it. I hurried my butt back home!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In honor of Chuck Jones ...


Today is Chuck Jones' birthday. He died in 2002, so he would have been 98 today. I grew up watching Looney Tunes and the other work Chuck created. He also did Tom & Jerry, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Gay Purr-ee, Horton Hears A Who, and even worked uncredited on Disney's Sleeping Beauty. His work credits are amazing, especially for a cartoon lover like me. Had it not been for Looney Tunes, I'd probably never had been introduced to any classical music as a child. Sad, I know, but I'm sure that's true for a lot of people my age. Chuck Jones was absolutely brilliant. So, in honor of his birthday, here's one of his classics ...


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Talk Like A Pirate Day


In case you didn't know, today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. I'm not very good at speaking the lingo, but this website is helpful. I have several books on pirates (mostly non-fiction) including one dictionary type book that is similar to that website. Pirates were nasty people, and still are, for that matter. It's interesting how Hollywood glamorizes them so much, but I guess they do that with just about everything.

In addition to not speaking pirate well, I certainly don't dress like one, so I have to make due with this silly picture above. Not that this is how a pirate would dress -- I'd have picked one of Anne Bonney instead, but they didn't have her for some reason. Imagine that! Face-in-Hole is a fun site, especially if you want to make yourself look like a dork like me. Back in the early 90s, I suppose I could have worn an outfit like this. Not that I would, but it would be nice to be able to, like if I had to or something. However, I am making it a goal to get myself back in shape. You know ... just in case some handsome pirate comes knocking at me door.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Political Opinions


I don't usually discuss religion or politics, especially on my blog. This really isn't about either of those, but I do want to ask a question ...

Does a celebrity or author's political opinions influence you?

I see so many celebrities shooting their mouths off about politics these days. I guess that's nothing new. I'm just older and more aware of what's going on, I suppose. I don't watch many movies or television, so that doesn't bother me too much. I don't look up to those people. I do, however, see more and more authors doing the same thing. Some are very popular. Some write books for children.

Does that sort of thing influence you as to whether you will buy or not buy a book? Or, is it easy for you to see past that? I realize a person's political opinions doesn't reflect their work. I know that. I have to be honest. It is hard for me when they say something nasty. It leaves a bad taste with me. I wish I simply didn't care and could let it slide. Is it easy for you? I wonder how much it hurts an author or celebrity -- if at all.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nichelle!


Today is my oldest daughter's birthday. It's hard to believe Nichelle is 21 years old. What the heck happened? Time flies, I guess. Her birthday dinner request was bacon-potato soup, which is simmering in the crock-pot. Instead of cake she wanted apple pie ala mode. She's so sweet! This picture was taken earlier this summer when we went gold panning. She didn't find any gold, but she's already a gem to me.

Have a great birthday, Nichelle!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Did you know ... ???


September is Shameless Promotion Month? Hmm, I didn't know this either, until just now when I was looking around online. Apparently, September 1-30 is the month to go out and promote yourself, your business, your book or your product -- shamelessly.

It's kind of ironic for me, considering I just made this shameless author video the other day. Check it out, if you like!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Denny update ...

Just to let you know, Denny is doing great! Today is his 2-week mark of being part of our family. When we went to adopt him, we couldn't get anywhere near him. He was still very skittish. Now he's quite the snugglebug, not to mention lapcat! As soon as I put my computer on my lap, he's here wanting attention. I still think CJ sent him to me. Denny is so much like him. It's uncanny. A little while ago I was cradling him in the nook of my arm as I tried to type. He stretched back his body and I swear, it looked just like this picture below. This is me with CJ, taken in the early 80s. I told Denny, "You're so much like CJ!"

Just as I said that, Denny sat up a little and stretched out his legs. Right when he did that, I looked up at my digital picture frame and saw the photo below. Again, this is CJ, but Denny was in the same exact pose right as the picture came up. Uncanny! If you look at his picture up top, you'll see the same little ear hairs CJ had below. Of course, Denny has his own little personality, including the whiny-baby mews he does when he's trying to wake up. Even so, his CJ-isms are unbelievable!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The "Good" Mirror


Do you have one of these? I'm talking about one mirror in particular that, when you look at yourself in it, you think you look okay. You look and think, "Hmm, that looks pretty decent." It can be how you're dressed, how your body looks, your hair or make-up, etc. So, you leave the room feeling pretty good about yourself. And then ... WHAM! You catch a glimpse of yourself in another mirror and think, "What was I thinking?" or "What the heck happened?" It can be in another mirror in your house, one in a store, or even your reflection in a window. But still, there's that "good mirror" at home that says you look pretty good.

What is up with that? Is it like this picture that says, "What matters most is how you see yourself?" Does that one mirror in your house LIE to make you feel better? Or is it just some funky angle that gives you a false impression of how you really look? Maybe I'm the only one that this happens to. It's not just this house though because I had "good mirrors" in all my other houses. Am I just weird, or has this happened to anyone else?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Marshmallow Wordle!

Wordle: The Marshmallow Man

A few days ago I was on Susan's Thoughts and Ramblings when she posted her new book, The Princess and the Pee using Wordle. This site creates "word clouds" out of words or phrases you put in. Obviously, the more a word is used, the larger it shows up. I think if you click on the image, you can see it larger. I made one for A New Job for Dilly, which I'll probably post on Dilly's blog. But this one here is for my newest picture book, The Marshmallow Man. Thanks for sharing the link, Susan!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I love this picture!


I'm not sure why I like it so much, but I do. I took it a few years ago when we were coming home from the National Bison Range. We stopped at a bird refuge area to look around. Rick and the boys got a bit ahead of me, as always -- probably because I was chasing a grasshopper around with my camera. When I looked up, they were behind all this grass and stuff. For some reason, it's one of my favorite pictures, even with the blurry parts. It's weird how those favorite pictures come when you least expect them!

Friday, September 3, 2010

National Lazy Mom's Day


Who knew? Today is National Lazy Mom's Day. I didn't know, but I seem to be celebrating it all the same. I didn't have to get up early this morning, so Denny and I took advantage of it and slept in late. Then I sat around messing on the computer all morning, not really doing much of anything. I finally took a bath, which was way too hot, so I stayed in there way too long. Yup, looks like I'm right on schedule! Funny thing is that I couldn't find a clipart image online of a mom being lazy. Why is that? Denny saw this picture and asked me to put it up. I agreed, but he's so not getting a beer!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cool bag of chips!


Have you seen this bag yet? When we picked one up from Costco the other day, some guy was ranting and saying, "I hate those stupid bags!" How funny. I didn't even read the bag. I just threw it into the cart and joked about how they made them so noisy to keep husbands from eating all the chips late at night. When I got home, I finally read it and saw that it's the world's first compostable chip bag. Apparently, the bag is made from plants and it breaks down in dirt in about 14 weeks. Pretty cool, huh? There's a little video on the link, if you want to check it out.

I love Sun Chips, but hadn't bought them in a long time. I got hooked on them when I was in the hospital for a week after having Nathan. I've never tried the cheddar, but I love the original and garden salsa. I'd like to try the peppercorn ranch sometime. This bag, as noisy as it is (think of those crinkle toys for cats!), is pretty cool, so I might have to buy them more often.