Monday, May 27, 2013

The Mighty Hunter

Slowly, slowly, slowly ...
The Snowy Egret didn't want to share with the Great Blue Heron.
Swallowed that fish whole — you can see it in his throat still.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

California Music

I have to listen to music when I'm walking on my TreadClimber. I mean, I have to play music or I can't seem to do it for very long. I've tried without it, but it's just impossible because I stare at the timer the whole time. It just drags by. The other day I was listening to my California Playlist on my iPod. I hadn't played that one in a long time, so it was a fun change from my usual music. I've been making themed playlists for a long time. I used to record music onto cassette tapes — way before iTunes even existed! Now they pay people to do that? Dang!

I was on iTunes last night because I have some gift cards I wanted to use. I sat there staring at the thing in total confusion, and had no idea what to buy. It was overwhelming, so I just gave up. I was looking at Wikipedia today though, and came across a list of songs about California. You can see them here. There are a bunch of songs about California, and some of them I have on my iPod, but not on my playlist. I guess I need to work on my iTunes soon and reorganize things. These are some of the California related songs I have on my playlist so far ...

California Man — Cheap Trick
California Dreamin' — The Mamas & The Papas
Hollywood — Red Hot Chili Peppers
It Never Rains in Southern California — Albert Hammon
Everyone I Meet Is From California — America
California Dreamin' — America
California Girls — The Beach Boys
Californication — Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gold — John Stewart
Hotel California  — The Eagles
California Burning — Eric Lynn
Hills of California — The Hickmen
Parallel Universe — Red Hot Chili Peppers
I Love L.A. — Randy Newman
When You Get To California — Hoodoo Gurus
Purple Stain — Red Hot Chili Peppers
California Life — The Killingtons
Going To California — Led Zeppelin
City of Angels — 10,000 Maniacs
Electrolite — REM
Bunker Hill — Red Hot Chili Peppers
Big Machine — Goo Goo Dolls
Los Angeles — X
California, Here I Come — Al Jolson
Free Falling — Tom Petty
Road Trippin' — Red Hot Chili Peppers
Going To California — Led Zeppelin
L.A. Woman — The Doors
Out In L.A. — Red Hot Chili Peppers
California Crossing — Fu Manchu
A California Christmas — NorthSound Christmas
Welcome To The Jungle — Guns N Roses
Dani California — Red Hot Chili Peppers
Promised Land — Chuck Berry
California Rose — Roy Rogers
California Nights — Sweet
Deep Kick — Red Hot Chili Peppers
California Way — Tim Bluhm
Ventura Highway — America

Do you have any favorite songs about California? What about another state?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Trying to get organized ...

So much to do ... so little desire to do it. Isn't that always the case? At least I got the boys' binders finished. That's the good news. The bad news is that they were from the 2011-2012 school year. The top picture is of all the loose pages and books that I sorted and put into the binders below. Now I need to buy more binders to do this year's school work.

We're finishing up our last week of school, so I'm pretty glad about that. I need the break. The house is a wreck though, so I'm trying to get that cleaned up and organized as well. At least I got the boys' towel closet done. I guess that's a start.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Some birds I saw today ...

These are just a few of the visitors I saw while sitting on the deck this afternoon. Pictured from top to bottom are: Calliope Hummingbird, Pine Siskin, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, and an Evening Grosbeak. Also seen but not photographed were Rufus Hummingbirds, Black-Capped Chickadees, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Common Ravens, and some kind of jay that I keep hearing, but have yet to see. Busy day for birds!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Boo's Bad Day

Today I am happy to host Penny Lockwood and her brand new picture book, Boo's Bad Day. I've had the opportunity to read this book, and as someone who's been owned by many cats, I loved it immediately. Written in short, simple sentences, this is a perfect book for beginner readers, as well as kids of all ages — even big ones like me. Deborah C. Johnson did a beautiful job illustrating Boo the kitten, as well as all of the exciting adventures he endures with her bright, vibrant, action-filled pictures. I love the cover. It reminds me of my cat, Denny.

By: Penny Lockwood
Picture book for children aged 18 months to 6 years
Published by 4RV Publishing
ISBN# 13: 978-0-9852661-5-8

Penny, thank you so much for letting me be part of your current book tour. I've read one of your other books, so I was really excited to learn you had a picture book coming out with 4RV Publishing. And as a cat lover, I knew it would be a good one. So without further adieu, I hope everyone will please join me in welcoming you to my blog today.

Rena, thanks for hosting me. At the end of the tour, I will pick out one commenter’s name and send an autographed copy of Boo’s Bad Day to a United States address only. If the name I pick is someone who lives outside the U.S., I will send a PDF copy of the book. So remember, readers, be sure to leave contact information when you comment!

If your readers missed yesterday’s post, they can catch up at
Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting with

RENA:  What inspired you to write Boo's Bad Day?

PENNY:  Many years ago, we had a black teenage cat that got caught outside during an ice storm. At that time, we allowed our cats to be inside/outside cats. Unfortunately, Boo knew how to climb a tree, but he didn’t know how to come down. The first night, we looked for him, but he wouldn’t come down from his tree. We figured he’d be down by morning. The next morning, we heard him meowing, still stuck in the tree.  We finally had to have a friend, taller than my husband, climb our fifty-foot ladder to get him down. He stayed by our woodstove for the next week. I knew someday that would be a good story to bring to life.

RENA:  Do you have any pets? If so, do they influence your writing?

PENNY:  I’ve always had pets around me. As a child, we usually had a dog and a cat or two, as well as a great parakeet.  After getting married, my husband and I brought a dog each to the marriage, and since then, we’ve had two to three dogs at all times.  Right now, we have two Lhasa Apso/Poodle mix siblings: Ricky and Lucy. At one point, we had nine cats, but now we have two of our own, plus two we’re watching for our daughter and son-in-law while they wait to move from a rental into their own home. Besides the standard cats and dogs, we’ve had goats, rabbits, doves, cockatiels, parakeets, fish, and a turtle.

RENA:  What got you interested in writing for children?

PENNY:  As a child I loved to read and spent many wonderful hours engrossed in a book. I’ve also always known I wanted to be a writer. I’m sure you’ve heard “write what you know.” When I finally got to a point in my life where I could be serious about my writing, I had young children. It seemed natural to write for them. As they got older, my work seemed aimed at teens. Now, with grandchildren, I’m interested in writing to their age level.

RENA:  What are some of your favorite childhood picture books?

PENNY:  I really don’t recall any picture books from my own childhood. My family didn’t have a lot of money to spend, and books were a luxury. My dad told us stories at night, and from him, I got my love of storytelling. I’m from the era when we learned to read in first grade using Dick and Jane books. What I do recall having at home is a book of fairy tales that my mom or dad would read to us. Some of my kids’ favorites were Harold and the Purple Crayon, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who, The Poky Little Puppy, and the Berenstain Bears books.

RENA:  Where can readers learn more about you?

Twitter: @PennyEhrenkranz

Penny, thank you again for letting me host you on my blog today. I'm definitely going to add Boo's Bad Day to our picture book collection. Neil, my youngest, loves cats more than anything. Even though he's eleven, he still appreciates and enjoys reading picture books — as do I! Thank you so much and good luck with your new book!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hashtags Gone Wild?

I'm new to the whole Instagram thing. As much as I love photography and taking pictures, I didn't jump on the Instagram bandwagon until just recently. As you can see with 900+ photos, it didn't take me long to catch up. I have to admit, I didn't understand the idea behind hashtags on IG. I thought that was a Twitter thing, so it confused me when I saw people tagging their photos. I finally figured out why everyone was doing it. I'm a little slow sometimes.

I am a bit baffled by some of the hashtags people use. If there are a lot of clouds in my photograph I might add #clouds as a hashtag. It just depends what it is — #apples, #cats, #tabby, #glacier, #redplaid — you get the idea. Sometimes the tags people use are really stupid. I see a lot of young girls post pictures of themselves with hashtags like #cute, or #sexy, or #pretty. That's fine, even if I don't think they're any of those things. It's just bizarre to me that some tag the same picture with every state in the union, or tag it as #clouds when there isn't a cloud anywhere in their picture. I suppose they do it to get it on as many pages as possible for likes. It's just dumb to see a selfie of some girl taking a picture of her butt in her bathroom mirror and tag it with #trees. People are weird, I guess. Then there are the ones who tag their photos in full sentences. #I #am #so #freaking #bored #I #could #just #die. They might as well add a few #clouds and #trees to that as well. You know, just to be on the safe side.

I know ... I'm being nit-picky today. I tag my pictures too, but I try to keep them limited to what the picture depicts. I even do the stupid selfies because every time Rick takes my picture I end up glaring or snarling and looking like an idiot. However, I try not to tag myself as #cute, or #sexy, or even #trees unless there are a lot of actual trees in the picture. Anyway, if you'd like to follow me on IG, I'm listed as "RenaJJones" there. I'd much rather have followers who are interested in seeing my photographs, than a bunch of people I don't know who just want to spam me with ads and such.