Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back from the Boondocks

Well, I’m back and not worse for wear. In fact, I felt rested from no-cooking-dishwashing-driving and all things computer. “Felt,” because as soon as I opened my Inbox a deluge poured in. Two weeks of neglect made my computer furious. I could hear it hissing, “Who do you think you are not checking-in for ions?”

When it was done rumbling and grumbling, 486 messages were waiting to be examined. That’s four-hundred and eighty six, yes Ma’am.
Two days later, and I am almost caught up. Many messages were discard-able, true. But discarding three-hundred plus messages takes time. Then there are the others.

This got me thinking that I spend entirely too much time with Email. I’m not running a corporation; I’m barely running my life as a manager of my family. I value staying connected. I've gotten a lot from E-connectivity and can’t remember how it was before, in cavemen’s days. But maybe I don’t need it as much as the folks I see on their portable devices in all places at all times.
I now value even more the needed disconnection. Reminder on my E-calendar: do it again sometime.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Still Away...

While DD plays,

I try to stay cool.

In more ways than one.
Back next week, calm and collected.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Off of Blog-land...

...But just for a wee bit.

I'm an official chaperon for DD for yet another international piano competition.

I take a break from E-communication, while my computer stays home with DH.
Back in two weeks...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hot ‘Nuff for You?

Well, it is July.

But I was also thinking about the other kind of hot.
What makes one person’s blog popular? What makes one book zoom straight into the interstate highway while another gets stalled at a gas station on a side road in a desert town long abandoned?

Wait a minute- maybe this image is better for a screenplay.

It’s tempting, reading such, to suggest that the quality of the writing is the reason. Bad writing, (see the preceding example) and the book can not ever make it to the hotties list. Same with personal popularity. A mean-spirited person’s snarky blog will never garner a large following.
Ahmm. I have shining examples to disprove that. But this is not the point of my post, so I won’t name names. Bet you know what I’m referring to, though.

So back to today’s pondering- what makes writing "hot?"

If you have any ideas, tell me. It may be July, but the temperature at my place feels decidedly chilly. Come to think of it, maybe I could use some chili. C’mon over and we’ll share.

Really Good Chili:
 3 pounds lean ground beef
 2 large chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried ground cumin or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chili peppers ,chopped
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup beef broth

1 cup red wine
 2 tablespoons molasses
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Chopped green onions


In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté ground beef, onion, and garlic until the meat becomes gray in color. Add cumin, chili peppers, salt, pepper, tomatoes, beef broth & wine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, approximately 3 to 4 hours, stirring often.
Add molasses to taste to cut down the acidity of the tomatoes. Add beans and continue to simmer another 30 minutes.
For maximum flavor, cool chili and refrigerate overnight so flavors will mellow as chili is best made 1 day ahead to allow the flavors time to marry.
Re-heat and garnish with green onion.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Counting Our Chickens

An old man and a young man were travelling on a train, when the young man asked the old man, “Pardon me, sir, but do you have the time?”
The old man didn't answer, so the young man rephrased, “Sorry to bother you, but do you know what time it is?” The old man kept silent.
Seeing a watch peeking from under the old man’s cuff, the young man couldn't help himself. “Sir, may I ask why you won’t answer me?”
“Young man,” said the old man, “This is the next to the last stop on this route. Shortly after that comes the last stop. I don’t know you, but if I answer you now we’ll strike a conversation, and at the last stop I will have to invite you to my house which is right next to the station because it is dinner time and my wife has dinner ready. You’re good looking, and my beautiful daughter who’s home from college will be there. You’ll both fall in love and the next thing we know you’ll get married. So you tell me- do I need a son-in-law when what I could really use is a new watch that actually keeps the right time?”

I thought of this old Jewish joke because it occurred to me how in life we often admonish ourselves not to count our chickens before they’re hatched. Not to think of a submission becoming an offer and an offer becoming a contract. You’ve just sent the query, for goodness sake.

But when we write we do the opposite- we must think ahead, well ahead. Even if parts of our story are a surprise to us as well, deep down we know the story. At least for me, a story’s outline is the first step, and the chickens are counted before they get hatched.
© Erica Aoyama 2003
Don’t dream about this; do dream about that. Here’s it’s crippling; there it’s a must.
Just bits of existential ponder on a Tuesday morning.