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November 29, 2006


Kathy K

I haven't been watching any TV for awhile now; either I'm looking after the 'rangatungs that populate my house during the day, doing housey-things or I'm reading ~ all while trying to stay warm ~ especially lately. *shiver*

My guilty pleasures are pretty much tied up with reading and buying new books ~ I'm such a dweeb nowadays; and proud of it...I've spent my years being out-and-about and I like being home! ^.^

As for inspiration...hmm...the first thing that comes to mind are kids; mine and the ones that I babysit. They're what keep me up and going ~ they're what I'm working for and loving it. I really, really enjoy my quiet times, but if I didn't have the kids around I think I'd be really lost; I certainly wouldn't enjoy the quiet times as much as I do!

And reading ~ that is my grounding, my reward, my me-time. And it depends on whether or not I need a hefty dose of romance or adventure, mystery or another view of life that determines what I read. I actually just finished Mitch Albom's FOR ONE MORE DAY ~ it was absolutely one of the BEST get-me-thinking books that I've read ~ any of his books is the same. The other author that gets me thinking about my family and what it means is Richard Paul Evans and his CHRISTMAS BOX COLLECTION...heart-warming and life-affirming. Any of these stories gives me the impetus to do MORE! Huh...I guess they're some of my inspirationals, eh??

And visiting your blog and a few others that keep me connected to the world outside my own ~ love it!

I can see your POV about your writing process: If you poke at it too much, you could kill it.
I'm like that as well, I can't put too much "thinking" into what I do, otherwise I won't be able to do it. I'm very much a by-the-seat-of-my-pants person ~ my husband is the planner and thinker.
The kids, well they're all coming into their own now, at least the older three are, and it's fun to watch them figure out this thing called life. I'm so glad to be on the sidelines, watching the plays and yelling out instructions now and again...hmmm where DID the coaching reference come from? Whatever, works for me!

Have a great day Julie and keep on keepin' on...LOVE what you do!


Julie Anne Long

Hey Kathy K! Yeah, it's cold here, too!! Well, cold for the San Francisco area. LOL. Frost at night, in the 40's-50's during the day (don't hate us! honest, that's *cold!* LOL), and I'm mildly surprised to find myself wearing mittens outside and leggings under my jeans and a hat in the house, though I supose it *is* officially winter.

I don't really watch much TV, either—my deadlines over the past couple of years sort of stripped me entirely of the habit, and I'm tentatively adding shows back in. It used to be American Idol and House for me, and that was it. A lot of people I know insist I should be watching Lost, so maybe one day I'll cave and get the DVD's and catch up. I actually kind of like not being too hooked on too many shows, though. But I do admire sharp dialogue and skillful storytelling—for some reason I feel like it only improves mine through osmosis or something. House is mostly pretty good, but even House has been bugging me a little lately (even though Hugh Laurie is my beloved). Prime Suspect was a real find (they run it on Masterpiece Theater here). Now I know what to ask for for Christmas (all those previous DVD's). :) I've also had Mitch Albom recommended to me many times, so I'm hoping to read him, too. (And there's *another* xmas hint! LOL.)

I bet you're a fun mom and a great coach, Kathy. LOL. Your house sounds so lively and warm, and I bet it's a joy watching everyone come into their own. Do you have Christmas there, too?


Ohmigosh, what happened to the weather here in San Francisco? I was bundled up today and was STILL cold. Then again, I didn't have my scarf or gloves on. Must search for my Walgreens $1.99 gloves.

Guilty pleasures? I enjoy reading magazines such as US Weekly and People. I shouldn't care so much about celebrities' lives, but I can't help but be interested.

This isn't really a guilty pleasure (I think of it more as a guilt-free pleasure), but I thoroughly enjoy the show "Take Home Chef" on TLC. The thing is, I don't cook, but I like the program a lot. I like the idea that this attractive, laid-back Australian chef approaches people at the grocery store with his offer to go home with them and cook a meal to surprise someone. Julie, have you seen the show? It's worth checking out.

Julie Anne Long

Oy, Diana, it's freaking COLD. Fingerless gloves in the house!! I'm wearing a scarf on my head right now. LOL. Very attractive. Certain rooms in my house don't really get any heat (like the WC, for instance), which can *really* wake a girl up in the morning. LOL.

Actually, I know a lot of people who have a People mag habit. LOL. It's an escape—all those scrupulously groomed and shiny people doing glamorous things. Or things that *look* glamorous.

I haven't seen Take-Home Chef, but it sounds like fun!! Thanks for the recommendation. Wish that chef would bump into me in Walgreen's, or something. LOL. I do tend to get caught up in cooking shows easily. I used to watch Jacques Pepin pretty regularly. It's mesmerizing, that deft little ballet a great chef performs. I've become a pretty fair and adventurous cook over the years, but "deft" is a stretch. LOL. I like watching people who are great with their hands. :) I used to love America's Test Kitchen, too, because you get the "science" bit. LOL.


Ahh, writing inspiration. Lots of things give me ideas for stories. But lately I'm having trouble writing them down. This is my last semester in college (graduation next month) and so I've been sending out job applications and continuing to work weekends and go to school during the week. So I haven't written any fiction since this summer. I've written a fair amount of poetry, largely because I'm in a poetry class (creative writing minor) but fiction I don't know. I believe I'm psyching myself out before I can even write. I've just been so stressed lately with everything and thinking of writing fiction just adds to that stress sometimes. I need to just make myself do it, but I just feel rather overwhelmed right now. Blah. And I just got a really nice honor for one of my stories (of all the short stories students submitted, the faculty are nominating mine to represent fiction at my college in a national competition), which should give me a kick in the butt, but somehow just adds to the pressure.

Anyway, sorry, didn't mean to turn this into a psychoanalysis session. But I do get ideas from rather random things, I seem to find them a lot of places. And I also read US Weekly and People sometimes. I got the issue with Tom and Katie's wedding. I'm not sure why, since I think Tom Cruise is crazy and their marriage is doomed to fail, but I got it all the same. It is a nice escape. I love magazines for that, it's probably why I subscribe to so many. I just love coming home from a bad day and finding an issue of say, Vogue, waiting for me in the mailbox.

Kathy K

Our Christmas here is pretty quiet overall. After a big get-togther at either of my siblings' place for Christmas Eve ~ this year my mom moved up here and my brother is pushing for her house to be available ~ Christmas day is one of a lot of relaxation, etc.
It's just the 6 of us ~ 3 adult kids, one 14 year old, DH and me ~ during the day, but occasionally my youngest sister is over for the afternoon and dinner. Before my youngest brother moved to England, he too was a regular for Christmas dinner.

But until any company comes over, we take it REALLY easy, going through stockeings and opening presents, eating breakfast at about 11....vegging. ^.^

I can't believe that it's almost December now ~ URK ~ and Christmas just around the [metaphorical] corner. It's still pretty exciting with the kids, but now that mine are older, it's not quite the extravaganza that it used to be. Thank heaven! *Whew*

Keep the hot chocolate going ladies, I'm sure we'll all get through this coldspell - eventually!?!



Well, just to make you all a little bit envious, we have been enjoying daytime temperatures of at least 50F for the last two weeks. Last night it even went up to 59F before dropping steadily until it's now down to 45 on its way to 38 by 6 tonight. Our normal high is 36 and snow by this time of year. But even at 57 last night it was not really pleasant. It was windy and humid and I also wore gloves but only outside. We've got the lovely weather heading to us from the west. I just hope we don't get hit by a sudden snowstorm like last year when I couldn't get anything from downstairs for 3 or 4 weeks because the stairs were blocked.

Julie, I didn't realize that you have so little heating in SF. I guess it's logical but for us, if there's no heating in all parts, it's pretty sad and cold. And if one room in the house has to be warm, it's definitely the bathroom--all parts thereof. After all, that's the spot you're barest most often. I love a cool bedroom and in fact, mine have been way too hot during the last 4 or 5 years.

Our building has been sold. No more of my "favorite" fragrance, Eau de Perm. And no more loud hairdresser. We'll have a $ store down here and I'm moving upstairs. I have a whole extra room up there and that will definitely be a delight. The beauty salon is supposed to close today with the new owners taking over on Feb. 1. I hope this will give me opportunities to make some changes and get rid of things that I really don't need.

As to your writing and inspiration: I think it's a case of balance. I always find that I am unable to look deeply into things and that has often made me feel like a shallow, superficial person. I'm not sure if it's true or not. However, I don't think it's a good thing to always analyze everything. Your writing is certainly not broken so there's no reason to fix it. Instead, you may lose your spontaneity. Now if I had to write fiction or anything creative...well, just forget it. I'd never be able to do it. My mind works more logically.

Not to pat myself on the back after all these years but just to show that I can write: When I was taking political science at univ., we got back after Christmas to our exams for the first semester (colleges ran on a different schedule then). Our professor came in and started talking in general about the exams and how the papers had or had not turned out. Then he picked up a paper and said something to the effect, "This is the sort of thing I was hoping to see." And he began reading a paper. Hmm, I thought, that sounds a bit like mine and then the more he read the more I realized it *was* mine. Now this was a class of at least 200 students. I felt like crawling into a hole in the ground and when the papers were handed out, I made very certain that nobody saw it.

Why can I write something analytical like that and not something creative? My mind just doesn't work that way. My father's did but my mother's was very creative. She wrote and drew pictures though it didn't go very far with four children and other duties that she had. She wrote a column in our monthly denominational magazine and lovely, perfect letters. But sadly, those were her only creative outlets. After my father had his stroke she hardly had anymore time for even the latter. A few years after my father died, she logged over 300 pieces of correspondence in one year. And it had to be perfect. She'd come to me and ask me which sounded better or how she could phrase something better. I could sometimes help her especially if it was in English. But she'd even ask me for German letters at times. And I certainly know how language functions. My strength is grammar, probably because in knowing different languages I know the differences better. For example, I'd like to read one book in which the verbs to "lay" and to "lie" are consistently used correctly. They're complicated--or seem so--if you are not aware of what a transitive and an intransitive verb are and if you are misled by "lay" which is a form in both verbs. German has the same distinction between "legen" and "liegen". I'm used to working with different cases of nouns and pronouns: both Latin and Russian have 6 different ones in singular and in plural. And for me, and I know at least some other readers, these mistakes spoil the flow of a story for us.

Now, Julie, don't worry about it. I'm not sure if you made more than a one or two mistakes in your books. But if you ever want to ask me anything about it, I'd be glad to help out.

The Runaway Duke was a great companion in Mexico and certainly there was nothing about him that made me throw up my hands in exasperation. He was a really good escort and I hope he enjoyed the fine weather we had between veritable cloudbursts. At least he didn't have to wade through pools of water on the streets or the sidewalks. He was lucky enough to be carried throughout the whole trip.

By the way, I like to vary my reading too. If I read something in non-fiction, I like to follow it up with some light fiction. Too many sugary romances make me long for something more mordant, but not macabre like a vampire book, more like a thriller or romantic suspense.

Well, I'd better get ready for my night out. I'm not 100% sure of what I'll wear because things are still so scattered but I hope I'll come up with something half-decent.

Take care and I hope your weather soon warms up.


After reading this through about 5 times, I still messed up. It shows that a writer is her own worst proofreader.

"Why can I write something analytical like that and not something creative? My mind just doesn't work that way. My father's did but my mother's was very creative."

When I was trying to explaind that my father's mind worked like mine, I inadvertently said it the other way around. "My father's didn't either but my mother's was very creative."

Julie Anne Long

Wow, Lareign—congrats on your impending graduation and launch out into the world, and congrats on having your story honored!! Very cool. But yeah, it's the *thinking* too much that will do you in every time. A while back, I blogged about how thinking about writing too much is like playing a piece of music on the piano and suddenly watching your hands...it's a virtual guarantee you'll lose your place in the song, and it will begin to feel strange, rather than natural. Thinking too much (and all those other peripheral things, like worrying about the perceived expectations of others) are little bits of static you just need to tune out, like traffic noise. Just start writing, slip into it like a warm bath, and you'll forget about all that other stuff and enjoy the words lining up on the screen. :) You can't control or predict other's reactions, you can only do your best and hopefully enjoy yourself while you're doing it, and once you're able to embrace that, it's pretty freeing.

And yeah, you know, there's something about magazines I find very soothing. LOL. Particularly if I'm exhausted, or maybe have a cold, I like to flip through the pages of one and just admire photos. I appreciate looking at beauty and fashion and imagining lavish Rome weddings, though I don't particularly long for any of it. It's almost meditative. LOL.

Yeah, I, too, can't believe xmas is almost here, Kathy...I saw an ad for "last minute gifts," and I thought, "you've got to be kidding me!! Last minute?!? It's not even December yet!!" I tentatively began listening to christmas music today. I probably won't frequent too many malls (I can get shopping done in smaller stores around here), so I don't anticipate xmas carol fatigue. LOL. Not yet, anyway. We won't talk about the status of my shopping. :)

Ranurgis, I just talked to a friend in Ohio, where it's 70 degrees!!! What gives?? And I don't envy you 50, because to us here in SF that's COLD. LOL. I swear...what on earth would I do with 36 degrees?? Although I *have* seen some adorable hats and scarves lately. :) That must be the secret—accessorizing will take the sting out of surviving cold weather!! LOL. And I have good central heat here...it's just that my flat is old-ish, with very high ceilings and nooks and crannies, and sometimes the heat can't reach into all those nooks and crannies, so odd places stay quite cold. The shower/tub room has heat (thank HEAVENS), whereas the WC does not (they're split into two rooms, like a lot of older flats).

And you may not think you're creative, but I think you do a good job of telling a story, Ranurgis, or relating an anecdote, and that in itself is creative and a skill, whether you realize it or not. The architecture (punctuation, etc.) of a sentence is as important as the words themselves, because it's the medium that *conveys* the words, if you will. And BIG congrats on your move, and the building sale!! that's WONDERFUL! What a great way to start the new year. No more Tony, eh, or eau de perm?? LOL.

And I'm so glad you enjoyed DUKE on your vacation! And don't worry—we're not very stringent about proofreading here on the blog, so don't worry about a few typos. LOL. Though we do appreciate you keeping us on the straight and narrow. LOL! And you know, there's a whole team of people involved in making sure the grammar of a book is ship-shape, from the author to the editor to the copyeditor and more, and it's all done under very tight deadlines and heavy workloads, and everyone does the best they can under the circumstances. But I have to admit, sometimes it's fun to catch little typos and stuff in *other* books!! LOL. Still, now that I know what the process is like, I mostly merely smile and sympathize when I see one.

Are we ALL freezing, or is anyone out there enjoying a balmy 70?? At least it's not snowing here. I think it's snowed in SF like once or twice in the last century. :)


Thanks for that little tidbit about SF snow. I had wondered whether you ever get any. We got a tiny bit yesterday, though my sister's place, about 200 miles further north got more. They had real snow while ours was more like sleet.

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