Elvis Lives!

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Or at least a resemble facsimile of him did at a party I went to last weekend.

I remember the day when Elvis died. August 16, 1977.

I’m not sure why his death made such an impression on me, I didn’t listen to his music and no one in family did either. I never saw him in Vegas and no one in my family did either. Of course back in 1977 when he died, my parents were both working with three children (we weren’t quite teenagers yet) to feed, clothe and educate.

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I always thought Elvis was so old, but when he died he was 42 years old. Now, that to me doesn’t seem all that old. Amazing how time can alter one’s perspective!

Michael Jackson was more my contemporary. I watched the Jackson 5 cartoons, remembered them being on American Band Stand on Saturday afternoons, had the albums and watched all the videos.

In college, we danced to Thriller. I even wore black loafers and learned to moon dance. Of course I never did have the silver glove. Ironically however, I have no idea where I was  or when Michael Jackson died. Not a clue.

But Elvis I do remember. His death made a big impression on me as a child. I think that day in August out on the beach with my friends soaking up the sun and listening to the radio is significant because Elvis was the first ‘celebrity’ I knew of that had died; somehow his death caste a pall over our summer days. It seemed like that’s all anyone talked about for days.

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Years later, at my first ‘real’ job (you know where you have a 401K and health care!) I met a woman who went to Elvis’s grave every single year in pilgrimage.

At the time I thought that strange, I mean why bother! It’s not as if she knew him, but as I watched Elvis at the neighborhood party and how we all laughed and cheered, I thought why not. He obviously gave much to his fans through his music and people after all these years still make those pilgrimages to Graceland. And this impersonator who I am sure was born way after Elvis had passed had found away to spread some of that Elvis love.

 

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And now for the fly fishing.

So to continue from last week’s blog post . . .

 

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A view from the Upper Owens River. Looking towards Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. All those black spots amongst the grass in the distance are cows: lots and lots of cows. I don’t think I have seen so many cows on one place before. Fortunately for us (and them) there was a fence between us. Ironically, they weren’t making nay noise just chomping away on the grass.

 

Our first day fishing on the Upper Owens and we are streaming fishing – Ugh!

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My success at streamer fishing had been little to nothing in the past, so I wasn’t terrible thrilled to try again, but like with anything there is always a learning curve so I decide to just go with it and see what happens.

After spending the entire morning struggling I finally made a cast and got it where I wanted it, made the mend, let out line, got the fly to sink and then make the swing, stuck the rod tip deep into the water and began to strip in and voila!

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I caught a fish!

And then it was lunchtime and quite frankly I was exhausted. Streaming fishing or fishing with streamers with a weighted line is a lot of work. I needed a break.

We spent the afternoon at Rock Creek, but also I didn’t get any pictures.

 

So the next day we were off to the San Joaquin – my favorite place to fish. Right now in the fall is the best time to be there.

No crowds.

The leaves are changing.

Not too hot, not too cold.

It is simply beautiful.

And there are fish to be caught.

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Another great aspect of the San Joaquin is it is the perfect river to use a Tenkara rod (so is Rock Creek, but like I said no pictures) vs. using a traditional fly rod.

The go to fly for us was one I had tied. Originally called a ‘Frenchie’ or ‘Hot Spot’, it’s a little nymph on a jig hook.

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I tied them in orange not because I thought the fish would like orange (but they did!). I tied them in orange only because I like orange!

We nicknamed this fly the pumpkin spice.

Yes, I was teased a lot that I name my fly based upon an item off the Starbuck’s menu . . . it could be worse, right?

So our fall fishing I over and now we are all back home. But the great memories remain and I look forward to next fall and visiting my favorite river.

 

 

Twenty Years and I went for a walk.

I spent my 20th wedding anniversary hiking.

Yes, I know. Probably most people or at least some would spend their wedding anniversary no matter what year it was at a resort hotel with fine dinning, possibly dancing and most definitely a massage, but not me.

We spent our anniversary on a day hike to Devils Post Pile National Monument in the Sierra Nevada’s or Eastern Sierras as we call it, in California.

We hiked the five miles (round trip) to Rainbow Falls.

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Of course we got there a bit too early to see the whole affect of the ‘rainbow-ish’ characteristic of the falls but it was still beautiful. At full sun, there are rainbow sparkles in the mist below the falls.

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The falls were formed by the middle fork of the San Joaquin River.

 

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The trail down to the basin of the falls was closed – it is being upgraded, so this was as close as we could get.

To get here we walked through Devil’s Postpile. I had seen this before way back in college, which was about thirty years ago and going on a 5 mile hike round trip was a no brainer.

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This time, however, I took it all a bit slower, a bit more rests along the way, and a huge bottle of water to sip.

The trail isn’t difficult but it is at 7,560 ft. elevation I don’t move so fast.

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The San Joaquin River, one of my very favorite places to fly fish, and it runs through this long valley and is part of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

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Of course, on this day trip – we just hiked. Our fly fishing we had accomplished the two days prior and I will, of course, be showing off those pictures in my next post.

In the interim, enjoy these snaps of the San Joaquin River.

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This area is only opens up once the snow begins to melt and stays open for fishing, hiking and camping until the late fall. Once it snows its closed (the road down into the valley is not plowed) so it is a real treat to come and see this part of the Eastern Sierras.

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In the summer months this place is crawling with campers, fishers and tourists but come fall as the leaves began to change the area becomes tranquil with hardly anyone around.

As to my success fly fishing . . . that will be my next post.

So until then . . . keep your shoes tied.

 

 

Missed it by that much!

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Image courtesy of Google Images

Yep.

My goal was to blog once a week and post every Wednesday and I have already missed it!

My excuse? The week after Christmas and before New Years.

It seems, at least to me, that this week is a blur. Not because I’m doing much, but more so because there is so much that needs to be done!

Besides just cleaning up the house and being exhausted after having two on Christmas dinners to cook for and attended.

I’m trying to finalize my submission for a writing contest. I haven’t entered writing contests in the past because quite frankly I never felt I could write anything worthwhile to submit.

I heard a very successful published author say that she thought writing contest were a waste of time . . . OUCH!

So if I have such a bad attitude about writing contest why have I been rewriting and revising and rethinking all that I have written?

Because it’s one of my goals for 2017. I’m pushing myself to finish my entry – heck, its only three pages! Three pages I have rewritten about hundred times so far!

If I can meet this goal then I can meet others . . . right? I hope!

In the meantime, let’s see how I meet my goal for 2017 of posting a blog every Wednesday . . . shall we . . .

December is a wash.

 

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Image courtesy of  Google Images

I recently heard a fellow writer (actually she’s an author since she’s published) say that really noting gets done in December when it comes to writing.

I sort of agree with her.

December is all about getting ‘stuff’ done that is needed to be done to make the holidays ‘light and bright’ but nothing gets done that is wanted.

Unless, of course, you want every thing ‘light and bright’

I’m not a big fan of the holidays . . . but I bet you already had that one figured out.

My ‘unlike’ of the Christmas Season and all its trimmings is not new. Even as a child, I recoiled from all the frivolities of Christmas.

Until I was an adult, I sort of when along with whatever the family was doing, but once I got out on my own, I sort of turned the dial back on all the Christmas stuff.

The huge expectations in regarding how we celebrate Christmas, I tossed aside. Even though I came of age during the Martha Stewart era where decorating your home (inside and out), wrapping presents, cooking and baking was morphed into a seasonal competition.

Is it any wonder I fell short?

So now long into middle age, I have no one to impress and more importantly, no longer wanting to gain anyone’s gratitude.

I still put up a tree. I still wrap presents. I still cook (just returned from Cost Co – the warehouse shopping experience!).

But my expectations for December and Christmas are much lower than every before. That sounds like a negative but it isn’t.

It’s realistic.

Finally after all these years, I enjoy Christmas and all that the season brings even if my writing is a wash in December.

I’m looking forward to January as a big dry off! And, back to writing.

See you then.

New Year’s Resolution: Make some goals.

 

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My goal for 2017 is to finish my book regardless of what Darby may have planned for me.

I’ve never kept any New Year’s resolutions. Sure I thought up a few but once the party is over. Once I am back into the routine of my daily life . . . those resolutions I was so eager to start, work through, and eventually achieve, are forgotten.

So I rather than figuring out why I never follow through, I just decided to not make any resolutions and begin each New Year with the same old bad habits I had in the previous year.

Until now.

Recently in my writer’s group our guest speaker spoke about goals vs. resolutions.

Really? Aren’t they the same?

No. Resolutions, she said, are always negative: lose weight; give up smoking; stop drinking, etc.

Whereas goals are positive or should be positive: start running, practice yoga, and switch from bourbon to wine.

But goals aren’t just positive but should be SMART.

Smart?

No. SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.

I hadn’t really thought about goals in this way before. I suppose because I’ve always worked in an industry where someone else was always setting the goals: like manufacturing deadlines, end of fiscal year contracts, statement of work deliveries, etc., and before this, when I was in school, the instructor or professor would tell us when are assignments are due, when the tests are and more importantly the school would set up the calendar so I always knew when the semester ended.

So deciding for myself what goals I want to reach I suppose is a relatively new concept for me and setting my own goals seem like such a daunting task until now . .

So for 2017 I’m not just going to work on my book or think about writing here or dream about what if I advanced my writing career . . . instead I’m going to make a New Year’s Resolution and set some SMART goals.

Looking for a pen

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Courtesy of Google Images

I spent twenty minutes this afternoon staring at the Back to School section at Target looking for my favorite pens. Surprised to say, I must be the only one who liked them, because I couldn’t find them.

I walked out empty handed and disappointed. Something I liked. Something I used. Something I enjoyed was gone. Not longer available.

But it was just a pen.

I’ve always been particular about the pens that I write with. I don’t like really expensive ones, although I do have some of those tucked away in my desk drawer; I like inexpensive pens that I can use until they run out of ink and then them into the trash. Maybe not so Green, but so satisfying to know that I wrote so much I used up all the ink in the pen.

Something about the way a favorite style of pen feels in my hand, the way the ink flows across the page, staining the virgin paper with my words. Some pens become my favorites and I buy them over and over again – until like now, I can’t.

Most people, I suspect don’t write with pen and paper anymore. Now that lap tops, tablets are ‘de rigueur’ pens and paper (and gasp! pencils) are probably too passé for most.

But not for me. When it comes to getting my thoughts down, I want blue ink, narrow ruled paper, and the only noise? The almost indecipherable sound of the scratching across the fresh page.

I left Target empty handed. I looked at the market (their Back to School section) I also checked Amazon, but I came up empty. My favorite pen has gone the way of the rotary phone or the VCR or the ipod.

Sure there are other pens out there, willing and waiting for me.

And, I will have to try them all.

Thoughts on my first RWA Conference

 

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I am home. And, my head is still percolating with ideas, thoughts and techniques from my first RWA conference.

Besides getting to meet some of my favorite authors (No, I didn’t take pictures with them). I did take some stellar workshops and learned a few things that I would like to share.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Yes, it is true. If your feet hurt you are not going to have a good time or be able to listen or even smile.
  • Pack light. I mean do you really need that designer hobo bag with fifteen pounds of necessities in it? I think not.
  • It’s okay if you don’t have a tribe (a group, a circle, a posse, a gang) to hang with.
  • Even the worst presenters may have something to important to say. Yes, there were a few – one in particular- workshop which was down right bad, but I sat through it and tried to figure out what the heck the presenter was talking about. I think she had some good ideas, but was not too good at presenting them.
  • Everyone has his or her own path to success. Don’t compare yourself with others. I know. Easy to say but hard to do.
  • And finally, it is easy to pack for a trip (all that excitement and energy) than it is to unpack – just too tired to do my laundry.

Would I go again? Absolutely. However, now I must reread my notes and get back to working on my novel. My next conference is California Dreamin’ in 2017.

But until then I must get back to my writing.

 

 

 

 

Another hot day

 

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Image courtesy of Google Images

Hot. Temperatures are expected to peak at 110 F.

In southern California we do expect the heat. This area is a desert, although it doesn’t resemble one any more. We have collectively altered the environment with our green lawns, trees, and swimming pools and of course our famous (or perhaps infamous) freeway system.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

What we have done (over several generations) is what writers do everyday. Of course, a write doesn’t work with a shovel but rather a pen and paper.

Okay! A computer and word-processing program.

A writer takes her tools and molds her ideas, thoughts, and emotions into a story, an article or a journal. Which ever it is, it is taking what’s there (the voices rolling around in your head, the anger at an injustice, the remembrances of the days activities) and molding those emotions using words into a story.

We, as writers, change the landscape – physically pen to paper, but also by writing we change the landscape of our thoughts and when someone reads what we have written we influence or alter them as well. I mean come on, haven’t you read a book that once you finished you couldn’t get out of your head?

I have.

And sometimes as a writer, we need that intensity of emotion to write – like a hot summer day or even the bleak cold of a winter night to force us to put our ideas on to paper.

So maybe its not so bad it’s projected to 110 F today. Maybe the intense weather will melt out something that has been simmering in the back of my mind . . .

And just maybe, I’ll write a bit more.

The end is near.

Well, not really.

I sit here writing this as the calendar is slowly clicking away to November 1st. The first day of NaNoWriMo. A month long celebration or endurance race to write a novel. This will be the first year I have EVER participated in this activity. Right now, on Oct 31st as Halloween takes hold and the streets are swarming with costume-clad children (and adults!) announcing their intention to trick unless they get a treat (mostly chocolate!), I am eager to get started on my novel; to tap away on the keyboard for a minimum of 1,666 words a day and see and feel what bubbles up from my conscious and pours onto the glowing screen of my lap top.

Eager, but also ready to wait until tomorrow dawns.

It’s quite interesting that NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st.  Since Oct 31st is the eve of All Saint’s Day; of course, here in the USA, no one really thinks of Halloween like that but rather more of a huge celebration that has evolved from a children’s activity to a huge, multi-generational reason to don costumes and act outrageous.

On All Saint’s Day, the church were I grew up would ring the bells for our long dead relatives. I can remember  bells for my grandparents and the  hearing their names spoken along with the names of others and feeling the years of their lives that touched mine.

As I sit here on the 43rd floor looking out over the city, my subconscious is churning and bubbling ready to get to work, filled with ideas and people that have inhabited my past.

I am a bit awe struck by it all, but eager, very eager to begin.