Showing posts from October, 2010

A Tail of Halloweens Past

Sitting here thinking about all the Halloweens of my youth. I've been a clown, a witch, Cyndi Lauper, Tweety Bird, a 1800's ghost, Cher, a cat . . . let me tell you about the cat story since it's fresh in my mind.
I was sitting in my fifth grade classroom when an invitation to a Halloween costume party flew down onto my desk. I couldn't believe it. For several minutes the invitation sat in my hand, and I read and reread it several times. No one had ever invited me to a real party before. I was sure all the other kids were used to the sort of thing, I knew it because they just tossed their cards down without hardly a glance. But I was scanning for the part that said, "Everyone is invited, except Amy." It wasn't there, so my next assumption was that the card had been handed to me by accident. But days went by and no one corrected the mistake. I finally accepted that I'd been invited—by default of course.
The night of the party Mom dropped me o…

Low-Calorie Halloween Treats

Trick or Treat! Here are some Halloween goodies. Have fun! But not too much . . .
1970's Halloween War of the Worlds Just click the player button on the upper right of the page.
Scary old Time Radio Shows
Jack Benny's Halloween Special from 1941
Time traveler?

Spooky optical illusion:

Real ghost pictures? Explanations on pictures can be found here:

A fun-filled blog with no nutritional value whatsoever!

Liam's Birthday cake. Yes the kids helped decorate! They had a lot of fun.

A groovy shelf. And some old books that aren't perfect, but I still love them.


A couple of years ago I found a book of diaries written by a Kansas woman, and being a Kansas woman, I took to it immediately. I love stories of life on the plains, and found this collection extremely compelling. In the book, Plains Woman, we join Martha Farnsworth in her teenage years—full of life, flirty, she has a string of beaus and the typical problems with parents who don't understand. Her own mother died when she was only three-years-old, leaving her to be raised by a passive father and strict, uncaring step-mother. All the typical stuff that you'd find today really, but what isn't typical is the spunk in her writing. You really feel, despite the faded years of time, that we are hearing from a real, live teen-ager, with real problems, and real feelings.
As she grows older, the spunk is replaced by sadness and determination as we read about the death of her sister, moves, and lost beaus. Finally we see her getting married and a whole new chapter of life unfold…

Happy Birthday to Liam!

This is what a precocious birthday boy looks like. Four-years-old . . . where did the time go?

And I'm afraid he's had enough. Time to go make that cake!

Silent Footage 1905

Here is a 1905 film taken from the front window of a moving a cable car along San Francisco's busy Market Street. You can see how dangerous the streets were back then! People walked right in front of the cable car, cars swerved around without care. Interesting enough is the fact that horse drawn carriages are still in action. And even more interesting is the fact that this video shows a downtown later destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.

Post earthquake San Francisc0

The Lonely Boy

Yesterday I took all the kids (school was out for the last few days) to the park. It was perfect fall weather with the multi-color leaves and grayish sky. I love the smell of the leaves and pine trees this time of year. Well anyway, the park is the same one I used to go to and it has all the old retro playground equipment, plus two bridges over a small creek. The kids really love it and they all had a lot of fun. There was this one little boy who sort of adopted us. He wore a light blue shirt and had sandy blond hair, and he was the only kid there with no parent around. Slowly he worked his way into our group, away from the other group that had a couple of rough boys running around, and started to make chat with a friendly, shy countenance. He commented to me about something silly Julia had done, and I commented back how goofy she was sometimes and he ran off with a smile. When we went across the park to play tag, he followed and I watched as the whole group had fun doing that…


The dreaded Parent Teacher Conferences were yesterday. I was so nervous. You know, after years of going to Julia's IEPs and hearing all these horror stories of what she's doing wrong, I was pleasantly surprised to hear she is doing well in Kindergarten. Yay! My stomach started to hurt just thinking about all those meetings I had to attend in her preschool years.
Many people will never know what it's like to have a child with a sensory disorder. You can't cry about it in public; you have to be strong and get proactive. But let me tell ya, I cried hard in the car so many times those first few years. I felt very alone and very guilty because it must have been my fault: too much tv, not enough attention, the wrong foods, the wrong parenting style, etc. After reading a lot of material on the subject, both technical and personal accounts from parents just like me, I saw that Julia was very sensitive to certain things. Cutting out milk as much as I could (hard becau…


Hey, I figured out how to post songs from MySpace. If you guys have time you can listen to Meadowland by me. That's right, little old me. OR you can ignore it and not listen and suffer terrible pain in your right pinky for a million years. You decide.

Meadowland by amy saia band

It's Spamalicious!

I got to thinkin' about that Spam last night, thanks to Cro's lovely account of their business practices. It made me wonder . . . just what does the word "Spam" mean, exactly? Without wishing to really know, I thought I'd make up a few guesses of my own.
1. Spackle Ham- Admit it, Spam would make a great spackling paste; it has the right color and consistency, and the smell would go away eventually.
2. Spines and Spigots Ham- Yeah, let's not talk about it.
3. Sponge Ham- I bet if you dry this stuff out it would make a great bath sponge. What do you think? I've finally outwitted Martha Stewart!
4. Spank Ham- Instead of threatening your kids with physical violence, you could just threaten them with a Spam dinner. One sight of that lovely tin can and they will transform into little angels.
5. Space Ham- It looks like it came from outer space, it tastes like it came from outer space . . .
6. Spa Ham- the least likely, I know, but if mashed up an…

Take a Trip and Skip Through the Fifties . . .

Here are a few from an earlier decade. A time when life was good and simple. And just a little bit crazy.
Oh come on, you're the man of steel. If anyone can chomp through those rolls with believability, it would be you. Suck it up, Superman. "Ooops, did I accidentally put Kyrptonite in there? Oh gosh, I'm so sorry dear. Let's call Clark Kent over to dinner tonight, he likes my rolls, honey. I'll call him right now!"

I love pictures of refrigerators. I'm a total foodie! However, this thing has been stocked in such a way that, frankly, I am frightened. It's like Aliens have attempted to replicate a typical homo sapiens refrigerator set-up. I mean, look at the eggs! And what's with all the ham? I guess this was during the nuclear age. Eat up folks, we're all gonna die tomorrow! Yay!

This is Julia's idea of a well-balanced diet. In fact, that looks like her and Liam in the picture jumping for joy.

"I still can't see …

Keep on until the end

The other day, dear friend and artiste Cro Magnon spoke of his troubles in the tower he has been steadily building over the summer. Everything had gone well until a few mismeasured roof beams threw a huge wrench in his chain. He sounded so dejected about the whole thing, whereas before, he had expressed such joy and exuberance. We were all glad when, the next day or so, he jumped right back into the project, found a solution, and now is already on the track toward completion.
Here's what he taught me: never give up. When you have given everything to a project that you love, little glitches can and must be worked out. Take a break, refresh, find solutions, and finish what you started. In the long range no one is going to know where you messed up or how hard the process was. In relations to writing: no one is going to know how many times you wrote your first chapter, or how many agents rejected your book before finding THE ONE. When someone walks into Borders and picks your s…

Exposition Problems—Youch!

The first section of my book has always given me a lot of trouble. Everything I read suggests keeping the first fifty pages fast paced with a lot of dialogue, but I can't have dialogue between the two main characters because my male MC is DEAD. Yeah. He doesn't know the female MC, Emma, can see him, and she doesn't know he's supposed to be invisible. Though it does make for some really fun situations, such as, one of her lunch breaks where he comes up and sits next to her on the park bench and makes comments about the book she's reading, where she came from, how young she is, etc. She is flustered and feels like he's playing mind games. He doesn't think she can hear him—no one else has before. His fingers are resting close to her bare arm, and she's hiding in this stupid paperback about aliens, just trying to pretend she doesn't care. They've never looked each other in the eye, they've never touched, and a reader has to wade through a…

Kate Bush

Before Madonna or Tori Amos or Lady Gaga, there was Kate Bush. She was so young when this came out, like 19 I think! Pretty amazing.

Someday those pictures are gonna come out . . .

As you know, I am a musician as well as an aspiring writer. Yes, I once lived the wild life folks, it's true. When my first cd came out, a wonderful, wonderful woman I met on the radio asked if I would do a photo shoot to use in her business portfolio. I said yes, and these pictures are the result of her fabulous direction, a bottle of wine, and Neil Young in the background. It was a crazy night and I had a horrible hangover the next day. But the pictures turned out great!
Her name at the time was Allegra Cloud. I'm pretty sure that has changed due to some big upheavals in her life shortly after this photo shoot. Allegra, wherever you are, I hope things are going well. You have a deep and wonderful heart.
I flipped my hair, I jumped up and down, I had people puffing furiously around me to create the smokey atmosphere, I was told to twist and turn and look alluring. "Put on more black eyeliner!" she yelled, so I did in the tiny bathroom with love scribbles all over the…

70's Sunday

I am in a blocked thought mode, and you know what that means! That's right, 70's ad time!
I chose a few that made me smile, er, made my jaw drop open a few inches. Holy cow! You cats were insane back in the day. If I saw a guy wearing these pants I'd just . . . well, I'd . . . Actually, I don't know what I'd do. There's no amount of coolness that can pass these off. Sorry. Nice mustache though.
Sorry, you'll have to click the picture to see the full thing. If you dare.

And this guy. Do you think they were going for the pissed-off trucker look? Cause that's what they got. The "Ultimate Fashion Climax". Whoa. Just whoa. So . . . is he man enough to fill it? For $45 bucks I certainly hope so. But maybe the hand on the waist is a bit much.

I don't know . . . I don't think I am. Nope. I've decided I'm not. Thanks for asking though.

Works on mustaches too. And we promise you won't look like Freddy Mercury.


Imagine Today

In case you haven’t yet noticed, people are celebrating what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. He was born during an air raid in Liverpool England, October 9, 1940, and was killed by a crazed fan on the night of December 8th, 1980. What would John have looked like today? I wonder sometimes. He was worried about going bald, and I think he probably would be thin up on top, perhaps he’d just comb it back in a nice dapper style. He’d probably wear a lot of hats. He’d like the internet because of its instant quality of delivering the news all through the day—John was a purported news junkie, both the good and the bad. He would love iPods. He would hate most modern music, but dig some beats in a few of the songs out there. He liked reggae so whatever might be hanging around, not a very active genre these days, he’d seek out. I think he would be writing books, creating art, speaking out about the environment and our battles in the Mideast. He’d tell us to go ahead and bu…

A Look Back at the Swine Flu 2009

It was just about this time last year when Julia stepped off the bus looking pale. Her eyes were shadowed by dark rims and she had no energy. I knew it was the H1N1 virus just from the look of her; I'd worried about it for weeks, had even considered the vaccine. Nature made the decision for me. Peeling off her jacket, I led her to the bedroom and watched as she lay down without direction; she was so tired and hot and not at all the little flutterbudget I was used to. I turned on some afternoon cartoons, but she fell asleep in minutes without even watching.
The next few days I watched as she went from high fever to normal and fine, then it would start all over again. It was a strange pattern, and the worst thing was the cough. Sometimes the fever would come back, but her energy had returned to its normal happy level. I tried keep her in the back room with a humidifier and a nice stream of shows or books or music for entertainment.
At some point while taking care of her, I n…

Writing on Intuition

I wrote about The Firebird the other day, one of my short stories that I have out on submission. It will always be one my favorites due to the process, which for me was filled with magic. I often write using intuition—kind of a 'write now, think later' method. It comes from all my years of songwriting. When I wrote lyrics, I'd often have the music first with a feel of what kind of words I'd want with each line of music. There were certain vowels I wanted here or there; if they hadn't come yet, I'd hole myself up in a room with a candle and a cup of hot tea and pace, play guitar, pace, play guitar until the words materialized. I'd call on angels to help if I was in a bad spot.
With fiction I pretty much employ the same method, though there is no music to follow, it's based on an idea. My sentences are structured much like song lyrics—I tend to alternate short to long to keep a good flow just as I would in music.
Intuition is the by-product of me …

Be sure to . . . drink . . . your . . . Ovaltine. Ovaltine?! It's a crummy commercial!

I'll add something to the radio show conversation. I'm fairly well versed in American shows, but not so much British. If you want to hear some good Yankee material then follow this link and download the old fashioned radio widget—if you have a Mac. If you have a PC you can still listen but you can't have the cool widget. Sorry.
AM 1710 Antioch Radio
My favorite show is The Jack Benny Show. He and Rochester were so funny together! And I love Fibber McGee and Molly. The link I gave has tons of mystery programs and old commercials as well, so give it a try. Enjoy!

Monday Chills and Thrills

Oooooh, it turned cold in Kansas over the weekend. But the sun is shining and temps are projected to go back up sometime in the week, so no worries.
I had another agent request the book, so I proofed the manuscript and sent it off this morning. That's all I'm going to say about that . . .
As for short stories, I have one out called The Firebird. It's about a woman who's trying to make her life perfect, but she has a husband that dislikes her new efforts and he ruins her beautiful picture of the red Heliconia Stricta that she took for photography class. He's also cheating on her, so when she sees the ruined picture she sort of snaps and retreats back into her last imperfection: liquor. Her father died of alcoholism and she's scared of being like him, but can't help it when "these type of desperations hit the hardest." Anyway, I hope it gets published because I really like the character Loretta Raven. She has her flaws, but she is vulnerable …

Sunday Kind of Love

And here's a perfect song for today. The Harptones singing, A Sunday Kind of Love.


I can't say that I've ever seen a ghost, but I have experienced what some people call waking dreams and what others call visits from the shadow people. I would wake up, and know that I was awake, but there was no ability to breathe or move my arms; talk or scream. It always felt like someone was there in the room with me, keeping me paralyzed. A feeling of dread would build, and it was if I could hear my own blood rushing inside my ears. Everything would come to a huge climax of fear and then it would stop and I could move and breathe.
One night I woke up fine, but an old music box which I hadn't touched for years just started playing by itself. Again, I saw nothing, but had the feeling of something in the room.
Maybe a week later I had another wake dream, the worst one yet. I was paralyzed, suffocating, stuck in the climax of horrible fear—I just knew something was trying to get to me and it was a very, very evil presence. So, I started to pray. I prayed hard over …


I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking about these kids that have been murdered and who have killed themselves recently due to their sexual orientation. It's really sad, isn't it? I think us humans forget sometimes that our mission on earth is to love. It's really very simple: you just don't hate. When you feel yourself hating someone, you stop and you say, "This is wrong," and you love them instead. You love them by letting them be free, by letting them walk down the street with no insults and no shoves, you love them by trying to accept that their difference is something good, not bad, something beautiful because if they are happy it must be beautiful. We seem to be unable to truly get the concept of love. It can't be pooled into stocks, or eaten, or shot, or set on fire. It's invisible and it's very, very tender. Treat it like a plant and help it to grow. Mission completed.