Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A bit of the past

Yesterday I showed you what my hometown looks like now--granted, the pictures were taken on a Sunday and that gave the effect of a ghost town. The old Main Street isn't far from that, but it still has some life to it yet. Here are some pictures of the town when it was in its prime. All photo rights belong to the Johnson County Library. Click pictures to see them in their entirety. Many are being cut off in small view.

A view of the bank 1906.

East side of Main 1906. Notice the hitching posts . . .

East side of Main about 1925.

Kuhn's grocery store. Great guy, had penny candy and great bottles of ice-cold soda. But the food itself rotted inside warm refrigerator bins. This picture is from 1992. Kuhn's closed around 1988.

A coyote hunt probably early 1900's. Melting ice from a recent storm covers the streets. I see about three or four dead coyotes being held up, and children among the group. Makes me sad, but I do understand the hysteria if any human or animal had been recently threatened. However, the truth is that these settlers invaded a wild place. The balance of nature (once kept pristine by the Indians who lived there) was destroyed, and as usual, the settlers took to eliminating any remnants of the wild prairie. A coyote would unfortunately be a symbol of the Indian, and the primitive lifestyle so many were looking to erase from society.

A barbershop and self-service library around 1954. Those ridged metal platforms are now level with a raised sidewalk.

The barbershop in 1954. The cabinet of books was, at the time, a self-service library. Records do not indicate the branch set up next door which my mother ran late seventies into the early 80's. They do not mention her service at all, most likely because she was not a professional librarian. And yet she opened the doors early every morning Monday-Friday, and provided library services as well as social services to the entire town for many years of her life. I should know : )

Thanks for reading.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Some good news and history

I had a busy weekend. Well, first, let me impart some great information. I was really struggling with edits lately, but finished round #2 last week only to receive news from my editor that we're close to being done. Shocker! I guess I thought I'd be editing for the rest of my life. Part of me is excited, the other part relieved, another part is freaking out. My mind goes back to the early days of The Soul Seekers and all the innocent hope I had for an idea to some day come true. I've learned so much during the process--and you know it's all about the journey, it really is.

Okay, so this weekend my wonderful friend Marshall Rimann invited me to come sing at a Ripple Glass recycling event at one of his stores. A local radio station was there (96.5 The Buzz), and it was truly a gorgeous day outside. Here's a picture from the event (hint, I'm the Amazonian lady):

The other good news is that my album is at the duplicating house, and should be delivered sometime within the next week or so. That's another unbelievable feat, as it seems like the finish line for Meadowland kept moving and moving until I honestly wondered if things were going to work out. Well, they are, and I'm very happy about it. Hard to describe how I feel. I think of Stevie Nicks and Dusty Springfield; Christine McVeigh, Joni Mitchell, Lucinda Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn--these are people I idolize and if I can represent them even one little bit, then I've done my job.

Okay, so this a long post, but yesterday I took some pictures of my hometown Spring Hill, Ks because I was feeling nostalgic, and here they are.

West side of Main Street

The front entrance to the library my mother worked at. It was very small, just two walls of books and maybe some paperback racks. I'd walk here after school almost every day, and spend most of my summer reading at one of the tables.

Looking south.

Electric, but still holds a charm of the Old West.
Library door again. How symbolic that sign is.
The library is behind that one way sign. Brownie's Barbershop is next door.
The Hardware Store
Gas station, car shop

The drugstore. They had candy, perfume, jewelry, soda, and drugs (the legal kind).
Nothing like a tall bottle of soda from one of the machines outside one of these stores.

Decaying building
Brownie's Barbershop. He'd always cut his finger and would stop to get a bandaid!
The old bank on the corner. Legend says it was robbed twice in its early days. Both times the robbers were caught, shot, and buried in the local graveyard.

And that's it. That's my childhood. It takes just a few seconds to drive through the old Main Street. It seemed a lot bigger when I was young . . .

Happy Monday everyone. Take care!

Monday, October 10, 2011


As you know, there are a lot of protests going on across America over a failed economy and the part Wall Street has played in it, namely the huge payouts they have received in the past. I was invited (via Facebook) to a local "Occupy" protest yesterday, but I didn't go. The biggest reason was because I am claustrophobic, and also, I have two kids that don't need a mom in the clinker. I know, I know . . . excuses. There is power in numbers, but I saw Dr. Zhivago, man, and I didn't like the crowd scene. Overthrowing a Czar is a tricky sport. It brings on societal hemorrhage, though what's more damaging to a society than a financial institution stealing money while folks are starving? It was horrible what these corporations did. Yes, people should stand up and protest. But sometimes, when I'm around a lot of people, they start to look like Sims characters, all beady-eyed and soulless. I'm thinking I like John and Yoko's Bed Peace Campaign much better. I just need a Yoko.

I don't know. I still might join a protest if asked again. Any opinions on this? Anyone have extra bail money hanging around? Or extra long nail files tucked in birthday cakes?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Day at the Patch

The other day Liam's class had a trip to a local pumpkin patch. I went to meet them there, as I did with Julia when her class went in the past. It was a dry, dusty day in Kansas, but really beautiful with all the leaves having changed from vibrant green to orange and red and yellow. Liam was excited to see me, he pointed and said, "My mommy! My mommy is here! Look, it's my mommy!" You'd think he doesn't see me every other second of his life, haha.

Next, we rode on a tractor to the little pumpkin patch meant for special school trips like this. The kids ran out and picked their one pumpkin, then it was time for slides and running and having fun.

When it was time to go, Liam's teacher told me he could ride the bus back to school, or I could take him home myself. I said I'd like to take him home. So we got in the van and I handed him a packet of foil covered gingerbread cookies (he LOVES). He devoured those cookies. I heard him in the backseat saying, "Wow! Thanks Mom. These are deliscious. I love these." Something about that just tickled me. He'd had such a good time, and was enjoying homemade cookies perfect for a day at the pumpkin patch. He'll probably remember it his entire life.

Now, why didn't I bring my stupid camera?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

eBooks aren't going anywhere

There's no doubt eBooks are on the rise. It's similar to when people decided to ditch in their VCRs for a new, sleek DVD player. I have a feeling that this holiday season will push things along when, after receiving electronic devices and gift cards for Amazon, itunes, etc, people will be on the search for titles in the e-department. And once they're in, they'll stay.

There is another reason eBooks will grow in popularity: privacy. Funny to say, but there's a growing market for erotic literature. I have nothing against this genre, it's just too steamy for me to read, but many readers will suddenly have the freedom to own books they were too shy to purchase at stores. Overall, I think people are shy about any of the titles they buy, erotic or mainstream, and will enjoy the ease of purchasing titles at home. When I worked at the library, a lot of older women would check out several of romances at a time, always with an embarrassed expression on their face. Then there were the sci-fi and fantasy junkies--I'm just guessing this sector of readers will be (if not already) on the ebook bandwagon. They were more into the story, and not just the format--moving on to audio and early forms of the ebook before anyone else had the nerve to try. I think lovers of classic literature will be slower to jump in, but eventually too will enjoy how easy it is to search and download a book.

Then there is the price. Let's face it, eBooks are currently cheaper than hardcover. And as you know hardcovers have typically been released before paperbacks, so if you really wanted that new title you were looking at a cost of ten to twenty dollars, if not more. Ebooks are as cheap as a paperback release, sometimes cheaper. That's going to be a great initiative for buyers.

I asked this a few months ago, but have you gotten an e-reader device yet? Do you like it? Does it have other features such as the ability to go online, apps, etc.? Have you purchased hard copies of books, or have you been sticking with the downloads process?

Take care today!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If You're Looking to Read . . .

Just wanted to remind my friends here about a few books that are out right now. If you're looking for something new you might have a look at Talli Roland's new chicklit contemporary romance Watching Willow Watts about a young girl who inadvertently becomes an internet star after a video of her gets posted online. Her life in a small British town goes haywire fast, and it's all because of Marilyn Monroe. Ashamedly I haven't read it yet, but I can tell you her first book, The Hating Game, was a well-written romp much in the vein of Bridget Jones's Diary. Talli is a smart writer with a keen sense of humor. It was time to write her up, she is amazing.

Also, we have Tess Hilmo, a blogger who is warm and wise. She fought for many years to have her first book published, and it's finally happened. With a Name Like Love is a sensitive young adult novel set in the 50's. From Amazon: When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others they visit— it is exactly the kind of nothing Ollie has come to expect. But on their first day in town, Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent, and Ollie believes him. Still, even if Ollie convinces her daddy to stay in town, how can two kids free a grown woman who has signed a confession? Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny town where everyone seems bent on judging and jailing without a trial.

Then there is the lovely Jessica Bell up in the corner. She is a beautiful writer, and I've enjoyed her first novel String Bridge about a woman who gave up her dreams of being a musician and singer for marriage and motherhood. Set in breathtaking Greece, it's an intense book with a beautiful flow of words that are much like the music it centers on. If you've ever given up something you care about for love, then you should read this work of contemporary literature. She captures the stresses of a failing relationship, and the pull of duty toward motherhood and desire. Jessica has also recorded an album of songs to go along with the book. String Bridge is due out in November.

I'm going to stop here, but there are many more books out there by your fellow Google bloggers that are excellent. Many by my WiDo comrades--I hope to write more about that soon. Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vices and Dreams

There's that phrase, "Whatever gets you through the night." I tend to believe (aside from murder, theft, and other such barbarism) it's pretty much true. If someone needs to dye their hair a different color every other day to make it through life, let them. If someone needs to smoke to handle their job, or marriage, or the stress of being a parent, let them. Maybe it's a few drinks after work. Maybe it's sex. Leave it to that person to decide when and how to manage their actions, and their choices. The only thing that bothers me is when someone is selfish with their vices, putting them above loved ones--but still, it's up to them to figure that out, and they must faces the consequences.

I've always been really good about cutting off bad habits when they started to approach addiciton: food, alcohol, smokes. I don't like being indebted to a habit. I don't like that which I can't produce from my own being. In other words, if I was stuck on a desert island I'd still be able to find happiness and faith in life. No chemicals needed.

My biggest current vices are daydreaming, procrastination, worry, music obsession. I wish I had a spending habit, but I haven't had a dime to myself since last spring so that ain't happening anytime soon. That's why I daydream so much. It's all I have, haha.

What about you? What are your habits; your vices? How do you 'get through the night?'

Happy Blechdays!

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