No Need To Water

 Posted by at 12:09 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 232020
 

When Jake from Lindley’s Garden Center planted our new citrus trees on Saturday he said they needed to be watered every day for four weeks, and to continue watering our perennial peanut plants with the soaker hoses once every three days or so for a while yet.

I always try to listen to the experts, but I didn’t follow Jake’s advice yesterday because it rained most of Saturday night and it sprinkled off and on for most of the day Sunday. I did go outside during the afternoon, just to check on them, and everything looked good. The soil around the trees and plants was very wet and the plants themselves were covered in raindrops.

I was actually glad for Mother Nature during the watering because in the month that we were watering the perennial peanuts every couple of days, our water bill went up over $200. Even though we are surrounded by it, water is a precious commodity here in Florida, and some people’s water bills are out of sight.

Yesterday I was back at my desk writing again, and during the afternoon I finished Big Lake Hoarder, the 19th book in my Big Lake small town mystery series. It is my 43nd book, and my 6th book this year. It came in at just over 80,000 words. I started it on September 28, so it took just under two months.

Today I will read through the last two chapters that I did yesterday and polish up a few things, then pass it on to Terry. She and my two other proofreaders have been doing a few chapters at a time as the work has progressed, and I have made the corrections they pointed out as needed, so a lot of the preliminary work in the proofreading and editing process is already done. When the last chapters are finished and all corrections are made, Terry and at least one other proofreader will go through the whole book again, looking for anything that slipped through earlier (and something always does), and once that’s finished, it will be formatted as an kayak, uploaded to Amazon, and released in a few days. It will be a few weeks longer before the print book is ready to go.

The weather here is supposed to be wonderful this week, with daytime temps in the mid-70s and minimal chances of rain. Once the book is out, I’m going to do everything I can to convince Miss Terry that our kayaks need to get wet. It’s been a long time since we’ve been on the water and I have missed it. Who knows? We might even take our fishing poles with us and try to convince a fish or two to come home with us.

Congratulations Larry Rosenow, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Free Ride, the thirteenth book in my pal Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. We had 43 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – The reason I am old and wise is because by some miracle I survived being young and foolish.

It Was A Better Day

 Posted by at 12:07 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 222020
 

Yesterday was a much better day than the day before. A little before noon, a nice young man named Jake from Lindley’s Garden Center arrived to plant our three new citrus trees.

After helping us determine where we wanted them in the yard, Jake dug three holes.

Then he planted each tree carefully, building a mound of dirt around them to hold in water.

Jake is a very knowledgeable young man, and we picked his brain and learned quite a bit about the best way to nurture the trees until they get going. I also had him look at the perennial peanut plants we had bought from the nursery and put in several weeks ago. Jake said the perennial peanut is a very strong plant that doesn’t require much attention once it gets established and said they look like they’re fine and coming along very well. Even the ones that our yard guy attacked with the weed eater a few days after they were planted have rebounded nicely.

So we now have a key lime tree, a tangelo tree, and a lemon tree.

According to the folks at the nursery, the first time they get buds of fruit, which should be in two to three months, we should nip them off because the branches won’t be strong enough to support their weight. But Jake said within 18 months we should expect to be able to pick fully matured fruit from the trees. We’re looking forward to that.

After Jake left, I got to work on my computer. The chapters I had narrated the day before and then lost were fresh enough in my mind that I was able to re-create them quite easily. So that was a setback that I was able to overcome.

Someone asked me why I wasn’t using my digital recorder like I always did before. Normally I dictate into a Sony digital recorder and then upload that to Dragon to convert it into text. Unfortunately, a recent update to Windows 10 made Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which I was using, obsolete. So I ordered Dragon Professional 15 and am using it. However, the Sony digital recorder that I have used all along is not compatible with it.

I ordered a new Zoom H4n Pro recorder, which will be here Monday, as well as a Blue Yeti Nano microphone, which should arrive on Tuesday. But in the meantime, I have been going old school keyboard with my very slow two finger typing style.

After this crash that cost me the work, I actually did figure out a way to make my old Sony digital recorder work with the new version Dragon. It’s a different process, in that I have to load the MP3 files from the recorder onto my computer and then import them into Dragon, instead of going directly from the recorder to Dragon like I have been doing. It involves an extra step in the process, but it will work and is how I narrated this blog post.

As for the snake, he’s still around. When I saw him on Friday, causing me to almost soil my undies, he crawled through one of the vent holes in our big air conditioner in our carport. Which means to me, he could probably get inside the house from there. Terry tells me I’m being overdramatic, but think about it. Would you rather be outside eating bugs and frogs or inside here eating the wonderful things she cooks? Yeah, I thought so.

Yesterday afternoon when I went out to get the mail I saw him poking his ugly snake head out from one of the vent holes in the AC, but he quickly pulled it back in when he saw me. No, I’m not going to kill him. Yet. As long as he stays outside and away from me, I will try to coexist peacefully. But if he shows up inside the house. I will treat him like any other intruder.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Free Ride, the thirteenth book in my pal Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – Some days, you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue. Just live with it.

Oh Hell No!

 Posted by at 12:43 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 212020
 

The weather has been beautiful here for the last few days, but when I opened my office door yesterday morning to let in the nice fresh air there was a 17 foot long rattlesnake/cobra hybrid on the doormat. I didn’t scream like a little girl, because no sound would come out, even though I tried. But I can tell you right now, that air wasn’t so fresh anymore!

Terry insists it was a garden snake of some kind and was only about three feet long, but what does she know? Screw fresh air, I’m never opening that door again and we’re moving to Anchorage next week! Just like my character John Lee Quarrels says in one of my books, I am only afraid of three kinds of snakes. Big snakes, little snakes, and sticks that look like snakes.

My author friend Cameron Lowe asked if I called the National Guard to burn the place down. Forget the National Guard, I remember my Infantry days. I called in an airstrike! Two of my neighbors, Jennifer and Rebecca, both commented on Facebook that they have seen lots of snakes around here. This is my first one in four years, and it had better be the last!

And don’t tell me how harmless or beneficial they are! I’ve heard all about how they eat bugs and rodents. We have lizards all over the place here, and Terry tells me they eat bugs, too. I can handle them being outside if they keep their distance, but occasionally one sneaks inside. I have gotten to where I don’t scream and jump on my desk when I see one in the house anymore. I just calmly call Terry and stay on top of the desk until she ushers it back outside. But now the snake is going to eat all the lizards outside, and when they’re gone, I just know it’s going to get in here and look for more.

As if that wasn’t enough drama for the day, I had a good writing day yesterday, getting about 6,000 words in, and only had one chapter to go to finish my new Big Lake book when my computer froze up and I lost everything I had done for the day. I have auto save turned on, but for some reason it doesn’t work with Dragon and did not save a word of it. I was not a pleasant person to be around for a while after that happened. I tried every recovery trick I knew or could find, but it was all gone. So frustrating.

Hopefully today will be a better day. The citrus trees we ordered will be delivered and planted this morning. Assuming the damn snake doesn’t eat the guy who will be doing the work.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Free Ride, the thirteenth book in my pal Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – You can never talk reason or sanity to someone who has reached unreasonable conclusions due to insanity.

Nov 202020
 

There once was a young man in our town of Aberdeen, Washington named Richard. Richard was a logger, just like his father and his grandfather and all of his uncles and cousins. But Richard really didn’t like being a logger. He didn’t like working in the woods, and he wanted to get a job where he could wear nice clothes, not be wet and covered in mud every working day of his life, or running the very real risk of being maimed or even killed.

I had a job opening for an advertising sales representative, and Richard came to my office to apply. Having hired a couple of loggers, who never lasted more than a few days, I told him it was a commission job, and I couldn’t pay him the kind of money he was making in the woods and blew him off. Two weeks later, he was back at my office asking for a job again, and I told him thanks, but no thanks. Every two weeks for a couple of months, Richard came to my office asking for a job. Finally, he said, “You keep telling me that if you hired me, I would go back to the woods in a couple of weeks anyway, so why bother, and I keep telling you that’s not going to happen. If you would have hired me the first time I asked for the job, by now either you would have proved me wrong, or I would have proved you wrong. So just give me a chance, okay?” So I gave Richard a chance.

At the time, there was an area of the county that had not been very successful for us, and I told Richard to go see what he could do. And guess what? He turned out to be one of the best salespeople I ever had. He was personable, he was smart, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. If you didn’t buy an ad from him this week or next week, he was going to be back the week after that, and the week after that until he wore you down. But never in a pushy way. Richard wasn’t a pushy guy at all.

After working for me for a few months, I moved Richard up to a much more productive area. He was making good money and sure enjoyed not having to get up at 0-dark-30 to go into the woods every morning.

This was back in the early 1980s, and one of the national newspaper associations I belonged to held an annual convention in Las Vegas. They were a great opportunity to meet other small town newspaper publishers like myself, take part in seminars that taught us how to streamline our operations and increase our profits, and to learn about new technology. I made it a point to go every year. Almost a year after I hired Richard, it was time for the annual newspaper convention. I knew the focus that year was going to be on sales, so I took him with me.

Now Aberdeen, in Grays Harbor County, was a not a metropolis by any means, and Richard was definitely a small town boy. I don’t think he had ever been much farther away than Olympia, 50 miles to the east. To say that he was in culture shock from the bright lights and big city of Las Vegas would be an understatement.

Back then, things were pretty wild in Vegas, and you could rent just about any kind of companionship you wanted. And you didn’t even have to go looking, it would come to you. On our first evening there, after a meet and greet get together, myself and two other publishers I knew and Richard set off down the street to go to a steakhouse a block or so from the Aladdin Casino Hotel where we were staying.

There were four of us walking down the sidewalk, and here comes a woman from the other direction in a skirt so short she was pretty much displaying everything she had. She stopped in front of Richard and said, “Hi, baby. Would you like a date?” Richard thanked her and said he was a married man, and he was with his boss and some friends. As I recall, she offered to round up some of her friends for the rest of us, but I told her no, thanks, and we walked on down the street. Richard looked at me wide-eyed and asked, “Was that for real? I’ve never had a woman ask me for a date before!”

Half a block down the street, another young woman, wearing hot pants and something on top that wasn’t much more than two Band-Aids and a string was standing on the corner, so I maneuvered myself so that Richard would be closest to her when we approached. Sure enough, she looked at him and said, “Hi, handsome. Been in town long?” Richard told her that he just gotten in that day, and she asked, “How would you like a date?” He declined, and as we walked away, he said, “This town is amazing. Women just stop you on the street and ask you if you want a date!” By the third time he was propositioned, that small town boy’s head was so swollen that I thought I might have to hold his hand just to keep him from floating away. All through dinner, he kept saying he didn’t know what it was that had all these women asking him for dates, but he definitely liked Las Vegas!

I didn’t have the heart to burst his bubble, but one of the other gentlemen with us explained to Richard that there were lots of women in town that he could have a date with, and back then, the going rate was about $50. Did you ever see anybody let the air out of a balloon? That’s what poor Richard’s ego looked like as it deflated.

Of course, it didn’t help that I had called the office before we ever got back home, and every woman who worked there, as well as several female customers who were friends of mine, and policewoman who was my neighbor, made it a point of asking Richard if he would like a date over the next week or two. Yeah, I was that kind of boss.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Free Ride, the thirteenth book in my pal Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I wasn’t planning on going for a run today, but those cops came out of nowhere.

I’m Back (Again)

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 192020
 

I apologize for not being able to post a blog yesterday, but I’m back again. Last night I spent two hours trying to log onto Go Daddy to post a blog, and I kept getting an error message saying that there was a problem on their end that was blocking communication. I finally gave up and went to bed.

I’m still trying to move to another web host, but there’s a problem. I had a couple of different people helping me set up my websites on Go Daddy years ago, and there is a password that seems to have gone missing that is required to facilitate the move to a different host. I have been trying to reset that password with no success, and when I’ve contacted Go Daddy, they requested all kinds of security information to be sure I am not trying to do some kind of hostile takeover of my own website and blog. They keep telling me that the things they request and which I sent them are still not sufficient. I guess my next step is to just have my credit card not automatically pay the annual fee when it comes due next month. Maybe that will get their attention.

Meanwhile, I have been busy writing and I’m three-fourths of the way through my next Big Lake book. With any luck at all I should have it finished in the next week, and then it will begin the final editing and proofreading stages.

I’m still getting used to Dragon Professional 15 dictation software. One thing I know is that I need a new microphone. I have been using a headset microphone recommended by Nuance for the last couple of years, and it is falling apart on me. I also still get quite a few errors when narrating. In talking to people in an online Dragon support group, they have all recommended going to a better headset or a standalone microphone. I have received a lot of recommendations for different ones, but unfortunately, none of them are actually available. With Covid doing its thing, it seems like a lot of electronics are on backorder.

However, I did order a Blue Yeti Nano standalone microphone, which will be here in a few days. I will give it a try and see what happens. Both John Huggins, who produced the Living the RV dream podcast for years with his wife Kathy, and Jim Guld from Geeks on Tour have recommended Zoom microphones, which also have a recorder built into them. They are a bit expensive, but my accountant tells me that since we have not done any traveling this year, I need to spend some money before the end of the year anyhow. So I may order one of those, too. They are also on backorder, but Amazon said they should have them around the 27th of this month.

Terry took her latest weaving project off the loom. It is a table runner and trivet for our daughter Tiffany. Terry twisted the fringes,  washed and pressed it, and now it just needs to be packaged to be ready to send to its new home. I absolutely love this color combination and the pattern.

As if that wasn’t enough, for dinner she made shrimp scampi linguini with Parmesan Reggiano cheese sprinkled over it.

A cold front has come through the southeast, bring our temperatures down into the low to mid-70s, which is very nice. It’s going to be breezy all this week, but we’ve still had the doors and windows open to let all that wonderful fresh air in. We are getting into the best time of the year to be on the central Florida coast.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Free Ride, the thirteenth book in my pal Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it annoys enough people to make it worthwhile.

Nov 172020
 

Thank you to everybody who sent messages hoping my back pain had eased up. After a weekend of pure hell, it has, and I am feeling much better now. I still have the nagging low back pain that is always there, but not the severe kind I was feeling Saturday and Sunday.

In a blog a few days ago, I talked about the problems I was having with my Dragon NaturallySpeaking software and how it was conflicting with the latest Windows 10 update. I also mentioned that Nuance, the company that makes Dragon software, couldn’t tell me whether or not the upgrade to version 15, which is now called Dragon Professional, would work with my Sony digital recorder. And at $300, I wasn’t willing to gamble the money for something that might not do me any good.

But I got an email yesterday from blog reader Howard Gordon yesterday telling me about a sale that was going on through the end of the month for Dragon Professional 15 priced at $169.99. In reading the link Howard sent me, it did say that the program works with digital recorders. At that price, I decided to give it a try and bought it.

So far, I have only used it to write a 2,000 word chapter in my new Big Lake book and today’s blog. First thoughts are that while Dragon claims it is 23% more accurate than their NaturallySpeaking software, I am not seeing that yet. I haven’t tried to experiment with my digital recorder yet however, it does seem faster than the older version I was using and I am happy about that. And it works with the latest Windows update, which is definitely helpful.

I am taking my time and going through the full tutorial for the new software, even though much of it is the same as in the previous version. But I plan to do it anyway because there’s always something new you can learn.

That was about all I did yesterday. Buying and downloading software, doing part of the tutorial, and a little writing. Miss Terry got a lot more accomplished, from making crepes for breakfast to working more on her weaving project, to making a delicious dinner for us. And somewhere between all that, she also found time to do a load of laundry. She’s got the energy of a five-year-old who just drank a can of Red Bull.

Today will be more of the same for both of us. Terry is just about done with her weaving project and will be taking it off the loom and putting the finishing touches on it. I am about two-thirds of the way through the new book, and things are moving along very well. I hope to get it out by the end of the month, but if not, look forward to it in early December.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – If someone points at your black clothes and asks whose funeral it is, just look around the room and say, “I haven’t decided yet.”

Nov 162020
 

Thursday and Friday night were wonderful for me, no backaches whatsoever, and I slept soundly. But as I was getting dressed Saturday morning, I bent over to put a sock on and was suddenly hit by the most excruciating pain I had felt in a long, long time. It felt like it did before my nerve ablations were done in June. My first thought was that the nerve had regenerated, which I know can happen anywhere from six months to a couple of years out. It was so bad that I needed my cane to get around again, and even took a pain pill, neither of which I have done in months.

It got progressively worse during the day, and I texted Melony Thomas, my chiropractor, to ask if she was in the office in Edgewater or one of the other at Coastal Integrative Healthcare offices. She texted back and said she was in Orange City, but she would meet me at the Edgewater office. I know it is at least a 30 mile drive, and I didn’t want her to do that. But she insisted that it was all right. It was only as we were getting ready to go to the office that I realized it was Saturday and they were closed. I felt terrible calling her at home on a weekend, but Melony is an amazing woman, and not only a doctor, but our friend. She gave me an adjustment and said the problem was not spinal but a pulled muscle. Saturday night was rough for me, but between the adjustment, pain pills, and a Tens unit, I think I’m making some headway. My back is trashed in so many ways that it’s not just one thing, it’s a whole bunch of different problems all standing in line waiting their turn to give me grief.

On a happier note, look what I got in the mail. And it even came gift wrapped! It’s the second book in my friend Patrick O’Donnell’s Cops and Writers series, which are an excellent reference for authors and screenwriters. Patrick recently retired from a big city police department, and he runs the Cops and Writers group on Facebook. His first Cops and Writers book, From the Academy to the Street, focused on how one starts their career as a police officer, with a ton of good information that every crime or mystery author can use, as well as stories from Patrick’s own experiences on the street. This new book Cops and Writers Crime Scenes and Investigations, covers how a rookie detective is trained, and divisions within a detective bureau, including Homicide, Sensitive Crimes, Robbery, and Arson. There is also information on firearms and other weapons used in law enforcement, and so much more. Whether you’re an author or just someone who is interested in how and why the police do the things they do to protect and serve, Patrick’s books are well worth the read. You can order them on Amazon as either e-books or print books. But they don’t come with Patrick’s special gift wrap.

Besides listening to me snivel and whine, and doing an amazing job of taking care of me, Miss Terry has been busy weaving. I love the colors on her latest project, which is a table runner. And for dinner, she made delicious cheese tortellini with homemade meat sauce. Everything she does, she does to perfection. And even on my worst days, when I’m hurting bad and feeling sorry for myself, she makes it all better. In case you don’t know, I love this woman with all my heart.

 

A little before 7:30 we went outside to see the rocket launch carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station. That’s always a thrill.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I guess unless you are a disabled elderly pregnant child, you can’t go to the bathroom here.

Thought For The Day – What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of what we think it is supposed to be.

Nov 152020
 

Note: This story first appeared in the September-October 2012 issue of the Gypsy Journal.

Is there a kid anywhere who doesn’t know The Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, the Grinch, Horton the Elephant, or the Lorax?

They all sprang from the mind of Theodor Seuss Geisel, the author, poet, and cartoonist known and loved around the world as Dr. Seuss.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904, Geisel had a happy childhood, and the city of Springfield provided inspiration for many of his stories. And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, his first children’s book, is filled with Springfield references, right down to policemen riding red motorcycles, the traditional color of Springfield’s famed Indian Motorcycles.

He attended attend Dartmouth College, where he became editor of the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth’s humor magazine. After graduating from Dartmouth he went to Oxford University in England but soon grew bored with academics and left to explore Europe.

After returning to the United States, Geisel worked as a freelance cartoonist for the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Vanity Fair, and other publications, and spent fifteen years in the advertising department of Standard Oil. A contract to illustrate a children’s book for Viking Press gave him his break into children’s literature, but it wasn’t easy to get established. His first book was rejected 27 times before being published.

By the time he died in 1991, Geisel had written and illustrated 44 children’s books, including such perennial favorites as The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His books have been translated into more than fifteen languages and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

Springfield, Massachusetts remembers its prolific children’s author with the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, located on the grounds of the Springfield Museums complex.

Sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, who happens to be Theodor Geisel’s stepdaughter, created a series of wonderful bronze sculptures of Doctor Seuss and his most beloved characters for the garden, including Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat, which features Geisel at his drawing board with the Cat in the Hat at his side.

table

Nearby is The Storyteller, a storytelling chair in front of a ten foot tall book with the text of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Gertrude McFuzz sits atop the book and the Grinch and his dog, Max, peek around the side.

cover-2

In Horton Court, a fourteen foot Horton the Elephant, Sam-I-Am, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, and other characters greet visitors.

elephant

An amazingly simple and yet complex Stickwork sculpture called Room by Room, which was created by a local artist weaving together saplings trimmed from trees by the museum staff, sits at the rear of the sculpture garden. It is a combination maze and work of art that kids love exploring.

maze

I think that while it might be possible to arrive at the sculpture garden in a bad mood, it would be impossible not to leave with a smile after spending some time with Doctor Seuss and his lovable, whimsical characters. They speak to the child inside all of us.

There is no charge to visit the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, which is located at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield and is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Visitors can park for free in the Springfield Museums’ lot on Edwards Street, and additional public parking is available nearby. The streets in downtown Springfield are very congested and not suitable for a large RV, so park at a campground outside of the city and drive your tow vehicle when you visit.

Thought For The Day – Always laugh when you can. It’s the cheapest medicine.

Nov 142020
 

After having such a rough night on Wednesday night, when I couldn’t sleep, Thursday night was much better for both of us. We both woke up feeling refreshed, and my back pain was greatly diminished.

I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out the problem with Dragon NaturallySpeaking and why it suddenly stopped working on my computer. I made some progress in resolving the issues, but not enough. I got a lot of input from some folks on Facebook who know a lot more about these kinds of things than I do. As it turns out, Windows did an update on the night of the 11th, and the problem began on the 12th. Apparently, there was some kind of a conflict in the update.

I was finally able to get Dragon to work with a microphone again, but not the digital recorder. However, I was able to copy the chapter and a half I had recorded for my new Big Lake book before the problem began onto my computer. Then I put the microphone in front of the external speakers on my computer and played the file from the recorder over the computer. It wasn’t great, but it picked up enough that I was able to go in and clean it up and be able to use it. So I didn’t lose all the work I was afraid I had.

That took a good part of my day, along with a couple of calls to Nuance customer support, the company that makes Dragon. They tell me that for $300, I can get the new Professional version, which the guy is pretty sure will work with my digital recorder. Pretty sure. I’m not sure I want to gamble $300 on pretty sure unless it’s a filly at a horse race. I guess I’ll just stick with what I’m doing for now.

Several people have told me that I should just buy a Mac computer and quit worrying about it. No thanks. Been there, done that. Never again! Besides which, Dragon doesn’t work on Macs either, unless you load a Windows version of software onto them. If I’m going to do that, why switch?

Aside from computer woes, there isn’t much new to report. Sometime around 5:30 in the afternoon I heard a loud rumbling and felt a vibration, and realized that I had completely forgotten that there was a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral scheduled. We don’t usually hear the launches themselves, as much as we hear the reentry of the rocket boosters. I went outside and got a couple of good pictures of the rocket’s trail through the sky.

They were supposed to launch another one today, with four astronauts headed to the International Space Station, but it’s been pushed back to Sunday, weather permitting. I will try to remember to get out and take some pictures of it.

Dinner was one of Miss Terry’s delicious chicken pot pies, all made from scratch, and yes, I stuffed myself, and I make no apologies for it. That lady is absolutely the best cook that was ever born.

Several people have invited us to Thanksgiving dinner at different places here in Florida, but we have declined. Until this whole COVID thing is under control, if it ever is, we don’t plan to be around groups of people. Not even our kids. Terry has a turkey breast in the freezer that she will make and we will have a nice quiet dinner at home, just the two of us. I’m looking forward to it.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Does anyone know if we can take a shower yet, or should we just keep washing our hands?

I’m back

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 132020
 

I apologize for no blog yesterday. It’s very seldom that I miss posting it, but this was one of those times when it just didn’t happen.

As most of you know, Terry and I are night owls. We usually go to bed somewhere around 1:30 or 2 a.m., but for some reason, about 8 o’clock Thursday night, we both felt like we hit a brick wall. We were sitting in our recliners watching TV and falling asleep, so we decided to take a shower and go to bed. It was 10 o’clock by the time we finished a couple of chores, took our showers, and got in bed. We both fell right to sleep, but 45 minutes later, I was wide awake, my lower back and hips hurting so bad I couldn’t stay in one position. Even taking two extra strength arthritis pain formula pills didn’t take the edge off.

That turned out to be the pattern for the rest of the night. I would toss and turn for a while, drift off to sleep for a few minutes, and wake right back up. I could not find a position that was comfortable. Eventually, sometime around 4 a.m. I got up and went into one of our guest bedrooms, where we have a full size bed that is adjustable, and I was able to raise the head and foot to a position that allowed me to sleep for close to an hour. Then Terry woke up and came looking for me because I wasn’t in bed, so I went back to our bedroom. Sometime around 5:30, I did fall asleep from sheer exhaustion and got in two or three more hours.

Unfortunately, it was pretty much the same way for Terry all night. I know part of that is because I kept her awake. Hopefully, tonight will be better for both of us.

Yesterday wasn’t a great day, either. Not because of the rain, which we got a bit of from Eta, which is either a tropical storm or hurricane, whose status seems to change every half hour or so.

As I’ve said before, I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking software to write my books because I have arthritis in my hands and fingers, and typing is painful and slow. I was working along when suddenly the program decided to crash. When I tried to restart it, all I got was the icon on my screen, and it sat there without opening. After closing it with Task Manager and trying it again, it eventually reopened, but wouldn’t let me do anything.

At one point, I got a message that said I didn’t have a sound card installed on my computer (yes, I do), and at another point,  a message popped up that said there was a compatibility issue with Windows 10. (I have been running Windows 10 all along.) I uninstalled and reinstalled the program four times, and it still won’t work.

This is version 13 of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is no longer supported. I contacted Customer Support anyway, but their only suggestion is to update to the newer version 15. When I asked if it will work with my digital recorder, all they could say is “I don’t know. You’ll have to try it and see.”

So frustrating. I guess I will have to give up and order the newer version and just hope that it is compatible with my digital recorder.

I actually dictated this blog using the dictate mode in Microsoft Word, and I find it is probably just as accurate as Dragon. Unfortunately, Word won’t work with a digital recorder, and I have found that the recorder is a very good way for me to work, because I can knock out a paragraph or even a chapter sitting in the car while Terry is in the grocery store, or when I am sitting in my recliner.

Because I missed posting a Thursday blog, I’m afraid there won’t be a free drawing this week, but I promise I’ll have one next week.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – It took a long time for me to realize that I am not “Atlas.” The world does not rest on my shoulders.

Veterans Day

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 112020
 

Veterans Day
Note: I posted this blog last year on Veterans Day and it’s just as appropriate today.

I want to share some thoughts on veterans and Veterans Day.

My family has a long tradition of military service. At least two great grandfathers that I know of were in the Civil War. Yes, the Civil War. I was born late in my parents’ lives. I know of one grandfather who saw military service, and my father and many of my uncles fought during World War II. One of those uncles never made it back home. My two brothers also spent their time in uniform. I have cousins who served in Vietnam, and several of my nephews spent time in the military. So when I got out of high school, during the Vietnam War, there was no question what my next step would be. I went to the recruiter, raised my right hand, took my oath, and did my time.

Some of my time in the Army was very bad, but a lot of it was very good. I have never regretted the experience, and I know it helped me grow up fast. Maybe even too fast. I am proud of my service to my country, and more than once when somebody has objected to me expressing my opinion on something, which seems to happen more and more these days, I remember that I did things no one should ever have to do to give them the right to disagree with me. But I also know that I earned the right to speak my mind and no one can tell me to shut up, whether I am right or wrong. And there is no question in my mind that I have been wrong more than once. Still, I make no apologies for saying how I feel about something.

I did many things while I was in the military, and the worst of all was a short time when I was assigned to be a funeral escort. My job was to meet a dead soldier’s remains when they arrived at their hometown and to be a liaison between the Army, the funeral home, and the dead hero’s family. I was a 19-year-old kid, and besides being shown how to fold a flag and instructed on how a military funeral was conducted, I was given only three rules. Never say anything bad about the war or the military; never sleep with the dead man’s wife, sister, or other relatives; and never, under any circumstances, allow any family member to look inside a closed coffin if the accompanying paperwork was stamped RNV, which was an abbreviation for Remains Not Viewable.

At every closed coffin funeral I was involved in, the parents or wife wanted to know that it was really him inside that box, hoping against all hope that there had been some terrible mistake made. If they insisted on knowing it was their son or husband, I was supposed to look myself and tell them he looked fine but was discolored because of the shipping time. I was never to tell them what I really saw. Believe me, they did not want to see what I saw, and even today I wish I never had. After a while I cheated and stopped looking. I just couldn’t anymore. It was horrible to have to stand there and lie to them, but it would have been even worse to allow them to look.

I had parents hug me and cry. And I also had them hit me and demand to know why I was still alive and their loved one was dead. How the hell can a 19-year-old kid answer a question like that? I have asked myself the same question a thousand times over the years, and I still don’t know the answer. I only lasted about three months in that job before begging to be reassigned anywhere, even back in the war zone. I just could not do it one more time.

But I can tell you one thing I took away from my time in uniform. If you had to do the things I did back then, if you had to see the things I saw, you would not remain silent when old men who have nothing to lose are quick to send young men and women off to fight and die for causes that only further their own interests, be they political or personal.

Thought For The Day – The most satisfying adult sentence is, “No, I’m not going to do that.”

How About Some Q&A?

 Posted by at 12:20 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 102020
 

I’m back with more questions from blog readers about RVing, what’s happening in our lives since we hung up the keys, and all kinds of other things. While I try to answer all questions individually, I also share some here occasionally.

Q. We are watching the news coverage of Hurricane Eta and are really worried about you two. Are you in a safe place, or do you have one to go to if you need it?
A. We appreciate your concern, but we are fine. It’s actually a tropical storm at this point, and it’s on the Southwest side of the state in the Gulf of Mexico, while we are on the Atlantic coast much further north. We’re getting wind and rain, but the forecast doesn’t show it gaining strength and coming across the state to us. We are safe and just enjoying watching the rain coming down.

Q. We are snowbirds who usually go to Yuma for the winter, camping out in the desert in the LTVA for a couple of months. With COVID, we are concerned about traveling. Do you think it’s safe to do that, Nick? We really do not want to spend the winter here in Kansas if we can avoid it. We have a comfortable house here, but we would rather be in our RV with the sun shining on us.
A. I know Rvers who are traveling, but it’s not something I would be comfortable with right now. Once you’re in Arizona and boondocking, you can distance yourself from people. But what happens when you need to go into an RV park on the way to Arizona? Or if you have a breakdown along the way? I wouldn’t do it.

Q. How did you go from owning a newspaper in Grays Harbor (Washington) to a paper in Arizona?
A. I have long connections to Arizona and had lived there a couple of times before. When we left the Pacific Northwest, we returned to Arizona, and after a few years in Tucson, I moved to the White Mountains. I had not planned to go back into the newspaper business, I was looking at buying a retail store. But when I called the newspaper that was already there, which was owned by an out of town company, to ask about advertising, they blew me off. In talking to different business owners in the area, they all complained about how hard the newspaper was to work with and how often they messed up ads and did not make it right. I saw an opportunity to do it better and I took it, opening up a competing paper.

Q. Nick, I know you’re a gun guy, and from what I’ve heard, gun prices are through the roof right now. Is this normal or just a reaction to the election?
A. Every time there’s an election, there’s a big panic and people start hoarding guns and ammunition. A few months from now, when they realize that nobody is going to take their guns away, things will calm down again. I’ve seen this happen every election since the 1970s. It hasn’t changed and probably never will. The companies who make guns and ammunition, and the gun stores who sell them, all love it because they can’t keep up with the demand.

Q. I know this sounds crazy, but is it true that there is a place in Quartzsite, Arizona, where nudists hang out or is it just an urban myth? My husband keeps teasing me that we’re going to go boondock there this winter.
A. Yes, it’s true. They call it the Magic Circle. I don’t know what the turnout will be like this year, but in past years I’ve known quite a few people who went there to be free in the sunshine. I was going to go once, but they took up a petition and were rather demanding that I not show up.

Q. We are headed to Tucson for the winter and want to go to Nogales, Mexico to get some dental work done. Do you know if the border is open for things like that?
A. I’m sorry, I don’t, and I think things could change at any time. I would check locally or at the U.S. Department of State for current information. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/need-passport/us-mexicoborder.html

And finally, with Christmas coming, remember that heavy traffic and crowded stores are not the only things to be aware of when doing your Black Friday shopping. It changed one man’s life forever. Read all about it here.

Thought For The Day – I don’t always go the extra mile, but when I do, it’s because I missed my exit.

Adding To My Resume

 Posted by at 12:36 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 092020
 

I have done quite a few things to earn a buck in my life, and some of them have been a bit bizarre while others have been rather mundane.

I think the shortest job I ever had was about four hours. Right after I got out of the Army a thousand years ago, I got a job at a company in Toledo, Ohio that made conveyor belts. I’m sure things are a lot more automated these days than they were back then, but basically, I stood at what was called a slitter machine, and if we were making 200 foot long conveyor belts, or whatever the number was, I dialed it into a meter and pushed the Start button. When it got to the designated number, a buzzer sounded, and the machine stopped. I pulled a lever to cut the belt, pushed the Start button once more, and did it all over again when the meter hit 200.

It was the most boring four hours of my life. A drunk monkey could have done the job, and I’m sure by now they have replaced the guy who pushed the button and pulled the lever with some kind of automation. Or at least a drunk monkey.

I was wearing one of my Army fatigue shirts, and when another buzzer sounded to say that it was time for lunch, one of my coworkers came over to talk to me. He was a squirrely guy named Joe. I know his name was Joe because he had a label on his shirt that said Joe, a coffee mug that said Joe, and a black lunch pail with Joe stenciled on it in big white letters. Joe said he heard I had just gotten out of the Army, and I told him that was right.

Joe told me that, like me, he had gone to work there 33 years ago, right after he got out of the Army, and he was still there. He proudly told me that he had worked his way up from the slitter machine to forklift driver, and now he spent his days driving it all over the factory. Joe said he liked having that change of scenery all the time. I looked at Joe, and I looked at his name tag and his lunch pail and his coffee mug, and I turned off the slitter machine, walked out to the parking lot, and got in my car and drove away. I never even went back to get paid for my four hours of “labor.”

My longest job, on the other hand, was in the newspaper business. Between publishing small town newspapers on the Pacific Northwest coast and then in Arizona, and after that the Gypsy Journal RV travel newspaper, I spent about 35 years at that gig, and loved every minute of it

But now I have added something new to my resume. Matchmaker. Can you believe that? When we were in Norwalk, Ohio last year, we were having dinner with my cousin Nora Knople and her husband Chris and their daughter Emily. I was teasing Emily about being a young single woman, asking why she wasn’t married yet. Emily had a coworker named Nicholas Judge, who she was kind of interested in, but because they worked together and were friends, she didn’t want to complicate things or mess up that friendship.

I kept urging her to go for it, telling her that being married to your best friend is about the best thing you could ever do, and I was speaking from experience. I may have hinted that Norwalk was a small town, and she probably wasn’t going to do any better than Nick anyway, so she might as well settle. I might have even mentioned that it wasn’t like he would ever cheat on her, because what woman would… never mind.

Anyhow, Emily took my advice, and they did go on a date, and then another date, and yet another date. And yesterday, I got a video call from Emily showing off her brand-new engagement ring. How cool is that?


She told me I should get ordained so I can go up there and perform the wedding ceremony when it happens in, 2022. Can you imagine the circus that would be? I would have to walk out with a shotgun, open with a couple of inappropriate jokes, and then tell Emily that the ring doesn’t go on Nick’s finger, it belongs in his nose. And things would probably go downhill from there. I told them I think that it might be better if I just came and sat in the audience and watched.

Besides, when whoever does officiate, when he or she asks if there is anyone who knows of any reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, I’m going to have a whole list of things to say when I stand up!

Seriously kids (and listen carefully because I am very seldom serious), as I told you when we talked earlier, I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness. I really do.

Congratulations Myrna Jorgensen, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. We had 34 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner.

A New Day

 Posted by at 12:50 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 082020
 

When we turned on the news yesterday morning, we learned that Joe Biden had been officially named President-elect of the United States. I know for many Americans that was wonderful news, and for many others, it was not what they had hoped for. Either way, it’s a new day and a new start for our country. Hopefully, we can all come together and get past the anger and hatred that have been a part of our society for so long.

And how did I spend that first new day? For me, it wasn’t much different than any other recent day. I made corrections to several chapters of my new book that Terry had suggested, then sent those chapters off to my next proofreader, and did some more writing.

During the afternoon, I heard the dinging of the produce wagon bell and went to tell Terry they were stopped outside of our place, waiting for her to go out. I think she is one of their favorite customers, and I know that she sure likes their produce. They come through the park a couple of days a week, and it’s a lot more convenient than going to the grocery store.

Several people have asked if we are in danger from Tropical Storm Eta and if we are making any preparations. At this point, it’s going to go through the Keys and out into the Gulf of Mexico and wander around on the other side of Florida somewhere, but nobody really knows where at this point. We are much further north and on the East Coast, so while we will get some rain and wind, hopefully, that will be about it.

The other day somebody wrote to tell me that they went to the local Barnes & Noble to ask if they stocked any of my books, and they told her no, they usually don’t stock books by independent authors. Then she asked if they could order them for her, and they said no, they don’t do that. She even offered to prepay, but they still said no. So she went home and ordered them from Amazon. She said that even though Barnes & Noble is a nationwide chain, she still prefers to shop locally because the people that work in the store live in her community. But since they don’t want her business unless she’s ordering books for a traditional publisher, I guess that money will go out of town. It makes no difference to me either way because I still got two sales out of the deal. But whatever happened to taking care of your customers?

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – Did you ever meet someone for the first time and want to buy them a toaster for their bathtub?

Nov 072020
 

With more than 5,000 surface acres, Lake Crescent, on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, is a body of deep blue water that has always been popular with campers, fishermen, and boaters. The lake’s water is exceptionally clear, caused by a lack of nitrogen, which inhibits the growth of algae.

Before highways were built in the area in the early 1920s, Lake Crescent was used as a route from Port Townsend into the northwestern part of the Olympic Peninsula, and ferries and steamboats were used to transport passengers and freight. Several lodges and campgrounds at the lake welcome visitors from around the world. But the lake’s beauty can also be mysterious and deadly.

Way back on July 3, 1929, a local couple named Russell and Blanch Warren disappeared while driving near the lake. Blanch Warren had just been released from the hospital in Port Angeles, and the couple was on their way home to a logging camp on the Bogachiel River near Forks. Earlier in the day, they had purchased a new washing machine and loaded it into their 1927 Chevrolet.

They never arrived home, and speculation at the time was that the Warrens had missed a curve on the winding road around the lake and drowned. The only clues searchers could find were a cap identified as Russell’s and a visor from a Chevrolet.

The Warrens left behind two sons, Charles, who was 11 at the time, and Frank, who was 13. Both have since died. Ironically, Charles Warren drowned in 1964 in a fishing accident off the California coast, and his body was never recovered. In another eerie twist, Blanch Warren’s father, John Francis “Frank” Rhone, had also vanished in the summer of 1905, at the age of 34, never to be seen or heard from again.

Years after the Warrens disappeared, local historian Bob Caso brought the long forgotten mystery to light, and in 2002, a team of volunteers using high tech underwater search equipment located the Warrens’ car at a depth of over 170 feet below the surface of the lake, about four miles west of Barnes Point, near Milepost 223 on U.S. Highway 101. They reported that the car was resting on its left side and tilting downward on a steep slope, and was remarkably intact.

No human remains were recovered, but family members said that they were comforted just knowing the young couple’s fate. “Blanch and Russell Warren have been resting here comfortably in the lake for the last 72 years, and I almost feel like we’re disturbing them by going down there. This is a gravesite, a special place,” Park Ranger Dan Pontbriand told a Seattle television station at the time the car was found.

Another deadly story associated with Lake Crescent started in 1940 when the body of a woman named Hallie Latham Illingworth, of nearby Port Angeles, popped to the surface. Mrs. Illingworth had gone missing shortly before Christmas, in 1937.

Suspicion had immediately fallen on her husband Monty, a known womanizer who was reported to have abused his wife in the past. Police had responded to the couple’s home for domestic violence complaints, and coworkers recalled that Hallie Illingworth sometimes showed up for work with noticeable bruises and black eyes. Monty told everyone his wife had left him and moved away, and with no body or other evidence to back up their suspicions, police could not do anything.

Hallie’s body had been hogtied and wrapped in blankets, and an autopsy revealed that she had been strangled. To add an even more bizarre twist to the story, newspapers reported that instead of decomposing in the lake’s cold, highly mineralized deep water, the woman’s body had undergone a strange chemical transformation known as saponification and turned into a soap-like substance. She was identified through a dental plate, and the police immediately began searching for her husband.

He was located in Long Beach, California and extradited back to Washington, where he was tried for Hallie’s murder. It took a jury just four hours to convict him, and he was sentenced to life in prison. After just nine years, Monty Illingworth was paroled in 1951. He returned to southern California, where he died in Los Alamitos in 1974.

Driving past Lake Crescent on U.S. Highway 101, with its many twists and turns as it hugs the shoreline, one cannot help but wonder what other mysteries might still be hidden beneath all of that beautiful blue water, just waiting to be discovered.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Me: “Alexa what’s the weather this weekend?” Alexa: “It doesn’t matter, you’re not going anywhere.”

We Share Everything

 Posted by at 12:42 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 062020
 

I have said many times that Terry and I are best friends, and we have a wonderful marriage. We have so many things in common – we like the same kind of music, we enjoy many of the same things, from traveling and kayaking and flying kites to collecting antiques. We like reading, we both prefer getting together with one or two couples as opposed to large parties, we’d rather enjoy a quiet evening at home than going out and partying, and so much more.

Of course, there are some differences, too. Terry loves veggies and I am a meat and potatoes man. She has to have her morning coffee while I prefer milk. I am more outgoing while she is shy around strangers. And I pushed the envelope some in my misspent youth, doing things like jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and participating in a stock car race. I only did that once, but I won and retired a winner.

If she wanted to go skydiving or racing a car, I would encourage her to do so. But just because I got shot a long, long time ago, I really didn’t think she should do that, too. But apparently, she disagreed, because she did.

In January of 2009, we were visiting with our friends Mike and Pam Steffan in Salt Flat, Texas. We lost Mike, who was a well known RV writer and seminar speaker a few years later. But at the time, they had a good sized chunk of land out in the middle of nowhere, about 70 miles east of El Paso.  Mike had put in a little shooting range on the property made of a dirt berm reinforced with tires buried in the dirt as a bullet stop.

One afternoon during our stay, we were target shooting, and Terry was trying out one of Mike’s .40 semi-automatic pistols. On one of her shots, the bullet nicked the steel target, ricocheted off one of the tires, and came back and hit her in the upper thigh. It had lost most of its velocity by then and didn’t go through her blue jeans or penetrate the skin, but it left an ugly welt and a big bruise.

Fortunately, she was not seriously injured. It just left her with a goose egg and a very sore leg. It was one of those freak accidents that happen, and we were very thankful it was not worse. Mike picked up the spent bullet, which had landed at Terry’s feet, and gave it to her as a souvenir.

I told Terry that in the previous couple of months she had been bitten by a tarpon in the Florida Keys, got dunked in the water in Aransas Pass, Texas, and now shot in the leg. And I’m supposed to be the clumsy one! I told her I didn’t think her mom would let her play with me anymore.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – My favorite childhood memory was building sandcastles with my grandpa, until my mom hid the urn.

Will It Ever End?

 Posted by at 12:57 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 052020
 

I think most of America has spent the last two days on pins and needles, wondering what was going to happen on Election Day and then how the final count would come out. As of midnight last night, it was still up in the air, although Joe Biden had a commanding lead. But as they say, it ain’t over until it’s over. Someone said it feels like the country is in an episode of the Murray Povich show, trying to find out who the father is. I think there’s some truth to that.

I was back at it yesterday, first making a lot of corrections to several chapters of my new Big Lake book that have been proofed. Then I cranked out another 6,800 words and printed them for Terry to edit and proofread.

I’ll be back at it, doing the same thing again today.

I know Terry is going to be pulled in two directions at once because she wants to help me get the first round of editing and proofreading done so I can send it off to the next two proofreaders. But at the same time, I know she’s itching to get busy on her new weaving project. The other day I showed you the warp she had wound up for it, and here it is with the yarn laid out on the loom, almost ready to begin the process of threading it through all the heddles, and the bottom picture is with the warp spread out to ease that process. I just don’t know how she does that. Every time I see it, I am amazed.

If that wasn’t enough, she also made petite tender steaks and new red potatoes, and veggies for Terry for dinner. I don’t even have to tell you it was delicious. You know it was, right?

Unlike our friends on the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast, who have been hammered by a series of hurricanes this summer, we have made it through most of hurricane season without any problems so far, not even a really bad storm. Now they’re talking about Eta coming across Cuba and picking up steam and impacting southern Florida. As far north as we are, I don’t think we’ll get much more than some rain here. That’s just fine with me. With COVID numbers climbing every day, we don’t want to have to evacuate anyplace and expose ourselves to any more danger than we have to.

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Birdsongs, the first book in my friend Jason Deas’ excellent Benny James mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – Remember all those times when you wished the weekend would last forever? Well, wish granted. Happy now?

You Named It What?

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 042020
 

Note: I spent too much time watching the election results last night and didn’t have enough left in me to write a new blog. So here is a repost of a fun one from November of 2014.

In every issue of the Gypsy Journal I always included some of the funny signs we saw in our travels or that our readers shared with us. We were constantly amazed at some of the business names we saw, but sometimes even towns have names that leave you scratching your head and wondering what they were thinking when they named it that.

For example, Hooker, Oklahoma.

Welcome to Hooker

And yes, their high school football team is called the Horny Toads. Is this really the best way to deal with teenage hormones gone wild?

hooker oklahoma

Growing up in Hooker, I wonder if the kids hang out in Hickey Park?

Hickey Park 2I guess if they get carried away, somebody could always call the police.

Climax Police

Just don’t call these guys until I finish my lunch, okay?

Sandwich Police

Make me mad and I’ll send the Flippin cops after you!

Flippin Police 

I think an eight year old boy named this place.

Boogertown

Yes, in the winter, Hell really does freeze over!

hell_froze_sign

I’m pretty sure I do know what they were thinking when they named this place.

Titty Ho

We’ve been to Blue Ball and Intercourse, Pennsylvania, but for the most memorable town name, you have to go to Newfoundland.

Dildo

Thought For The Day – I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. – Mark Twain