Sunday, June 30, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, June 30


It’s sort of hard for me to believe, but another entire week has gone by without taking a picture of anything.  I know for a lot of people, that’s pretty much the norm—only taking photos at special events and such—but I don’t want to be that.  I want to snap pictures of daily life, whatever and whenever strikes my fancy.  But even though I usually have my camera with me (and always have my phone with me), I rarely seem to take pictures these days.  Certainly it’s a function of time and energy; I’m always either doing something, or preparing to do something, or crashing into a stupor from pure exhaustion.  Still, what kind of fun is that? 

So, even though I failed miserably at this month’s photo a day challenge, I’ve downloaded the July list, and hope to be at least a little more successful this time around.  We’ll see.



But, while I was reminiscing this past week about the whole STAR saga, I was also browsing through some old photos.  I logged into my SmugMug account to look at the Hollywood pictures, but took a couple of minutes to look over some of my other galleries too.  (As a quick aside, if you’re looking for a good online hosting site for your photos, SmugMug gets my vote for sure:  easy to use, nice features, and unlimited storage, all at a very reasonable price.  And, no, I don’t get anything for that little blurb, either, just an honest opinion of a service I enjoy.) 

Anyway, I was looking at some of my pictures, including an album from a trip we took to Minnesota three or four years ago.  There are a lot of scenery pictures—some of them pretty decent, if I do say so myself—and even some family photos, but the one that jumped out at me was something silly.  We were just driving around town in Duluth and seeing what there was to see, and I was snapping a few pictures here and there. Of course, photos snapped from the passenger seat of a moving vehicle typically don’t turn out all that great—and this one’s not really an exception to that rule—but they often capture simple moments that would otherwise be forgotten in the midst of all the “real” things that were seen along the way. 

So it is with this quick shot that caught my attention when I saw it in real life, and has brought back the moment each time I’ve looked at the picture.  There was just something about this pensive face, looking out the window of a rundown building, watching to see what was going on in the world outside.  I wondered what he was thinking about, if he would rather have been outside chasing our passing car, if he knew we were strangers in his town, if he preferred that upstairs vantage point to something on the first floor or that’s just where he happened to be.  Maybe he was waiting for his owner to come home; that would explain why he barely moved when we drove by; he would know the car he was waiting to see.  Maybe when that particular car pulls onto the street, the pensive face takes on a whole new expression and the eyes light up while the tail starts wagging and he runs from the window, bounding joyfully down the steps to greet his owner at the door.  I like to think that’s what happens, but even if it does, I still wonder what he thinks about until that special car pulls into view, and what sorts of things has he seen from his upstairs perch.












Do you have simple snapshots that capture your imagination?  What stories do they tell you?


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Six Word To-Do List




  • Homework
  • Family lunch
  • More homework


The Path to the Walk of Fame (Part 2)


I’m taking a break from Five Question Friday this week to continue the tale of how it is that Brian Keith came to be immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  If you’ve just joined, pop back over to yesterday’s post for part one of the story . . .

So, once we decided we were really going to make the star happen, we had to figure out where to start.  Well, the first thing is that you have to submit an application to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce folks.  It turns out the nominations are due at the end of May, so we only had a couple of weeks if we wanted to apply that same year.  Our quick research had told us that people rarely (maybe never) get accepted the first time, so we thought we should get something together and toss Brian’s name into the hat as soon as possible.  But before we could do that, we had to gain permission from his family.  One of the things the star committee requires before they will consider anyone for selection on the walk is that the honoree will be willing to attend the ceremony and accept.  In cases of posthumous nomination, like for Brian Keith, it becomes a family obligation, and since we were outsiders, we couldn’t speak for them.  That meant we only had two weeks to not only write and submit a nomination, but also to locate Brian’s widow and get her on board with our fannish obsession.  Fortunately, Victoria Keith was thrilled with the idea, and more than touched that there were still fans so moved by her husband’s work that we would be willing to put in such an effort.  She said yes readily.  Now, I can’t say that the nomination we put together the first time around was particularly spectacular, but we did manage to meet all the requirements and get it in by the deadline; Brian Keith had officially been nominated for a star. We knew then we had passed the point of no return; we couldn’t back out now.

When the selections were announced for 2007, we weren’t surprised not to be chosen, but I can’t deny we weren’t still just a little bit disappointed.  We can be a fanciful group, and the idea of a fan-nominated posthumous star being awarded on the very first nomination would have been a great story.  But the story would have to wait.

But, while we were waiting for that first rejection, we were already getting busy.  We knew we had a lot of money to raise, and we weren’t entirely sure how we were going to make it happen.  We came up with an easy-to-remember acronym, (STAR—Society to Advance Recognition) and then launched a website, explaining our cause and blatantly asking for money.  We looked for for ways to spread the word, and there have been several occasions since all of this happened when I have wished that social media had been such a huge deal back then as it is now.  (And that’s only been 7 years ago, which really puts into perspective just how quickly sites such as Facebook and Twitter have grown, but that’s a whole other story.)

Other than putting together a significantly better application (and we had a year to do that), raising the fee for the star was really the only thing we were focused on.  In addition to seeking direct donations, we were open to just about any other kind of fundraising idea that came our way.  We sold candy, hosted an online auction, set up affiliate accounts, and sold commemorative items through a CafĂ© Press shop.    But the largest bulk of our funds came from “fanzines”—compilations of Hardcastle and McCormick fanfic put out on CD—and copies of the series episodes, gathered from various VHS stashes of the fans and transferred to DVD, providing many fans with the first opportunity to see the episodes in years.   Created from the love of fans, these items were offered as tokens of appreciation in exchange for donations (because, you know, actually selling copyrighted material could’ve gotten a little tricky).  There were four of us on the committee, and the STAR campaign and that $15,000 pretty much ruled our lives. 

In the midst of all of the fundraising (and all the fic writing and episode compiling), life sort of turned into this ongoing obsession with watching a bank account grow.  And, I can’t say that we didn’t have some dark moments of doubt that we would ever succeed, and even some moments when we wondered if it was even worth the trouble.  I think most people—and certainly all of us, before this all began—see the Walk of Fame as this amazing honor simply bestowed upon members of the creative community in recognition and appreciation for a body of work.  It was sort of surprising to find that just wasn’t entirely the case.  First, we never realized there was a cost involved, though it makes sense that someone has to pay for all that brass and terrazzo and such.  We also never realized how much politicking goes into the selection process, though I suppose that’s also to be expected when there are hundreds of nominations received but only maybe a couple of dozen stars awarded each year. 

It was not only a daunting process, but from what we as fans knew about Brian’s personality, we were fairly certain that it was not a process of which he would have particularly approved.  Not that he wouldn’t have been grateful that we wanted to recognize his work, of course, but all the rest of it he would likely have considered just so much hoopla, and that time, energy, and money could all have been better spent.  But by then we were getting fairly bonded with Victoria, and she loved the whole idea and couldn’t wait to see Brian honored.  Even in those dark moments when we might have considered it all to just be a waste of time, we couldn’t dream of quitting because we didn’t want to let her down.

Anyway, slowly, surely, that bank account we were so carefully tending did begin to grow, and things were really taking shape.  By February of 2007, we were just about half-way to our fundraising goal when the unthinkable happened:  the fee was increased to $25,000.  Our hearts broke.  We were a small group of dedicated fans trying to pull off a victory worthy of Hollywood, and it felt like we might have just found the insurmountable obstacle.  Even $15K was a lot of money when it was coming in 5, 10, 20 dollars at a time, but twenty-five thousand?  We had another few dark moments.  But then we decided our game plan was working, even if it was working slowly.  We might need to step our efforts into overdrive, but we weren’t giving up. 

Now a full year had gone by, and we’d gotten ourselves into a fairly well-oiled routine, and then it was time to submit another nomination.  Obviously, we were better prepared this time around, and we were much happier with the results.  Plus, in that intervening year, we’d been playing the games as much as we could from various points of the country—staying in touch with the Walk of Fame committee folks, asking for tips on how to submit the best possible application, finding allies in the Hollywood community who could use connections and put in a good word for our nominee, etc. 

As we waited for the announcement of honorees in June of 2007, we were much more hopeful.  But we realized that with all our planning and such, one thing we didn’t know was exactly when or how we’d be notified if Brian was selected, so we bookmarked the Walk of Fame website and checked ridiculous numbers of times, set up Google alerts so we’d get breaking news delivered to our email, lurked on all sorts of internet sites watching for reports.  I will never forget the night the honoree list finally showed up in my web search: I was almost afraid to click the link and read it.  But I held my breath and took the plunge and there he was:  Brian Keith, a posthumous award for his contribution to the art of television!  It was late at night, and I was the only one awake in the house, so I couldn’t scream, but there was some definite dancing going on.  I sent emails to my two comrades in arms (we’d essentially lost one of our founding members by then), and fortunately, between different time zones and insomniac tendencies, I knew they’d both still be awake, too, so I also started calling.  We were like giddy school girls, laughing and talking and celebrating.  And just for a moment, we could simply rejoice and forget all the work that was still left to do. 

The next few days, there were lots of congratulations exchanged among  the fandom and Brian’s family, but we knew we were on a deadline now: the star could not be installed until we had raised the necessary fee.  We went back to work. 

I won’t bore you with all the details (What’s that?  Too late, you say?!), suffice it to say that we did finally reach our goal.  We were fortunate to receive some donations from a few cast/crew members who had worked with Brian over the years, and the Disney corporation made a donation to cover the cost of the reception which followed the installation, but the vast majority of that twenty-five thousand dollars came directly from fans—all around the world, by the way—who simply wanted to have a part in honoring a man’s work.  We mailed off the check to the chamber of commerce in March of 2008, and set into the work of final planning of reception details, speakers at the installation, and travel plans for those of us who were making the trip to watch the fruits of our labor pay off.

It was an excruciatingly long two years, though there were also moments when they seemed to fly by.  But my instinct is, no matter what happens from now on, they will always be some of the best two years of my life, culminating in an event that I will never forget.

If you are so inclined, you can watch the actual unveiling of the star here, though my favorite part of the ceremony was Daniel Hugh Kelly’s heart-felt speech remembering his co-star and friend.  I go back and watch these videos every now and again and remember that wonderful day, and how proud we all felt watching Brian get his star.  I still wish I were out in Hollywood with my friends this week, celebrating the anniversary of this moment, but I’m forever grateful that I was able to be part of making the moment happen.

BK star 6-29-13


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Path to the Walk of Fame (part 1)


One more post about Brian Keith, and a bit about how he came to achieve a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  It started like this . . .

Way back in 2004, I was dealing with a minor illness that had me off work for several weeks.  If you’ve ever been confined to your home for any amount of time, you know it can eventually make you go a little crazy.  Even for someone like me, who would use any excuse to get to watch a bunch of TV, it can get pretty bad.  And, since I’m not much of a fan of soap operas, infomercials, or drama-filled talk shows, daytime television didn’t really do all that much for me.  So I did what any television fanatic would do:  rummaged around my stash of old VHS tapes until I found something to occupy my time.

As it turns out, one of the things I dug out of that stash, was a tape (several, actually) of old episodes of Hardcastle and McCormick.  Now, remember, this was 2004, and H&M had gone off the air in 1986, so when I say “old episodes”, I’m not lying about the “old” bit.  Anyway, I had the show recorded because I always loved it, and because back in the day, I recorded a lot of stuff.  It’s like I knew I’d need to entertain myself some day.  The point is, I loved the show when it was on first run, still loved it when it was syndicated to the cable networks, and loved it still when I pulled out the VHS tapes in 2004.

Watching the show again after so many years made me wonder if there were any other fans around anywhere, so I got on the computer and browsed around a bit.  That ultimately led me to a Yahoo! group dedicated to the show.  Imagine my delight when I realized there were other people out there who still enjoyed a program that had faded into the sunset almost twenty years earlier.  Of course I joined up. I met some wonderful people there, and it was great fun, immersing myself in the small by excited fandom.

Flash forward just a little over two years, it’s May of 2006 (the ladies who would become my two best Hardcastle friends had joined by now) and we’re scheming and planning about how we could put together a convention devoted to the many programs of Stephen J. Cannell.  Sure, it was a crazy huge idea, requiring more details and planning than we could ever have understood, but one of my only regrets about pursuing the star was that we completely set aside the convention idea somewhere along the way.  But, in the midst of these planning conversations, someone posted a comment that neither Brian Keith nor Daniel Hugh Kelly had a star out in Hollywood, and wouldn’t it be great if we could spearhead a campaign to get that situation rectified.  Oh, and by the way, in addition to applications and finagling and such, let’s not forget that once someone was selected for a star, there was a $15,000 fee.  If we were going to do this thing, we had some serious fundraising in our futures. 

Well, as it turned out, we decided we weren’t going to let a measly fifteen grand keep us from going after what we wanted.  After all, Brian Keith had been an actor a really long time, and he was the first reason a lot of us even tuned into Hardcastle and McCormick to begin with.   Surely we wouldn’t be the only ones who thought he deserved a star.  And, ultimately, we were not . . .

Okay, it’s almost midnight, and (as usual) I am wiped out.  I can barely keep my eyes open, so I’ve got to head off to bed.  More on the strange process of getting a star on the Walk of Fame tomorrow. (See part 2.)


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, June 26


First, in keeping with this week’s theme of Brian Keith thoughts, today is the actual anniversary of his star installation on the Walk of Fame.  Five years ago today, we were watching it all happen.  Tomorrow I think maybe I will tell you the story of that star, but for today, I’ll just say “happy anniversary”, and we’ll get on back to the point of today’s post.

Not that the point of today’s post is anything all that particularly exciting.  I did manage to lose one pound of the 1.5 I gained last week, but I don’t really think that really counts as progress.  I’m barely hanging on, but I suppose that’s better than the alternative. 

























Good Buddies


Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I was supposed to be in California today.  It’s kind of weird to plan for something for almost five years, and then change your mind just a couple of months before the big day finally arrives.  But, what are you going to do?  When I made the decision to cancel, it was purely financial: our one-income household simply did not need to be spending a couple of thousand dollars for me to spend a few days in west coast sunshine.  And, of course, now that I’m working, it still would have been a problem.  The finances might be slightly improved, but then I’d have the problem of needing a week off less than a month after starting a new job.  Not cool.  So I suppose things do work out like they should.

But, if my plans had held, I’d be sitting out in Hollywood right now, in the Days Inn, getting ready for a good night’s sleep after a day of tiring travel.  Maybe.  I might also be sitting out by the pool, visiting with my friends, and talking about Hardcastle and McCormick.  So, since I can’t be there, I figured I could still talk about the show here.

handm font


As I’ve mentioned before, buddy shows have always been one of my weaknesses, and this was a show that really got the buddy thing right.  Back when it premiered in 1983, television was in its heyday of light action/drama programming with fun and engaging characters to draw you in and make you care about the crime of the week.  Hardcastle and McCormick fit the mold perfectly—no surprise, since it was co-created by the then-reigning king of television, Stephen J. Cannell. In addition to Hardcastle, Cannell brought us Hunter, 21 Jump Street, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Greatest American Hero, Baretta, and Wiseguy, to name just some of the popular programming he was responsible for.  (For the record, while it has never move into my heart as the SJC show I liked best (though I did love it), I will say that I think Wiseguy was the best he show he ever had.)

Anyway, the show had good pedigree to start, then you add in Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly in the title roles, and you’ve got a slam-dunk.  The premise was simple (if a tiny bit unrealistic):  Keith is Milton Hardcastle, a tough, by-the-book judge who is just getting ready to retire from the bench, and Kelly is Mark McCormick, a smart-mouthed race car driver who is getting ready to trade racing cars for stealing them (or at least, one very particular car).  You can see where this is going, right?

When McCormick is brought before Hardcastle for stealing the car, the judge offers him a deal:  they can work together, with McCormick being the “fast gun” needed to help out with an after-retirement project that will let Hardastle keep helping out in the criminal justice world, even once he’s off the bench:  they’re going to investigate and arrest 200 bad guys who walked out of Hardcastle’s courtroom over the years on technicalities.  Of course, McCormick says no at first, but we all know how it’s going to works out:  ultimately, he agrees, he’s paroled into the custody of the judge and begins to work for him, as well as living on his big estate, and the two eventually become the very best of friends, all while busting bad guys. 

Realistic?  Not so much.  Predictable?  Sometimes.  But the best buddy shows aren’t about having a premise that’s carving out ground-breaking television; they’re about putting a couple of characters together who complement each other, usually against all odds.  In that way, Hardcastle and McCormick certainly succeeds.  With an age difference, differing views on the legal system, and a whole country mouse/city mouse thing going on, there’s no reason these two characters should ever get along.  Oh, and did I forget to add that the backstory includes the fact that Hardcastle once presided over another McCormick case, and ended up sentencing the younger man to San Quentin?  Yeah, there’s some tension.  But what we—and they—find out as the episodes slowly reveal the characters, is that the men are far more alike than they are different, at least about the things that matter most.  They learn to depend on each other, trust each other, care for each other.  And they even (eventually) find that maybe the past doesn’t really matter nearly as much as what’s going on in the here and now.  Watching them move from the early days of anger and resentment to a friendship with a bedrock foundation (which, incidentally, I’ve always thought happened way too fast, but that’s TV for you) is well worth the ride.  And most of the fun of that ride is thanks to the stars, who are great to watch, and have that indefinable “chemistry” that always makes a show work. 

If you watch an episode of Hardcastle and McCormick these days, it’s easy to see that it’s the kind of show they just don’t really make any more, especially with all the obligatory car chases (not that they don’t have those anymore, but they’ve certainly dwindled in number over the years) and such.  But that doesn’t make the show feel dated, or like you ought to be flipping the channel to something more cutting edge on HBO or something.  What it really makes you feel is that we might’ve lost something along the way when we left behind these action/drama buddy-shows, and like maybe you’ve got time for just one more episode before you have to leave the 80s behind. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Remembering Brian Keith


I know it’s not Tube Day Tuesday, but I’m still going to use this spot to talk about an actor, one gone too soon and that has played an important part in my recent life.  You see, today is the 16th anniversary of the passing of Brian Keith, so he’s been on my mind.  Not only that, but this year—this week—marks the five year anniversary of his receipt of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  My friends and I made plans back in 2008 to revisit Hollywood this year in celebration of the milestone.  My original plan was to fly out to California tomorrow to spend the week, visiting with other fans and spending time with friends.  I was really looking forward to it.  Sadly, circumstances conspired to prevent me from making the trip, so I’ll just have to content myself with Facebook postings and pictures from those who were lucky enough to go and live vicariously through them.  But one of these days I’ll be back out there to revisit the star and reminisce a little more.

In the meantime, on this sad anniversary, I will share a post from four years ago, when Mr. Keith was again weighing on my mind . . .

I'm thinking today of Brian Keith, the actor likely most widely known for his roles in Family Affair and Disney's The Parent Trap (the original from the 60s, not the more recent remake). Of course, he was acting long before and long after either of those things, and the work that has endeared him most to me was the role of a crusty old judge in the 80s series, Hardcastle and McCormick. Several years ago, my fondness for that particular television show led me to search the internet for anyone who might share my interest, and I was fortunate enough to find an active Yahoo group devoted to the show. That has turned out to be one of the best moments of my life.

I know; I can hear you now: "Huh? Finding a fan board about a show that's a couple decades old ranks as one of the high points? Really?" Yes, really. See, it's not so much about the fan board as about the fans themselves. I've been lucky enough to have made some dear friends from that group, and we've shared some experiences I'll never forget. In addition to the many hours simply chatting online, and the countless emails exchanged over a wide variety of topics, we also banded together to sponsor Brian Keith for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That little endeavor took over two years of our lives, but was worth every minute. Then a few of us joined forces to write and publish a book-- a viewer's guide to the show that had brought us together in the first place. Not the next Great American Novel or anything, but still a book, which was definitely a big check mark on the to-do list.

I think sometimes the internet gets a bad rap-- that when thinking of online relationships, folks conjure up images of sad little people pecking away in a darkened basement, or predators lurking, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting victims. I'm not naive enough to think those things don't take place, but that's not all there is to the great world wide web. My two best Hardcastle friends are in Illinois and Washington, but I've got others in Florida, Texas, Connecticut, New Jersey, Canada, Scotland, Australia, Greece, Hungary . . . the list goes on. That's the good side of online relationships. We're all normal people (relatively speaking!); we've got jobs and families and other interests, but the miracle of the internet lets us get to know people we'd otherwise live our lives without, and that can't be a bad thing, even if something as frivolous as a television show brought us together.

Which brings me back to the actor. It was Brian Keith that originally drew me to watch Hardcastle and McCormick. I'd grown up with him in those famous roles of his, seen him in other movies and on TV, and always enjoyed his work. So when he began a new series way back in 1983, I just had to watch, and that has led to so very many good things. So, on this sad anniversary of his passing, I am remembering Brian and all the joy his work brought over the years, and I'm thanking him for the friendships that work made possible.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, June 23


Confession time:  This past week’s photo a day was a total bust.  I think I might’ve taken two of them, maybe three.  Every morning I look at the prompt and try to give some thought to what I might use for the photo that day, then every night it’s suddenly 11 o’clock (like now) and it’s too late to think about it, so it just gets pushed aside.  The chronic exhaustion that has me falling asleep pretty much any time I sit on my couch for more than five minutes doesn’t help, and that’s why I’m not outside right now, trying to snap some photos of the super moon.  (Two hours ago, when I was still mostly alert, I was outside with the camera, but the moon had yet to make an appearance.)

So, anyway, no photo a day pictures this week.  Hopefully I’ll be back on track next week.

But there was a cool turtle in the yard today, so sure I snapped some pictures of him.










sable with turtle









turtle in trees

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Six Word Homework

Image courtesy of digitalart at

Blurry-eyed from too much math!

Check out more snippets of life with Six Word Saturday.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Question Summer


Happy summer!  It’s warming up nicely around here, and pretty soon it’ll be hotter than just about anyone would want it to be.  But no matter what, I would always rather be hot than cold, so I’m good with summer.  But since it’s not even quite nine o’clock and I have already been falling asleep, I think we should get right to the questions.  Thanks to Mama M. for Five Question Friday.

five question friday

1. Have you ever been robbed and how did you handle it?

Sad to say, I’ve had two houses burglarized, once when I was a kid and once just a couple of years ago.  In both instances, it was a while before I felt safe in my home again.  That thing they say about feeling violated and that it’s about more than the stuff that was taken—all of that is true.  I’m seriously hoping there will not be a third time.  Oh, and one time on vacation, our truck was broken into at our hotel.  They only got a few bucks worth of change, but I was really annoyed our vacation time had to be interrupted with police statements and such.  People really shouldn’t take what isn’t theirs.

2. What do you do at a kids function when Parents don't behave? Meaning they are the ones being impatient and rude.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had this experience, at least not enough that it made a lasting impression.  And, since my son is grown, I’m not likely to have to deal with it.  But, in general, I think you deal with rude people by being exceedingly nice.  Kill them with kindness is my motto.

3. Have you heard of a potty party? Will you/have you had one for your child(ren)?

Um, not to be too succinct, but, no, and no.  Though I do think the idea of celebrating and rewarding successful potty habits is a good one, I’m not sure it calls for an all-out party.

4. How young do you think kids should be when they start taking swim lessons?

If we’re talking about formal lessons, I don’t even know that that’s entirely necessary.  As long as there’s some adult in the child’s life that knows how to swim, and if they’re willing to spend some time in the water somewhere, the kid will learn; it’s really sort of natural.  I mean, it’s not natural to swim like Michael Phelps or anything, but basic paddling around comes pretty easily, it seems.  But, to the question of when, I think kids need to be exposed to the water pretty early.  I think all of that “natural” stuff fades away if you wait until they’re old enough to be afraid.  So, definitely pre-school, and probably toddler age.

5. What makes you happy?

I’m fortunate that I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of gal, so there’s a long list of things, but some of them are:  spending time with family and friends, a beautiful sunset, watching kittens frolic, good TV, peppy music, vacationing, taking pictures, writing . . . I could go on and on.  Like I said, I do think I’m fortunate that I’m pretty hard-wired to see the good in things, but I also think it’s something of a choice.  I prefer to choose happy.


And now, I do seriously think I’m going to head to bed, and maybe sleep for about fifteen hours and see if I can’t first catch up on my sleep from this week, and then stockpile a bit for going forward.  Then it’ll be time to wake up and tackle the homework.  We’re three weeks into summer session already, which means mid-terms will be coming up soon; can’t start slacking now.

Good night.  Enjoy your weekend, and remember to choose happy.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The First Steps


As I may have mentioned, the position I hold at my new job is to replace the current employee who’s going off to law school in the fall.  Except for the fact that I don’t have a computer of my own to work at yet (because there are no extra offices), it’s really just about the perfect scenario.  Rather than being thrown into a situation completely clueless (as apparently my predecessor was), she’ll still be there until about the end of July, teaching me how to take her place.  It’s nice to be able to learn in a slow, controlled way.

But, she was on vacation today, and will be gone tomorrow, also.  Wow. There are so many moving parts—documents to process, messages to send, clients to call, exhibits to organize, motions to file.  It’s a lot.  But I think I managed it okay. It’s kind of like baby steps.  I’m a little slower than I would like to be, and I had to ask a few questions as the day rolled along, but for the most part, yeah, I think it went okay.  And, my supervising attorney said she thought it went okay, too, which I think is probably the key decision for determining if things are progressing as they should, since she’s my boss and all.  Tomorrow we have the weekly staff meeting, and I’m afraid I might actually have to talk since Calley (my trainer) won’t be there!  I’m going in a little early to ensure our calendar is up to date (a topic of much stress in the office), and see if I can bone up on any upcoming case deadlines that I might be asked about. 

So, by this time tomorrow, I’ll have three weeks’ experience under my belt and will have survived my first solo outing.  (See how confident I am?!)  I’m growing up so fast.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, June 19


Man, it’s becoming a standard refrain around here, but I am operating on far too little sleep these days.  Right now, I’m getting by on about 10ish hours over the past 48, and I’m on track to add five or six more to that total tonight.  I feel a major crash coming on when Friday evening finally rolls around.  I’m still very glad that I’ll only have two classes left to finish next semester, but carrying nine hours this summer in conjunction with a brand new job is definitely taking its toll.

And, literally every single day I say to myself “tonight is the night I’ve got to get a workout in”, intending to at least pop in a walking video or something and squeeze in thirty minutes of a fitness regimen.  And yet, every single day, I find that whatever energy I have must be devoted to cranking out the day’s homework, and then with my last moments of wakefulness, I manager to post whatever chit-chat is on my mind here.  Nights I don’t have school, I manage to throw together an evening meal for the two of us, but beyond that, nothing else.  I’m still hoping to find the fortitude to change something.

Maybe sheer desperation will ultimately do the trick, as this week I gained 1.5 pounds.  I’m hoping it’s a short-term spike, driven primarily by today’s more-than-usual exhaustion along with a very late dinner last night, but who knows?  Certainly so much butt-time is not helping.  Wish me luck.


















123 minutes fitdesk







At This Moment


So, I have this instructor who likes to help illustrate her teachable moments with movies or television episodes.  As you might imagine, she and I get along pretty well.  I even introduced her to Suits last fall semester and got her hooked.  She said she didn’t really have time for another show, so I’m not sure she’s entirely forgiven me for that, but what can I say?  I know good television, and I know my audience.

Anyway, tonight it wasn’t a television show we were watching, but the old Jodie Foster movie, The Accused.  It’s a good movie, but I’ve seen it several times in the past.  In fact, I was one of the only people in the room old enough to have seen it in the theater.  And, we were there until 10:30 tonight finishing up the thing, which is not only half an hour past the scheduled class time, but also at least an hour later than she usually keeps us.  5:30 is going to come awfully early tomorrow.

Anyway, that’s a long build-up to say that in a bar scene in the movie, they were playing “At This Moment”, by Billy Vera and the Beaters.  I adore that song, but I can never hear it without remembering the first place I ever heard it, which was on an old episode of Family Ties.  Well, since my classmates had not been around to see The Accused in first run, it also makes sense that they looked at me like I was a little crazy when I started to wax nostalgic about a wonderful moment between Alex and Ellen, and how that song is forever melded to that television moment for me.  Kids just don’t know what they’re missing out on.

If you’ve never seen it, or would like to relive that magical (though heart-breaking) moment, you can watch the episode on Hulu.  Fittingly, it’s called “The Real Thing”.  It’s a two part episode, but “the song” and the accompanying dance are at the end of part one.

At This Moment 6-19-13

  Also, because I love a good romance story as much as the next person, I also just love the fact that Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan actually fell in love while they were working together on Family Ties, and even now, 25 years later, they’re still together, and by all accounts, still happy.  That’s a wonderful thing for any couple in any walk of life, but for a Hollywood couple, it seems pretty rare.  Especially if you think about the health challenges Fox has faced; that can’t be easy on a marriage.  I love the fact that they’re still a couple.

And did you know Fox has a new show out this fall?  I’m pretty impressed with that, too, given those health challenges just mentioned.  I’ve always enjoyed his work, including his recent recurring guest role on The Good Wife, and I’m looking forward to seeing if the new show lives up to his past reputation.  Still a few months before we’ll know, though, but I’ll definitely be tuning in to give it a once-over at least.  But even though he’s older now, and has had dozens of roles since the days of Alex P. Keaton, I will still see him in that one pivotal scene from a sitcom from days gone by, dancing to a song I adore.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Man Who Writes the Songs


As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, I am a life-long fan of Barry Manilow.  Some might say his music is just a bunch of silly love songs, or simplistic, or even sappy, and I don’t think I have an argument for any of that.  Except, of course, to say, “So what?”  I’ve got nothing against sappy, and I’m not looking for my musical diversions to crank up my brain power.  And as for silly love songs, heck, even Paul McCartney agrees that there’s nothing wrong with them, and who wants to argue with Sir Paul?

Anyway, it’s Barry’s birthday today, so I thought it only fitting that I should say yet again how much I enjoy his music.  The part that’s astounding to me, though, is that the man is no 70 years old.  Can you believe that?  Seventy.  Somehow, against all logic, that makes me feel like I must be a hundred.  He’s a generation ahead of me, so he’s not my contemporary, but hearing his age makes me feel very old for some reason.  It seems like I’ve been listening to him all my life.  And, really, he released his first album when I was only ten years old, so he has been around for most of my life.  Add to that the way that listening to someone’s old music makes them seem frozen in time, and you can understand my amazement at the man’s true age.

Also, it was only a year ago the last time I saw him in concert, and while he might not be zipping around the stage quite the way he was thirty or forty years ago, I promise you that he also was not looking like a near septuagenarian.  I was worn out just watching him and seat-dancing along with the music.  Which now makes me think that I’d really like to see him again.  My friend, Kim, and I have seen him many times before, and I’d hate to see the tradition end.  A quick web search reveals that he’ll be performing in my neighboring state of Texas in just a couple of weeks.  I wonder if Kim is up for an impromptu road trip?

Anyway, happy birthday, Mr. Manilow.  Thanks for the music and the memories, and here’s hoping that you’re still making both for a long time to come.

BarryManilow 6-17-13

Image courtesy of Weatherman90 at en.wikipedia

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Snapshot Sunday, June 16


Well, here we are at the end of another weekend, and I’m once again going to bed without accomplishing nearly everything I had hoped to.  Oh, well, you can only do what you can do, right?  All the must-dos got done, and even a couple of the should-dos, so I guess I’ll call it a win.

Let’s get going with this week’s pictures and then I’ll head off to dream land to get ready to start another long week.  As always, photo prompts are provided by Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim.

9.  From Down Low

  Prompt:  From down low.  Underneath my favorite tree, a mimosa. (Which is just starting to bloom, yay!)








10.  You!


  Prompt:  You! Hard at work in my new office.  Well, not really.  And, it’s not really my office, yet, either.  I’m still the odd man out until the girl I’m replacing actually has her last day, which will be around the end of July.











11.  Something Funny


  Prompt:  Something funny.  Two of my classmates, Chancee and Laura.  They always make me laugh.






12.  11 O'clock


  Prompt: 11 O’clock.  Proofreading a response to some motion or another.











13.  Kitchen


  Prompt:  Kitchen.  Okay, technically, this is the break room at work.  But, it’s where we prepare our lunches and eat them, so I say that’s like a work kitchen, right?  Though this wasn’t lunch time, but a birthday celebration.  The young girl on the left is Calley, the birthday girl; she’s the one training me to take over her position.  And the other is Tara, our case manager.







14.  Texture


  Prompt:  Texture.  It’s probably not exactly proper to say so, but I like this picture; I’m pleased with how it turned out.







15.  From Above


 Prompt:  From above.  Okay, this one is a cheat, since I took this photo almost two years ago.  But it’s one of my favorite “above” pictures, taken from a tiny (terrifying!) sea plane above Vancouver and the surrounding mountains and glaciers.  I have to say that I’m glad I overcame my terror and took the flight; it was beautiful up there, and one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

And that’s the photos for this past week.  Drop by Chantelle’s site for the full list if you’d like to play along; I like to see other people’s pictures, too.  So now, goodnight, and a wish for a great week ahead for all of you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Six Word Rotation



Sleep, homework, sleep more, homework, sleep.

It’s another Six Word Saturday.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Question Payday



It’s Friday, and boy am I ever glad!  Not sure what finally caught up with me today—lack of sleep, iffy diet, lack of exercise, or the head cold thing I was fighting earlier this week—but I went out for lunch today and had a small heat attack—got too dizzy to keep walking and had to call Brian to come get me and drive me back to work.  Which, incidentally, was only about three blocks away.  Ridiculous. Not sure what was going on, but even though I went back to work, I made sure to take it easy and drink lots of water. 

Unfortunately, the lunch I was on my way to was the legal assistant association that awarded me the scholarship, so I feel really badly that I couldn’t get there to accept the honor in person. 

On the upside of the day, I got my first paycheck.  If I haven’t already said so, I’ll explain that I’m not exactly signed up for a mega-million contract, but it still feels nice to be earning an income again.

But, enough of all that.  Let’s get on to the questions, because I’m seriously considering going to bed about eight o’clock tonight.

five question friday


1. What do you appreciate most about your children's Dad?

In terms of his Dad-hood, I most appreciate his stability and responsibility.  Being a good provider might not be the most important thing about being a parent, but there’s no denying that it is important.  I’m grateful that I never had to worry whether my kid would have a roof over his head or food on the table.

2. Do you always wear your seat belt?

Well, most always.  Often if I’m sitting in the backseat—which doesn’t happen all that often—I don’t buckle up.  The belts in back are far more uncomfortable than the ones in front.  Of course, I know that’s a poor excuse, and I should wear the belt regardless of the circumstances, but that dang back seat is my weak spot.  But if I’m in the front seat, always.

3. Do you dream and do you remember them?

I do dream, though I remember them far less frequently and vividly than I used to.  More than an actual memory, I am often left with some sort of feeling, so often all I know is if it was a good dream or closer to a nightmare.

4. What is one thing you swore you'd never let your kids do before having them, that you have now changed your ways about?

Honestly, I don’t know that there is anything.  Not because I’m all that good at sticking to things, but because I just don’t know that there was anything I put on the “not in my house” list.  Something that I am is fairly practical, and when I go into something new, I easily recognize I don’t have all the answers, so I don’t make too many grand proclamations about how I’m going to do it. 

Oh, but now that I’ve said all that, I will say that there was one thing I did say I wouldn’t do:  spank my kid with a belt.  Let me be clear:  as a kid, I was disciplined and not abused, but as an adult, I decided that no weapon was necessary to do that.  I’ll admit that I spanked my son a few times, but there was never more involved than my hand on his butt.

5. If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?

I’d like to say that I’d wish for world peace, or something completely altruistic like that, but I’d need at least two wishes before I’d get to that, maybe three.  But if I could have only one wish, it would have to be for my son to truly find happiness in his life.  I know there are a lot of pieces involved in allowing a person to be happy, but I do worry that he’s not managing to put those pieces together so far.

There you have it; this week’s questions.  Thanks for dropping by, and if you’d like to see other answers, drop by and visit with Mama M.  Have a good weekend!

You Have the Right


So, I was doing my usual browse through the This Day in History site when I came upon something that definitely caught my eye:  today is the anniversary of the landmark Miranda ruling. Yep, on this date back in 1966, the Supreme Court handed down Miranda v. Arizona, the decision that led to criminals (alleged and otherwise) being advised of their Constitutional rights when they are taken into custody.   (To be clear, June 13 is the day, since it’s going to be “tomorrow” before this posts!)

Miranda 6-13-13

  I’m sure we’ve all heard this spiel so many times on television and in the movies that we can recite it ourselves, even without any sort of personal experience with the process.  It’s so commonplace that it’s kind of hard to imagine that there was a time when the police could just arrest you for whatever reason and then just hang onto you until they got their confession.  Who knew you had an actual right to keep your mouth shut?  Sure, maybe anybody (including Mr. Miranda) should have had sense enough to figure it out, but who would’ve thought it was an actual law?                                                Image courtesy of sattva at

My classes this summer are Juvenile Law and Criminal Law, and in both, we’ve been talking about the rights and responsibilities contained within our legal processes.  Today in particular we were talking about search and seizure laws and how they come into play in different circumstances.  I wish I’d known a few hours ago about today’s momentous anniversary; I bet I could’ve scored some extra credit.  Or at least some brownie points.

Oh, also, you might not know (I didn’t understand this for many years of my life) that when the USSC takes on a case, it’s rarely just one case.  They often elect to hear several cases at once that rest on the same general legal issue.  That’s how it was in this case, too.  I’m not sure how they choose how the cases are listed, order of filing would be my guess.  Anyway, the point is, along with Miranda, the USSC also heard arguments on California v. Stewart, Vignera v. New York, and Westover v. United States.  Just imagine, rather than your Miranda rights, you could be hearing the “Vignera”  spiel rattled off at every arrest.  Doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same way, does it?

So happy anniversary, Miranda; here’s to 47 years of due process.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday, June 12


Another week with no change in weight, though you can look at the activity and see the reason—too much time sitting on my butt.  Never mind that the butt-sitting is the result of gainful employment and brain-wracking school work, it’s still sitting.  I’m not even going to pretend I’ve figured out the answer.  I didn’t have the energy and motivation to do much before I was working, much less now.  But I’m not giving up.  If I keep it in the back of my head, I’m convinced it’ll work its way to the top eventually, and things will start rolling along again.  I think a couple of the ladies at the office might walk during lunch, so maybe soon I’ll see if I can join them, though most of my lunch breaks have been spent studying or working on some project or another. 

I have been managing to take my lunch most days for the past week, so that helps a bit with calorie control.  And I’ve been forcing myself to take the time to make a fruit smoothie for breakfast in the morning.  That helps with the energy throughout the day (surprising how much energy it takes to sit in an office all day, really), and keep me from being famished come lunch time, so I hopefully won’t eat anything in sight. 

I swear, if I ever figure out the true secret to weight loss for the unmotivated slugs like me, I’m going to write a book.






25 jumping jacks






25 jumping jacks



140 minutes fitdesk



156 minutes fitdesk














Image courtesy of africa at

Nothing On TV


Well, here it is, Tube Day Tuesday again, and I wish I could be regaling you with some tales of enjoyable TV viewing.  Instead, I’ll have to tell you about a couple of things that are upcoming, as soon as I can get this stupid math course under control.  I mean, I suppose I could tell you again how much I really don’t get along with math.  Or I could tell you how truly annoyed I’m going to be if this class jacks up my GPA, when I don’t even need it for my real degree.  But the only thing all that has to do with television is that it’s the reason I’m not getting to watch any these days.  Really, I’m lucky if there’s an hour or so playing during dinner time.  After that, forget about it; I’ve got homework to do.

So, within the next couple of weeks or so, I hope to give you my impressions of USA Network’s new show, Graceland, and I hope to chat with you a bit about the now-defunct TNT series, Raising the Bar.

But, all of that has to come after compound interest, geometry, probabilities, and whatever else is it we’ve got to cover before this summer is over.   All in all, I’d certainly rather be watching TV.

No TV 6-12-13

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Monday, June 10, 2013

Doodle Dandy


You know, I’m certainly of an age that Google can still amaze me pretty easily.  No loads of encyclopedias and stacks of reference books to find that one obscure fact, no card catalogue to find those stacks of books, no microfiche/film machines to strain your eyesight—and your patience.  Information at your fingertips 24/7, even information you would never have thought to search for.  Really, when I say it amazes me, I mean that fairly literally, even if I do take it for granted now and again. 

But you know what’s almost as cool as having a world of facts and figures at your beck and call?  Google Doodles.  I’ll admit it: sometimes I pull up the home page even when I don’t need to search anything, just to see if there’s something whimsical to amuse me for a couple of minutes.


Today, in honor of what would have been Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday, we take a stroll through some colorful worlds, with Max leading the way. 

Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, they’re all fair game for some doodle fun.  And not just your normal, run-of-the mill celebratory days; you never really know what kind of doodle you might find.  But, of course, all you have to do is click through the art to find more information on the day’s topic.  Fun and educational; does it get any better than that?

Well, it could be better than that, if one of your very own ideas showed up on the Google home page!  If you’ve got something you think is doodle worthy, you can drop them a line at  I wish I had some grand idea, but for right now, I’ve got nothing. 

If you’ve got a few minutes (or more), and want to browse through some of the whimsy, you can find the museum of doodles here.  Oh, and they’ve even got a Zazzle shop, just in case you want to take that whimsy from the computer screen and have it with you always.  I bet no one ever wanted a tee shirt or mug with a card catalogue on it. 


Snapshot Sunday, June 9


Having only been back at the work gig for a week, is it too early to say that the weekends are too short?  Probably wouldn’t seem that way if I wasn’t stressing over school already; have I mentioned how much I really don’t get along with math?  Even the easy stuff.  But I’m plugging along, trying to get a tiny bit ahead so when the real workload kicks in in the other classes, I won’t be totally overwhelmed.

But, enough of that.  I have to go in to work a bit early tomorrow (yeah, after only one week!), and I need to get to bed soon, so let’s take a look at this week’s pictures.  I have to say, I’m not particularly thrilled with some of them, but it was fun to be looking around to take a picture every day again.  Thanks to Chantelle for the prompts.

2.  A moment


  Prompt:  A moment.  I went out for a short walk, and over the crunch of the gravel, I heard singing.  Looking around, I saw this little guy.  Of course I had to stop to watch and listen for a minute.










3.  On my table


  Prompt:  On my table.  This is what’s on my school table today—and probably every day for the next couple of months.  I mentioned that I’m not really a fan, right?





4.  After dark


  Prompt:  After dark.  Apparently not too many people want to spend their summer weeknights at school.  The place is like a ghost town.



5.  Environment


  Prompt:  Environment.  Part of our new backyard environment after last week’s storm knocked this poor old thing to its knees.





6.  Transport


  Prompt:  Transport.  I think the picture speaks for itself in terms of the daily prompt, but Brian is not only a car guy in general, but a Chevelle guy in particular.  I thought he’d appreciate this.








7.  Bright


  Prompt:  Bright.  The final moments of brightness before night claims the sky.








8. An animal


  Prompt:  An animal.  This is Dreamsicle, one of our kittens. 

And that’s a wrap on my first full week of photo a day.  Fun times.  Let’s see what’s next.