Still at Work

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“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” — Steven King

As my writing journey continues and progress is made, I understand more than ever this Steven King quote.  I have written over 20 children’s series books in the last two years and am halfway finished with an adult murder mystery and a middle school fantasy.

When I started writing after my retirement two years ago,  I was proud of my dedication.  Day after day I wrote, creating new stories and adding interesting titles to the collection.  I built a website and investigated getting published.

Then the real labor started.  I read the stories to school age children. I discovered flaws that were not evident after all my editing.  I worked diligently to improve my story flow.  I discovered free editing software.  Grammarly and ProWritingAid.  Low and behold, another world of corrections opened up and I spent hours reworking my original material.  I presented the stories to other adult readers, who continued to critique with a fine-toothed comb.  Additional changes followed.

I needed to get my work out there!  I joined Ludington Writers, a group that supports and sustains local writers.  Some of the members are published, some are seeking those opportunities, and others are content to share their work without trying to interest a publisher.  Although weekly meetings are held, readings and feedback are conducted on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.  I met some of the best poets, non-fiction and fiction writers,  novelists, playwrights and children’s authors on the planet!

Did I think my work was unflawed by the time I shared?  Not a chance.  I was ready for another round of editing, and I got just that.  My most important achievement was calling myself a writer and being recognized for one.  The positive support I receive from the group tells me I am headed in the right direction.  I am preparing my first book for submittal in September of this year and I am hoping it gets picked up by a publisher.

Creative writing has been a learning curve.  With a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, I spent years writing lesson plans, goals, objectives, and learning targets for my classroom and various school districts.  But every month now, I am meeting and surrounding myself with other authors.  I am renewed, almost born again.  There will be no rocking chair and knitting for this former teacher!  My new, yet old career, is keeping me busier than any job I’ve held since my first paycheck.  I hope someday there will be some financial gain from my labor.  I would like to say I’m in it for the satisfaction of self-expression, but that would be a lie.  I hope this will be my most enjoyable employment yet!

 

 

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Affordable Get-Away Family Fun

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If you live in lower Michigan, Ohio, or Indiana there is a getaway within five or less hours that will be so memorable, your children will be bugging you to go back every year.

I heard about the Red Caboose from a teacher friend of mine when I was trying to choose a spring break destination without going all the way to Florida from Michigan.  The traveling group would consist of my youngest child, my firstborn daughter, my grandson, and myself.  I was looking for economy but also outdoor adventure.  We all loved to hike and observe natural beauty so the trip would have to include some doable treks for the kids.

The Red Caboose in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio fit the bill.  I looked up the cabin information and was enchanted by the pictures of the property.  My youngest daughter and grandson would be eleven and three on our first visit.  At the time, Thomas the Train was my grandson’s favorite show so we were all excited to see his reaction when we arrived.

The Red Caboose is nestled in the Hocking Hills area, which is the foothills of the Appalachian chain.  The train car sits on a secluded five acre lot with outdoor fire pit and bar-be-cue facilities.  It is surrounded by the Wayne National Forest and offers numerous systems of trails within a few minute drive.  Ohio State Parks are also close, where you can visit Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, and Old Man’s Cave on moderate hikes, surrounded by gently rolling hills and crystal clear rivers and streams.  Most amazingly, the parks are all free to visitors so a great deal of your entertainment costs nothing.

The train car also fulfilled some of our other requirements.  We needed to be able to cook, wash dishes, and store refrigerator items to save money by preparing our meals.  All those tools were provided so we did not have to find restaurants or settle for cold sandwiches.  The interior of the car features sets of bunk beds and the kids never ceased playing in them until it was time to go to bed.  Another plus was the large bathroom at the back-end, which we did not expect.

At night, after returning from our daily outings, we would sit in our cozy cabin at the kitchen table, listening to the wind and the evening sounds of nature.  We read from the visitor’s diary and agreed with the writers.  This little place felt like home.

Our first stay was seven years ago, and the nightly rental for Monday through Thursday was only about $80.  The weekends are a little more.  I just checked and found you can still reserve an off-night for $99.  That is a super rate for a facility that offers dishes, microwave, bedding, a refrigerator, showering, outdoor privacy, and access to the natural beauty.  Premium weekend or holiday nights have gone up to $139 but it would be difficult to locate another property for less with all the amenities the little caboose offers.

Our spring break trips have been annual exploration vacations so we never return to the different destinations.  Except for the Red Caboose.  The kids begged us to go back there so we repeated the trip three years ago. Because we live far apart, we decided to celebrate Christmas and Easter during our break.  We brought a small tree, and decorations for both the holidays.  We exchanged presents and hid Easter Baskets.  My youngest daughter and grandson agreed it was the best get-away they could remember – Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in one week!  They both claim they saw the Easter Bunny for the first time, wandering outside before they found their baskets.

Since my last visit, I have acquired another grandson and will be meeting a new granddaughter in February of next year.   I will definitely be planning another visit so the newbies to the family will have a special destination vacation to always remember.

Here are a couple of websites for the Hocking Hills area:

http://www.hockinghills.com/

http://hockinghillscaboose.com/

Hope you get a chance to visit!

 

 

 

 

 

On Not Making It in the Music Business

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In my twenties I dreaded approaching thirty.  I bemoaned every new crease on my face and inspected my body continually for signs of the dreaded cellulite.  I frequently glanced at mirrors when passing through a department store and would pose with a Mona Lisa smile hoping admirers would be drawn to my hazel eyes and polished skin.  Although I was an intellectual and accomplished musician, I was more concerned with my outward appearance.  My beauty was developing on the outside but not on the inside. I blame this dilemma partly on myself and partly on the shallow cruelty of the music business, especially for women.

On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, with the birth of two incredible children behind me, I cried as I was entering a new decade. After dedicating the last ten years to making it in the music business, I knew I was entering the “over the hill” category for female performers trying to break into the world of successful recording artists.  I had toured, practiced 7 days a week, starved, and danced my way through my late teens and twenties, hoping for a chance at stardom.  I didn’t try to enter that world unprepared.  I had been a musician and performer from the age 5 when I began studying classical music.  After high school graduation I transitioned into music of the Top 40 hits and entered the rat race of agents, bookings, required song lists, road expenses, and trampled dreams of singing and selling original music.  I did quit my day job to lend this pursuit my fullest attention.

With the encouragement of fans and other music professionals, my prodigy guitar playing, writer, singer husband and I pulled up roots, said goodbye to our families, and headed for the rich music scene of the west coast.  We settled in the Portland, Oregon area where opportunities for original bands were being born at a steady pace.  More years of rat racing, crazy dieting, wrinkle cream, extended work outs.  The 80s were a time when female performers were required to be thin and perfect looking.  Gone were the days when sheer musical talent could earn you an opportunity at a record deal.  I felt lucky to have good genetics and was able to shave ten years off my appearance.  Most of the audiences I played for were in their early 20s and they assumed I was in the same spot.

At the end of a night when I would go home to my sleeping babies instead of heading for the all night party, I began to question this life style, and lose my enthusiasm for performing.  I was plagued with unanswered queries to God or whoever would listen.  Why was I given all this talent if I was not going to make it in the business?  Why was the business so brutal, especially for women?

It would great if I could say I received an answer.  No luck there.  I would have to learn through the school of time and painful hard knocks.  How long did it take to accept the harsh truths of a business that glorifies physical appearance over artistry?  Most modern performers are required to have both, or the minimum requirement of a svelte figure and gorgeous face.  Musical talent rates lower than attractiveness.  I still haven’t learned to accept the truth.  Hunter S.Thompson’s quote sums up the inner-workings of this deranged industry:

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

I continue to enjoy singing and playing in the comfort of my own home.  But now that I am retired and working on my inner beauty versus my outward appearance, I would not gather the following I once commanded.  Particularly since I don’t care if I sit in my comfortable ragged bathroom with no makeup on for the first part of the day.  I am smelling the flowers, writing, correcting relationship mistakes of my youth, learning to experience innocence and faith in humanity again.  Despite the new set of wrinkles on my forehead, my satisfaction meter leans to the right for all I have accomplished in life with my three children, teaching, and achieving a Master’s Degree.  My gold record is the large manila envelope of student letters thanking me for making a difference in their life.  My million dollars is the time I spent caring for both of my parents before their deaths from cancer.

I used to wonder, “What if….”.  Now I am loathe to dedicate my time to helping stimulate change in the music business. I am too happy living in my tiny home, surrounding by a wealth of loving family.  I am beginning to understand why older people start to act more childlike as they approach the final chapters of their humanity.  It’s just more fun to be a kid.  You can’t complete the full circle without traversing the whole ring.  Your ending point is your beginning.  I am free to perform now for myself, enjoying the production just for the love of singing and tickling the ivories.

 

 

 

 

 

The Top Ten Bargain Activities on the Central Oregon Coast

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*Most of these activities are free or charge a minimal amount for parking. If you are a senior, your Golden Passport lets you and a party of up to four, enter at no cost.

 

 

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1.  Lost Creek State Park, South Beach

Walk this pristine and secluded beach between Newport and Waldport on the Oregon Coast. There is access to a paved parking lot which is seldom full of visitors.  The view is expansive and you can always snag a section of sand for yourself to allow your private reverie to unfold.  The shore is deep and offers the far away surf sound you hear in relaxing sound recordings. It’s a delightful way to spend a sunny afternoon.  Just make sure to check the tide tables!

http://www.tides.net/oregon/1794/

 

2.  Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Newport

Visit the tidal pools and observe Pacific Coastal Life from atop high cliffs overlooking the ocean.  The pools are full of colorful marine animals but currently have fewer starfish due to the wasting disease that has plagued that species. A dizzying look at the vastness of the sea. There is an excellent chance you will get to spot the migrating grey whale just past the rocks.  Be sure and bring along your binoculars!

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3.  Public Fishing Pier at the Port of Newport in Yaquina Bay

You will get help from your fellow wayfarers if you’re a first-time crabber. Most people here go out of their way to be friendly and helpful. Dungeness and Red Rocks will be your targets and it’s not too difficult to snag a meal if you’re patient. Residents pay only $7 a year for a license. Non-residents pay around $11 for a 3 day and $20 for an annual. Just make sure you can identify the Dungeness males and take a crab ruler for the minimum size requirements.  This is a major gathering place for families, serious fisherman, and anyone interested in the chance to trap this delectable shellfish. The Rogue Brewery is located in the parking lot at the Pier, so if the crabbing is slow, you could visit this first-rate Ales and Spirits Pub. Don’t forget to bring your dog as furry friends are always welcome on this part of the coast.

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4.  Haystack Rock, Pacific City

There is more than one Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast but Pacific City’s is 100′ taller than its famous counterpart in Cannon Beach. This area is a favorite for tourists who like to wander off the beaten path. Pacific City is visited a little less than other coastal cities probably due to its location off Highway 101. That fact just adds to the charm of this coastal burg.  Your visit to the area wouldn’t be complete without a drive on the beach.  Pacific City has three vehicle access points and the locals invite you to enjoy motoring on the sands. Although small, its downtown area hosts a number of eateries and a couple of places to grab a cocktail if you so choose. These waters are one of the few areas you can watch the launching of the Fishing Dories and observe them battling the Pacific shore waves on their way to catch the fish of the day.

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5.  Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Siuslaw National Forest

There is a dizzying drive up Highway 101 to reach this highest spot on the Oregon Coast. You will find your destination about three miles south of the town of Yachats. Once you arrive in the parking lot, be sure to purchase a cup of gourmet coffee at the service building if the barista is in attendance. Each cup is brewed fresh with the finest beans Oregon has to offer!  The park features tide pools, churns, spouting horns, amazing coastal views, and a pristine forest hike down to the accessible beach area. Let yourself get mesmerized by the crashing, rolling waves. This visit would not be complete without an “up top” excursion to the scenic area above the cape.  Towering cliffs give way to the most expansive view you will probably ever see on the Pacific Coast. Be careful with the steep edges, especially with your pets.  They don’t have fences to hold you back!

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6.  Izzy’s Buffet, Newport

This buffet restaurant is at the top of the hill on the edge of Newport when heading north on Highway 101.  The menu features a variety of pizzas, several meat entrees, and lots of fresh salads and sides choices. It costs about $10 for lunch, and about $14 for dinner for an adult. This diners’ unique characteristic is the inner seating surrounded by windows that look out over the Pacific. You can’t beat this view when you’re enjoying your meal. The cooks are excellent and the wait staff and management do a bang-up job of keeping the eatery very clean.

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7.  Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence

This magnificent lighthouse, which during its early years could only be accessed by ship, is hauntingly beautiful.  The property features a state restored lighthouse and the original lightkeeper’s dwelling, now operating as a Bed and Breakfast Inn. You access the buildings by hiking up a steep path on the edge of a wild Pacific forest.  Numerous guests have claimed the domicile is haunted. When visiting, you are allowed to tour all the way to the beacon and also visit a portion of the home where a docent will fill you in on its history, past and present.  Here you can get updated with the news of any ghostly apparitions.  Sitting on the wide front porch, one could almost picture Heathcliff sauntering down the garden path on his way back to Wuthering Heights. Unlike Bronte’s novel setting, this environment is filled with light and the charm of a bygone era in Coastal history.

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8.  Drift Creek Wilderness, N. Beaver Creek Rd., north of Otter Rock

Drift Creek Wilderness area is accessed by traveling North on Beaver Creek Road, located across from Ona Beach State Park entrance. You will travel a few miles until the road for the wilderness area splits off to the right and narrows. After several miles, the pavement gives way to gravel and finally comes to an end following numerous switchbacks.  This drive will ascend you into the Coast’s largest stand of old-growth trees where you can stop anywhere along the way.  The environment becomes increasingly peaceful as the sound of the ocean becomes a distant whisper.  You might feel like Thumbelina among the gargantuan Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock.  If you visit this enchanting place during the rainy season of the fall, you will likely be able to collect as many Chanterelles as you wish.  They are one of the tastiest mushrooms in the world. This is a place where you can breathe fresh coastal mountain air and ponder the meaning of life.  It’s a bonus when you realize you will probably be the only one visiting on that day!

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9.  Drift Creek Falls, South of Lincoln City

This is not to be confused with Drift Creek Wilderness. The Falls trail is located closer to Lincoln City and accessed by turning off Highway 101 onto Drift Creek Road.  After about 10 miles you will arrive at the trailhead.  It is worth the time and effort to take this hike.  A 350′ suspension bridge crosses the creek at one point, from which you can view the impressive falls spewing forth from a sheer rock wall. Part of the cliff cleaved off in 2010, but the scenery and Falls still remain breathtaking. The numerous side trail roads as you journey to the parking area offer some choice spots for a private picnic.

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10.  North Beaver Creek Road Scenic Route to Toledo

Turn on North Beaver Creek Road across from Ona Beach State Park and continue for a few miles, forking to the left at the junction, away from Drift Creek Wilderness.  This relaxing outing will cost you about 1 1/2 hours of time while you approach Toledo from the backcountry. The journey is dreamlike as the narrowing road winds down to a single lane, bringing to mind frontier days of horse and buggy.  Along the way, you can view several homesteads and wonder what it would be like to live that far from civilization, especially on those pitch black coastal nights. It is also a jaunt on which you might meet an elk or black bear sauntering across the road. There is nowhere to stop for gas, beverages, or a bathroom break, so make sure you are prepared. This idyllic, timeless drive is worth the effort. Around midway, you reach the peak of elevation and are able to view the gently rolling mountains of the Coastal land.  If you desire a longer back trail drive, you can head all the way to Corvallis and several other places without ever traveling on a highway.

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 These places are some of the most beautiful on the Oregon Coast and cost very little or nothing to explore. If you are going to be spending any time around the Newport area, the mini nature tours will keep you occupied and teach you a wealth of information about Oregon’s coastal beauty.  There are too many breathtaking scenic spots to mention as you navigate your way down Highway 101 from Lincoln City to Florence.

Just one more note.  If you want the freshest, best tasting seafood on the Oregon Coast, go no further than the little South Beach market.  Don’t let the beat-up outside picnic tables and ramshackle inner restaurant section fool you. You will notice a full house with a waiting line as you drive by in the summer months.  There’s a reason for that. Nothing tastes better than their dinners and you don’t have to dress-up. The menu offers everything from fresh Dungeness to Halibut, a personal favorite.  They also sell fresh raw seafood if you wish to do the cooking yourself.

Enjoy your visit!

 

 

 

Living Simply

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2015-04-28-13-13-01In my early 20s, I dreamed of making it in the music business.  Nothing made me happier than playing and singing on stage.  I toured and practiced and worked 7 days a week to make it.  I never got the formula right although I continued to pursue the career for another 25 years until I lost my zest for traveling and performing on stage.  I moved on to completing my education and earning a Masters’ degree in teaching.  I did something I vowed I would never do.  Taught music.  To elementary students.  I thought I found my passion but was drawn to other areas of teaching.  The money wasn’t great, but overall, I earned more per year and had better insurance coverage than when I was a performer.

I started to climb up the financial ladder, and soon was able to purchase a new home.  It was modest by wealthy standards, but well-built, quality, and in a great country neighborhood.  We had the two SUVs, traveled and bought anything we wanted.  My husband’s job was steady, and since he was in the construction trade, he was gaining ground in earnings and reputation.

Then a tragedy occurred.  He nearly died in a car accident, and due to the loss of his job for many months, our home became subject to foreclosure.  I was not able to make the payments on my own.

We moved and built our lives again.  We saved and eventually had a large down payment for another big house, one we had been living in that was owned by the company for which my husband worked.  The company began having some financial difficulty and the property needed to be sold rapidly to satisfy the banknote.  My husband and I tried every mortgage company and seemed to be blocked from purchasing the home.  We lost the house to another buyer.

That was a turning point.  We had enough money to continue searching for another home in the same area.  My husband had a successful side business in addition to his job with the company and I taught at a district where I worked for nearly a decade.  We questioned our motives.  We contemplated our happiness.  We checked our bucket list.

After inventorying the things that would make us happy, we decided on a course that would have our families calling us crazy.  We got rid of every worldly thing we owned.  We bought a small travel trailer and a membership to an RV park chain for the Pacific Northwest.  We had a gigantic giveaway in our big red barn, where all friends and relatives were told to “Come and get it”.  Everything was free.  Anything left was donated to the Salvation Army.  It took a month, and countless truckloads to finally clear our the barn.  The freebies included items like jewelry, designer clothes, antique collections, fishing equipment, tools, large equipment, and of course every stick of furniture.

When we left Michigan, we traveled to all the spots we wanted to see on the Oregon Trail, including Yellowstone.  We stayed at numerous parks in the Northwest,  hiking trails and taking in all the beauty.  We only carried enough supplies in our trailer to cook meals, and both have a few changes of clothes.  It was the happiest year of our marriage.  We went crabbing for Dungeness, hunted the coastal mountains for Chanterelles (we picked so many we actually sold a ton of them to a mushroom dealer), whale watched, enjoyed the antics of the sea lions, fished the coastal reservoirs, walked breathtaking beachfront, and spent countless hours cruising the crisscrossing network of back trails adjacent to the Oregon Pacific Highways.  Our daily ritual involving an evening campfire where we quietly sat listening to the ocean and the local fauna.

A family tragedy caused us to move back to Michigan after a year but we had learned something about ourselves.  One, you really can’t take it with you when you go.  “Stuff” does not equal happiness.  In fact, the more we got rid of, the happier and lighter we felt.  When we moved back to the East Coast, lest we fall again into the trap of collecting material goods, we immediately bought a tiny cabin in need of TLC for a price less than a new car. Purchased on a land contract, it barely costs anything to heat.  The electric bill is low.  We live in an area where everyone hunts and fishes, so what my husband does not bring in himself, we are given by friends and relatives.  I have found I can do without so many things I used to believe necessary.  “Things” create energy that takes up space in your house and in your mind.  That’s not to say I don’t have pretty dishes on my rack, or some collector teapots on display.  However, I have turned down numerous free items, now realizing I don’t need the clutter.

I found my peaceful niche.  I retired this year and my creative abilities seem to be at their highest level.  I have been writing for hours on a daily basis, and whether or not I become published is not the most important thing.  I am creating and therefore becoming fulfilled on a spiritual level.  This makes me rich even if no one buys a single book I have written. I work on self-improvement.  That is making me a happier person.

I’m glad I never had a crystal ball.  I wouldn’t have understood my current life.  I might have thought I’d given up my earlier dreams of wealth and security.  I know now that nothing is secure except your belief in yourself.  Connections and relationships are the gold.  Creative expression is the winning lottery ticket.  Freedom and bucket list check-offs are equal to the silver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving my Acer Chromebook

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There are some good reasons why I would support the use of a Chromebook for Writing.

acerchromebookReason 1:

My Chromebook was the most affordable device at a time when I did not have extra money to spare.  I have used it exclusively for over 2 1/2 years and only paid $134 for it in June of 2014 from E-Bay.  The price included the cost of shipping. That’s the least of money you could expect to spend on a device that gives you almost as many options as a desktop.

Reason 2:

It is the lightest, most portable self-contained typing device I have found.  My Acer fits inside a large purse, and it about the same size as a business letter page.  It is so thin I have slipped it into a side pocket of a briefcase, carried it under my arm, and even carted it around in a plastic shopping bag.  I enjoy the lightweight design and prefer not to be chained to a desktop, or carry around a larger, heavier, laptop.

Reason 3:

It has never crashed or let me down.  I expected it to quit working long before now just for the constant operation. I used it exclusively during my teaching assignments for the past two years.  It ran for hours each day.  I  typed, displayed slide shows, played videos, watched motives, listened to music (amplified by a portable Bluetooth as the internal speaker is not that loud) and presented lesson plans daily on a whiteboard.

Reason 4:

It connects faster to the Internet than any other device or computer I have used.  The connection is there the second I click on the Chrome Icon.  It works the same with a wired connection, Wi-Fi, or a hot spot.  Any delay was repaired simply by closing the cover and re-opening it.

Reason 5:

Long battery life.  I can perform a lot of functions before the battery gives out, even with my constant use.  It also charges very quickly so if I do lose power, I am up and running again within 15-20 minutes.

Reason 6:

Easy access to all my Google files and Connections.  I have access to 3 different drives, a professional log in, my teenage daughter’s profile, and my personal profile all on this Chromebook.  It sometimes takes a couple of tries to toggle between users, but it always lets me or my daughter access all of our files, including Amazon Accounts, Kindle Cloud Reader, and several others apps we use on a daily basis.

Reason 7:

The keyboard is designed for light and fast typing.  Last year I taught Computer skills.  The school district did away with desktops and went with personal Ipads and Bluetooth portable keyboards.  That was a hassle!  The connections often did not work.  The plug-in adapters on the first keyboards began to break.  The second replacements were better but quite individually expensive.  After a few months, the keys began to stick.  This does not happen with my Chromebook.  I open it up and am able to type at a fast pace, with nothing to plug in or break.

Reason 8:

It just does not get viruses.  I’ve never had one, but I have also heard even if you do, you can easily get rid of them by resetting your Chromebook.

Hopefully, I have informed you of an affordable choice, should something happen to that expensive laptop, or another device you use to write.  You don’t have to go broke or end up being forced to use a computer at work or the library because your home computer crashed.  I hope my Chromebook continues to work as well as it has.  If its’ life ended, it wouldn’t be a major drain on my budget to replace it with another.  Keeping work on a couple of drives ensures I will be able to sign in and access all my files using any tool.

UPDATE:  2018

At the beginning of this year, my oldest daughter gifted me with a wonderful, practical present – a new Chromebook!  It runs like a champ, is a little bigger, and even more dependable than my old one.  But my first model is still being used by my younger daughter, who also watches movies on the device almost every night.

Yeah for the Chromebooks – Carry on!!!

 

 

 

 

Old but yet New

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35270-quotes-about-writingMy mother’s dream was to be a published writer.  With eight children and a full-time job, she still managed to attend writers’ classes at a local college but never received a degree. Her stories were mesmerizing and I grew up asking her to read them to me over and over. I still have copies of some of her work and though she never published anything, I always believed she could have sold a lot of children’s’ books.  I thought I would be a writer. I did compose stories, poetry, lyrics, and kept a journal until my high school years. I wrote papers, reports, letters, slide presentations, recommendations, lesson plans, grants,  a Master’s thesis, gen ed and special ed curriculum and short stories whenever I found the time.  I made a few attempts at getting published but didn’t follow through.

The strongest creative pull in the early part of my life proved to be playing an instrument and singing.  I was classically trained from the age of five through high school, but ended up playing keyboard and performing as a lead singer for a rock band!  I pursued a music career from my teen years into my 40s, when I returned to college and earned my M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction.  I traveled and taught in many different districts until my retirement this year.

My last teaching assignment was a return to elementary ed, where I was the computer teacher for 508 students! Although I sometimes miss the camaraderie of my peers and daily interactions with kids, I am finally able to spend time writing every day.   I was lucky to have had the most excellent 3rd through 5th-grade students during this last year.  They were the inspiration for a series of children’s’ books I am creating  These short picture books feature a brown stuffed rat named Herbert who actually became the class mascot for the entire elementary school.  The stories are told from Herbert’s point of view, and have very little adult interaction, as my character is mostly interested in the activities of the 3rd-5th graders at the school.  There is a little magic, friendship, hardship, adventure, and a couple of life lessons contained in the series.

I am looking to publish for the first time on Kindle’s e-book offerings.  I welcome all advice and mentoring! Being goal oriented, I am determined to pursue this career during these best years of my life.  Hoping to hear from some of you!

UPDATE:  August 2018

With membership in my local Writer’s Group, I realized I want to seek a traditional publisher for my Herbert Series.  I concluded writing 20+ books and feel pursuing that avenue would be more beneficial to my career.  I will be sending one of my first edited books in September of this year, hoping it gets picked up!  Wish me luck!