Thursday, August 29, 2013

What my Children will do Differently - phones




For those of you who remember the picture above—raise your hands!  I know I’m dating myself with this next comment…Do you remember party lines?  You’d pick up the phone and the party that shared your phone line would be talking away totally oblivious to your need to make a phone call.  Plus, there were no secrets, because what you said was always heard by others! 

Today our kids have digital phones, no longer connected to a physical wire, and no longer overheard by another party on the line!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Thank You to our Heroes

A photo of the blaze in Yosemite.
 
For the past several days I have watched in shock as a wildfire has disseminated hundreds of thousands of acres in and around Yosemite National Park. Firefighters from all across this country have arrived on the scene trying to put out the flames that lick across inaccessible terrain along the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This is no small blaze.  I live nearly one-hundred-and-fifty miles from the blaze and have been breathing in the smoke and dust that have channeled into our small valley.
It made me think of how fortunate we are to have heroes around us. Individuals willing to give up their lives for our safety and our well-being.
Armed Forces – Thank you to all the men and women who serve our country and protect our borders.  I can sleep at night because you are there, sacrificing your lives for us.
Fireman – Thank you for your efforts to protect our homes, our livelihoods, and our parks.
Policemen – There have been those few times that I have received a ticket and I’d be honest in saying you aren’t my most favorite person.  But I thank you for protecting us, and putting your lives on the line to do so.

Thank you to each and every one of my Heroes!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Love Post-It Notes



I love Post-It notes.  I have them in ever size, from small to large.  I have them in pink, blue, lavender and even the traditional yellow.  I have them in solid colors and imprinted with someone’s logo.  I have them in different shapes:  squares, rectangles, and hearts.  I have them stuck everywhere and I use them in ways I’m sure the inventers had not anticipated.
Knowing my addiction to Post-It notes, I thought a fun blog would be describing the 101 useful ways to use a Post-It note.  Instead, while researching more uses I found a brief history of the little scraps of paper.  Did you know they were made by accident?
In 1968, Spencer Silver worked at 3M with a focus on creating an extremely strong adhesive for the aerospace industry.  Instead, he created an incredibly weak pressure sensitive adhesive that no one could find a use for. That is until Vice President of Technical Operations for 3M Geoff Nicholson, a member of a church choir, kept losing the small pieces of paper he’d place in a hymnal for markers.  He wondered if the adhesive, weak enough to be peeled away from almost any surface easily, would be the answer to his problem.
Almost seven years after Silver's original discovery they could finally market a saleable product.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Still the road to these new sticky-backed papers was not an easy one until the Post-It frenzy hit Boise, Idaho.  Huge samples of Post-It notes were given away to anyone who would take them as a sort of bribe to get them to try them.  And the town wanted more--they loved them! 
Today, Post-It notes are in the Top 5 of bestselling office supplies.  They’re number one in my book! 
So maybe another day I’ll look into the 101 useful ways to use them, but until then you can say you know how they came to be.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What does one do with all that Zucchini?

 
Tired of Zucchini bread, muffins, and cakes?  Can you only grill so much Zucchini or slice it thin and hide it in layers inside a lasagna so your kids don't realize they're having veges with their meal?  Here's a variation of something I stumbled on...

Zucchini Bake


1 Zucchini, cubed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (I use the one flavored with garlic)
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 large Tomato, chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms
Garlic Salt
Parmesan Cheese
Bacon Bits  (I used read ones.)


Heat oven to 375

Take a medium casserole and spray with non-stick coating.

Chop vegetables.

Mix Zucchini and Olive Oil and place in bottom of casserole.  Follow with Onion, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms.  Sprinkle with Garlic Salt.  Sprinkle enough Parmesan Cheese to cover the top.  Then top with bacon bits.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes.  It may take longer depending on the amount of ingredients.


Enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The View from my Window – Eurasian Collared-Dove





The view from my office window includes a bird feeder my husband built for me.  I have seen Brown-headed Cowbirds, Sage Thrushers, White-crowned Sparrows, Quail, Pinion Jays and Eurasian Collared-Doves. The latter being one of my favorite as shown above.  I took this picture of him sitting on a block of bird seed we've set  on the feeder.

At first I thought they were Mourning Doves because they sound just like them.  Their soulful Koo-KOO-kook echoing from their perch at the top of our house to the fence across the street where the male struts his romantic dance for the female all while repeating his touching song.

Actually, the Eurasian Collared-Dove is the chunky relative of the Mourning Dove and gets its name from the blank half-collar at the name of its neck.  These doves made their way to North America via the Bahamas where, amazingly, several birds escaped from a pet shop during a mid-1970 burglary.  The birds spread to Florida and now live over almost all of North America where they seek open sites in agricultural areas where grain is available, including farmyards, fields, and silos. They avoid areas with heavy forest cover or extremely cold temperatures, which explains why they live . . . in the view from my office window.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Blog



Why am I blogging? Blogging is a task I have put off doing for years. But now, my agent (Sarah Freese of Wordserve Literary) has suggested I make the leap into personal marketing.

When am I going to blog? My plan is to blog two days a week to start—Mondays and Thursdays.

What am I blogging about? That question was my primary deterrent for ever starting a blog. Over the last couple of weeks I have started to look at other blogs. What topics are they covering? Who is their audience? I’ve also done some research and made a list of things I can write about. I’ve come up with several recurring themes.

The view from my window: Having recently moved to Carson City, Nevada I am learning a lot about the area, its history, and the wildlife. This theme will cover a combination of topics, all of which relate to the area I can see out my office window.

My writing journey: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Where did my journey start? (Take a look at my previous blog for this one.) What things have I learned along the way? And where is it taking me?

What my children and grandchildren will do differently: This one is endless. I think back to the days before technology erupted and how it changed the way we work, play, and think. Wow!

Places with funny names: Have you ever heard of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Wales? Stay tuned . . .

Don’t be surprised if you see book reviews, guest blogs, recipes or even a list of my pet peeves showing up here.

That's why I called my blog . . . A little bit about everything.

Blessings to you, my friends!
Jennie

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Writing Journey

I grew up when astronauts were rocketed into space and landed on the moon. I clipped every newspaper and magazine article I could get my hands on in hopes of one day writing a book on how it was to grow up in the Space Age. Alas, the dream drifted away and Homer Hickman, author of Rocket Boys and later the subsequent movie October Sky beat me to it. Although I have to admit, his story was a great deal better than what I imagined mine would be.

And as life goes with school, followed by marriage and a family, my dream of writing was put by the wayside. Then as I became an empty nester I found I could not devour enough books and soon my dream of writing a novel resurfaced. Because my husband and I worked different shifts, I was able to try on my writer’s cap with no one the wiser. I wanted to see if I could do it. I’d not written anything longer than a term paper or short story, so attacking a full length novel for me was a huge undertaking.

When I completed my story, I stumbled across a writer’s group and their national conference-Romance Writers Of America(RWA). On a whim, I flew across the country to RWA’s national convention. I learned so much in those few days. I met actual writers (Debra Clopton, Linda Goodnight, and Janet Tronstead) and the encouragement I received from them and others fueled my desire even more. I was hooked—even if my story flopped.

Since then I have completed six manuscripts (and a dozen other non-finishers). I’ve had five rejections and my English teacher is probably laughing at me for trying, but I keep pushing on! My latest manuscript, which you can learn about on my website jennieatkins.com is called Enduring Hope. My agent Sarah Freese of Wordserve Literary, is approaching several houses with it.

So, I guess you could say . . . the rest of my story is still to be written.

Monday, August 5, 2013

10 Things about Me You Probably Didn’t Want to Know

1) I grew up before cell phones, DVD players, microwaves, satellite radio, and portable computers.

2) After over fourteen thousand days of being married to the same man, I still believe I’m the luckiest woman in the world.

3) I’ve written 6 full manuscripts and many partials.

4) I have four of the greatest kids in the world:
     • 1 daughter and 3 sons,
     • 2 in the military and 2 that aren’t,
     • 2 single births and one set of twins,
     • 1 has green eyes, 1 has brown, and 2 have blue
     • all married,
     • 1 in Alaska, 2 in Ohio, and one in Tennessee,
     • 1 gardens, 1 rides dirt bikes, 1 plays a guitar, 1 like to work on his truck
     • 2 have children, 1 has one on the way, and 1 wants nothing to do with parenting (that’s okay, she’s a great aunt!)

5) I love music. I played a flute, I learned piano, I love to sing, and would rather have my radio on than the television.

6) My shoe size can be labeled “clodhopper”. 

7) My passion is gardening. Even in the middle of the desert I grow flowers and vegetables.

8) My middle name is “klutz”.

9) I lived in Ohio my whole life, until two years ago when I got a job in Nevada.

10) Jesus is my savior and friend.