Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Book Would You Reccommend for a 9 Year Old Boy Who Has Read Everything?

The coolest kid on the planet (well, my planet, anyway) is having his 9th birthday party on Friday. He is a voracious reader and I'm willing to bet cold hard cash that he's going to be an author someday. Even though when I said that, he tried to convince me I'm crazy and that he's going to an MLB star. That was right before he described the three book series he's already written.

I would like to get him a book for his birthday, but I feel like he's read everything. He devoured the hits, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Judy Moody books long ago. His reading level is much higher than your average nine year old, but I don't want to get too crazy and cross over into YA yet. There's something magically innocent but cautiously curious about the stage he's in right now.

So, I look to you, my fabulous writer friends and parents. What book might you recommend for the kid who has read everything?


Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's Your Wish?

Today, H and I went to Little Tokyo in search of the perfect udon. (It was delicious.)

Along the way, we passed a Wishing Tree.
Some wishes were heartfelt, like this:
 And others made us giggle:
I loved the spirit of the Wishing Tree. It felt magical that in a city of millions, on a busy plaza, somewhere in Little Tokyo, people stopped to hang wishes on a tree.

So, what's your wish?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Was the Last Time It All Just Flowed?

I went dark for a few days because I've been busy writing a TV pilot. This is strange because I write books, articles, how-to's and stuff like that. Not TV pilots.

But last week, I ran into a friend who inspired me to give it a try. Once I started writing, it flowed. Words came from somewhere else. It's like I never heard or thought the words until I saw them on the screen.

I laughed aloud and stopped several times. I even said, "Wow. I'm funny!" once or twice. The things that came out surprised and delighted me.

It's been a long time since I simply channeled a story. It was awesome.

When was the last time your writing, art, music or whatever awesome thing that makes you, YOU, just flowed?


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Would You Conduct a Kindness Campaign?

I live in LA, in a mobile home park across the street from the ocean. About half of the residents have lived here forever and about half are new or newish like me. (I've been here 5 years.) Living near the ocean is amazing. We can hear waves crash at night. At any time, we can walk across the street and put our feet in the sand. It really is like paradise.

Yet some of my neighbors seem angry.

I don't know why you'd be grumpy all the time in a place like this, but some of them are MAD. There was the time I was slowly getting out of a friend's car in front of my place. It was after my back injury. A neighbor pulled up and started honking. I said, "I'm sorry, I'm moving slowly. I have a back injury."

She heard me. Yet, she honked again, longer and louder.

I got out of the car as quickly as I could and my friend drove off. The honker pulled up next to me.

"I have a back injury. I'm moving really slowly," I said.

"You should know better than to park in a blind spot!" She yelled.

"This is my place." I pointed at my gate, right where my friend had been parked. "Why are you yelling at me?" I asked, my voice now raised.

"How long have you lived here?" She yelled.

"FIVE  YEARS," I yelled back.

"Well then you should know not to park in that blind spot!" She yelled.

"Well you don't have to be such a f*cking bitch about it." I yelled back. (What can I say? Apparently, anger is contagious.)

She drove off.

Other things have happened. On another day when I couldn't make it up to the pool, I sent a couple of my friends there on their own. The rule is guests must be with a resident. This is to ensure that strangers don't come off the beach and use the pool.

The next day, I got a call from my landlord, who got a call from the park owner, who got a call from a grumpy resident that my friends were in the pool without me.

Really? If you know they're not strangers and that they're my friends, do you really have to try and get me in trouble?

I bring this up because I just found out that my neighbors who are building the fence and blocking out their ocean view are doing this because some other grumps have complained that their patio was a mess. The guy is a woodworker and has lots of tools. Frankly, I never noticed a mess, but someone else did.

And that person complained so much that my neighbors feel like the only way to stop the complaints and avoid conflict is to block their view of the Pacific.

This is sad commentary on humanity. We would rather put up walls than compromise. Some people would rather yell than listen. Complain rather than ask, "Is Suzanne okay? Why couldn't she come to the pool with you?"

I discussed this with an awesome neighbor earlier today. We tossed around ideas on how to start some kind of kindness campaign. We talked about posting the words "Be Kind" on our fences.

Do you have any ideas? How would you subtly infuse some kindness in a community riddled with grumps?


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Are They Hiding?

My neighbors are building a fence. A very tall fence.

Under normal circumstances, that may not be so weird. But this fence is enclosing their patio and blocking their ocean view.

I try not to judge, but this has me scratching my head. I would never purposely block my ocean view. I can't imagine that anyone would want to obstruct the glory of the Pacific.

Which, of course, made me wonder, "What the heck are they doing in there?"

Thoughts anyone?


Saturday, August 9, 2014

What Was Your Summer Vacation Like?

I recently met up with my brother, his wife and their three little ones at my father's house in Sonoma, California. My nieces are 5, 3 1/2 and 2 years old. So, Grandpa's pool was a big hit.

After getting everyone into the their swimmies, we played Marco Polo. Shouting out, "Marco" and hearing a chorus of "Polo" in return was adorable. We also hit the Sonoma County Fair, where the girls saw cows, pigs and goats and rode a rollercoaster that looked like a caterpillar.

Once we got the little ones to bed, we enjoyed the local flavor. And by that, I mean wine. (This vineyard is down the road from Dad's.)

All in all, it was a great little summer vacation packed with family and fun. Did you go on a vacation this summer? If so, what was it like?


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What Things Are Worth the Wait?

One of my friends recently posted a picture with the caption, "Some things are worth the wait." That got me thinking, what is worth the wait?

The answer is probably different for everyone. So, for you, what things are worth the wait?


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ghost Hunt Anyone?

My friend, James, went to visit his family in his hometown. As a fun, special event, they decided to go on a ghost hunt at Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. That's it, in the picture above.

When my family gets together, we cook big meals, have happy hour, go hiking, play games and generally hang out together. I am pretty darn sure that the majority of my family members would vote against a ghost tour in an insane asylum. But that's just us.

What does your family do when you get together?


Friday, August 1, 2014

What Have You Discovered Recently?

Thanks to all of you who hopped on the blog tour this week! I love that Green Girl included me in the fun. On Monday, 8/4, please hop on over and visit these awesome authors:

Kelly Polark
Tony LaRocca
Britt Dussault

I promised a free copy of Fingerprints to one lucky commenter and that commenter is Pearl! Not only because she showed up and left a lovely message, but because she is HILARIOUS. I'm kind of obsessed with her blog. (Creepy? Oh no. Go ahead, read it. You'll be obsessed too.) I'm so excited to have discovered her!

Speaking of discovery, this week, many of you attempted to guess what the heck this is:

 Contrary to your creative guesses like "a large earring tree," "beef jerky dryer," and "a deranged music stand," this thing was used to circulate air during haymaking.

My mother says she plans to put it in the room I like to sleep in when I visit. I told her I won't be visiting anymore. (Can you imagine bumping into that thing on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night?!)

So, as for discoveries, there you have it. But what about you? What cool thing have you discovered lately?