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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This is one billboard worth reading . . .






Monday, July 28, 2008

New Read . . .

Have you been reading this summer? Keeping up with the reading challenge? Thought I had forgotten, didn't you? Just because I haven't listed all my reads? Well, fooled you.

I've had a great time delving into and digging through my TBR stack this summer. I just finished A PIECE OF HEAVEN by Barbara Samuel.

This is no typical lovestory. As a matter of fact, I wasn't totally sure Ms. Samuel intended to pull off a lovestory by book's end. HINT: it was a lovely surprise to find that she not only satisfied her hero/heroine but readers as well. That said, Ms. Samuel delivers a novel of a truly broken heroine. Luna McGraw doesn't believe she deserves a second (actually more like fifth or sixth) chance. She feels her sins were bad enough that she should be condemned to live without her teenage daughter. The hero Thomas Coyote is anything but perfect, yet somehow he's the perfect foil for Luna McGraw -- shame Luna is convinced that he's everything on her 'can't have list'. Through any number of personal obstacles, these two preserve and find a happy ending of the mature kind. I love reading about older heroes and heroines -- especially the ones who are certain their turn for happy endings has already come and gone. The imagery in A PIECE OF HEAVEN is dynamic and I'll admit to being more than a tad jealous of Ms. Samuel's ability to turn the perfect phrase.

Interesting note, while looking for the book cover for my blog, I found two other covers for this same book. Why? Who knows. Perhaps multiple printings have been released of A PIECE OF HEAVEN. Whatever the cover, if you encounter A PIECE OF HEAVEN snatch it up. It's well worth your time . . . and then some.

Happy reading and writing.

Stop by my porch again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

10 . . 9 . . 8 . . 7, can you say LAUNCH?

Here I am in cyberspace!!! Again!!!

My website, SLFERGUSON is launched.

The building, and rebuilding of the pages, the tweaking until the site and I both screamed, the hunt for the perfect graphics, and the exploration of embedding music and links was certainly worth the effort.

Special thanks to my fabulous hubby who learned all things great and wonderful on how to ACTUALLY publish the website.

As I'm working on a seminar about self-promotion, the building of the website was great experience.

Would I say it was easy? Uh, definitely not.

But can the skill be learned? Absolutely so.

I love when you pop by my back porch for a visit, but do pop by my SLFERGUSON then let me know what you like (and okay, maybe what doesn't work for you).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Traveling Tips

Yep, I've been back from vacation for a day or two, and should have posted sooner, but the bottom line is that when I come home from vacation, another vacation is needed to rest up from the one I've just taken.

However, here are a few traveling tips that hit while on vacation:

1st --
Trust a truck stop for a decent meal. There is a side-note to this one. Look for a truck stop where trucks are ACTUALLY stopped. If there are semis in the parking lot then you're safe for a good meal. No parked 18-wheelers and you needed to keep trucking right on down the road.

2nd --
Carry a spare set of keys. Oh, and don't let the same person have both sets. Keys managed to get locked in cars -- even those with the push button locks -- more than folks believe. And it's always in the most remote location, the hottest time of the day or the deepest part of the night. Save grief and carry a second set.

3rd --
Pack duct tape. This handy silver lined product has a 1000 + 1 uses and while on any car trip, travelers will find at least one use. Don't question this wisdom, just pack a roll.

4th --
Stay at a hotel that provides breakfast -- it's better if it comes with the price of the room. Kids can be picker eaters while on vacation and having a full-service kitchen right in the hotel can make morning starts much more enjoyable.

5th -- Locate the closest Wal-Mart/Target/Superstore to your hotel. Guaranteed something will be missed in the packing stage and knowing where the nearest replenishing station is can go a long way to easing vacation strain.

6th --
Don't expect Google or MapQuest maps to make sense or be 100% accurate. Won't happen! Simply be prepared for the directions to not make clear sense. Best way to keep from getting lost? With Google or MapQuest map in hand, call the hotel, the restaurant, or tourist site to confirm the directions. Sure beats endless circles of confusion on $3.00 a gallon gas.

7th --
Carry simple board/card/domino games. The easier the better. Simple games are often the most family fun, and are great if an afternoon event gets rained out or for a quiet evening in the midst of vacationing. I know in this day of electronic 'everything', you'll think why bother. Because the goal of a vacation, or the should-be goal, is for family togetherness. With everyone's face plastered to their laptop, tablet, or phone, the togetherness will be scarce. It's actually okay to talk to your kids. More importantly, they should know that it's okay to talk to you, the parent. Conversation is an art-form, my friends, and does require practice. Breaking down communication barriers through simple games is a great way to get started.

8th --
If staying at a cabin/condo, etc, where a kitchen -- a stocked kitchen -- is provided, do not believe that 'stocked' means the same thing to all cooks. Ask for particulars on kitchen appliances and basic cookware. Don't assume a bowl or sauce pan or over sized skillet will be on-hand. Better to pack a few additional essentials than have a hungry family and no skillet to feed them from. I call it my 'go bag'. It's saved many a family meal, not to mention my sanity.

9th --
All beds are not created equal. Does it make a difference if you normally share a king with your hubby and are reserving a double bed? You betcha. You may not be talking to your hubby at the end of the vacation after those sleeping arrangements. Are your children no longer those little kiddos that can be tucked any ole place and sleep happily? Teenagers require bigger beds and more reinforcement from a mattress than toddlers. Poor sleeping arrangements can sour an entire vacation.

10th --
Finally, there's no place like home. Leaving for vacation is great, but coming home is always better.

I love vacationing with my family. 3 great kids that I still enjoy being with and who enjoying being with my husband and me. There is always a guarantee for loads of laughter, at least one truly terrible meal, some weird bug attack -- trust me we can find bugs in the middle of a cement city, one driving excursion (that's my husband's terminology for getting completely lost), and scads of Kodak memories. I wouldn't change one good or not so good experience from our vacations because that's what makes them unique and totally ours.

Where have you been this summer? Do share.

Drop by my back porch anytime. Okay, so it's a hundred plus in the shade here in Texas right now and sitting outside isn't happening. But drop by anyway. We'll sit inside under the A/C and fans and look out at my back porch.

Until next time

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vacationing . . .

We're back -- just for the day, so I'm rushing to get a few more photos and info on the blogsite -- hope you enjoy the pictures and the great places there are to see in Texas. We loved this part of our vacation.

Son and husband beside the grave of yep, famous coach Tom Laundry, who still reigns as supreme Texas Cowboy coach in our house. This is at the Texas State Cemetery. Didn't know there was such a place, visit here: Texas State Cemetery.

More pics of the cemetery:
Confederate gravesite area -- hauntingly beautiful!
Flowing garden at the beginning of the cemetery.

Mission San Juan in the theatre located inside the visitors' center.
Everyone's heard of The Alamo, but there are actually four additional missions in the San Antonio area. We chose the site as it has the only working mill still on site. Visit here: San Juan Mission for more information.

This photo taken at The Alamo in one of the back gardens. We wandered the riverwalk during the middle of the day. Can you say hot and humid? We're dripping, but the scenery is lush.

Come on back by the porch later in the week to see more photos.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

Who celebrates a birthday on the 4th of July? Okay, some of these people are dead. I get it – they don’t celebrate birthdays anymore. Just a disclaimer so no one emails me to point out the obvious.
Ann Landers, Neil Simon, Gina
Lollobrigida, Calvin Coolidge, and Louis B. Mayer

Did you know July is national Hot Dog month?
No wonder so many folks belly up to the bar (hot dog cart that is) and order one in the steamy days of summer. During the 4th of July weekend, an estimate 155 million dogs will be consumed. Yummy!

Americans have been celebrating 4th of July since 1777 (bells rung, candles lighted, and firecrackers set off), but do you know when the holiday became a federal mandate?
July 1941
Who was the 1st member of the Second Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence?
John Hancock – hence why it’s called putting down your John Hancock when signing a document.

Out of our founding fathers who said: “We must all hang together or we shall surely be hung separately”? Still guessing? The old boy was quite useful.
Answer: Benjamin Franklin. See I told you he was useful.

Happy 4th to my fellow Americans.
Thanks for stopping by my porch.

5 Fort Worth -- TEXAS -- bars Worth The Stop!

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