Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mac'n Around

I finally succumbed to the pressure from all my students and colleagues at school and am now the proud owner of a new MacBook Pro!  Mind you, the real reason was the constant problems with viruses that I was having with my beloved PC.  So now here I am typing away on my new machine. Wow. Why did I wait so long? I had this fear that there would be some huge learning curve and I would constantly be battling new everything. Not a good prospect to start the spring semester with!  But in less than ten minutes I was up and running. I watched a couple of tutorials on the Mac site. Voila. It really is a terrific piece of technology. Very intuitive. Very reasonable.  In many ways sadly far superior to the PC... My iPhone synced up immediately. All my Google stuff adjusted perfectly.  What took me a week to set up this summer took less than an hour Friday.  Just an interesting example of how fear can keep us from doing things that might really be good for us!  I was afraid it would be hard, that all my docs would be messed up, that I couldn't figure it out quickly. And the truth is all that was NOT the case.  There are still a few things to learn, but it really is a joy to use 21st Century technology!
The Photo Booth app is also a big hit with my granddaughter!  Just another plus!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turning it over to God

As my lengthy winter break from school is hurtling toward its conclusion, I feel a sense of panic of all those things I haven't finished, or need to do or should have done. There are still books and scripts sitting on my desk, yet to be read. I have stacks of papers and preparation for the new semester beckoning me. I need to have my entire life organized and perfected by next Monday. I don't think I am going to get it all done. Which is why I have to keep learning to turn all this stuff over to God. Turn it over. All of it.  What does that really mean - to turn something over to God. For me it means I prayerfully let God know all the stuff that is on my mind and then ask Him to guide me as to what and how to do whatever He thinks I should do.  And then I relax. That doesn't mean I don't do anything. It just means I let go of the need to control how everything turns out.  It frees me. I am not in control. God is. For people who don't believe in a God or a Higher Power this may seem random and odd. But amazingly it works.  It's difficult at first to live like this.  And I forget all the time to turn things over. But when I remember to my life suddenly smooths out. There seems to be enough time to do whatever needs to be done. And if something doesn't get done.. it's ok. So I am turning today over to God. Ok. I am turning the next 5 minutes over to God. And then the 5 minutes after that....

Friday, January 22, 2010


With all the rain we are having here, it is getting difficult to get anything done without getting wet. Today, after avoiding the rain for three days, we had to venture out to get groceries, run errands and everything else needed to exist in normal life.  The sun broke through the clouds about mid morning and we raced out in the break between storms. Of course,  a couple of hours later,  by the moment we had to load groceries, the rain came down in torrents. Sigh. Ok. A little water never hurt anyone. And now back home for lunch and more writing and prep for school starting. The good thing about all this rain is that it forces me to stay inside and do those things that I have been avoiding. Of course my granddaughter loves the rain. The moment she got out of the car she found the biggest puddle she could and immediately jumped in it. Thrilled with the splash and the water flying everywhere. Especially on grandma. But it reminded me that it's all about your view point, isn't it? Sort of embracing what is real. Instead of avoiding it. A nice lesson to learn from a three year old!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What would be my dream gift?

You Say Too is offering a reward of $1000 dream gift award to the blogger who has the best story.  Even though I am a very new member of You Say Too,  I feel  compelled to try to make a case for why I should win this gift. My particular dream gift would be two tickets (coach) to Hawaii and a four night stay in a modest hotel on Waikiki Beach. I know there a travel packages in this range and it would be a dream come true for my husband and me. We got married in Hawaii 10 years ago and very much wanted to get back there for our 10th anniversary. But the economy crashed and our hard earned dollars have had to go for paying bills instead of a fun vacation. As a full time teacher who also takes care of my disabled daughter and granddaughter, I really need this vacation! If I win, I promise to send pictures and blog every day from lovely Honolulu!

However, if I shouldn't be chosen my favorite fun gift is the lava lamp key chain. It will be a lovely reminder of my retro roots!

So far I have enjoyed the articles and blogs on You Say Too and I will enjoy reading them even more while sipping a pina colada beachside!!!  Aloha and Mahalo!

A Gentle Review of The Shack

How My Anger at God Lead Me to The Shack

This is my latest article at HubPages. While I know this book is controversial for some, for me it was a gentle allegory about God's love. If you have read this book, tell me what you thought of it!

Cabin Fever

Three straight days of rain. And I have been fooling with my computer, writing articles, and eating Atkins bars. Pretty sad. I have a million things to do and no willpower to do them.  School is starting in another week and I have lots of preparation for that. I still have all those projects that I was sure I was going to get around to, still undone.  I know that in another week my life will return to its usual hectic wild ride! And while I like lots of activity, I also sort of dread the increased stress.  I wonder sometimes how the rest of the world motivates themselves on dark dreary days. I guess maybe its a day for a nap. And another Atkins bar. Maybe a good book.

Maybe my problem is that I fight days like these. I want what I want when I want it. It reminds me that I am not much different than my three year old grandchild. The truth is today I don't know what I want. I mean other than world peace, an end to the financial mess and a thirty pound weight loss. I would take all of those things. Right now. But all of those things require time. Something that I have a lot of  today. Perhaps I should be grateful for it while I have it. And so my life goes on.  And so does the rain.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Diet or Bariatric Surgery: How I made my decision

Diet or Bariatric Surgery: How I made my decision

Many of you are familiar with my weight loss journey. But I have recently written several articles at about my experiences. If you are interested please click on the link above!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tips for Negotiating a Deal

Ten Negotiating Strategies

If you have ever worried about negotiating your next raise, the sale of your car, house or anything else, this article could give you some helpful tips.

As an agent and manager I have spoken many times on this subject and even teach about this in my classes. Enjoy!

Do It Anyway!!

I always liked the Nike "Just Do It" campaign. It sort of spoke to a whole generation about seizing the moment and doing what you want or need to do.  My slogan for the day is Do it anyway!.  For me, its not always easy to just do it! I have excuses. I'm too tired to work out. Its raining and the roads are slick. I have so much else to do. I have to eat ice cream - it relaxes me. I don't want to clean the kitchen/livingroom/bedroom - it will take too much time. My head is very good at convincing me to "just do" anything other than what I need to do.  So for me, I need to do it anyway. After arguing with myself for a good half hour this morning I  finally put on my tennis shoes and drove through a light sprinkling of rain and worked out. Not wanting to every step of the way. And of course once I got there and worked out - I felt better. I probably spent more energy complaining, dragging my feet, coming up with excuses than I did working out. However, that kind of energy expenditure doesn't show up on my body. Just on my stress level. I wish I didn't have this inner couch potato. It cries out to me. Nap! Watch TV! Eat! Play Farmville! All very tempting. And on a rainy, dark day like this one, very seductive. But there is that list of  things I don't want to do today - pay bills, do my budget, mop the floor. Don't want to do ANY of them. Not at all. But it must be done. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to do it anyway!!  Maybe. What don't you want to do today?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Steps to becoming an Agent in Hollywood

Steps to becoming an Agent in Hollywood

A new article!

How to Create a Visual Treasure Map for Fun and Inspiration

How to Create a Visual Treasure Map for Fun and Inspiration 

A new article I have written for HubPages!


Its raining in Southern California today.  Now the rest of the country has rain on a regular basis so this is no big deal to them. But it NEVER rains in "sunny Southern California." Which means it throws the entire Los Angeles area into total chaos. Drivers panic and get into accidents because they have never seen large drops of water coming from the sky. People hunker down in their homes - praying it will somehow stop. Whenever rain is predicted on our weather channel it is always given the name STORM WATCH 2010. Like it's the beginning of the end.
I used to live in Florida. It rains there all the time. In the summer - every day.  We planned on it. Planned our day around it. Got out of the pool at 2:30. Did our grocery shopping before 3:00. If it started raining, we got out the umbrella. Drove more carefully.
In Seattle, I hear it rains constantly. In fact when we went up there for my brother's wedding I remember their weather channel predicting a "sun break." Like that was an unusual event.
But here in Los Angeles rain is rare, scary, weird. No one knows what to wear. Or where they left their umbrella. What happens if their designer shoes GET WET?? In all honesty, we do have some concerns when it rains, particularly if you life in an area ravaged by fire. But everyone else? Calm down. Rain is good for the water table, the grass, the trees. And there is a beauty to the glistening streets and the sound of the drops on the roof.  Don't worry it will all be over soon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blessings and Prayers

It's Sunday and a good day to look back at the week and think about all the things that blessed me.  The following is a very incomplete  list in no particular order.

My beautiful granddaughter Jillian!
Getting my budget balanced.
Having enough money to pay my bills.
My beautiful Vera Bradley bag from daughter Chris
The lovely cross my daughter Anna gave me for my Birthday
Learning how to Blog
My friends
My family
My dear husband
My beautiful and comfortable home
My church

Today is also a good day to pray:

For the people in Haiti - the grieving, the survivors, the sick,  the hurting.
For the safety and protection of the people trying to help them
For resources to be made available to help them
For my family and extended family- my husband, my daughters, granddaughter,my mother, sister, brother and all their families and loved ones. For my husband's family.
For my friends - for their health and happiness
For my students
For our country as it works its way through this financial mess

What has blessed your this week?  Who or what are you praying for?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Reflections

As I sit here on my comfortable couch typing away at my blog, I am feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for everything I have. My granddaughter Jillian is having lunch of a peanut butter sandwich and glass of milk. The weather is lovely outside here in January in Southern California. And its Saturday. Sort of the day to kick back. Quite a a contrast to the horrors that are going on in Haiti where death is piled into trucks to be buried in mass graves. Where there is no clean water, food or even safe shelter. Where people are becoming more desperate by the minute. My biggest worries are about my 401K and whether to save money by cutting back my cable to just the basic digital pack. Shocking isn't it? At what we take for granted. Things like our arms and legs, a bed to sleep in, food to eat. Haiti reminds us that in a few seconds everything in our world could change dramatically. It reminds us that life is fragile. It reminds me to be grateful for the life I have. It reminds me to hold those I love a little closer. What are your thankful for today?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thoughts on Haiti

Its hard to look at the terrible devastation in Haiti  and not feel a sense of sorrow mixed with fear. As I watch people grieving their unimaginable losses I find myself struggling with how I would feel in their situation. Living in Los Angeles, I know that we too are dancing on a fault line of potential disaster. There but for the grace of God go I.  I was saddened when I heard about Pat Robertson's statement that the earthquake was God's judgment against Haiti.  As a Christian, I find this kind of rhetoric needless, painful and completely unhelpful at a time like this. First, this is the moment that people MOST need God and their faith to somehow pull through this disaster. Telling hurting people that they have been "judged" does nothing to alleviate their pain or solve their insurmountable problems. This is exactly the kind of thing Jesus warned us about.. to NOT sit in judgment of others. Instead of judging the blind, the sick and outcast, he reached out to them, healed them and gave them hope. That's what the Christians that I know are doing. Instead of spending their time judging others, they are risking their resources and lives to help those less fortunate.
Haiti's is a country that exists in a natural world where tectonic plates move and sometimes shake.  As humans we live in this world that operates by natural laws. And though I do believe in a supernatural God who can miraculously save and heal people, He doesn't always do things the way I wish or think He should. I have never experienced the level of suffering the people of Haiti are going through right now. But I have had heartaches, and tragedies in my life. And all I know is - that it is my FAITH that has carried me through the dark times. It is my belief that God is with me even in the midst of pain that I can go on another day or another minute. My faith in a personal, loving God is what gives me hope.  I would hate to see people lose that hope because of the statements of one person. Jesus tells us to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Now is the time for us to show our love for our neighbors by helping them with our prayers and our resources.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creep Factor 102: An example of a bad cover letter

So we still haven't opened the package. I know some of you have written me on Facebook to tell me that you would just rip it open to see the exciting contents. So we are carefully exploring it. My brave daughter while examining it, discovered this cover letter tucked under the duct tape on the outside of the package. As you look at the picture, I just want to go on record and categorically say... I am not making this stuff up!  Let me just say that as a cover letter (it literally was on the cover of the box..) it is at once curious and possibly even more strange than the package. I'm thinking it's the red bow that really makes a statement.  Stay tuned for more updates!

Creep Factor 101: How NOT to get an agent to read your submission!

As a Literary Manager I get hundreds of submissions of material. Letters, treatments, scripts, books. All from people who hope to be discovered or to have their life stories seen on the big screen. Yesterday I received this package.  Really. Would YOU open this package? My whole family stood around it curious and slightly frightened.  My daughter said " How bad can it be? It has a snowman on it?" I don't know. Is it the strange scrawl, or perhaps the duct tape and no return address that makes me think...angry hermit living in woods writing apocalyptic manifestos?
So far we haven't opened it.  Now if someone who is reading this blog happens to be the sender, I don't mean to be cruel, I am just trying to make a point. If you really want me to read your material think about how you present it. Sadly in Hollywood we do judge a book by it's cover. And snowman notwithstanding, this package is failing at many levels. I imagine it was sent by someone elderly who couldn't get to the store to buy packing materials. Or perhaps someone who had lots of extra duct tape and liberty stamps trying to be frugal. Maybe one of my well meaning relatives sent it. Perhaps after I put on a padded suit, plastic gloves and move the package to an undisclosed location, I will find out what's in it.  No. I think it's going into the trash. Somebody else's trash.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

wow. now i can update from my phone!

Time for a Budget

So with the holidays past us my thoughts have turned to dealing with the state of my finances. Probably like the rest of the country we have been hit with the effects of a decimated stock market,  rising prices,  frozen salaries and so on.  I have been combing the internet for good advice on budgeting, saving money and everything else. So after looking at Christian PF (personal finance) I have focused like a lazer on dealing with the problem. I have set up auto pay on everything, done an exstensive budget looking at everything, including those pesky yearly expenditures, taxes etc. that always catch us by surprise. I called both my cell phone carrier and my cable company and have reduced my monthy costs by 1/3 for each. I have added adsense to this blog (which may never pay off... but, hey - its the thought that counts.  Hows that for taking some steps? With lots of trimming, squeezing and soul searching...(cutting my Starbucks habit back... NO!!!  Yes. ) I was finally able to actually balance my budget with a tiny remainder. My dh said thats better than the state of California!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Social Media-itis

For the last few hours as I have been creating this blog and linking it up to everything.. it hit me... we really are living in the future now. For all my students that are 20 somethings this is no big deal. They have always lived with media. Even my grand daughter has several little computers that teach her numbers and the alphabet. To her "feeding the puppy" means going on line with me and feeding my virtual pet. The world has gotten smaller or at least maybe more compartmentalized.  I am now talking to friends I knew in highschool and advising them about how to help their kids make deals in Hollywood. Perhaps what social media has done is actually brought us BACK into community. Maybe we don't know our neighbors but now our friends can be in Hong Kong and we can talk to them daily. I think its wonderful. Yes there are concerns. About privacy and video game addiction. Loss of personal interaction. But if we lose our privacy .. isn't it because we have willingly given it up. No one is forcing anyone to have a Facebook page. If there are unattractive pictures of you floating around.. well.. its not like the rest of the world hasn't seen us as we really are. I think social media may be the very thing that will get us back to talking to each other. As opposed to television which is a totally passive pastime. On Facebook and Blogs we are communicating thoughts, ideas... inane though they may be.
When I introduced my 83 year old mother to FB at Christmas.. I explained to her how it is more efficient than emails. At a glance you can see what your kids, friends,. high school chums are up to. And if you want you can comment. Recently the most fun I have had in days happened when the girls all mysteriously posted their bra colors. Just the colors. It was fun and was a reminder to us about Breast cancer. It created such an uproar CNN covered it on the news.  Silly, maybe. But a powerful example of how pervasive this social media business has gotten. Stuff to think about.

A New Year, a New Me and a New Blog!

Ok. I know everyone has a blog. Everyone. My co-workers, my family members, my friends, for all I know my cats may have one. So now here I am. What  to talk about. What to say. And frankly, why anyone would care what I would have to say is really beyond me. But it occurred to me as I celebrated a HUGE birthday last week that maybe I have been alive long enough to share some wisdom, stories, advice etc. about how to deal with life whether we are talking about getting a career going in Hollywood or trying to be a grandmother, maybe I have some experience that will make a difference to someone.

One of the things I am grappling with right now is... Wow. Where did the time go?  It was ten minutes ago that I was that young free wheeling kid that thought life was going to go on forever. And now here I am. As old as my grandmother ( as I remember her best) Yikes.  It seems like I still have some of the same problems I had 40 years ago. Never enough money, attention or fun. Always wondering why everyone else seems to have it so together with perfect houses, lawns careers and large retirement savings. Why do I feel so different? Does everyone feel different? Isolated. Does anyone else wonder where the time went? Perhaps as I work on this blog I can find out some of the answers to those questions or explore other thoughts that pop into my mind. Lets see where the road leads us.




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