Category Archives: Short and Random

WHERE DID JANUARY GO?

I start every new year the same, making resolutions. The first month ends tomorrow and I have already cracked a few.

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Promised my husband I would buy no ice cream this year. Snuck in some vanilla ice cream bars on a trip to the store, rushed to hide them behind a frozen pot roast as soon as I got home. I’ll beg for mercy (if he finds them before I eat them). After all, in forty-eight years of marriage, he has never beaten me.

I took another blog challenge, and here I sit, two minutes before midnight and I need three more blogs. If I post this one (late) tonight, then I’ll only have to write two tomorrow, when I get home from swimming (to burn off the ice cream, I know, I know). Sometimes it is tough being a weak human. I do have high goals and good intentions but alas, I am a weak soul.

DAY OF MISBEHAVING

Nothing wild. I started reading a book on my tablet, then read some of my 800 emails. We went out to eat with friends tonight, something we never do. Have never been a social person, but she is another writer and it was such a special treat. We all talked so long, my husband and hers, she and I, that the little waitress came around three times to ask if we needed anything else.

I ate half a slice each of pecan and chocolate pie for desert. Still doing the 5:2 diet and fasted yesterday. It does say eat what you want the other five days – but I think I fractured the diet pretty good today. Might weigh tomorrow to see.

Tonight, instead of researching and writing, I sank into my recliner and indulged in two episodes of Antique Road Show. I always wonder why, as much junk as I’ve accumulated, I never see anything like it on the show. Unless it’s at the end where the people laugh about their not so valuable treasures.

Such a nice day.

TOMORROW

Tomorrow I’ll be good. Write a blog when I get home from the Y, eat a salad, work on my new book, and write another blog. At least, that is what I intend to do.

th2b9fv1pm  Not sure this really works, look at POTUS.

Of course one can look at it this way. th54l9h4xc

But, I’m always prone to regrets. Think these two point to the truth as I’ve always known it. Have found my greatest joy comes from not being a slacker, but by making a list and crossing off things as done at the end of the day.

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Of course, I’ve finished another post, so not totally bad. Deleted a bunch of emails today and my new book, Fires Down the Shenandoah, Joanna of Virginia is finally live on Amazon. Instead of feeling guilty, I’m headed to bed, early for me, to finish reading that little novel and get some sleep. Will close with my special plea.

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SEEKING SERENITY

Need to relax and feel at peace in order to create. Whenever I take a minute to read emails, Twitter, and Facebook these days, my calm disappears. Breathing deeply, looking at these soothing images, I hunt for my state of feeling calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

It seems to remain just out of reach. Another cold front moves in tomorrow, promise of even colder weather by Sunday with a chance for snow Sunday night. When I taught school, there was nothing more exciting to me than the chance of snow in the forecast. Cold and soft like a blanket to wrap our world for a minute in comfortable peace.

But now that I’m retired, it isn’t the same. No waking early, drinking hot chocolate while listening to the snow bird report of area school closings – hoping mine made the list so I could play hooky. If school were closed, I would have an entire day to work on anything I wanted, usually some story or book I was writing. If not, an added day for reading.

PHILOSOPHY

I grew up poor without ever knowing it. One of five children with loving parents, I always felt blessed with a rich life. We farmed and usually had plenty to eat. Both my parents worked, had since they were little more than children. We were all healthy and were beholding to no one, something very important to both my parents. Momma always told us, “If you want only what you have, you’ll always be happy.” Of course the Buddhist monk’s quote is a little more eloquent, but I think it’s saying the same thing.

POLITICS

This election has been the most divisive and stressful I can remember. Saw on television tonight, people are still protesting. Rather confusing. Thought they recounted votes because the Democrats thought there was cheating, now it’s the President wanting to check the election results in some states for the same reason and everyone is going nuts again. Not sure whether Clint sees it the right way, or old Will, but I really  want the hatred to stop and sanity to return.

SOLUTION

Decided to follow a little good advice. Will avoid the news and Twitter until I get this new novel underway. Put the last changes in today on the old, had to post by noon, then sure enough got a few more changes in my email. Will have to wait until after it’s live on Amazon on the 30th to slide the last three corrections in. Could have been worse. Of course, other readers have the book and may send me more. Reminding myself I will be glad to have a little something more to do on it.

Listen to a lot of webinars and read about how to brand yourself as an author and develop a following, etc. Suspect I never will, since my mind flits to so many places and I keep writing odd books. Have decided to leave those wild hairs hiding in the computer. But today I felt inspired by this image and wrote myself a little book. Actually made me feel happy. All that I was looking for in the first place. If the beauty and sweetness of that  innocent face can’t bring a sense of hope and serenity, nothing can. Happy writing.

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LAST ROUND OF EDITS

Only have a couple of more days to make any last minute changes, since I posted Fires Down the Shenandoah on Preorder. Luckily, have already received feedback from two readers and will be making changes tonight and tomorrow.

Books are never really finished. All of this will be worth it, if someone buys the book and can get lost in the story long enough to block out some of the insanity of the real world for a little while.

GOOFING OFF

Would have finished already, if I hadn’t gotten caught up in watching football today. Both games were wonderful, but could spot the winner at the end of the first quarter in both.

As my Dad would say, I didn’t have a dog left in the fight. I’m sure the Super Bowl will be an awesome game with the Falcons facing the Patriots. Good luck to both and may the better team win.

Not sure why I still love football. Peyton retired, and I really only cheer for our local team now, the Titans, to keep myself engaged in watching. But it is a virile sport, and one never knows what the final outcome will be. It’s also exciting, when you finally pick a team to cheer for. With anything athletic, which I am not, it is just mesmerizing to see what a chiseled, fit, talented, well trained body can do. Some of the passes and catches are breathtaking. Love the game.

OTHER GREAT WRITERS

Wrote about the phenomenal Harriet Beecher Stowe the other day. Here is another awesome one.

Missed an episode of Victoria, on PBS. They made the mistake of scheduling it opposite the football game. Looks like a wonderful new series. Maybe as fun to watch as Downton Abbey, although that program will be hard to beat. The most remarkable facet of that series, even outshining the acting, is the phenomenal writing. It is incredible to me that one man, Julian Fellowes, wrote every word of the entire series.  Almost everything on television is written by a committee of writers. Also like the fact that in the 1970s, he wrote romantic novels under the pseudonym of Rebecca Greville. May have to binge watch all of Downton Abbey sometime, think it’s free with my Amazon Prime. More about him here, Julian Fellowes .

BLOG CHALLENGE

Part of the Ultimate blog challenge is to write and share more about yourself. By now, you probably know what a boring person I am. I’m interested in learning and observing the world around me. Always trying to make sense of it, to understand the motives of others, and the value of what I see others doing. Here are a few things I found inspiring today when looking for a single quote to include.

The first quote pretty much summarizes why I write rather compulsively these days. Being retired is one of my favorite phases of life. Writing makes me feel productive and happy. Wish all people who see work as a punishment or curse could do enough of it to realize what joy and satisfaction it can bring at the end of the day. When I goof off, I always feel I’ve wasted a perfectly wonderful day. The second is also very true. I write to try to understand life.

 

 

NEW BOOK

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Uploaded Fires Down the Shenandoah, Joanna of Virginia, (http://amzn.to/2iLbn1c). Now waiting and praying I get feedback and corrections into Amazon while it is on preorder. Would love to have a dozen reviews show up the day it goes on sale. Need a boost.

Written and heard back from four or five readers, need more. If you are interested, just email me at biery35@gmail.com. I will send a copy to read and review.

EMAIL WOES

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Now trying to go through the 1024 emails that have accumulated while I’ve been editing and fiddling with things. Makes me sigh in despair. Got through the 73 on one address, now for the monster. I confess I have an accumulator gene. Someone says learn all the secrets, get my free book or webinar here, and I click. And they say they don’t, but they share your address with their friends, or like some of the worse, they send you three, four, or five updates in one day. Also, I get notices when someone looks at this website, or retweets me, or pins something from Pinterest. Someday hope to figure out how to eliminate all notices. Hoping that will be a third of the emails. But what if they are from friends, family, or more importantly, from a dear fan.

Believe me, every fan is dear and loved.

So I can’t dump it. I sit here after a hundred opened, most discarded, trudging on. Distracted by every newsletter from an author or favorite website, or webinar replay. About to give up, go eat supper and watch Wheel, then come back. Surely if I try harder I can read them all today, or tomorrow.

Guess the world is lucky I still haven’t mastered Mailchimp.

WORKING WITH OTHERS

Clear day. Haven’t started the next book, just a little noodling about it so far. Trying to help other writers and meet up with friends. Attended Fox group yesterday. Afraid our circus anthology may die now the circuses have ended. Looking forward to CCWA tomorrow and helping one of the members with her cover and illustrations. Reading in a circle critique group online and caught up on that. Finally posted reviews for friend’s books that I read around Christmas. Time for this!

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NETWORKING

I love other writers and artists. Some are as insecure or crazy as me. Most are great and have helped and inspired me. Would never have dared to write a word without Leola Archer’s encouragement or faith in my talent. The creative world has an occasional jealous or mean person, but they are rare. How can you compete when all your efforts are so different? Probably why it is a large, supportive, and kind community.

Raised on the golden rule, but several of these look just as good. Try to pass it on.

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Working on being more positive this year. Hard to find a more elderly person these days and my colleague/husband brings me tea and never asks for coffee. Not sure I will ever make the list for being good. Too snarky, and opinionated for that.

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Sorry to keep rambling, but 500 words is a tough goal.

 

 

 

 

SUPERSTITIONS

Still editing, so will just write the post I had intended for yesterday, Friday the 13th.

Bad weather threatening too many areas of the country right now. World seems pretty agitated and growing more so all the time. Hard to find a calm, tranquil moment with all the negative news feeds everyday. Trying to work on a little emotional calm but just remain unsettled all the time. Usually winter is a dormant, kind of calm season. Even a lot of the animals hibernate, though their sleep cycles may have been altered by the fluctuating weather patterns.

So feeling frightened, it might be well to look at a list of superstitions from around the world. Just in case, there is any truth to any of them.

NEVER HAVE BEEN SUPERSTITIOUS

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My mother claimed she wasn’t either, but nearly every time she was outside hanging clothes, she would stop to look for a four-leaf clover. She was always lucky and would find one or more, also won at bingo a lot, and in drawings. She never wanted us to open an umbrella in the house. So, I suspect she was.

Many people are and always like sharing superstitions though. Like bad luck from a black cat. We had two cats we were told were witches cats because they had thirteen toes on their front paws and were black. One lived to be twenty-three, the other twenty-four, although they were always outside. Don’t know what the extra toes on their hind paws meant, but they were awfully sweet cats. Never saw them do anything mean to anyone but scores of mice and birds.

Walking under a ladder makes sense, dangerous anyway.

Telling people breaking a mirror brings bad luck makes sense too. It keeps them from breaking something that used to be very precious and hard to get.

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Superstitions about weather signs also make sense since there weren’t twenty-four hour weather reports where every shower or storm had warning banners on the screen. Ice Storm Jupiter, for example, does sound more ominous than chance of ice and snow in the forecast.

SOME ODDER ONES

 

All right, who doesn’t believe in crossing your fingers, a lucky rabbit’s foot, and hanging a horseshoe over the barn door. But some of these I hadn’t heard of sound worth trying. Who hasn’t had company arrive or a salesman at the door that you want to shoo away. Wish I had known an upside down broom would get rid of them.

These last two I never heard of before. Have a lot of nights where it is hard to fall asleep, usually because a story is running through my head. Kind of cool to think of those restless nights as being allowed to walk in someone else’s dream. Stories seem like dreams to me anyway.

I’ve heard of wishing upon a star, but will be looking for a rock with a white line around it now to wish upon. Wouldn’t have to wait on a clear night to make your wish that way.

If you have some favorite superstitions, please share.

 

 

CHALLENGES

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There once was a time when I felt I fell nearer the top than the bottom of this Bell chart. Three college degrees later, I have to wonder. Yesterday my goal was to send out my first email newsletter using MailChimp. (A free site, but still friendly with lots of informative little sections explaining every step.)  It seems either I can’t upload an email capture on a free WordPress site, (seeing a common link here), or I have figured every way in the world to do it wrong.  Had a nice page with opt-in and a sign-in form on it, but nothing clicked to anywhere. I’m going to post  Url link in here and we’ll see if it works. http://eepurl.com/cvShtD

Perhaps if I were a kid, like all the wealthy entrepreneurs on YouTube who are millionaire, best-selling authors by age twelve, I could figure out more of this easy stuff. Instead I’m closer to this lovely lady. Will keep working at it.

LAZY

Nothing stellar to report on the new book. Distracted with this little computer project so still need to finish a third edit on the latest book. Wish I could say I’m writing on the next one while I finish the last, but other than these silly blog posts, I haven’t done any writing the last two days.

About two-thirds of the way on the jigsaw puzzle. Swam sixteen laps this morning and read a book on the 5:2 diet. At least, I’m trying to make good on some of my resolutions. Tried the diet last year for two or three months. Lost ten pounds the first month and then stayed the same, even though I stayed on the program. Figure reading what I’m supposed to do might help, rather than fasting two days, and eating normal five. Secret, according to the books author, Gina Crawford, is to widely space the days.  She suggests Monday and Thursdays. Eat 500 calories (women), 600 calories (men) in only two meals – one at 7:30 a.m., the other at 7:30 p.m.. Tried today. Twelve hours between little meals is a stretch. We’ll see. Book was free on Amazon the other day.

Think maybe it’s the weather. We froze last week, then yesterday the wind began to blow, still cold, but today it feels like a nice spring breeze. I worry the trees and bushes will be as confused by it as my arthritis. Hope they don’t start to bud and grow too early. We had that three or four years ago, and all the leaves turned black with a sudden cold snap. Hard summer, with nuts that fall the size of pea gravel. At least it thinned out the squirrels.

Will be writing a batch of emails, the regular way, to try to find my Beta readers for the latest book. Conquering the ‘build a list monster’ will have to wait another day, or maybe another year. At least I won’t be using white-out to correct any errors. My bottle of correction fluid dried up long ago.

 

 

10 CHANGES FOR NEXT 10 YEARS

Worrying about all the hate and mud still being slung, post-election, made me sulk most of the day away. I prefer to be optimistic and happy, get a lot more work done that way.

PAST

 

 

 

I write mainly historical romance. An idyllic time unless you research history. No indoor plumbing, hand-washing clothes in all kinds of weather, cooking on wood-burning stoves or over campfires, no air-conditioning or central heat. Travel anywhere usually took up the whole day – just to buy groceries or visit the neighbor, and crossing the country could take months. They had very few books, which would have made me very unhappy. Most people made most or all of their own clothes, raised or hunted their own meat, grew and preserved their own vegetables and fruit, and died of something, usually before they were forty, including the common cold.

Today planned to research the coming changes to the economy and society. Instead will just list the most interesting of these and let you take a look.

ROSY FUTURE

Most of the predictions sound unbelievable, but I believe most will happen. I mean my husband and I only have a cell phone, no land line, and own a smart television, which if I ever figure out how to get Jeopardy and Wheel, I can cut out cable. Our last car is already smarter than us, reminds us to put it in park and take the key, gives directions and instant maps of where we’re going, and lets us talk to people through the steering wheel. Came as we’re actually starting to need constant reminders, the dryer playing music when its time to fold, the microwave and oven beeping when they finish cooking. I like most of this stuff some of the time.

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Almost every article talked about the Internet of Things. We will all be connected to information and each other all the time. More smart machines, houses, and apps so life will become much easier.

We can store one third of all information in the cloud for access anywhere now, in ten years, almost everything. If you stay mad about the biased news coverage and annoying media personalities, be patient. Their days are numbered. We’ll be able to get our news instantly from the source from someone at the scene or disaster with a cell phone.  No need for pompous experts to tell us what is happening. Might lead to more people forming their own opinions – but no one seemed to predict humans would be smarter.

Talking street signs and cars that drive themselves may be arriving just in time. Good for the elderly and the young drivers too busy texting and watching a video to pay attention to where they are going.

Several talked about virtual humans, in the next ten years. Robots to tend to the elderly and small children, and do most of the boring tasks that people call jobs now. Some of these will be robots, others cyborgs (humans with mechanical parts). Not sure this will be that good, since I get annoyed just talking to those make-believe people on the end of the phone line when I need information, but trying to keep an open mind.

Power will no longer be a problem. There are new solar cells that one can just print off and use, costing negligible amounts and supplying power for cities from a few acres of solar panels. Pollution free, unlimited energy is at hand.

Don’t fret the repeal of Obamacare or the new plan to replace it. Soon we will be able to access our DNA report to see what our risk factors are, have a remote visit with the doctor by smart phone, have all the sensors needed to detect any changes in our health, and even order microsurgery by robots to perform most operations for pennies on the dollar. Someone is even saying we’ll be able to create our own replacement organs.

Three-D Printers will be able to print out whatever you want, besides a new kidney. You order it online, then print off your new shoes, clothes, furniture, etc. Oh Judy Jetson, to think I ever laughed about you typing in dinner and poof, it appeared. The scientists are saying yes, affordable and we’ll have it to use within the next ten years.

Luckily, with so much less to do to stay busy, we will have Virtual Reality. We can go on vacation, create our own movies, maybe even have a hot date with our dream man or woman. Never a boring moment.

Don’t worry about going to the bank, the banking systems will be replaced by something called blockchain. Everything automatically taken care of in cyberspace. If the blocks are anything like legos, I’m ready to play.

Here are a few of the links.

http://highexistence.com/10-ways-the-next-10-years-are-going-to-be-mind-blowing/

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2179278/lan-wan/10-technologies-that-will-

https://singularityhub.com/2015/05/11/the-world-in-2025-8-predictions-for-the-next-10-years/

ROBOTS WILL REPLACE HUMANS BY 2025, BE SMARTER THAN US BY 2035

SCARY FUTURE

If you a doom and gloomer, I only found one article making dire predictions of national bankruptcy, population control, constant wars, civilizations slipping backward, etc.  Everything bad that we have now, except speeded up. Enough said, I see a lot of end times things on Twitter. I’ll let you imagine that for yourselves.

http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/367/65/

 

 

 

 

BREAKING FAITH

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Cancelled our writers meeting tomorrow. Feel guilty, like I’m breaking faith in not holding it as usual. For over thirty-five years now, we’ve met at least twice a month at the local library. But this is an example of what happens when you pretend you live somewhere else. Nashville schools opened, and there were several mishaps as a result, including this bus with children that slid off the road.

Everyone thinks we are idiots. I mean, maybe an inch of snow, are you kidding. But today was cold, cloudy, and although all the roads were salted, it was too cold for it to melt. We have hills, winding roads, narrow backroads, and this stuff always happens. So after the third person asked if we would be meeting, I took the cautious approach and cancelled. High today was 23 degrees, low tonight will be 12. Why take a chance? What could be that important? Just writers reading and asking for feedback on their current work. Sorry you will have to wait. Love the critique sessions and all the members. In two weeks, hopefully there will be no snow.

EDITING

Finished my first edit, looking at structure and content. Still unhappy with the ending, and I don’t want to break faith with my readers. Every story has a promise at the beginning, especially an historical romance like this Civil War tale. A romance always holds the promise of a happy ever after ending. A mystery promises that the crime will be solved and the criminal brought to justice, etc. This horrible war had such heart breaking stories, and too few were HEA. I’ve already scrapped one ending, hoping I can save the current one. But I try to capture the reality of the period, without the glamour and pretense. Makes it much more of a challenge to have a realistic, HEA ending.

Still, want to have something for my Beta readers, and I want it to be as good as I can write. Definitely don’t want to break faith with my few, true fans. So will clean up grammar, stay in the story another few days, and stew on the last chapter, maybe even add another few thousand words. It’s important to get it right.

PIDDLING

In the meantime, I hope to clear up my email, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts. Tend to ignore online as much as possible when writing. Also have to get onto the next book, get an outline done soon. Six days gone in this crazy new year, and I’m eager to make each one count, even if I’m goofing off.

Reading the news never helps. All the stores closing, and I feel guilty. Only bought one or two gifts in a store for Christmas, most I ordered on line. Apparently, I’m not the only person doing this. A whole way of life will soon be gone. The days of going into a large, nice store with a huge selection of merchandise that you can touch, examine, and try on will have vanished. Long gone are the smiling clerks rushing to help you find just the right thing to try on before you buy, or to suggest a perfect gift. It was still comforting to know there were department stores full of merchandise whenever you needed or wanted to buy something special. It is going to hurt when they are gone. More jobs and businesses vanishing in a painful blink. The digital age is definitely here.

This has nothing to do with the theme today, but as a retired chemistry teacher, I thought this youtube video was awesome. Wanted to share it with you. Hope you enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/embed/foqlMVMC9DE

ADMIRE

A simple word this time.

Admire means to look at with pleasure, or to regard someone with warmth and approval.

I am generous in my admiration of all things beautiful, complex, or interesting in any way. I can honestly say  I admire anyone who gets up in the morning with a list to do and settles in at night with a list that is done. I admire people who show love and kindness to others, and those that capture the expression of that in any form.

I thought, this would be a quick blog to write. I’ll just post ten greatest lists: novels, paintings, songs, sculptures, inventions, discoveries, etc.. Couldn’t find anyone’s list I agreed with perfectly. Most of the great art and sculpture lists feature an awful lot of nudity, so will leave you to make your own. Sharing this cute definition of etc., since it fits me to a tee.

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Narcissus

See nothing to admire here. Narcissus was a Greek god of great beauty. The goddess Echo loved him, but as you can see, he only loved himself. Always depicted looking at his own reflection, (although you have to admit Echo was giving him plenty to see if he’d looked her way.)

Some people are famous for posting their self images. Needless to say, that qualifies them as narcissistic, (having an excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance). Part of this blog challenge has involved posting the blog each day to Facebook and Twitter, where one sees daily examples of this.

Artists in order, Michelangelo, Solomon Joseph, John William Waterhouse, and unknown (site Micthellteachers.net).

END OF THE WORLD

 

Doomsday

There were a lot of people saying the world was going to end on 7/29/16. Apparently it didn’t. Thank goodness, since I am behind on all my goals this month. We were away for more than a week, plus there were so many things going on here, including my computer getting sick. Only a little over 30,000 during CampNaNoWriMo, so I won’t make 50,000 goal for the month. Still, I’m pleased to have made progress on the book. Now I know there will be a tomorrow, plan to work on it a lot harder. I’ve done either 25 or 26 new blogs this month, hopefully get a couple more done by Sunday. Not bad when the mind is such a blank.

Liked this tweet, by the Jamison twins, “The end of the world was cancelled due to a lack of interest.” https://twitter.com/PSYCHICTWINS/status/759050538021326850

Here’s a little of the doomsday rhetoric. Japanese stock market had a disastrous day, Hillary was hacked again, and fire-balls were seen on the west coast. http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/false-prophecy-group-end-times-prophecies-predicts-end-world-tonight/http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-

Outside World

On the computer hacking, everyone thinks it’s Russia doing it, even Trump (who asked them to find her missing Benghazi emails). Clearly the hacker is some evil person with more time on their hands than good sense. No one seems to care about these emails, even Bernie Sanders went ahead and gave her a hug and his endorsement. If most people are like me, they don’t have time to keep up with their own.

Since I’m still listening and trying to decide which person to vote for, I watched a few speeches every night from each convention. Today we went to the movies and watched Hillary’s America. Someone at the Y told me I really needed to see it. Probably should go  if you are undecided too. Certainly gives you plenty to think about and fact-check. Hope the election gets here before the end of the world. Plan to make up my mind on who is the least evil by then, so I can vote.

Sharing

Some of my favorite things to tweet tonight were these.