It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.
I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.
I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.
I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.
I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.
Here's a little bi about my zodiac.
GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.
Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.
Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.
This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.
The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.
Find me at:
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Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.
I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" check out the "Gemini Rising..."
|It's been a busy week. We took the scouts on a trip to Hearst Castle. It was a fun trip for the most part. We arrived at the San Simeon campgrounds at about 8 pm and put up our tents. The campground was a bit crowded, but I suppose it usually is with the Hearst Castle nearby. On Saturday with visited the Piers Blancas lighthouse station which was impressive. I saw a sea otter. I sea otters. After that we ate a bag lunch at the Hearst Castle visitor center and went on our tour. What an impressive building! What Hearst and Julia Morgan were able to accomplish was amazing! After that we visited elephant seals. They were very entertaining. Most are molting right now. When we got back, I taught the scouts the Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. It was a busy day. We drove home on Sunday. (I'm trying to keep it brief, so maybe I'll take time in a later post to expand on my Hearst Castle thoughts)
I have an early morning wake up call at 530 am because I need to get Andrew, my 17 yr old to summer school. I'm doing this until 26 JULY. It will get tough starting today because I go back to work today. Vacay is officially over.
Monday I had to go to work and drop off my days off for August. They were due. Tuesday I was cleaning house and took Andrew to the dermitologist. He has acne and we've decided to use accutane to treat it. Wednesday was payday so I was busy spending money. lol!! Also, the boys are involved in a summer bowling league. After bowling we went to sushi. Personally, I can't wait until July is over. I'm so over July. lol!! -- Maybe it's because July is so hot?
Question for you: What do you do to cool off during summer?
Next payday is 31 JUL and I'll be taking the boys for school clothes shopping on the 1st of Aug. Yay! More shopping! lol. This is the first year in quite a while where I have a couple of extra bucks in the pocket so I won't feel overly guilty about overspending.
I've been trying to follow my favorite baseball team, The Red Sox on the MLB app. I paid for the audio so I'm able to hear the games. It's been great following my hometown heroes.
I'm excited about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11. Space travel has always interested me. (topic for another post)
I didn't get anything for Amazon Prime. I didn't really see anything that interested me. I'm not into that Echo thing. I prefer to do somethings for myself. Besides, I think it's a bit "untested" and I have no desire to allow internet companies so invasively into my house. They are already invasive enough IMHO.
|Good news! I was able to get out my Romance/Love NL and submit it for next week. Sadly, I've been rather last minute with my newsletters for several years now. It's a wonder I manage to get them in on time. This month's topic is Heat Levels in Romance. I usually write Spicy, but I've done some sweet and sensual. My "Journey of the Heart" is mostly sweet only due to the setting of the story. I prefer those authors who usually write sensual or spicy. Shana Galen is one of my favorite romance authors.
I also like reading "cozy" mysteries. I really enjoy Janet Evanovich, but I need to catch up on my Stephanie Plum series. I also like Maggie Toussaint's cozy mysteries.
Well, I thought I might not make it with the romance/love submission because we're prepping to go to the Hearst Castle for the weekend. This will be my last trip with the scouts for a while. We'll be camping at a nearby campground. The trip will take approximately 4 hours to get to. It's a bit of a long trip, but I think the scouts will think of it as a big adventure. lol.
I haven't been to the Hearst Castle since 2004. (I went with my Uncle Bill when he came to visit) so, about 15 years. I was very impressed with the Castle. It was constructed in the 1920's. (Actual construction began in 1919) The architect was Julia Morgan and the owner, of course William Randolph Heart Sr. From what I remember he made his money in the newspaper business. He had 5 boys with his wife, and then a daughter with his mistress, Marion Davies. Now I don't believe the daughter was officially confirmed, but from what I understand it was a badly kept secret. lol. His earlier years he spent in New York and even served in the House of Representatives, representing NY. He was born in San Fransisco, CA and the Hearst Castle was built on land his father left him. I suppose his ties to California were strong, so when he got sick of his wife, he came back out here? Hard to really know. Most online biographies are vague about that.
I'll have more about my adventures when I return.
|Well, I didn't mean to be gone so long! lol!!
Hope you all had a great 4th of July!
During the week, I saw Toy Story 4 and Aladdin. I have to admit, I really enjoyed Aladdin. I was impressed with the acting and Will Smith really did a good job as the Genie. Hoping to get Spiderman in before I have to go back to work on the 18th.
I've been busier than usual. My older son is going to summer school and classes are from 7 to 930 am. That means I have a 530 am wake up call because we gotta plan on a 30 min drive to school because it's all the way across town. He's doing well, so far. Last day of school is 29 July. I usually come home and wash the dishes and put on a load of laundry and get a shower in. I've been doing some errands and preparing to take the scouts to a trip to the Hearst Castle this weekend. After this weekend, that's it though. I'm done being "super" active. I need a break. lol!! Especially since I don't feel very appreciated.
I've trying to read "Dutch Girl." It's a book about Audrey Hepburn when she was living in Netherlands during World War II.
I wanted to talk a little about summer camp at Camp Big Horn near Lake Arrowhead, but I don't want to get long winded. LOL!
I've been watching "Band of Brothers" (I discovered the series at summer camp) and it's resonated with me, so I wanted to talk about that for a bit along with sharing my Uncle Harold's story. He was a combat engineer in World War II.
Those are topics for another post. I have to get going and work on my Romance/Love Newsletter for JULY for WDC.
What book are you reading now?
|As usual, I get back to blogging come July. Why July? Because the Bard's Hall hosts it's annual blogging contest in June. I love visiting the different blogs, catching up with the bloggers and enjoying the entries. I'm also usually on vacation about this time, and I have time to spend hanging out with Germini Rising.
I've found I enjoy the shorter blog posts that are conversational, fun, and engaging. Sometimes I need a prompt, and sometimes I don't. This vacay is more of a "staycation." I really can't complain. We've got some day trips planned and I'm using the time to Catch up on my movies.
Movie Catch up:
I recently saw
Avengers: End Game
On the list: Toy Story 4, Aladdin, and Spiderman, Far from Home.
** I'll add my movie musings in a future post**
My younger son, Joey, and I went to Universal Studios Hollywood on Monday. Loved visiting the Minions! My older son has to do summer school for Algebra IIB. That runs from 1-29 JUL. His class time is 7 am to 9:30 am. Let's just say that's an early morning wake up call!
Today, we are going to see an LA Dodgers Game for the 4th of July with a fireworks show after the game. I'm looking forward to it. The Dodgers are finally a good team (we've been going since 1997 and just recently the Dodgers have put together World Series teams) The only thing that's a bit of a bummer are the prices. Tickets are wicked expensive and the refreshments to include Dodger Dogs cost an outrageous amount of money. We had to save up to afford the tickets. Another bummer about the dodgers is that they have this funky TV contract with Fox Sports Spectrum and we don't have the service that shows the games. We can only catch a game on TV if KTLA (the local affiliate shows the game which Fox Sports occasionally lets them do.) -- It's hard to be a fan of a professional sports team because the costs are outrageous. I'm curious to know how much other teams charge their fans.
Is supporting your local sports team affordable or wicked expensive?
Just some musing on the 4th of July. Happy birthday America
|Boy oh Boy, 2 weeks flew by!! --- Hard to say where it went but it went!
So, I am training at work. I enjoy training dispatchers, but when I have a trainee, it's hard for me to balance my real life needs. The good news is that the weather has been more bearable (in the 90's) so I'm able to get some stuff done when I get home. Yesterday, I cook. I cooked up a tri tip on my flat iron and had a salad. Sometimes I go to the grocery store. I supervise my kids if they have to do homework. I've been catching up on TV, now... if I can only find a tad more time to write.
I'm ready for !!
I've been watching HARD KNOCKS on HBO and crossing my fingers for the Browns. You can't help but root for the underdogs. Hue Jackson seems like a decent guy. I Josh Landry and I appreciate the leadership he brings to the team. Both Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield impress me. Rooting for Devon Cajuste to make the team. I watched the game against Philly yesterday and the Defense looked impressive considering its still preseason.
Of course, mind you, I'm a die hard New England Patriot fan. I grew up rooting for New England in the lean years in the 80's and 90's.
Mind you, I so I have a bunch of teams I like and root for but New England is my #1 team. I root for the Rams and Chargers, I like the Packers, and I like any team where a USC quarterback has landed.
I never used to be "big" into College Football. I suppose my "spark" was kindled when I we would spend 4th of Julys on Catalina Island and we'd watch the USC marching band lead the Golf Cart parade. Then I compared prices for football games and I realized I could afford College games whereas pro football games were just outta reach. So...if I was going to see a college game, I figured why not give USC a shot?
While I'm not a fan of the parking for USC, (I ride the metro) I love watching USC play football. They're not bad for college, usually they're ranked in the top #25 poll and I just love the ambiance of the stadium. Last year, I had a mini plan of games, this year, I was able to save up and got Season Tickets!! I'm hoping this year is fantastic, but Sam Darnold went to the Jets so we'll see what we get at quarterback.
I've also been to a UCLA game. I know, USC and UCLA are rivals, but it's all about the football. Personally, I like the Rose Bowl more than the Coliseum, but I'm not picky. I think the Rose bowl has better food.
USC's first game is next weekend on 1 SEP. Game starts at 1 pm though and it will be hot. I personally don't like it when games are hot. I'll bring a mister and make sure to get a lot of ice cubes in my drinks. hehe.
If you could go see a game, who would you go see?
I feel like doing nothing but laying on the asphalt and panting. I'm serious. It's soooo damn .
That said the modern definition of "dog days" is where it's so hot, not even dogs want to do anything. They just want to lie around, stay cool and drink water. However, this expression has been with us since the ancient Greeks and Romans and it had nothing to do with dogs as pets. Dog Days occurred when Sirius, the Dog star, rose right before the sun in late July. These days were (and are) typically known as the hottest days of the year. As with the passage of time, the phrase has taken on some interesting meanings, but I think it always come back to the original meaning: These are the hottest days of the year.
I know, I know, I live in SoCal. I should be used to these days being the hottest days of the year. Yeah, I am, but that still doesn't mean they ain't HOT!! 100 ain't no joke. Thank goodness my vacay ended in mid July and I'm back to work in my Air Conditioning building.
That said what do you do to stay cool? Drink cool water? Go swimming? Go see a movie? Go to the beach? Play in a sprinkler. I'm entertaining ALL ideas!! So far, I've staying in the AC, went to see a couple of movies and drank cool water. Planning a trip to Hurricane Harbor next week.
Good news! Night of Magic has been accepted by Prairie Rose Publishing. I'm very excited. 2 of my stories have found a home. I've managed to update the front page of my website but I have more updates to do. Still need to find time to write and do a little reading. I'd like to catch up my product reviews here at WDC, but I'm pleased with what I've done so far.
Just finished prepping my Romance/Love NL which is due out next Wednesday. I thought I'd talk about Romance Awareness Month. What are the little gestures you do to keep the romance alive?
I'm looking forward to WDC's birthday. I can't believe the site will be 18 years old! I'm really appreciative of the opportunities the site offers to challenge one's writing.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
National Night out is usually a big Police Community thing. Most Police departments arrange a "fun" night to share with the community. Since I work for LAPD and I'm a liaison to Pacific Division, I helped staff a table to talk about when to call 911. I always enjoy going out and supporting. Did anyone attend their National Night Out? I hope to post pictures soon.
CALIFORNIA ON FIRE
It seems like the whole damn state is on fire. Thankfully I am not in one of the affected areas, but still. It's disheartening to see the forest and trees burn up. I love nature. I love the crisp, clean smell of trees and lakes, and fish.
One of my favorite places to go in August is Camp Whitsett. It's a boy scout camp in the Sequoia national forest. It's about 4 hours north of were I live. They usually have a Cub/Family weekend the 3rd weekend of August. Cub Scouts and their families go for the weekend for a ton of scouting fun to include arts and crafts, cub grub, archery, and bb guns. I started going when my youngest was a Tiger cub in the first grade. Now that he's a boy scout, we don't have a reason to go. I'm hoping to get up there and be on staff. I'm a Range Safety Officer and I helped with bb guns last year. Back in 2016, they had to cancel the Cub Family weekend because there was a fire about 20 miles away. Thankfully, it didn't get the camp, but I was bummed out.
The boys are all registered at school. I am looking forward for school to start up again as I don't think too much idle time for the boys is good.
Smiles and Water bottles for all!
|Welcome to August! I can't believe it's already the 4th! Where has the time gone?
My son had all 4 of his wisdom teeth out last Tuesday. He's 16. A bit young, but he had braces and the dentist didn't want them to come in and ruin all his dental work. He's been a bit sore and it's been uncomfortable, but I think he's on the up side. Yesterday he did some work in his AP US history class. He got all the signatures he needed for his Eagle Project. Today, we need to fix some typos, get one last signature, and turn in his book. Then it's time to wait to for an Eagle court date.
Well, I've been working with an EBO trainee this week. EBO stands for Emergency Board Operator and they are the actual call takers who answer 911. She's almost ready to be qualified to go on her own. It won't be long for her now. She's moving to the night watch though. She'll get some good calls there. She's got a good a attitude, but I find after so many, you get a bit jaded. Especially when you learn how RUDE the SHEEPLE are. Tomorrow I work with an RTO (Radio Telephone Operator). She's learning how to talk to the officers on the air. You have to get your RTO qualification before you can get your EBO qualification. When I'm training, it's hard to do my "down time" things at work so I have to do them when I get home.
Yesterday, when I got home I think I was a tad dehydrated. I didn't want to do a thing. I couldn't even cook so I took the boys to the local Sushi place. So I gotta ask... What's your favorite Sushi roll? I just discovered spicy salmon and I it!!
I caught up on VICTORIA, season 1. Jenna Coleman is FANTASTIC as young Victoria. I can only find it on Amazon Prime though. Thankfully, my DH has a Prime account for a couple of years.
Today, after I get an oil change for my car, I'm off to go school shopping with the boys at the Camarillo Outlet malls. Should be fun. I'm just not a fan of going back to school in mid August. When I was a kid, I went back to school the first Wednesday after Labor Day, and I think that's more practicable.
When does your area go back to school?
No new news on Journey of the Heart, but as I hear something, I'll pass it along. I submitted "Night of Magic" for the Halloween releases for this year, so we'll see.
Have a great week!
Just finished judging the Bard's Hall's entries for July. We had some really great entries and I can't wait to award some prizes!! Gigie and Kiya are cooking something up for the Angel Army for Writing.com's birthday celebration in September. That's always a fun time. The Bard's Hall usually does the Cop Shop and Gigie's come up with something that will be a lot of fun.
My son returned from Camp Emerald Bay and wanted to see Incredibles 2 last night so we took him. It's such a cute movie. My favorite character was Jack Jack because he smiled a lot and was into causing a lot of mischief.
Today, my 16 yr old had his wisdom teeth removed. He appears to be managing well, but still, I hate the thought he had to go under. We're changing out gauze, drinking water, eating soft stuff and taking pain meds. He's vegging on the couch and watching survivor while I try to catch up on my Internet stuff.
I'm not much of a breakfast person. Lately, I've taken to eating English muffins, and some fruit and a cup of coffee. I usually pack a lunch that I eat at work, but today I treated myself to a salad. I put cheese, bacon bits, onion bits and corn in my salad and used Ranch dressing. What stuff do you like to put in your salad? I'm open for ideas.
August is still going to be HOT in SoCal. We have to stay cool. Gotta work on a plan for that.
It's time to register the kids for school. Registrations are next week. School starts 16 AUG. When does your school start? Mid August seems TOO early for me. When I was a kid living in NH, school started the Wednesday after Labor Day. Not much camping planned for August, which is nice. Hope I have more time to organize writing and marketing.
Grump out, People!
|So I'm back......... ready to share some more ramblings. Enjoy!
I shared my good news -- Prairie Rose Press will re-publish "Journey of the Heart." I'm very excited about that. I re-read the story to refresh myself. It really is a heartwarming read. World War II is over and Rachel might lose her winery. James is a drifter looking for a purpose in his life. Can Rachel and James find happiness?
I have a lot to do as I've neglected my marketing (and writing) due to my scouting activities. I'm first going to work on my twitter presence and try to tweet a least once a day. I have to attend to my Facebook author page and then update my website and then get ready to start blogging again. As I begin to attend to my tasks I'll keep you updated.
I'm feeling inspired to write, but not quite sure where it's going to take me. I have a Green Rose prequel in mind and a couple of Sonia character driven shorts. All in due time.
Gigie aka WebWitch and I are planning our August and Sept contests for the Bard's Hall. Sept will be our "Cop Shop" to celebrate Writing.com's 18th birthday. I always enjoy the Cop Shop. Right now, I'm trying to go through the Bard's Hall July entries. Hope to have some reviews posted soon.
9-14 JUL I went to Camp Josepho with my son. He earned the Movie-making, Theater, and Communications Merit Badges. It was an interesting time. There was only 1 cook so I helped out in the kitchen when I could. The food at Josepho was nice. I'm sharing an Old Newsreel about the camp dated 1944. Enjoy! The camp was founded in 1941 and is in the city limits of Los Angeles. Lots of history behind it that I can get into in future entries:
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK
While the rest of California burns up, we visited the Sequoia National Park last week, 19-22 JUL. We drove up on Thursday night, and it took about 4 hours. SNP is on the south western side of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. I believe it is one of the lowest locations where the Sequoia Trees grow. We stayed at Lodgepole Camping area. They have over 200 spots but if you want to get one you have to set your internet for 6 months out and pray. After we arrived, we set up camp, hung out by the campfire and went to bed. I always take a cot when I car camp. I only take a "pad" when I go backpacking. The next day we took a 3 mile hike from the Sherman Tree to the Giant Forest Museum. We saw a deer just sitting next to a sequoia tree minding it's own business. The scouts did the Jr. Ranger program. In the afternoon, the scouts tried fishing in the local creek. The next day we visited a local cave and then the scouts went swimming and tried their hands at fishing again. Sunday morning, we ate breakfast and headed out, arriving home at 230. The scouts did the majority of the cooking and clean up. Friday night we saw a ranger program on night life which was interesting.
I finished Stephanie Plum #21. Probably one of the better books recently. I have a bunch on the list to read though.I read "THE GREAT REVOLT" why people voted for Trump and why he won the election. I realize that politics these days can be very divisive, but I try to take the high road. I'm a Reagan Democrat and I'll leave it at that.
Currently, I'm reading QUEEN VICTORIA's MATCHMAKING which is interesting. It's how she tried to marry off her grandchild onto the thrones of Europe. And her Grandchildren were definitely colorful personalities.
I like to do book reviews, but unfortunately, time has not been accommodating.
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephburkhart. I generally don't use Twitter a lot, but I see a lot of benefit in managing a tweet a day. Of course the big question is "WHAT to Tweet about???" I want to get the message out about my upcoming happenings with my writing, but I also want to stay current. That's a challenge because I'm not a "reality" person. I like feel good stories and quirky things that make me laugh. I like Grumpy Cat. That cat is so ugly, it's cute, but honestly, I don't do much in my "real" life that I think is interesting so why would others? I've tried tweeting more often in the past. In the past, I've used Tribeer to get my blogs out and support others, but hardly drove my marketing efforts. I guess I'll go back to the drawing board and plug away. You never know what Tweets become Magic.
I discovered we had access to Amazon Prime through our Apple TV so I found "Victoria" starting Jenna Coleman. It's about the early years of Queen Victoria's life. I have to admit Rufus Sewell is PERFECT for Lord Melbourne.
One of the scouts likes to collect comic books. I collected from 1980-1997, and then sporadically since then. I love the DC Teen Titans of the time, did Batman and the Outsiders and the Legion of Superheroes. I collected a lot of X-Men books at the time. I guess I'm spoiled on that area of comic books. I'm not a fan of all the changes in the DC universe. Marvel seems more steady to me. I do enjoy a good superhero movie though and I really enjoy'd DC's "Superman" with Henry Cavill, Wonder Woman, and Justice League. I thought Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ezra Miller as the Flash were inspired choices. Ezra Miller is a fantastic actor. Just rewatched Fantastic Beasts and was blown away by his Credence.
That's my July in a nutshell.
|Guess what? It's still in SoCal. Well, it's that time of year. July is always a SCORCHER here in SoCal. Temps this week are bet 110-115. No sign of relief. Thank you Lawd and Willis Carter for inventing A/C!!
Can you believe it's been 18 days since I last blogged? All good intentions, right!! But, I'm back. Like a bad penny to share my drama.
Good news! Prairie Rose Press has accepted "Journey of Heart" and is going to publish it. I signed the contract yesterday. I'm very excited about this development. They will work with me to publish my other shorts over the upcoming months. Here's a link to their website: http://prairierosepublications.com/
As we go forward with the publishing process, I'll keep you all informed. I hope to update my own social media soon to include twitter, pintrest, my Facebook author page, and website, which have been sorely neglected. As I update my social media, I'll give you all a shout out. I haven't tweeted much, but I hope to get going again. if you want to find me on Twitter and follow me, I'm at: http://twitter.com/sgcardin #writing.com and I'll follow you back.
I think I'll tweet about something. lol!!
See you soon with more salacious rumblings from SoCal