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..."
The USO turned 74 years old on 4 FEB 2015 and I thought I'd sharing some fun facts about this organization that has supported America's troops since World War II. I'm a veteran myself and I can tell you I really appreciated having the USO around, and I took advantage of their opportunities when I could. In 1990 and 1991 I was able to stay in Garmish and Berchesgarten. In 1997, I went on an USO organized tour of Budapest. If you have anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment.
**Founded on 4 FEB, by President Franklin Roosevelt. He asked several private organizations like the Salvation Army, YMCA, Catholic Community Service and others to come together and handled rec leave for the troops.
**USO stands for United Service Organization. It's slogan is: Until Everyone comes Home.
**It's not a government agency.
**Mission Statement of the USO: Lift the spirits of American troops and their families.
**Katy Perry and Idina Menzel are veteran USO performers. They also performed at the 2015 Superbowl.
**USO helps with transitioning troops, deployed troops, wounded ill and injured troops, and military families.
**Here are several well known performers who have supported the USO's mission: Bob Hope, Gary Sinse, Katy Perry, Mickey Rooney, Idina Menzel, Hattie McDaniel, Marilyn Monroe, Ann Margaret, and Jay Leno just to name a few.
Question: Has the USO touched your life? What else would you like to know/learn about the USO?
|2015 Groundhog Day Fun Facts
Just thought I’d share some fun facts about Groundhog Day. If you have any fun facts or anything you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment.
**Groundhog day is celebrated on 2 FEB. If the groundhog sees its shadow and crawls back into its burrow, winter will last another six weeks.
**The largest groundhog celebration is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
**The 1st documented mention of Groundhog Day in America was on 4 FEB 1841.
**Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are right 39% of the time.
**The average groundhog weights between 12-15 pounds and lives between 5-7 years.
**Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today. Another 6 weeks of winter weather. If you ask me, that’s a pretty accurate prediction considering there’s another snow storm on the way to the east coast. Stay warm out that way!
Question: Has anyone ever seen a groundhog?
|1st time the Superbowl was held in February was 3 FEB 2002. TV schedules were delayed a week because of 9/11. The Superbowl has been held in February ever since.
In 2016, Superbowl 50 will be held in San Francisco, CA.
The 1st Superbowl was on 15 JAN 1967. Green Bay beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
The word "Superbowl" wasn't printed on the tickets until 1970.
In 2012, a 30 second Superbowl ad cost 3.5 million dollars.
Tickets to the 1st Superbowl cost $6.00. In 2004, the face value of a Superbowl ticket was 400 dollars. In 2015, the face value was $6,459.21.
The NFL has a lottery that selects 500 names drawn out of a hat for a chance to buy Superbowl tickets at face value. This occurs between 1 FEB – 1 JUN. Check out the NFL website for more information.
MTV produced the 2004 superbowl halftime show with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake that had the "wardrobe malfunction." MTV was banned by the NFL to produce the Superbowl half time show in the future.
Russell Wilson went to the University of Wisconsin.
Tom Brady went to the University of Michigan. Tom Brady has been the Patriots quarterback since 2001. He's won 4 Superbowls and is a 3 time Superbowl MVP.
Just thought I'd share some fun facts about the Superbowl. I'm from NH so I was rooting for the Pats to win. Go Pats!! This is one happy Patriot fan right about now!
|Since I was little, I always enjoyed reading. Heck, I started off with comic books in the early 1980’s. I loved Chris Claremont’s X-Men and Marv Wolfman’s Teen Titans. Those were truly my favorites. I read other comics, Spiderman, Batman, Legion of Superheroes, Spawn, but nothing beat X-Men and Teen Titans. If anything, the 1990’s GLUT of X-Men titles, really drained me dry. For me, that was overkill. Nowaways, I might visit a comic store occasionally with my boys. They’re more into Wonder Woman. I can’t figure, but then… they’re boys. They LOVED the 1970’s Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. Maybe they look up to Wonder Woman like how I looked up to Wolverine. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that! Hehe
Anyhoo, my current TBR is ridiculous! I’m currently reading:
Rough Waters by Maggie Toussaint
The Scorch Trails by James Dashner
Storm of Swords by George RR Martin
I just finished reading “To The Nines” by Janet Evanovich. I love reading different authors, compelling stories, and a variety of genres. I try not to limit myself.
Romance is my favorite, followed by historical (anything), fantasy, steampunk, dystopian, and cozy mystery. My favorite authors include: Victoria Holt, Anne Rice, JK Rowling, early VC Andrews, Janet Evanovich, George RR Martin.
Reading expands my mind – and my vocabulary. Reading is an adventure. I get to visit different places and try different things.
Reading is knowledge – and learning. Currently, I’m looking for good Paleo recipes.
I think if you’re a writer, reading goes hand-in-hand. Reading offers inspiration, escape, and fun.
Let’s see – time to tackle some fun – my People magazine!
What are you reading today?
PS...check out my other blog, "Romance Under the Moonlight" for a snippet from my contemporary romance: Feast of Candles at: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
|I wanted to get the word out on this since I just found out about it recently. Mind you, I’m not an economic genius. I know the basics. I have a job to earn money and pay the bills. I can balance a checkbook. Occasionally, I play the lotto hoping for a couple extra bucks. Saving is rough because I live paycheck-to-paycheck. I don’t have a strong economic background, but I know this basic fact:
To make money, you need to grow money.
I have two boys I need to help through college. Thankfully, one of my co-workers told me about a 529 savings plan. It’s a way to grow money to help your son or daughter attend college.
So what is it?
An investment tool designed for saving for future higher educational expenses.
Most plans are run though the state. You can find California’s at: scholarshare.com
T. Rowe Price is out of Alaska. That’s the plan I went with.
Overview: Most growth comes from investment in mutual funds. 529 plans are administered by states only, though record keeping can be through a mutual fund company.
Use it for: tuition, fees, books, supplies for college, room and board.
Advantages: principal grows tax deferred; distributions for beneficiary’s college cost tax free; depending on the state, provides state income tax deductions. Donor controls the account. Family members can make gifts to the account.
T. Rowe Price:
For me, it offered me “easy.” It was simple to understand the website. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I felt confident my son could choose a college anywhere in the U.S. I felt confident picking his investment portfolio in that I felt it would grow the investment. I could afford the 250.00 initial investment and 50.00 a paycheck auto deposit. When I went to sign up, again, it was easy. Just a couple of screens and I was good. I’m happy I sighed up. It’s a good start to 2015.
|No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important. – Mary Kay Ash
Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon
My days seem to fly by, especially when I go to work. I work from 6 am to 2:15 ish pm. I get up at 4 and get home bet. 3-3;15ish. I actually enjoy my work, but I get a lot of comments when I tell people I’m a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I typically get “That must be stressful.” Not really, not for me, but for the person who makes that comment, I’ve come to realize it’s stressful for them.
Some people ask about the calls I take. I usually blow them off. I used to tell them about a call I took that day or recently, and they flinch, as if horrified, and I’ve come to realize they aren’t prepared to hear about 911 calls. If they insist, I usually tell them about the time I answered 911 and the 1st thing I heard was a toilet flushing. Butt dials happen all the time. Total waste of the 911 system, but over 70% of the calls we take are not an emergency.
My work is not physically demanding, though carpal tunnel and tennis elbow injuries can occur, along with neck/shoulder pain or back problems. I had tennis elbow about 10 years ago, but thankfully, I’ve been injury free, though I did get palter fasciitis last year for walking too much! If anything, taking 911 calls is emotionally draining, and it saps a bit of your “drive” or “energy.” When I get home I face my house, my boys’ schedules, and I’m pooped. I’m cleaning, cooking, supervising homework, or chauffeuring the boys to their appointments. This is a major reason why writing and reading has suffered. I might have 1-2 hours “me” time stops before I have to go to bed again. I find I’m trying to find time – minutes here or there throughout the day to manage my emails.
Well, now that the holidays are over, I find myself catching up on neglected me. I have a lot to read in my TBR pile and I hope to get back to my NaNoWriMo project soon to finish it. I’ll give it another 2 weeks to normalize. My DH helped to take down Christmas, but RE (religious ed) and scouting picks up again. Joe’s homework is back. Back to the grind. Hopefully a little more organization will help me keep it straight.
Resolution/Goal #4 : Manage and organize my time more efficiently.
|Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead. – Les Brown
All week I’ve been looking forward to going snow tubing with my son. He’s 8 and this was a trip I arranged for his cub scout den as his den leader. Mind you, there isn’t much snow in So. Cal, but in the Los Angeles forest, high in the mountains just off the 138 (it’s a state highway) there’s a town called Wrightwood and a winter resort called Mt. High. You can ski, snowboard, and go snow tubing. I planned to go there. We were going to meet at the snow tubing park at 2. I left at 12. At 1, I turned onto state highway 2 from the 138 and the 5 mile road to Wrightwood was a parking lot! I got to Wrightwood at 2 and Mt. High at 3:30. The cones were up. The lot was full. I had to turn around go home.
Needless to say I was disappointed.
So was Joe. I tried to give him hope as we inched forward, but there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
I didn’t cuss or start hitting the steering wheel or cry. I just turned around with a heavy heart full of disappointment. Joe was bummed, so I told him we would try again next month.
I suppose I could have called the facility to complain, but what good would that have done? The traffic was unreasonable and they had no control over the traffic.
I figure disappointment is like a nasty little cold, sometimes you get it so you can say you’ve had it and recovered from it.
Resolution/aka Goal #3: Plan as much as I can, not only in my writing, my cub scout adventures, but in my food prep, too. Planning helps keep the edge off disappointment.
|I’m calling 2015 “Steph’s Big Selfie.”
Sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to be. This year though, I need to make “me” a priority. I want to lose weight. I’ve been stuck at 170ish since having Joe and that was 8 years ago. I’ve put the boys ahead of my needs for a while now, so this year I’m shifting gears a little and putting an importance on my weight loss, fitness, and better eating habits. I’m already doing Weight Watchers, but now I’m transitioning to a Paleo centered diet. Last night I creamed Califlower with butter and garlic. My portions were a bit off and it turned out very garlicky, so I’m going to try again with less garlic this time. I liked it though. It came out creamy with a consisency of mashed potatoes.
Anyone have any good Paleo recipes or tips to share?
Resolution/Goal #2: Think about what I eat. is it Paleo friendly? Even though I don’t have a gluten allergy, I resolve to cut down on my gluten intake.
|I’m pooped! Last year had me bouncing from event to event. October I wrote “Mr. Christmas Elf” for the Victory Tales Press Christmas Collection. November, I participated in NaNoWriMo. My novel was "A Princess is always Right" and I went over 50K. There's still more to do, but I've got a good start.
December was all about Christmas - cards, trees, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, rib roast dinner, and even a weekend trip to Yosemite. Visit my blog, "Romance Under the Moonlight" for pictures: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com/2014/12/winter-in-yosemite-dec-2014-yosemite-nps.ht...
Throw in teaching 1st grade religious ed for my church and being a cub scout den leader, and you know why I’m pooped. I’m hoping January can be my “just breathe” month. Oh, I have stuff to do, but I’m hoping I can finally relax a little without deadlines.
Resolution/aka Goal #1 - Slow Down! Catch my breath. Assess and prioritize my commitments. Take time to use a calendar and get some better organization going on.
|I've never seen the Statue of Liberty up close. I'd love to, and I will one day, but right now my chances are slim.
Truth be told, I don't know if I need to see her up close. She's on coins, postcards, and stamps. She's been in several iconic movies. For me, the most chilling representation of what she stands for is in the "Planet of the Apes" – Lady Liberty half buried in sand is a poignant statement. Freedom and Liberty as we knew it has died an ugly death (in the movie.) Thank goodness, that is only a movie and the real Lady Liberty still stands tall and proud in New York Harbor.
What does the Statue of Liberty mean to me? It embodies the high ideals that the founding fathers strived for: freedom, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, equality, and justice. Some of these lofty ideals we still struggle with 244 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. For me, I look to the Statue of Liberty and I believe that American spirit will never die.
I hope you had a great 4th of July. I hope it was filled with fun, BBQ, and fireworks – and a toast to liberty.
Enjoy these fun facts about the statue:
--The Statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France.
--Lady Liberty was dedicated on 28 Oct 1886 by President Grover Cleveland.
--Frederic Bartholdi designed the statue. Gustav Eiffel built it.
--The US faced great economic challenges raising money to build the pedestal. (The French did the rest) Joseph Pulitzer spearheaded a fundraising drive. Soon, 102,000.00 dollars were raised from 120,000 donors. 80% of the total had been 1.00 or less.
--Emma Lazarus initially declined to write a poem for the statue. When she observed the living conditions of refugees in New York from Eastern Europe, she expressed her empathy by writing "The Colossus." The poem's most iconic lines: "Give me your tired/your poor/your huddled masses/yearning to breathe free."
--No one in the US died during the construction.
--On 28 Oct 1886, New York had a parade. The stock exchange threw ticker tape from the windows. It was the 1st ticker tape parade.
--On D-Day, 6 Jun 1944, the lights on Lady Liberty flashed "dot, dot, dot, dash," morse code for "V" for victory.
Question: What does Lady Liberty mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.