Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Seriously, this is an actual thing?

I tend to spend my time on the internet very selectively. I pay attention to and visit the sites my kids go to ('cause they are young and I have to), anything having to do with writing, and then my favorite, The Awkward Yeti (

But it is the holidays and I live on the other side of the country from all of my family and many loved ones; that means internet shopping so the shipping is done for me.

I have run across some odd things in my hunt for unique gifts but this one took the cake:

Seriously, this is an actual thing?

Clip-On Man Bun*gg-instant-man-bun_c*81522506101_k*_m*_d*Goods-Product-Ads_keyword*_target*_adposition*1o1_prodtarget*136840567501_adtype*pla&mr:referralID=89cf91ce-9eb6-11e5-b0f7-0050569451e5&gclid=CPTahfnTz8kCFQoVfgodkOQJDA

It looks like that was just photo shopped on to the person's head. The description on the Groupon website was hysterical. You may want to check it out for a laugh.

I'd love to see what wacky things you have come across!

Happy holiday shopping everyone!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Focusing on what is really important

We had a car break down and it was expensive to fix, we came home to find that the dogs had left us a very wet, smelly spot on our rug (there is hardwood all over but, no, they preferred the rug), but we all came home from work and school alive and unhurt. My heart goes out to everyone effected by the the shooting in Oregon.

My cousin was in a very serious accident and is expected to be in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility for a year or more.

My friends are fighting cancer. And I have co-workers who are fighting cancer, lupus, kidney failure, loss of lung function. I could go on, but I don't want to make any less of the issues these wonderful people are saddled with and fighting.

This litney of tradgedies has been tearing at my heart and making me feel useless and left me wondering over and over what more I can do to help.  Then it occurred to me that I should be remembering the advice to live every day as if it is our last.

There are so many things that vie for our attention but so few of them are really what is important. I am working to keep that in perspective and spend more time with my loved ones.

I did not clean the house this weekend. We saw friends, went out to eat, and made sure we spent time together as a family.  We all discussed, planned and booked a weekend away as well.  I hope we continue to make time together a priority.

I hope that this post will inspire others to take a moment to remember who is important in their lives and spend more qaulity time with them too.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rite of passage

Image result for images of ca missions

Not growing up in California I had a lot of different experiences than my friends who grew up here. I did not make a mission in the fourth grade.  I did not go to outdoor science camp in fifth.  The one thing we have in common is that we had to play an intstrument in the fourth grade. And now so do my children.

I remember being forced to pick an instrument I did not want to play because I had to play a lady-like instrument, which was not the drums, stand up bass or the sax, my orignal choices. I was allowed to play the flute. I ended up loving playing an instrument. I loved the feeling of accompishment, the creativity, the collaboration and the challenge. I ended up loving my flute. Especially when I watched my friends lugging their larger instruments. There was no way I could have lugged the bass around.

Image result for images flute player                                      

My daughter chose to play the flute because I had played it.  I pushed back and made her try a couple of other instruments before settling on the flute. I did not want her to start out feeling that the flute was not the instrument she wanted.

I hope she loves this experience and grow to love music and have a creative outlet she can cherish her whole life.  We're off to a good start; she spent the weekend learning how to make a sound with the mouthpiece.  She did not give up and powered through it.

I'd love to hear your school music stories or any creative outlets you cherish.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

As a writer and a lover of the English language...

As a writer and a lover of the English language my daily emails at work are like fingernails dragging painfully down a blackboard.

Here is an real life example of two emails I recieved.  I have changed the proper names to protect the offender.

From: joseph rubens
To: Human Resources
Subject: Job opportunity
Hello, my name is joseph rubens and i am writing this message because i am intrested in a position with wilco standards. i am a former welder for stuts out in the oil platforms. I became close friends with juan vasques and a couple of employees who encouraged me to appy for wilco. if you guys are hiring by any chance. Please give me and email message or a call on how can i apply. Thanx you..  


Thank you for your interest in a job opportunity with Wilco Standards.  Unfortunately there are no openings at this time.

Please take the time to read and apply these helpful pointers so that you will have better luck in your job search:
1)      Always attach a resume
2)      This is your first and only chance to impress the hiring manager- so work hard to impress them
a.       Use proper grammar (for example capitalization)
b.      No spelling mistakes
c.       No text short cuts, use the whole word spelled out properly.
3)      Always mention that you were referred by someone and spell their name correctly.  In this case you should mention all the employees who would give you a recommendation. More is better.

Your email is all bunched together and without the proper capitalizations it is harder to read.  You could easily have spent just a couple of more minutes and done a lot better on this email and made a much better first impression. 

I am not saying this to discourage you but to assist you in your job search.  I wish you good luck.

From: joseph rubens
I appreciate your help kathryn. Yes you are right, i should have double checked my grammer. I will keep trying. Thank you.

Don't you love this? Does he not see that he is thanking me and he should've double checked his "grammer" and then he does everything I have told him not to do in the email to me?  If he had shown that he could follow directions by at least captializing, the one thing everyone should know how to do, I would have saved his email for when we are hiring again. Had he attached a resume I would have saved it was well.  He did neither and his email was discarded, at work at least.

It found its way here because I have complained about the emails I receive, honestly this is one of the better ones, and the state of the English language only to be told that there is no way people are making those mistakes. So here is proof of a few of the most common mistakes I see. I don't think many of you would be able to read some of the emails I recieve.  It took my assistant months to learn to decipher them.

Does anyone have any examples of poor grammar that are their pet peeves.

Friday, August 14, 2015

It is finally Friday

This has been a week when I have been a day ahead all week. I have not been the only one. The teachers at summer camp, two of my co-workers, and my daughter have all been a day ahead as well.

I am so glad it is finally Friday.  It has been a tough week for me but so many people have it worse. They are all in my prayers and I hope that God is listening.

I have been away because I have so many things going on at work that I cannot discuss and they have consumed all my thoughts and I cannot write about them. Since I cannot think past them I needed to stay away.  Since they are mostly behind me I wanted to try coming back to the blogosphere and see if I could post something worthwile that would not get me fired if found by my co-workers and bosses, of which I have many.

I have been pouring my energy into a story for  KathrynThornton2. The new story is called "New England, New Romance". If you haven't guessed it is a romance genre story.  I hope you can check it out and enjoy it.

I love writing for Wattpad because I take the opportunity to write freely and not over analyze or edit too much.

I look forward to your comments on the story thus far or my other stories that are posted.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Making a Better Life

Image result for green lawn dead lawn

Why do we as a people all believe that the grass is greener somewhere else?

My job is a source of major stress right now. Without my salary we cannot afford our home.
I broached the fact that maybe we should not be fighting to save a home but a quality of life. Maybe we could have a better quality of life somewhere with a cheaper cost of living.

I have spent a few hours searching for alternative places with a lower cost of living. Southern CA is quite expensive. It is also so different from what I grew up with. I grew up in a small town, surrounded by family, with lots of open space.

My husband will never live anywhere with weather.  He wants temperate 70 degrees all the time. That rules out being near my family, it snows where they live.

Quality of life is something we keep saying we aspire to and yet it is a vague idea. Maybe it means I stay home, maybe it means we can see family more often, have more money to spend on trips and save for college, have the best school system for our children.

I did a search of the best places to live in the US and so many towns in California were high on the list. So if this is the case why am I so anxious to leave?

It is the strange, seemingly universal, unfounded belief that the grass is going to be greener if we move somewhere else.  I hear this constantly. My co-worker who finally moved out of her mother's house, my friends who keep talking about moving to Oregon and Washington state; one of whom moves in August.  Yet my co-worker who finally moved out of her mother's home has found some difficulties she did not expect and spends a lot of time helping her mother now which is not as convenient as when she lived at home.  Will the transition pains be worth it? Would we end up in a better place?  Would we make closer friends than we have here?

I think our best next step is for us to decide concretely what we want, what we think would make for a better quality of life and then see if we can make that happen here or if we really thinking moving is the only way to achieve those defined measurable goals.

As much as I want to assume, maybe irrationally, that things will be better if we move and start over I need to find a way to make a decision free of this irrational hope and temper the unreasonable belief that the grass will be greener somewhere else.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time for a Laugh

My son introduced me to a Weird Al song that I readily agreed with and love.  Please enjoy the video of Word Crimes by Weird Al.

I like this post because it is so true.  I have received comments before that people really don't make these mistakes.  If only I could post my emails from work. Reef for wreath, do for due, grate for great, etc. I have to read emails aloud to sound out what they are trying to say because the English is so bad.  I have this posted on my office door. I wonder how many of the words my co-workers actually recognize as an acyrologia.

The final chuckle for the day from my favorite cartoonist Nick Seluk at The Awkward Yeti. Love him.

okay one more from him

Heart tries reading
I hope you enjoyed your visit.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Writing exercise -making it part of your daily life


Writing- you get better the more you practice.  We all know this but finding the time is hard.
I don't always have time to practice traditionally because I spend a lot of my time sitting at the ball park for my son's games and practices. I cannot whip out my laptop or notebook there but there are plenty of times when my son is on the bench and I get a little bored cheering for the other parents' kids.  Nothing against the kids I just do not like baseball. I know, very un-American of me.  During these times I love to practice my writing.  How do I do this when I can't use my laptop or a notebook?  I observe the people around us, the location, listen in on conversations and write them in my head.  Bear with me here and you will be doing this soon yourself.

As I sit and cheer mindlessly with the other parents I image how I would describe the scene; the cool breeze chilling the metal seats as it wicks the heat from my body, the sounds of the younger siblings playing around the bleachers, the grandmother knitting juxtaposed next to the grandmother who is pretending she is too young to be a grandmother.

I don't limit myself to "writing" only at the ball park. Today at lunch I watched an employee walk by the open door and instantly started "writing" how I would describe his gait if he was a character in my book.  Here is what I came up with: ...his feet shuffled resistently along the carpet as his bulky hands worked like paddles moving him laboriously towards his destination  Or worked like paddles as he lumbered towards his destination.

I love some of the things I have come up with during these sessions and have quickly jotted them down or secreted off and recorded them into the voice recorder app on my phone.

I have heard some interesting conversations, observed some interesting behaviors and people and paid more attention to my surroundings.

Writing in my head, creating scenes, using bits of dialogues as prompts, creating character back story, and describing what I am seeing have all helped me exercise my writing muscle and I am a better writer for it and my time in line, at the baseball park, on long drives, etc. all go by more quickly.

I hope you find this technique helpful too.  I can't wait to hear how it has worked for you.

Happy Writing!

Monday, May 18, 2015

B.B. King

I was sorry to hear of the great Mr. King's death on May 14th.  Sometimes when I hear of someones death it seems too soon or I feel sorry but B.B. King was an amazing man who lived his life to the fullest and shared his love with everyone who listened.  He passed away at age 89 and had still been touring into his 80's.  I have been lucky enough to see him play in a few small venues.

I always liked his music but seeing him play live was amazing. He played with so much passion. In fact I was so inspired by him that he plays a part in my first MS. Now I have to decide if he stays in the book or if I take him out so the book is not dated.  I can't think of anyone else who would be as amazing and inspirational a musician with such a long career.

I couldn't let his passing go by without saying something.  Thank you B. B, for all the music and wonderful concerts.  Peace be with you.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

33 and stuck in your ways?

I read in the elevator- so it must be true- that once you are 33 you are stuck in your musical ways. That seemed completely unbelievable to me so I searched for the study and found this site:

If you don't want to read it, it basically states that, from research gleaned from Spotify and Echo Nest, people's musical tastes are cemented at 33.  You will no longer discover new music or listen to music out of your genre.   For some reason this happens earlier if you have kids.

 I cannot believe this.  I have kids. Nine years after my music exploration cut off date I started liking Country music.  I had never listened to it before. Over the last year a new employee has shared a lot of music I never listened too before with me and I love a lot of it.

If this study is true than I am an exception. Which feels kinda good.

What do you think?  Please share your stories. I can't  wait to read them.

If you like music Arlee Bird's blog "Tossing it Out" usually has a battle of the bands where you can listen to the same songs by two different bands and vote on which version is your favorite.  Arlee is the founder of the very popular A to Z Challenge and is focused on that right now but I am sure he will go back to his regular format soon so check it out.

Play it until I hate music

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Crazy Times

These last two weeks have been crazy busy, stressful, injury laden and exhausting.

I cannot talk about most of it because it pertains to work.  But I can say that is where most of the stress and exhaustion have come from.  On a lighter, strange but true note, I have an email correspondence at work going back and forth between the following people, (These are their first names only and they are their real first names. I wish I could use whole names because one of the full names is great.) Decolia, Tip and Passion.  If I wrote that in a book no one would believe that I had put any work into coming up with names for my characters.

Some of the exhaustion is due to having to sleep in a different bed in another room in our house.

We recently had a guest stay with us from Nicaragua, she was a lovely women here through an exchange with our church. The day she left we had to move into the guest room she had been occupying so that we could finally finish fixing the bathrooms from our massive Thanksgiving leak.  Since then we have not had a working master bathroom and for them to fix it we had to be out of our master bedroom.  While moving was a pain at least we have somewhere to move in to.  The more my husband has bemoaned not having a master bathroom the more I have realized how amazingly lucky we are.  I grew up in a home with one bathroom for a family of four.   We currently have two working bathrooms, soon we will have three, for a family of four.  We honestly are not having any issues with everyone having to use the one upstairs bathroom at the same time and if it was a problem we could always use the one downstairs.

I spent the A to Z challenge talking about all the things that have come and gone in my lifetime and the normalcy of multi-bathroom homes was one that I didn't realize until this week.  I grew up in a neighborhood where all the houses had one bathroom and some had a powder room on the main floor.  My grandparents houses all had one bathroom as well.  Now, the room that everyone hates to clean is a must in multiples in every home.

The stress at work, the stress of our escalating cost to fix our bathroom, the lack of sleep, the injuries, the after school activities, the end of year projects and testing; it will all be coming to and end soon and what that end will be I will only know when we get there but I hope that the end brings some serenity and good health.

I need to carve out some time for writing again.  Hopefully that will come with the transition to summer.  No homework will free up a lot of my time. I know it is not my homework but I still spend so much time overseeing and assisting with said homework.

Happy Writing.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the 4th be with you

Image result for star wars may the 4th

I still find a lot of people who don't know about today being Star Wars day, but I am sure with Disney promoting it now that everyone will know next year.

I visited last month and picked out the Chewbacca meal for my daughter and son's lunches for today. Although my son would have been happier with the one he is highlighting today with the storm trooper.  Maybe I'll do a version on the veggies tonight with the tie fighter and storm trooper.

Have a wonderful day and May the 4th be with you!  (I am the only person in my office saying this today.)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z - Z!!!

The FINAL letter of our wonderful countdown!

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

The Zoot suit was popular in the 1940's. They were eventually banned, ostensibly because they used too much cloth, for the duration of WWII.  The suits had long jackets with padded shoulders and wide lapels, with high-waisted, wide legged trousers that were tight cuffed and pegged.  The suits were usually paired with a fedora and a long watch chain that hung down past the knee.
fabsion:  Dancing couple in the 1940’s, he is replete with Zoot Suit. Very Allroot. Photo thanks to Shelton Powe, Jr.

Zayre- Like so many of the stores I grew up with; Ames, Bradlees, Globe, Porteous, and yes Zayre, they are no longer with us.  Zayre was very similar to a KMart.  1956 to 1990.  Although my local Zayre's didn't last until 1990.  I loved Zayre because with my piddly allowance I could afford stuff there.  The first thing I ever bought with my own money was a lime green plastic skateboard. My prized possession of my six year old life.  I lived on the top of a hill. I loved my skateboard.

Zenith  While the company technically exists it was bought by LG Electronics in 1999 and you never see any Zenith branded items anymore.  Zenith was founded in 1918.  Zenith was the inventor of subscription television and the modern remote, they were also the first to develop HDTV in North America.

Thank you so much for joining me on this ride.  I have found a lot of wonderful blogs that I can't wait to follow and see what they are like when not blogging from A to Z.  Congratulations to everyone who finished!  We did it!

Image result for congratulations

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z - Y

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

Another tough letter.

Yellow Pages  The Yellow Pages used to be a necessity. They were the only way to look up the businesses in your area and the phone numbers of friends, associates and co-workers. I felt like such a grown up when my phone number was listed.  They were also the booster seat. We didn't have fancy plastic seats with straps if you couldn't reach the table you sat on the phone book.
Now they are a nuisance and when they are delivered they go straight into the recycle bin and I mourn the loss of all those trees for naught.  We do get less and less of them delivered each year and I doubt we will be getting them delivered much longer.  The old fashioned book has been replaced by the internet.

When ever I think of a phone book now I think of this episode of Mythbusters.  Check it out.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A to Z - X

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

I was stumped by this letter.  Please share any X suggestions you have.

The only thought I had was that X-rays are no longer the only way to look inside the human body. We now have MRI and Cat scans too.  The first MRI was performed in 1977.  While CT or CAT Scans are a type of X-ray; they first began to be installed in 1974.  

Happy Writing!

Monday, April 27, 2015

A to Z - W

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

I'm having so much fun wracking my brain for items that have existed in my life time. I hope you are enjoying these items as much as I am. 

Wall-mounted telephones. Ours had an insanely long cord that was always twisted and even though it was really long I could only pull it far enough to get inside the basement door and close it and stand there on the top step for privacy.  

Woolworth's. I loved this store.  I come from a very small town and this was the only store we had. But even if it wasn't the only one it would still be my favorite.  I loved the cheap prices, the wild items and all the different stock they carried.  It was varied like a CVS or a Walmart and cheap! Our store was old and carried the original sign that said F.W. Woolworth five and dime store. I bought a lot of nail polish and lipstick for a dime. The retail chain was founded in 1879 and went out of business in 1997. Because the company had not trademarked the name in other countries where they expanded, such as the UK, Australia and Germany other companies adopted the name and are or were still running after the original F.W. Woolworth's chains closed.  
Some Woolworth's stores had lunch counters, and on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro NC four black students sat at a segregated lunch counter in Woolworth's and were denied service. This sparked a six month sit in that became a landmark event in the US's civil-rights movement. In 1993 an eight foot section of the lunch counter was moved to the Smithsonian museum. The Woolworth's store site in Greensboro is now the site of a civil- rights museum which opened on the fiftieth anniversary of the sit ins.


Washington Mutual   The bank with attitude. The first bank that had fun and pulled in a younger hipper crowd. How they managed to screw up I will never understand.  I was sad to see them go. Washington Mutual Bank's closure and receivership is the largest bank failure in American financial history when it collapsed in 2008.

White out- the gloppy old liquid style.  I love the new easy to use rollers that are instantly dry.

Watch live tv. This used to be the only way to watch tv because there were no dvrs, pause, ff or rewind features. You had to watch commercials. I actually didn't watch them but used them as the time to change laundry, do dishes, something active and useful so I did not sit for the whole hour long show straight. For this reason only I miss the commercials but I do not watch live tv except for sports, and I am not alone in this viewing style.

Wrist bands When I wanted to go to a concert and see a band I had to wait in line to get a wrist band and then I could line up to buy the concert tickets. Sometimes I had to camp out to get tickets to shows when they didn't offer wrist bands.  Now you just get online and order your tickets. A lot less work and stress than the old days.

Whole album- Now in the age of buying a single song before the age of downloading MP3s you can purchase exactly which song you like from any album. Before you could by a single song on a 45s, which had a flip side so you got two songs, but only the songs the record company thought would be a hit would be released on a 45. If there was another song you wanted from the album you had to by the whole album. You also listened to the whole album in the order that the musicians intended it to be played. 

Happy writing!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z - V

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

I'm having so much fun wracking my brain for items that have existed in my life time. I hope you are enjoying these items as much as I am. 

Vio - I had never actually heard of this product and probably with good reason.
Coke labeled it a"vibrancy drink."  What does that mean?  Vio is carbonated flavored milk.  Which sounds truly gross. In 2009 market tests in locations including New York, shockingly, it failed to find broad appeal.

22. View-Master:

Viewmaster- As a kid this was so cool. The round disks had photos on them, you put them in the Viewmaster pulled down the little lever and the disk spun and you viewed an image on the disk.  I still see them sometimes at state parks but I don't think they can compete with all the technology kids have. A viewmaster is going to lose to a tablet anytime.

VCRs and video tapes- These bulky tapes and machines have been replaced by disks.
Video Discs- these are the only disks that did not survive. These discs were the size of old records, full length albums.

ValuJet Airlines (1993 - 1997)

Thanks for visiting.
Happy Writing!

Friday, April 24, 2015

A to Z - U

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

I'm having so much fun wracking my brain for items that have existed in my life time. I hope you are enjoying these items as much as I am.  Okay, this statement was true until today.  

I can only come up with one item:
  • USAir (1979-1996) which was renamed as US Airways (1996-2015)

If anyone else can come up with an item please post it in your comment.  

On the upside if you were pressed for time today you just got through this post in no time!

Happy Writing!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A to Z - T

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

I'm having so much fun wracking my brain for items that have existed in my life time. I hope you are enjoying these items as much as I am.

As I sit here at night crafting these lists my husband is watching TV and my kids are, hopefully, sleeping. I remember being so impressed with myself as a kid when I could stay up all the way until the TV went off the air. Yes, the TV would go off the air.  They would show a waving american flag and say good night. Then you would get static.

Ticker tape ( was the earliest digital electronic communications medium, transmitting stock price information over telegraph lines, in use between around 1870 through 1970. It consisted of a paper strip that ran through a machine called a stock ticker, which printed abbreviated company names as alphabetic symbols followed by numeric stock transaction price and volume information. The term "ticker" came from the sound made by the machine as it printed.
Paper ticker tape became obsolete in the 1960s, as television and computers were increasingly used to transmit financial information. The concept of the stock ticker lives on, however, in the scrolling electronic tickers seen on brokerage walls and on financial television networks.
Ticker tape stock price telegraphs were invented in 1867 by Edward A. Calahan, an employee of the American Telegraph Company.[1]

Ticker tapes were constantly generated and created a lot of waste which was why they were a great idea to use as streamers for parades.  Even though the ticker tape is no longer with us we still have ticker tape parades, usually using shredded documents in place of the ticker tape.  

The Thing. No this is not the B horror movie, I am talking about the Volkswagen Type 181-sold in the US as Thing. I loved this car. As a teenager it was the most fun car I had ever driven in. You could fold down the windshield, take off the doors,and it was a convertible. I had a lot of fun in this very utilitarian vehicle. It was only sold in the US from 1973–74. It was designed for the German military and was sold to the public in many countries with different names but it had the shortest run in the US. I rarely see these around but when I do I am instantly a teenager driving around the back roads of Vermont sans top, windshields and some times doors.

I cannot continue this walk down memory lane without discussing TWA.  The first boy I had a crush on in high school, his dad was a pilot for TWA. I remember this because he got to take a lot of cool trips and he knew how to scuba dive our freshman year.
Trans World Air- TWA was founded in 1930 and declared bankruptcy in 1992 and was purchased by American Airlines in 2001.
The letter T might not be a good letter to start the name of your airline. Here are a couple more failures. 
Tower air (1983 -2000)  
Trump Shuttle (1989 - 1991) Not everything he touches turns to gold.

Tamagotchis by Bandai. These little electronic pets were all the rage when they came out in 1996. If you did not feed and care for your pet it would die. I was shocked to learn they came out with the new version below in 2004. I remember them being super popular and then gone. Although I was luckily too old for them myself and didn't have kids who wanted them, I heard about them from the parents at work and it was the must have item and then they seemed to just disappear. Maybe all the pets were dead and parents refused to buy new ones.  Better to test your kid on a digital pet than a real one.

Image result for tamagotchi

Tokens, subway. I haven't lived in NY for a long time but I was saddened to learn that tokens for the subway and bus have been replaced by cards. Yes, the cards are more convenient but there was something so cool about the tokens. C'est la vie.

It is late and the tv will keep showing thousands of things all night. It is time to drag myself away and go to bed.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z - S

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

I'm having so much fun wracking my brain for items that have existed in my life time. I hope you are enjoying these items as much as I am.

Service stations. They are now more appropriately called gas stations because the full service is gone. There are no longer station attendants who fill your tank, check your oil and wiper fluid.  If I still lived somewhere with weather I would mourn the loss of these service stations more than I do living in sunny CA where I am never out in the elements and it is never colder than 50 degrees F.

Shorthand was essential for taking records of oral dictation. It used to be an essential part of training for all secretaries and necessary for journalists. Dictation machines, recorders, and of course the computer have made stenography and shorthand unnecessary.  I always wish I knew shorthand because while I was in college we didn't have laptops to take to class.  I had a really cool Brother typewriter that could remember two sentences of type before you printed it on the page so you could correct before printing and having to deal with messy white out. Yes, it used to be a gloppy and messy liquid

Saturn-  "A different kind of car company." Saturn emerged in 1985 and disappeared in 2010. Saturn was owned by GM and still has a website that directs you to other GM cars you can purchase.

 Studebaker Phaeton

Studebaker This classic car existed from 1852–1963. Headquartered in South Bend Indiana. They came out with electric vehicles in 1902! Their first gasoline car was built in 1912.

Salesmen, door to door. While they are not gone, we still have Avon, Mary Kay, AmWay and a host of other these tend to be people you meet or know they do not just show up at your door and knock on it trying to sell you a vacuum or a set of encyclopedias. That may be because so many people work and no one is home during the day but the internet also made the need for someone to come to you and tell you about a product unnecessary.

Shag rug. No one misses these wall to wall monstrosities. This was the reason we had to have door to door vacuum salesmen. These rugs were murder on vacuums and you could loose a small pet in the carpet. Looking back on them they came in hideous colors and patterns, I am sure the people who bought them wouldn't agree with me. These rugs definitively set a period for your story, welcome to the 70's. 
1960s-1970s Carpets Lovely right?

Sam Goody: Retailer of music and entertainment in the US and UK. Founded in 1956 they went defunct in 2006.  Suncoast Motion Picture Company and Sam Goody were both purchased by Trans World and suffered the same fate as Sam Goody in 2006.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A to Z - R

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

Radio Shack The makers of the first home computer the TRS - 80 (To see it in action watch "War Games") is about to exist only in memory, just like that computer.

Roller balls in the computer mouse. Replaced by a red light. Image result for rollerball mice

Rolodex The way we stored important phone numbers before our phones did everything for us.  I am amazed at how many items that I have put on this list that have been replaced by the smart phone.Image result for rolodex

Rotary dial phones.  There is a funny scene with rotary dial phones in both "Aliens in the Attic" and "In & Out".  If you have not seen "In & Out" you are missing out! It is a must see.
These phones made winning call-in contests unbearable. You would sit and anxiously wait for the dial to spin back into place so you could dial the next number.  

Happy Writing!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A to Z - Q

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

Image result for quill pen

Quill pens - still around, rarely in use.

A square video game screenshot that is a digital representation of a multicolored pyramid of cubes in front of a black background. An orange spherical character, a red ball, and a purple coiled snake are on the cubes. Multicolored discs are adjacent to the left and right sides of the pyramid. Above the pyramid are statistics related to gameplay.Q*bert arcade cabinet.jpg

Q*bert -This was a popular arcade video game released in 1982. The odd character, Q*bert, would "swear" in a speech bubble filled with characters (like you can see on the side of the video game above) when he would encounter an enemy or die.  He is still around, in fact he made an appearance in "Wreck It Ralph" but the video game is not popular like it was in the 80's.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z - P

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

Party lines were phone company telephone lines that were shared among multiple households. In the 1800s they were introduced to serve rural areas and to offer a discount to customers,  In rural areas and during times of war this was often the only option available. These lines offered little privacy and spread a lot of gossip.  If you want to see a movie about party lines I recommend "Pillow Talk" with Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

Some other phone related items that are practically gone: phone books and pay phones.

Pneumatic tubes. As a kid I loved going to the  department stores and to the drive up bank tellers because they had pneumatic tubes. These magical devices that would suck up the little cylinder and transport the paperwork inside to where it needed to go. I loved it when my mom would let me put the cylinder in the tube and it would sucked right out of my hand.

Ford Pinto

SuperStock / getty
The 1971 model was the first released and may be one of the worst cars  due to the fact/belief that the car could literally explode when involved in a rear-end collision.  In 1978 they recalled the cars due to the lawsuits. A later study proved the cars were as safe as others. Which I found surprising because I think Pinto I think exploding gas tank. Some bad press continues forever.

Pan Am- Pan American World Airways with the iconic logo began business in 1927 and declared bankruptcy in 1991. was a textbook example of dot-com flame-out, going from IPO to liquidation in nine short months.   All I remember is the puppet on the commercials.
Since I have a plethora of P's here are a few that will get perfunctory mention:

Polaroid Photos
Parachute Pants- so glad these are gone. Hideous!
Punch cards for computers
The Pullman Co.
Image: Pullman locomotive
Getty images
Happy Writing!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z - O

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

Oldsmobile (1897–2004) When I was five my parents sold our family car, an Oldsmobile station wagon. I laid in the back and cried and had to be dragged out of the car.  Looking back at it now I cannot understand why I was so attached to a car.  When I heard that Oldsmobile would be no more I remembered our car with fondness and felt sad for the loss of such an iconic car brand.

Out houses.   I had to use an out house in Italy in 1992 and while port - o - potties are very much like an out house they are not meant to be your main place to relieve yourself as an out house was. Luckily for most of us we have indoor plumbing.

Office, Microsoft 97 Assistant Clippy.  At first blush this was a cute little animated paperclip.  But once you started using the software Clippy would interrupt you with comments like, "It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?"   Clippy became very annoying very quickly. It made assumptions and would pop up and disrupt our work.  I had changed mine to a cute puppy but it was still annoying.

5. Microsoft Office Assistant:

Olestra - If you visited yesterday we discussed the amazingly bad idea of New Coke. Olestra is in the same marketing ball park.  It was touted and promoted in 1996 and then in a few short years it had almost completely disappeared. It is still in some products but very few. Because of the potential side effects, it caused diarrhea and if I remember correctly you were not supposed to let children eat it, Olestra, also known as Olean, would affect the absorption of fat soluble vitamins so additional vitamins needed to be added to the products Olean was in; I also remember my girlfriend complaining about the taste of Olestra products. These may have been the cause of its demise.

Happy writing my friends!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z - N

For my A to Z Challenge theme I will be posting items that are no longer with us or are close to becoming extinct.

These are great items to use if you are trying to set a time period in your story or to stay away from if you want your story to be timeless.

Nickel–cadmium battery (NiCd battery or NiCad battery) is a type of rechargeable battery invented in 1898. Since the 1990's Nicds have been replaced by Nickel metal hydride and Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries with better capacity.  The heavy cadmium metal is worse for the environment and these batteries can only be purchased as replacements in the European Union.

New Coke can.jpg New Coke one lesson I have learned at work is you don't mess with people's pay or their food.  Coca-cola learned that lesson the hard way. The new, sweeter, version of Coke was introduced April 23, 1985.  There was a public outcry which caused the company to go back to their to the original Coke formula, okay not the 100 year old original because cocaine was understandably removed, only three months after the release of New Coke. Marketing had to add the word Classic coke to all their cans and bottles to assuage consumers.

 Nintendo Virtual Boy  was it's shortest-lived system.  It was on the market for only six months in 1995. I think it was a little to ambitious for the available technology. The Nintendo Virtual Boy was a bulky, red headgear that completely obscured a gamer's vision as he tried to play games rendered in rudimentary 3-D graphics. It was expensive, retailing at $180, and only 14 were ever available in the U.S.

Happy Writing!