Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top 10 Words To Avoid

Yesterday I did another rewrite of a few pages of my picture book manuscript. I was driven by an article recommended in the January e-zine of the Children's Book Insider. Some may find the process of rewrite painful, but oddly, I find it refreshing and helpful. It has truly enhanced the book and made it better--in fact great.

The article 10 Words To Avoid When Writing can be found at Precise Edit.  Take a look and see if you too can be driven to rewrite your manuscript.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Up For The Job

If you have a dog then you know that every dog has a job. Some dogs pull a sled and other dogs sniff out certain material (e.g., drugs). Then there are dogs that herd sheep and others that rat out rodents. Dogs live to do the jobs they have been bred to do and no doubt you've seen how happy they are at their job.

We have always had retrievers and as you might guess (duh), their job is to retrieve.  Now... retrievers are not particular about what they retrieve--just give them something that they can call their own to get and they will get it.

Our dogs have used sticks, frisbees and balls as their item to retrieve. Brandy, the current occupier of the dog bed/throne in our home, looovves to fetch her ball. The midair catch is her speciality.

I came across this video of a smart pooch doing her job.  She loves to get her ball and figures out how to get it even though she hates to swim...or perhaps swim in a yucky pool.  I'd say she is up for the job.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Beverly Hills Chihuahua To Mexican Mutt

Taking vacations to warmer climates in the winter has been our pattern for some time.  This winter we spent Christmas in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with my sister and brother and their spouses. On the trip down, Mexicana Airlines showed just the right movie: Beverly Hills Chihuahua--about dogs (talking dogs--the best kind) on location in Mexico. This movie is a dog-lovers delight--a must see!

Cabo delivered on a wonderful time soaking up the sun, watching gorgeous sunsets...and sunrises, shopping, eating great food AND going on the most spectacular fishing excursion.  Now...I am not the fishing type or the boating type for that matter, but my brother set up a boat for the six of us to catch marlin...or at least for him to catch a marlin as that was a lifetime dream for him.  The last time I went out on a boat on the ocean, I got so sick that my hero husband Bob had to hold me around the waist while I hung over the side heaving stomach contents into the ocean.  Not a pretty picture.  Ok, call me crazy, but I was willing to try again, plus my brother gave me a seasick drug that divers swear by.

Once on the boat, our boat captain took us out past Land's End taking a right turn into the Pacific.  After 90 minutes of motoring north along the west coast of Baja, we made our way west toward boats and flocks of birds visible in the distance.  We had arrived at the Golden Gate Banks, a seamount, where a veritable cornucopia of sea life churned the waters and filled the sky.  While hundreds of seals, sea lions, marlin and dorado were feeding on schools of mackerel, swarms of pelicans and frigates flew overhead ready to swoop down to grab the "bait" just below the surface or steal one from a casting line.  And to top it off there were hordes of humpback whales swimming throughout the scene.  What a feast for the eyes! Looking in any direction, it was a magnificent sight.

Did we catch a marlin?  We caught two marlin and one dorado.  Each marlin fought for a good 45 minutes before being brought in for a picture and then released back to the water.  We took the dorado home (about 35 - 40 lbs.) and had fish for dinner with plenty left for future dinners.  Oh...I almost forgot.  I did not get sick at all.  I'm ready to go again!

Later in the week we went out to Cabo Pulmo on the Sea of Cortez. While my brother went diving, the rest of us had breakfast and then went snorkeling.  During our breakfast under a palapa on the beach (what ambiance!), we met an adorable little boy and his mexican mutt.  The two were inseparable.  As the dog lay appearing to sleep, the boy would love on him.  But once the boy left, the dog would wander off after him.  The scene repeated.  Then all of a sudden, "Thud, screech, whack, scuffle...snap!"  Upon leaving his sleeping spot, the dog had snagged the fishing pole propped nearby.  Caught in the line, he panicked, dragging the pole through two bar stools until the pole got hung up by a palapa support.  With fishing line stretched tightly around his chest and a menagerie of pole and bar stools attached, the dog gave one big thrust, snapping the fishing line and dashed off.  Only a dog could "create" the twisted pile displayed before us.  You gotta love dogs.  For all the love and amusement they provide...even on vacation.


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