Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I had a discussion yesterday with Daughter #3 about the title of the book I am currently writing. The tentative title is Blackbirch Manor. However, I did not think that was enough--it did not say enough about the story. So I asked Daughter #3 what she thought of The Count of Blackbirch Manor.

"That sounds like The Count of Monte Cristo," she said.

"Okay. You're right. How about The Secret of Blackbirch Manor?" I asked.

"That sounds like a Nancy Drew book," she said.

I winced. "How about The Curse of Blackbirch Manor?"

She frowned. "That's better. But if I were you I would just use Blackbirch Manor. It's simpler."

True. The letters would be bigger because there are less of them.

Titles are difficult for me. A few have come to me in a flash, but not all of them. The publisher could change the title anyway. But what do you think? Should it be short--or more definitive?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

An Exercise Machine!

I have been looking for a used elyptical machine since our trip to Puerto Rico. While hubby and I were there we used the fitness room in the hotel everyday. Usually, my favorite exercise is walking, but I thought something for inclement weather would be useful—and also so I can eat an extra muffin. I found the treadmill and the stationary bicycle boring. The weight machines were tedious, although hubby—the engineer—seemed to enjoy counting repetitiously—I suppose because he has a mathematical mind.

With the elyptical machine, I felt I got a good workout—all over. For the past few weeks, I’ve been searching eBay and the local newspaper and I finally got lucky. Last night I bought one. Hubby and I brought the machine home and for now it is in the garage. I intend to put it in the basement eventually, but I have to clean out a corner. (That will not be fun.) The machine has a screen which can tell me how many steps I’ve gone, how many calories I’ve burned, how many minutes I’ve been working out and it can check my pulse. If I want to, I can make it harder by increasing the resistance—but I think I’ll have to get in shape for that first.

The best feature—for me at least—is that fact that is has a little shelf for a book so I can read while I’m exercising. I tried a paperback but with my aging eyesight and the poor light in our garage, it was too difficult for me to see—and rough to turn pages as well. However, I found I could use my Rocket e-book reader on it. I already have it set at a 16-point font, and it has a backlight. All I had to do was change the page orientation so I could slide the thinner end of the reader into the book holder. Then it is a whole lot easier to turn pages because I just have to push the button. Awesome.

I’m looking forward to exercising and catching up on my reading.

For those of you interested in owning an e-book reader, ebookwise has one that is a newer version of the original Rocket. You can find one at:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Otherworldly Photos from Florida

To me, these live oak trees with the Spanish moss look like they belong on another planet, but I found them in Howard Park. Florida has some strange plants--at least to a New Jerseyan like me. I thought this grove of trees would make a good setting for a sci-fi novel--not that I am going to write one though I've read a few. Or perhaps it would make a great paranormal scene--nice and spooky at night! I have thought of setting a novel in Florida. I've thoroughly explored much of the central west coast.

I was fascinated with these crazy little crabs, too. You have to look closely at the photo--I did not have my telephoto lens with me. There seemed to be a whole army of crabs. What were they doing? Was this a conference? A party? A family reunion? To me, it looked like the beginnings of a horror movie. Maybe that's just the way my writer's mind works. If I could have zoomed in on those crabs and made them bigger, it could have been a very scary picture. :^)

Anyhow there is some strange scenery in Florida. Just thought I would share.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Favorite Road to Drive

Driving to Florida is not fun, for the most part. The roads between NJ and Florida are rather boring. I95 in Virginia does have a few nice hills, but I95 in NC, SC, and GA is really, really flat and straight. That is a good thing for trucks, I suppose, and there is a bit of nice scenery over Lake Marion. However, most of the drive is simply tedious.

When we get to Florida, we cross over to I75 on A1A and 301 and the scenery improves somewhat. However, the best part of our journey is I75 in Hernando County in Florida. By then we are almost at the end of our ride and I75 has some wonderful hills and turns along that section of road. I always insist on being behind the wheel. I turn on Handel's Messiah and get a kick out of going seventy miles an hour around the banked curves. The scenery is lovely, too--from an air conditioned car. I know if I got out of the car I would melt on the spot.

If I time it right, I have the Grand Amen playing by the time we get off at the exit in Pasco County.

Do you know of a road that's fun to drive?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Worst rest room on the Interstate

Hubby and I have just returned from our annual trek to Florida via I 95 and I 75. The worst rest room I encountered was the one at the rest stop on the southbound side past the Dale City exit in Virginia. One of the stalls in the ladies room did not have a door--that was the only stall that was clean. Two others weren't flushing. The fourth was not flushing very well. I did not use that rest room. Hubby and I got off at the next exit and stopped at a gas station.

Most of the interstate rest rooms along the way are good. In my opinion, a decent rest room should have paper seat covers, soap, a sufficient amount of stalls, the toilets should flush--and the room should be clean.

Any other nominations for the worst rest room on an interstate?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More Reminiscing

Hubby and I picked up Daughter #3 at the hospital yesterday. She's doing much better. As soon as she got out, we took her to a Dunkin' Donuts shop. She loves their coffee and practically lives on the stuff. It must be addictive. :^)

Last night, hubby and I got out our wedding photo album and looked through it. We were so much younger! We also looked at the pictures of our honeymoon. Thirty years ago today we were in Bermuda. Here you can see some of the photos we took. One shows hubby carrying me through a moongate. I don't think he could do that now. :^) Another shows us on the deck of a boat for the rum swizzle cruise. We look like kids.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It has been a rough week. Daughter #3 is in the hospital--again. So hubby and I have been going back and forth to visit her there all week, but on Thursday we also had to trek south to our daughter's summer dorm room and take everything out of it, and then drive her car home. We did it on one of the hottest days of the year here in NJ. I drove her car and hubby followed me--but her car's a/c does not work. Driving north on the Parkway with the windows down is not a good idea. Everytime a bus or truck went by, I got slapped by a blast of hot air and diesel exhaust.

However, Daughter #3 was looking much better yesterday, so hopefully she'll be out of the hospital soon. We left everything in her car because she has to move it all into the dorm she'll be staying in for the fall semester.