August 25, 2013

Jacob and his Fender

Recently, I spent the day with my grandson. He is teaching himself to play guitar by watching the guitarists on YouTube. Who knew? Click the screen above to see the video...

Obviously, I'm not working very hard this summer. From the time Jacob was a toddler I told him to come on over whenever he wanted to. "Gramma's writing a novel, not world peace," I'd tell him.
Other news around here:
On my CD Player- Dan Mangan's CD Nice, Very Nice. Love this guy. he's a real poet. and Bread's CD, The Best of Bread. He has some music I'm craving that was recorded in Brazil, too, but I haven't ordered it yet.
On my TV- As usual, I'm the last to know about a good TV show because I don't watch much TV. I am crazy about The Big Bang Theory. Can't get enough of it!
On my bed table- Gifts of the Crow by John Marzluff and Tony Angell (How perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans.)
On my Kindle- Mary, Queen of France, by Jean Plaidy
In my kitchen- homemade salsa with homegrown tomatoes and cilantro (made by our daughter), fresh caught salmon from the river just three miles away (I'm hoping it isn't full of radiation), yellow squash (homegrown) soup with onions, garlic and cubed chicken, and more...
Favorite quote- "Be so good they can't ignore you." Steve Martin



August 21, 2013

Free is a good thing! Thanks, Amazon!

Every once in a while, I like to remind my readers that, if they are an Amazon Prime member, they can borrow some of my Kindle books and my Kindle article for free! Here's the list of items available for a free loan:
A Three-Turtle Summer (novel, #1 in my Turtle Trilogy)
Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories (mixed genre)
As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries (novel, #2 in my Turtle Trilogy)
Surviving Arthritis, How to live on a Rocky Beach (article)
If you're not familiar with Amazon Prime, it's a feature that allows you to pay a yearly fee and get free shipping on your books and music. They lose money on me. Amazon Prime members can also stream a lot of TV shows for free. But wait! There's more! I just don't know for sure what it is...I am not really a technical person. I'm still looking for the coffee button on my keyboard.
I hope you're having a wonderful summer. Happy reading!

August 14, 2013

How to live happily ever after in

The author with her husband at an Alaskan fish camp
Janelle Meraz Hooper
A variation of this story was published in my short story book, Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories…

    I heard about a great Jewish guy from Alaska who went to New York City to look for a Jewish wife, and all of those big city gals turned him down. Seems they all got cold feet...before they ever left the Big Apple.
     To be fair, part of the problem may be the way Hollywood portrays life in Alaska as a kind of a frozen Dogpatch. Truth is, the big cities in Alaska are just like any other big cities in the United States, only with snow. Maybe this guy should have had as many references for Alaska as he had for himself.
     Or, maybe, he was looking in the wrong city. Why didn’t he come to Tacoma?  There must be lots of beautiful Jewish girls here who aren’t afraid of a little snow.                 
     If any of you ladies happen to meet a nice Jewish (or other) man who asks you to marry him and live in Alaska, here’s some advice from someone who did just that...and had a great time:

1.  Alaskans like to say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear...and it’s true.  Don’t buy any winter outdoor clothing until you get there. It’s expensive stuff and you don’t want to have to buy outerwear twice.  Then listen to the locals, they’ll tell you what you really need. One hint: don’t expect to be warm and toasty in a snow bank if you’re wearing jeans. 
2.  Take your sunscreen and your bikini. Summers in Fairbanks look a lot like summers in Washington. Temperatures are often in the nineties, and people sail their boats on the lakes, hike and fish just like other real people. In winter, travel agencies have great deals on trips to exotic places that grow pineapples and palm trees. You may see more tropical paradises living in Alaska than you’ll ever see if you live “outside” (Alaskan for outside of Alaska). 

3.  Leave your creature-phobias behind: there are no snakes, spiders or other obnoxious creepy creatures in Alaska. It’s too damn cold. This alone could be a good selling point to any woman.
4.  Be prepared to entertain yourself. Days are short in the winter. If you’re not working, plan to keep busy to avoid the winter blues. This won’t be difficult. Alaska is rich in culture. Art and history museums abound...the opera houses so important to the gold miners have evolved into elaborate facilities that attract all of the Broadway road shows.  Believe me; you won’t be starved for the arts.

5.  Be social. Alaskans are very friendly. You will be invited to a constant stream of parties. Accept all of them. You’ll have a great time; Alaskans are the brightest, most creative, and adventurous people I’ve ever met.   
6.  Learn to love the great outdoors...there’s a lot of it. Thanks to a great infusion of oil money, Alaska is rich in multi-purpose trails that are used for walking, biking, and cross-country skiing...although, in some cases, you may have to share these amenities with a moose.

7.  Don’t underestimate your female competition. Contrary to popular belief, Alaskan women are beautiful. They’re just as stylish as Northwest women and what the local Nordstrom doesn’t have they order from expensive mail order catalogs.
8.  Have a big refrigerator. You’ll find out why soon enough: Alaskans describe their weather as nine months of winter and three months of company. The only people who get more company have addresses right outside Disneyland. Everyone wants to see Alaska...make a big bowl of pasta and gas up the car.
9.  Have money. There’s only one down side to Alaska: it’s a long way from home. You can fly someplace glamorous for what it’ll cost you to fly to Sea-Tac between Seattle and Tacoma (go figure).

10.  Don’t even talk to me about earthquakes. We’ve got those here, remember?    Besides, they’re going to make your e-mails real interesting.
     So, if some nice guy asks you to marry him and move to Alaska, my advice is to go for it. Chances are, you’ll have a great adventure, and when you revisit your old neighborhood, it’s going to look a lot more ways than one.

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August 10, 2013

A loving memory of Pearlie Baskin, a Tacoma leader in supporting the arts

 Pearlie's latest Pot by

(Laughing Loon)

Pearlie’s Pots
Janelle Meraz Hooper
   Pearlie’s pots are under my stairs.  My linen drawers are stuffed with her potholders. Her books by independent authors fill my bookshelves. Some of her plants fill my flowerbeds. I have plenty of wall space, so her paintings hang on the walls of our home.
   No one else in the family knows who Pearlie is. Who is this woman? Why does she have so much of her stuff in our home? I know who she is, and whenever I open a closet and see a hand-thrown  pot  or an original watercolor, I smile.
   I first met Pearlie about 1984 at an art show on the third floor of the Frank Russell building where we exchanged a few pleasant words when I was on the Pierce County Arts Commission. At the end of the show,  I was on my way out the door when I looked behind me and heard an elderly woman carrying out a painting she’d purchased that was so big I couldn’t see anything but her shoes. I only knew it was Pearlie because she was chatting with a friend in line and I recognized her voice.
                “Pearlie,” I asked, “where are you going with that painting?”
                “I’m going to my car,” she said. Then she added, “I hope this thing will fit in the trunk!”
                “Where are you parked?” I asked.
   She indicated that she was parked on the street outside the building.  “That’s a long way to go. Let me carry the painting for you.”
   I had no idea who Pearlie Baskin was or the precautions that were made for her security. She turned to a board member of the art commission and asked, “Is she good people?”
  "The best,” the person answered.
   Still, Pearlie was confident she didn’t need my help. I was so worried that she might take a fall that I followed along behind. When we got to the elevators we discovered they were turned off. The security man said we could use the stairs. I saw Pearlie look at the long, steep stairs with trepidation. “Oh, no!” I argued. “Do you want to take the chance of this woman walking down three flights of stairs?” The man took one look at Pearlie and turned the elevator back on. By then, I was rattled and through taking chances. When the elevator doors opened on the first floor, I took the painting from Pearlie and said, “Lead the way.” I think she only relented because she was getting tired.
  At her car, she and her friend safely loaded the painting into her car’s trunk and she asked me to follow them to her house for tea. While we were waiting for her friend to boil the water, she gave me a tour of her beautifully decorated home that was filled with wonderful pieces of artwork in every medium.
  I was well aware of how special my presence in Pearlie’s home was. It was clear that not many outsiders were ever guests there.  What a treat! I followed her down the hall while she put her newest acquisition in a large closet because she had no more room left on her walls. She opened the closet door wide and pointed out her stash of art—possibly enough to fill a small gallery. When she saw my puzzlement, she cheerfully explained that she and her late husband were art enthusiasts and they regularly purchased  artwork to support artists.
  And that’s how the pots—Pearlie’s Pots—got under my stairs. I was so inspired by Pearlie that, through the years, I’ve tried to support the arts whenever I could.
  Pearlie is no longer with us. I wish there was a way for her to know that she has now branched out into supporting musicians: last weekend, my husband stopped at a street fair to toss some bills into the instrument cases of two very young musicians. I was all in favor of supporting local musicians (My mantra is: Always tip the musicians!"). I was also relieved he hadn’t stopped to buy a pot.  Anything but a pot! Our closet under the basement stairs is full!


August 07, 2013

Surviving Arthritis, How to Live on a Rocky Beach, Kindle article

This is the trailer for my Kindle article on surviving arthritis.
If you're an Amazon Prime Member, you can borrow this article for free!

About the time I was coming down with a chronic illness, teenagers were wearing tee-shirts that said, "Life's a Beach!" I wanted to stop one of them and scribble underneath, "Yeah, but some beaches have rocks!"
Surviving Arthritis, How to Live on a Rocky Beach is a non-medical, motivational article for those who have arthritis and other autoimmune issues. Most people get light to moderate discomfort upon getting arthritis, but some of us get severe cases of it. I wrote this article for them. As I have firsthand experience with this condition (I was first diagnosed in 1984). I can honestly say, "Been there. Done that." Article, Kindle, $2.99 USD


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August 01, 2013

Jamaica and Jupiter, book trailer on YouTube

Also from the book There's a Mouse in the House! Written by Janelle Meraz Hooper and Jacob Nicholas Studebaker. Illustrated by Sherri Bails.

Ribbons at Christmas, a YouTube video

Also from the book There's a Mouse in the House! Written by Janelle Meraz Hooper and Jacob Nicholas Studebaker. Illustrated by Sherri Bails.

There's a Mouse in the House! Children's poems and stories book trailer ...

This is the video that is listed as one of the best for kids on iPad in the post below. The title poem is written by Janelle Meraz Hooper and Jacob Nicholas Studebaker. Illustrations are by Sherri Bails.

I've posted several other stories from this little book on YouTube: look for Jamaica and Jupiter and Ribbons at Christmas...oh, wait! I think I can post them on this site! Is Google great or what?!

Best iPad Apps For Kids: Funny Kids Poems 2

One of my books has made the list for being one of the best iPad apps for kids!
The title poem, There's a Mouse in the House! was written by me and my grandson, Jacob Nicholas Studebaker. Illustrated by Sherri Bails.