Entries to Win Afghan

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Starlight 2017

"Starlight" has become one of my 'can't miss' Christmas events in the area. It's put on by Shelby Road Baptist Church, about 35 minutes away from me.

This is just part of the decor. And yes. Yes, the pianist is actually playing Christmas music to entertain as you walk in the building.

Starlight concert

The choir opened with "This is Christmas", directed by brother-in-law, Jim.

Starlight concert

Starlight concert

There is always a skit woven through the concert. This year, the marketing director is trying to decide what to feature in their display window. First the team tries Santa (no picture), which the public considers too trite. Other tries are the backdrops for several of the other songs.

Starlight concert

The concert is a community event, so there is a mix of secular and sacred songs. The next two were "Santa Baby" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

This one was new to me: "The Ugly Christmas Sweater Song."

Starlight concert

Followed by "Silent Night" and "Christmas Dreams."

Starlight concert

Then "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree/Jingle Bell Rock."

Starlight concert

The marketing director takes to the streets to interview people about what they want to see for Christmas (thinking to get an idea for a better window display). She discovers that people want hope.

Starlight concert

There was a short message, and the choir closed with "Hope of the World, Emmanuel" and "O Holy Night."

I went with friend GayLynne. Paula wasn't feeling well, so that was a bummer. But, these concerts have become an important part of my Christmas celebration.

See Starlight 2016
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Friday, December 15, 2017


Work was shorter than usual today, and I did something I rarely do. I came home and fell asleep. Quiet snow outside


Reading a book that is not a mystery or one I've promised to review for someone. Cryptography! A pet topic. The Woman Who Smashed Codes

book cover

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

This and That

No formatting was accomplished at all today. I was out clearing the driveway before the sun was up.

sunrise through snowy branches


Work was challenging. There are now two of us wearing wrist braces. This job is hard on the body.

wrist braces

But, after work and a few errands, Om and I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. An excellent addition to the series. This is saying something after sitting through about 10 previews and there wasn't a single one of them that made me the least bit interested in seeing the whole movie.

movie theater

Locations for filming include Ireland, Iceland, Croatia and Bolivia. Very cool places and magical enough for even Star Wars.

Bed now... Tomorrow is Friday the work, work and work day.

See Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Page Numbers

Yes, page numbers. It's all I've got. Actually, there are a couple of exciting book things to share, but can't/don't have pictures yet. Other than that... page numbers.

I'm working on the formatting for the paperback copy of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist, and I've just spent HOURS trying to get the page numbers right. I believe I finally have them!

Word 2003 page numbers

An online help page says "Editing page numbers is one of the most frustrating and difficult things... to learn. It seems to be especially difficult in Microsoft Word 2003." Yup.

I consider myself to be quite computer savvy. This is the 5th paperback book I've formatted (although I did North Country Cache in Word Perfect, my preferred word processor). But something got screwed up in the footnotes where the page numbers are, and they kept doing wonky things like counting 1,2,1,3 or 1,1,1,1 or 1,2,3,4,3,4.

Directions say that if you delete a page number, Word deletes all the page numbers. My response is, "sometimes."

You have to do it by sections per chapter so that the headers are correct, so I was quite sure I had that right. But the page numbers were just being a pill.

Finally, I went through and unlinked the sections, then went through again and relinked them, and voila---

Word 2003 page numbers

Both the odd and even page numbers are correct, and then continue so through.... oops. No they don't. So everything I just said isn't true.

Back to the grindstone. I'll get this. Eventually.

See Editing and Tooting
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's a Snowblower

Well, the big storm we were supposed to get was pretty much a fizzle. The wind blew a lot but we had very little snowfall.

Nevertheless, I wanted to run the new blower in the daytime for the first time. I wish I could tell you it's just wonderful and such a joy compared to the old one and blah, blah. But, it's a huge snowblower that is difficult to deal with just like the other one. But it moves snow.

It's also really hard to take a picture while operating it!


In other news: I got a lot of the formatting done for the paper copy of DMS Druggist. Very good progress, in fact. Handbell practice and writers' group.

See Exchanging Red for Orange
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Monday, December 11, 2017

I Wanted Scones

I was in a mood for scones. Yummy scones. There was a little cranberry-orange relish left. There were some too-dry currants. Mix them together, add to scone dough.


Oh yeah, they are good. And festive looking as well.

In other news: Got gas for the snowblower and filled the tank, because we are supposed to get a major storm tonight. Worked on formatting DMS Druggist to upload and got that done for Smashwords (two to go). Took tomorrow off. So there. The world will not end at the paper without me.

See In the Mood
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Sunday, December 10, 2017

It's B-b-b-back

Remember the nature alphabets? Remember the letter B? It's now almost unreadable.

the letter B in pine trees

The top of the B has gotten fuller and taller. The serifs are growing.

Here it is in 2010.

the letter B in pine trees

Here it is when I first used it as the letter in 2009

the letter B in pine trees

I like the white pines so much. I planted all of these myself. The tallest were less than a foot high when I put them out in 1992.

This clump has started producing babies on its own. There are now three little ones beside my trail that I did not plant. I first found these in 2014, but now they are clearly seen above the grass.

baby pine trees

In other news: I skied yesterday and today, but the snow was much better today. Other than that it's been all editing. I'm over 2/3 of the way through Dead Mule Swamp Druggist for what I hope will be the last time.

See The Letter B and its Serifs
See Surprises in My Kingdom
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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Best Chrismas Pageant Ever

Tonight I went with friends Sue and Martin to Manistee. We met up with Ramona at the Bungalow restaurant and ate dinner together.

friends in restaurant

Then Martin, Sue and I (Ramona had already seen it) went to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, put on by the Manistee Civic Players. This was staged at the high school, rather than their usual venue at the Ramsdell.

I'm sure most of you know the story, so let me just say this in introduction: this is the sort of production that community theater is all about. The cast is largely children. I'm sure anyone who has organized a typical church Christmas pageant can feel the irony oozing from this play full of children about a play full of children. According to the program, this was the first stage experience for a lot of these kids, some as young as six years old. And they did a great job. I could understand almost all of their lines- certainly no worse than many plays where the actors are all adults.

I'll just hit the highlights of the plot. None of the other children like the Herdmans. Those kids are mean and dirty. In fact, one boy admits to liking to go to church because it's the one place no Herdman will go.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

As Christmas approaches, Mrs. Armstrong breaks her leg and can not direct the Christmas pageant. She gets Mrs. Bradley to agree to take over. But almost no one wants to be in the Christmas pageant because it has become familiar and boring.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Meanwhile, Charlie Bradley makes the mistake of telling one of the Herdmans that there are lots of free refreshments after Sunday School. Consequently, the Herdman's show up and immediately volunteer to take on roles in the pageant, no matter that they don't even know the Christmas story.

Here are Imogene and Ralph Herdman, fighting over the doll that is going to represent baby Jesus.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Mrs. Bradley reads the Christmas story, and these unwelcome kids who have never heard it before add lots of "Shazam," and they ask interesting questions.

Imogene decides she wants to be Mary, and here's the result as she absorbs the power of the familiar tale.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Imogene and Ralph after the wisemen visit. Wiseman LeRoy Herdman (or maybe Ollie, I'm not sure) brings the gift of the ham from their welfare basket.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Finally, I just have to show this picture. This is one of the "baby angels." What else can I say... angelic.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Lots of fun! Time to visit in the car on the way, too.

In other news: I am working on the last editing of Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.

See A Tuneful Christmas Carol
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Tree 2017

This is Omer's contribution to Christmas. He LOVES having a Christmas Tree, and he really does it all. I helped only a little to get it in the stand.

I do like how this picture is a bit soft and fuzzy. I didn't use flash or turn on more room lights because I hoped to get the glow from the tree lights. That worked! You can call it a lousy picture, or you can call it artistic.

Christmas Tree

One of the fun things is that no matter what window you look toward, when it's dark out, there's a reflection of the lights. This one is like a regular mirror.

Christmas Tree

The one at the other end of the house in the kitchen has distorted things a bit. I like this one a lot.

Christmas Tree

And that's it for today!

I wrote a little bit in The Secret Cellar, but am struggling with separating the contents of chapters 10 and 11. I'll get it eventually. Tomorrow, after I wake up, it's back to Druggist for the (hopefully) final read-through.

Meanwhile, another Friday night looms ahead of me at the paper.

See 2016 Christmas Tree
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