More Fun . . .

A Tale of Two Puppies . . .

Almost four weeks ago we brought home our first puppies that were not specifically rescue dogs. In the past, we’d always adopted from shelters, and our big boys were rescued from a litter of 13(!) found on the side of the road in Nashville just after birth. But we got them at 8 weeks. Here are pics of big brothers Mayhem (on the left) and Travesty now . . .

It’s hard to get a good picture of them, as they are pretty much always in motion. So almost a month ago, we got some puppies off of Craigslist. We did it because it seemed they were in dire straights. The dogs had produced a litter of 13(somehow we got 2 out of 13 again!) and, despite their young age, the family was not able to continue caring for them. My children picked the runts of the litter. Looking back, it’s hard to say they weren’t rescues. The puppies were living under the house. At 4wks old and barely 1.5 lbs each, their ribs showed. They had parasites, and they were covered in fleas. We took them home and washed them! Here are the early pics:

We bottle fed them round the clock. They started eating real food. And we weighed them in! They learned to play . . .

I’m sorry for the blur on some of these. I don’t have the best camera on my phone and these guys are ALWAYS in motion like their big brothers! They upgraded to a crate. Learned to climb steps and are now almost 7lbs each.

My kids got into the playyard with the puppies! The kids named the play area “ThunderDome” and they like to chant, “Two puppies enter . . . two puppies leave, tired.”

So here they are, about to be 8 weeks old! The more caramel colored one is our little girl, Danger, and the more dark chocolate one is her brother, Discord.

Pictures from our Eclipse Party. We are on the path of totality.

We had visitors from four states as well as friends from across town and neighbors from down the street. With much thanks to party-goers who brought extras, we had enough glasses for every person and a handful of cameras! We scienced the place up–check out our ten-foot-tall pinhole camera. Every one could stand around and see our finely focused image!

We had an amazing time and the two and a half minutes of total eclipse were one of the most amazing events I have ever seen. The sky got darker and darker slowly, then all at once. We got to see a 360degree sunset. We saw coronal flares with our bare eyes during the two-plus minutes of totality. Add in that we had good food and great friends and we had a wonderful time!

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We are not a “mob of damned scribbling women.” (quote  from Nathaniel Hawthorne.)

article here

GREAT ARTICLE. Most of the romance writers I know (and I now know many) are professionals. Most hold degrees, many hold advanced degrees. Despite being the best selling genre for (I believe) over a generation now, romance novels still get little respect. Men now make up 1/5 to 1/4 of all romance novel readers (depending on whom you ask.) And it’s time to admit that–like all genres–we have our pulp and our literature. We are no worse and no better than any other genre . . . unless you want to count the fact that we have been outselling your asses for years!

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Champagne pops from our writer’s retreat. We did it! And they were GOOOOOD.

Everyone says the alcohol won’t freeze–this isn’t true. Mine were almost 1/2 champagne and they froze fine. We enjoyed them in the pool . . .

Notes: they were super easy to make and froze within five hours. We loved the mimosa ones so much we never got to the Cuban Lemonade version (rum and champagne) or the Jack-n-Coke version. Those may have been harder to freeze.

PRO TIP – get those popsicle makers that catch the drips. In the heat, these melted fast. But we ate them fast, too. 😀

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You e-read. So adjust your device and make your life better. Truly.

Here’s the thing, I have a master’s degree in neuroscience/learning and memory. So I’ve researched this and I read the scientific studies because I think they’re fun. Here’s what it means to you as an e-reading person.

E-reading, in and of itself, is not your friend. But it can be. I LOVE e-reading. My family got me my first kindle about six Christmases ago and within a year I was 75% e-reading. Within 2 years, I was 99.99% converted. But the first thing I did when I opened my new kindle was what my family referred to as, “she’s got to dick with the settings.” And yeah, I did. And yes, you do, too!

Eye strain is a huge problem in our e-world, and eye strain leads to other more dangerous problems: focus problems, sleep problems, work problems. You look at your phone, then your computer, then your e-reader. E is everywhere. To make things worse, the average person e-reads at a pace 33%-50% slower than they paper read! That’s massive. That’s a six hour book taking up to nine hours to read! And the light your e-reader emits can mess with your sleep cycle and your work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I know the neuroscience behind all this, and I’m still an e-reader! So grab your tablet, your ipad, your kindle, whatever, and in five minutes, we’ll have you all set:

  1. If you are reading this on a computer, go to the brightness setting and Turn. It. Down. Right now. You don’t need it that bright! My monitor is currently set at about 1/3 brightness from factory settings. I’m here all day, I’m going to make sure my eyes and brain are good.
  2. Now go to your e-reader and adjust the brightness down there, too. It will look weird, but only for a minute. It really won’t take you longer than that for your eyes to adjust. If it does take longer than a minute, you turned it too low (I admire your dedication.) Turn it up just a little, read for a minute, and repeat until it’s right. You may may have to reset the brightness periodically (indoors to outdoors, etc), but it’s super easy on most e-readers for just this reason. 90% of the time, my Kindle Fire is at 0 on the brightness scale. I can read it just fine.
  3. If you have a night-time blue-light blocker, set it. The science is in, and that’s real. This is especially important if you read in bed before you fall asleep. Like me.
  4. Choose any background besides the default white. Do not read in black type on white page. This is the worst possible setting. Here are the common ones in order of what’s best. (But once you get off black-on-white, they are all better. Choose what you like.) Best: White-type-on-black-background. From there: green background, sepia background. Paperwhite people, good news: this screen is already designed to be better for your eyes, but black on white is still a better choice.
  5. Set your font choice to “Bookerly.” This is for Kindle/Kindle app. This is a font Amazon researched and created specifically to help improve e-reading ease and times. The numbers show it works. I don’t read in anything else. If you are on another device, I would choose the font closest to Bookerly. It’s a small serif font with solid weight and even spacing. Literata is another recommended font, with Georgia and Palatino as runners up. Check out this article here. These work because readers don’t read letters, we read shapes!
  6. Set your margins to narrow. Then find your favorite font size and spacing. This is my personal recommendation, there’s no actual study behind it, but with all I’ve seen/read, I think it has to be a good idea. Use as much of the screen as possible for words. This means fewer returns on the page, and fewer times you tap the screen for next-page, and fewer times that your eyes have to dart. Font size and spacing don’t really have a universal setting. So this will depend on your vision, your comfort, and what ‘feels’ right. There’s not much neurological data on it other than “reading too-tiny text can cause eye strain.” So pick a size that’s not too-tiny.
  7. READ ON! That’s it. You’re all set. Your eyes will feel better. You’ll read faster. And in ten years–you voracious readers, you–your brain will thank you! Or your sleep cycle might just thank you tomorrow.

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IT GETS REAL WHEN YOU PUT REAL PEOPLE IN IT . . .

My favorite is “Dan.” You’ll see.

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SUMMER PARTY TIME . . .

The Wilder Cocktail — easy, not too high-brow, great for parties.

  • 1/3 Shocktop Beer
  • 1/3 Hard Cider (any will do, but dry is best)
  • 1/3 Orange juice

So good. Just like the girls who tame the men of Wilder, it’s smooth, a little sweet, and has a bit of an edge. 😉

The Wilder Watermelon –excellent for summer

  • 1/2 watermelon
  • 1c champagne
  • 1c vodka
  • 1 skewer
  • Poke the skewer into the watermelon all the way through, but not through the rind. Make a ton of holes. Mix vodka and champagne and slowly pour until it starts to puddle on the surface. Let sit a few hours in the fridge, pour the rest in. Let sit another few hours. (Sitting at room temp is fine, too)
  • Slice or melon ball and serve!

It’s watermelon with champagne–you pretty much CAN’T go wrong.

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LEARN SOME ASL . . .

Check out these sign language teaching videos. You can learn a new language while you watch hot guy Nyles DiMarco without his shirt. Go on, improve yourself, because that’s what this really is.

Enjoy!