Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

As I arrive home from the annual national conference of Romance Writers of America, I am weary but bursting with joy. I have learned much from the huge variety of engaging workshops and have filled my creative tank to maximum capacity.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I am still high from riding the waves of excitement that swell throughout this event. There is an unexplainable joy that settles into my soul when I am among like-minded individuals all pursuing the same goal; people who understand the ups and downs of this business we call writing.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I am hung over with the giddiness that comes from meeting new friends and reconnecting with others I see less often. A plethora of social events provides many opportunities to hear amazing stories of people who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles on their way to success.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

A rejuvenating optimism courses through my body and I return home inspired to dig a little deeper in order to achieve that next step on my journey.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Until next year, I shall endeavor to raise the bar on the quality of my work, my relationships and my life.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The following short poem, by Tiffany Prochera is an accurate reflection on my current state of mind. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

How about you dear readers – what inspires you? Where do you go, or what do you do when you need a little pick-me-up? Do conferences inspire you? Does nature inspire you? (Obviously it does me, ergo, the photos.)

Word of the Day: Winze

Fun fact about me: I love lighthouses.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Original poem by Tiffany Prochera. Photos courtesy Google Images.

Say What?

Have you ever listened to a song and heard some lyric that made you go – “say what?”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

When I first heard the song Royals by Lorde, I was like “WTF?” In my ears the chorus sounds something like this “And we’ll never be royals, it’s a wooden ob a long.” I hear that song a lot (unfortunately) and I have no idea what most of those lyrics are. I suppose it’s because she’s British. Anyway, I finally looked up the lyrics and my first thought was “WTF?”  I’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh? I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies? Seriously, WTF? I still don’t understand the lyrics.

And it’s not just pop music, the latest song by country sensation Dierks Bentley, Drunk on a Plane, same deal. I hear, “The stewardess is salt and sexy.” Salt and sexy? What does that mean? Turns out, the stewardess is somethin’ sexy. That makes more sense, but I still hear salt and sexy. And, Mr. Bentley, it’s no longer socially acceptable to refer to female flight attendants as stewardesses. Perhaps that’s what threw me off.

And David Nail’s song Let It Rain, has a lyric that sounds like “sled it come down on me.” Come on people – diction. So – let – it – come- down – on – me. When sung properly, it makes more sense. I understand if you’re Bob Dylan, then slurring is expected, but otherwise, let’s enunciate so we’re not misunderstood.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Another example is from the Eagles hit, Hotel California. I always thought they said “she lit up a Camel.” Turns out what she lit was a candle. She’s not smoking unfiltered cigarettes, she’s lighting the way. It’s craziness I tell you.

I am glad to know that it’s not just me, though, who has this trouble. There are quite a few YouTube videos about misleading song lyrics, but here’s one I found particularly amusing. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out this link. It’s really funny. I promise you’ll smile. The one about the Rolling Stones is especially humorous.

What song lyrics have you listened to over and over again trying to figure out what was being said? What song have you been singing wrong for a very long time? Please share, I’d love to know that I’m not alone in this mish mash of misunderstood song lyrics.

Word of the Day:  Verasion

Fun fact about me: I can sing both alto and soprano so just put me where you need me in the choir.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Video courtesy YouTube. Photos courtesy Google Images.

You’re probably wondering about the title. Well wonder no longer. This is another post about weirdo things my dad says and does.

quote about directions

It’s common knowledge that men don’t like to ask for directions. I’m not sure why. I’ve simply chocked it up to something being wrong with their genetic make-up and moved on. My dad, however, is polar opposite. He asks for directions even if he’s not lost. My dad takes this so far to the opposite extreme, it’s downright annoying and oft times embarrassing.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

The only thing my dad will even try to find on his own, is a store clerk to show him where to find whatever it is he’s seeking. The photo above is no exaggeration. I recently accompanied my father to Home Depot – because that’s where he shops (yet strangely knows where nothing is located) – because he needed some lumber to construct something, no doubt another addition to his “shop.” In case you missed it, here’s the post about my dad and his “shop.”  http://jansenschmidt.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-dads-four-favorite-words/

I think I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty, that most of you, dear readers, have been inside a Home Depot. You kind of know how it all works. But, in case you are unfamiliar, when you get inside there are things that look like this to help you navigate through the aisles:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

That’s right – those are big orange signs. Granted, it’s sometimes hard to find some obscure things, but, let me remind you, my dad was looking for lumber. Pretty common item that a lot of people purchase at Home Depot. The Home Depot in my home town, has devoted about one third of their store to lumber and lumber products. It’s not hard to find lumber, you need only step inside and sniff. But, if the powerful smell of freshly cut wood is not enough to guide you into the general proximity, you can simply look up (see photo above). Ah yes, there it is – big sign – lumber. My vision isn’t 20/20 and yet, strangely I can find the lumber aisle.

Well, apparently these two factors combined are still not clue enough for my dad to find his way to the lumber department – an area he frequents often. Nope. He doesn’t even try. Instead, upon securing his gigantic industrial-sized shopping cart, he pushes his way through the sliding doors, stops, looks around until he finds someone – anyone -wearing an orange apron and says, “There’s the man.”

Photo courtesy Google Images

“The Man.” Photo courtesy Google Images

Now, you all know me pretty well by now, so let me add a side note here. The first words out of my mouth are “What man?” To which my dad says, “the man in the know.” Because apparently the signs are decoys, meant to distract not help and cannot be trusted. You must actually ask a human in order to know where things are located.

My dad proceeds to run-down the poor clerk who is trying valiantly to help some other customer in the, oh say, garden department, before loudly interrupting – with a finger shake for emphasis – “where can I find pressure treated four-by-four posts?”

“Probably in the lumber department, Dad,” I reply with an exaggerated eye roll. “It’s at the other end of the store. Same place it was yesterday.”

The clerk smiles, politely excuses himself from the first customer to confirm what I’ve just said.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

And so off we go to the other side of the store, where I’d already been headed when we entered. But wait – there’s more. We reach the first aisle of lumber-type products and my dad stops, again doing the crazy head-swinging thing, until he finds – that’s right – another employee in an orange apron. “There’s the man I need to see,” says my dad as he whisks his cart down the aisle, an aisle two aisles from the pressure treated four-by-fours. Had we just gone a few more steps . . . .

I reluctantly follow. We repeat the process, only this time, my dad manages to coerce “the man,” otherwise known as the poor dumbfounded clerk, into walking with us, two more aisles over, to the things my dad needs. Then my dad says, “How much are they?”

Well, again, I can’t control the sharp retort that flies out of my mouth. “Probably should look at the tag, Dad.” The one affixed directly on the support beam holding the wood up. Again, for those of you not familiar with this store, here’s how one would know a price in Home Depot:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

My dad must think those dangling white tags with dollar signs and numbers are for purely decorative purposes. After all, why would a store bother to put prices on things?

Finally with lumber secured on cart, we head off for the cash register. But wait – yes there is more – he remembers he needs something else.

Oh Dear God just shoot me.

Again we head for the big center freeway aisle, blissfully happy in not knowing about (ie ignoring) the overhead signs directing us to where we need to go, instead searching frantically for someone – anyone – wearing an orange apron. “There’s the man,” cries my dad, clasping the arm of an aging gentleman working in the flooring department. “I need a handle for my paint roller,” says my dad.

Well of course (slaps head), let’s ask someone in the flooring department.

“Did you look in the paint department?” politely asks the clerk, using his hand to motion us toward said department.

“Oh God no, that would be too easy and then we’d have no reason to bother you,” I say – in my head.

My dad thanks the man as if he’s just unveiled some ancient secret about how to live forever before we head over to the department directly under the huge orange sign that says – wait for it – paint.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

This time I rush ahead hoping to locate said item before any more employees are dragged away from their duties to help some bumbling old man who obviously hasn’t got a brain in his head. “Victory,” I nearly shout aloud, tossing the handle on top of the lumber.

As we approach the cash register – no self-check out for us – my dad says, “There’s the lady.”

I”m about to say “what lady?” just to be a smart ass, but stop myself just in time. Pay for the stuff and run.

And that, my friends, is how my dad conducts all of his business, whether at Home Depot, the grocery store, Wal-Mart, you name it. My dad asks for directions first, every – single – time.

Gotta love my dad, though. I wish I could say he belongs to someone else, but I’m too much like him for that to be believable. We’re both stubborn, we both like to do things our way, and we both have a strong penchant for beer.  (Shut up Corey.) I love him, my dad. I really do. He’s “the man.”

funny dad quote

Okay, now it’s your turn. What annoying behavior from a relative bothers you? Come on – spill it. I won’t tell. We’re all friends here.

Word of the Day: Umbo

Fun fact about me: I can find my way around a Home Depot store without asking for directions.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.

random quote 3 for blog

Random thoughts. They happen in no particular order and relate to nothing you’re currently doing or talking about. They are just that – random.

Quite often I set out with good intentions to do something productive, but sometimes it’s just hard to concentrate. Nothing in particular bothering me or stressing me, but I develop ADD on steroids which commands my every random thought.

Things like:

random quote 2 for blog


Or this:

random quote 4

Or sometimes, this:

random quote 5

And so that inspired me to write this week’s post and the early summer edition of Take It or Leave It.

Take It or Leave It Image courtesy Google Images

Take It or Leave It
Image courtesy Google Images


Here’s how Take It or Leave It works: Post your guesses (would I take it, or leave it) in the comments section below. I will post my responses Thursday. The person with the most correct guesses is my winner, but you must post another comment in the comments section, acknowledging that you are a winner, in order to claim your prize. It’s that simple. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited after one week from posting the answers.

So, here you go. For the following list of things, would I Take It, or Leave It?

1. Eat someone’s leftovers from the community kitchen refrigerator at my office building.

2. Photobomb someone’s wedding pictures.

damsel in distress3. Park in two parking spaces so no one dings my doors.

4. Wear something seductive to an audition.

5. Call in sick so I can stay home and read.

6. Play the damsel in distress to get some guy to do something for me I don’t want to do.

7. Kiss a guy at a cold reading audition if the script called for it.

8. Leave my garbage in the street if a bear or stray dog knocks the can over.

9. Try to charm a cop to get out of a speeding ticket.

10. Blame my mistake on someone else.

Have fun with it. I’m looking forward to your guesses. How about you – any random weirdness you want to share? What goofball thoughts trip through your day? I love hearing your stories, they make me feel less strange.

Word of the Day:  Tamandua

Fun fact about me:  My very first role on stage was the villainess in a classic old time melodrama. (Clementine Greedy was my name.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt July 2014. Photo courtesy Google Images.



I love 4th of July. I love patriotic songs. I love red, white and blue. I love America.

Flag and eagle

Oh sure, there’s things about America that irritate me, things that should be changed, things that need to be improved, but overall, it’s not a bad place to call home.

child saluting flag

Photo courtesy Google Images

It saddens me though that we can no longer recite the Pledge of Allegiance in our public schools. It makes no sense to me that this practice has been forbidden in most classrooms (at least here where I live in California). This is America, the country that protects us and affords us freedoms too numerous to mention. Why in God’s name can’t we show our support of this great nation by pledging our allegiance to it? If people have a problem doing that, then perhaps they should go elsewhere.

The theory behind this ridiculousness is that “we” don’t want to offend anyone. Well, how are we offending people by asking them to show respect for what we’re offering? If someone intentionally comes here to take advantage of the wonderful and bountiful blessings we have to offer (like education), shouldn’t they in turn honor us for our generosity? If you choose to come here, we’ll not turn you away, but be prepared to support our practices and customs. If you want to partake of the bounty, at least show some appreciation to the providers.  Sheesh. That’s just common courtesy people. Personally, I am offended that people from other countries come here and take offense that we don’t change for them. If you want to live where everybody is like you, stay where you’re at. Diversity and tolerance is what makes America so great.

And don’t even get me started on the use of the words, “under God.” I don’t care what anybody says, everybody believes in some sort of higher being, a deity, a spiritual presence. Just don’t go there.

I know there are boat-rockers and people who only want to take and never give, but if you leave a country because you can no longer stand the way you are being treated, instead of criticizing US, you should thank us profusely for giving you the things you’ve obviously been lacking. Didn’t you come here for a better life? If it’s not better – just the way it is – then either go back where you came from or move on. Don’t expect us to change for you. People – lots of people – have died so you can enjoy what we’re offering. Deal with it, appreciate it, or get the hell out.

soldier saluting the flag

Anyway, that’s how I feel. I’m not being prejudiced and I’m not picking on anyone. I don’t care what religion you want to practice, what color your skin is, what sexual orientation you are. In fact I understand those are probably some of the reasons you came here in the first place. But don’t get all huffy because we expect you to show a little respect for the right to have an opinion. It’s simple really – if you come to my house naked and hungry, I will feed you and clothe you, but don’t complain about the meal or the outfit. If you don’t want what I’m offering, don’t come asking. You can go to the house next door and maybe, if you’re lucky, they won’t beat you.

I’ll climb down off of my soapbox now. Lecture over. I just felt like I had to get that off my chest. That is my right after all, right? Free speech? Freedom of the press? The right to have an opinion and to express it any way I desire? Oh no wait, not anymore, I might hurt someone’s feelings. Too. Damn. Bad. This is America – toughen up those dainty feelings and deal with it.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!! I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday and that you will take a moment to honor and respect this great country and remember those who have sacrificed so much to keep us great.

I leave you with this:

What do you think? Do you agree with Red? Did his rendition give you chills? Don’t be shy, speak up. Let your voice for liberty to heard.

Word of the Day: Speiss

Fun Fact about me: Sarcasm? Just another service I offer. (And at no charge I might add.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images. Video courtesy YouTube.

The title pretty much says it all.

But, because I know my adoring followers would feel cheated if I didn’t post today (right?), I’ve found this delightful video to share with you. Enjoy!

Have you ever had one of those moments? Please share so we can all smile.

Happy Monday! Have a great week!

Word of the Day:  Rawinsonde

Fun fact about me: I have long skinny toes.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2014. Video courtesy YouTube.

We all have at least one quirky relative. Some of us have more than one.  In my case, it’s my dad.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Let me begin by saying that I love my dad very much, warts and all. He’s far from perfect, but he’s the person God entrusted my care with so I owe him my deepest gratitude for not killing me as a child. And everyone knows that it’s okay for us to poke fun or our own family, but no one else is allowed to – right? That’s just an unspoken rule.

So now that that’s all established, I want to share with you my Dad’s four favorite words: “I’m throwing that away.”

I know – weird. But my dad has a fascination with junk. He’s a crap hoarder. His house is not cluttered to the rafters, but his sheds, or as he calls them collectively, his “shop,” is a different story. There is not one square inch of uncluttered space in his “shop.”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

If anyone knows my dad, you can get an immediate visual of this “shop,” but for those of you who haven’t had that . . . ah . . . privilege, let me just say that the “shop” is a series of crudely-constructed sheds, attached together by staples, bailing wire and duct tape, in a row, much like box cars on a train track. When one fills up, he constructs and attaches another, sometimes cutting a hole in the adjoining walls – for walk-through purposes – sometimes not. Collectively this row of mind-blowing dilapidation is known as “the shop.”

My dad will drag home anything. He often does yard work or minor brush clearing for older folks or single ladies and he brings home whatever he uncovers. If someone is moving and cleaning out a garage, my dad is the first one to volunteer to help. He’ll haul home anything left behind, including stuff intended for the dump. Recently my husband and I started cleaning out the ravine below our house. We unearthed a dented hula hoop, a deflated basketball, a plastic oar with a broken handle, and a three-wheeled wagon with a broken axle. My dad’s eyes lit up with pure joy when he saw these treasures in the refuse pile.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

“What’re you doing with that stuff?” inquires my dad.

“We’re throwing it away,” I reply.

“Oh, don’t do that,” says my dad with barely contained excitement. “I’ll take it home.”

What in God’s name my father is going to do with a dented hula hoop and a deflated basketball is anyone’s guess, but I let him load that crap up and cart it home. I didn’t even want to ask his intentions.  I’ve just learned that shit like that is to my dad like manna was to the Israelites in the Desert of Sin. It delights and nourishes him in indescribable ways. (Is it sacrilege to use a swear word in a biblical metaphor?)

That’s my dad – gotta love him. Or as they say in the south, “Bless his heart.”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

What weird-o family traits are kept in your closet? Come on, spill it. I’d love to hear about your quirky relatives.

Word of the Day: Quandong (it sounds dirty, but it’s not)

Fun fact about me: I like to scrapbook.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,415 other followers