Posts Tagged ‘nature’

A few weeks ago, I time traveled. I wasn’t gone very long and I didn’t travel very far, but I definitely went back in time. Back about 36-38 million years ago in fact, if scientists are right. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it might be but it was interesting none-the-less.


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Last week was a very long, very overwhelming, and very frustrating week. It seems like every single thing was a struggle. Electronics weren’t working the way they were supposed to, guests weren’t acting the way they normally do, jars wouldn’t open, knives wouldn’t cut, food wouldn’t cook, life was just one giant curve ball. Nothing was easy.


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This post could just as easily be titled “Reality Check,” because that’s sort of what happened. Stick with me. I’ll explain. (more…)

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So, the daily grind has pretty much come to a screeching halt. Life as we’ve known it has changed. At least temporarily. And yet, life goes on. (more…)

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This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. It’s a day to be with family, eat and reflect on everything in your life you’re thankful for. Oh, and football. It’s also a day dedicated to football. (more…)

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It is with heavy heart that I write this post. Not because of the election results. I’m not overjoyed (I remain hopeful), but neither do I feel the need to slit my wrists. I am saddened because of the ugliness that followed the results. Come on, America – knock it off already. (more…)

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I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I try to pop in every day or so to see what’s going on with my “friends.” Sometimes I post stuff, sometimes I like stuff, sometimes I use those cute newfangled emoticons. Usually, what I do is snort, scoff or laugh at other peoples’ posts.

woman on computer

Ever notice that there are some people you can bet money on what their post is about? I have. I’ve comprised a list of the FB personality types I come across most often on my feed. Because – and I think I’ve said this before – I’m a giver, I’ll share my analysis with you. Please keep in mind that some people fall into more than one category and I am in no way asking you to unfriend me. This is simply my observations about the most commonly posted stuff. I, undoubtedly, have fallen into one or two of these categories on occasion myself.

Here goes:

Bragging soccer mom – These posts are ALWAYS pictures of their kids with some clever or cute sentiment about how amazing the littles are. I’m not opposed to these posts, I just get tired or seeing them. “Here’s number 412 of Johnny at X event.” “Here’s little Susie all dolled up in her ____ (fill in the blank).” “followed 2 seconds later by another of Susie in one of her other 800 cute outfits.” Are you living your life vicariously through your kids? Can we see just one picture of you doing something interesting?

family in car

Overjoyous grandmother – Yup, this one’s like the one above only it skips a generation. Again, I love seeing the cuteness, so don’t stop, but you might want to throw in an occasional instructional video about how to cook something sinfully delicious that no one’s ever going to cook up. Your grandkid didn’t get cuter in 15 seconds.

sick woman

Perpetual sick-o – Do you, like me, have that the one (or a dozen) “friend(s),” who always has something ailing them? Sometimes their ailment is accompanied by a disgusting picture or description of their illness. Or, if they’re not sick, someone in their family is. Let’s find something positive and post that tomorrow shall we? I’m tired of hearing about everything that’s wrong with you and/or your loved ones.

Excessively needy –  These are the people who subtly boast about how awesome they are by posting negative stuff. Like how much pain they’re in because they’ve just climbed Half Dome at Yosemite in 15 minutes. Or they have injured themselves – again – for the umpteenth time in karate class earning their tenth black belt. Do these people just need sympathy or do they think they’re bad ass? I have no sympathy. I’d rather you just post the accomplishment and leave it at that. If it’s the pain you get off on, then just say that, don’t use the poor, poor me post to brag about yourself.

Humorous meme sharer – I think these are the people who appreciate good humor but are themselves not funny so they post cartoons or pictures with captions that make people laugh. I love a good laugh, and I have often shared some of these clever witticisms, but once in a while I’d love to see an actual post that you’ve typed up yourself.

funny meme

YouTube abuser – This one’s pretty easy to figure out. Have you noticed how many videos are being posted on FB these days? Seems like I get dozens of them a day. They slow my computer down. Let’s use the video clips sparingly people.

Political activist – This one is self-explanatory. Just stop people. Stop right now. I know where you stand from the first hundred dozen posts. And – here’s a shocker – your posts are not going to get me to change my mind or my opinion. Stop already.


Nature lover – Only posts pictures of nature too beautiful to be real. (See photo above for example.)

Save the world prayer seekers – Again, stop with the pictures of grossly disfigured children. I don’t need to see them. I know where to donate charitable funds. I’ll pray for everyone not just these poor unfortunate souls.

Sales people – This one is tough because as an author, you want to make people aware of your books and where to buy them, but some authors seem to only put “buy me” posts up. I’d like to know a little bit more about you. Let’s see some clever posts by the author so I know whether or not your book might be enjoyable.

buy book

World travelers – Ever notice how some people always seem to be going somewhere or doing something? I am sure they have regular lives like normal people, but every day there’s a new post from somewhere other than their home. Yay for them and I love the super cool photos or super cool places, but sheesh, when do you do your laundry or pay your bills?

So there you have it, my analysis. Keep in mind, this is just my own personal FB feed and yours will look different. However, I’m sure if you take the time to look and keep track, you’ll find one of two of the types listed above on your feed too. And again, don’t hate me people; this post is mostly tongue-in-cheek.

If you fall into one of these categories and you think I’m making fun of you, well, I probably am, but that’s how I roll. If you really know me, you know that I laugh at myself as well and if I’m laughing at you, it’s because I really like you. If I ignore you, watch out; that means something else entirely. I scoff because I care.

How about you dear readers? What kinds of trends do you see on Facebook? Do you get tired of some of these offenders? I’d love to add to my list, so let me hear your thoughts.

Word of the day: Hautbois (alternate: Hautboy)

Fun fact about me: I think I’m one of these FB post offenders.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.


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It’s national poetry month, or so my calendar tells me. That means nothing to me, except for the fact that I’m neither a poet nor a fan of poetry.

poetry motto

However, I do appreciate some literary works that technically fall into the poetry category. For instance, I do like some of Walt Whitman’s works, especially his Leaves of Grass. While I don’t get all gushy and weep at the words and the way they are arranged on the page, I do feel “moved,” be reading certain passages.

Walt Whitman

So, in honor of national poetry month, and my simple-minded understanding of Walt Whitman’s compositions, here goes my tribute:

“Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body . . . .” (Leaves of Grass)

My favorite part of that: “re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book.” Love that. And now I’m off to stand up for the stupid and the crazies.

flowers in forest

Happy April followers and friends. In my opinion, the picture above is nature’s poetry. Wouldn’t you agree?

Do you enjoy poetry? Do you understand poetry? What’s your take on the excerpt above?

Word of the day: Gabelle

Fun fact about me: I once had a literary agent tell me my manuscript was too poetic. Ha! I scoff at her analysis.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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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.

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Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

My local Sacramento chapter of Romance Writers of America hosts a retreat every other year and this year we were so blessed to be able to have our retreat at the Stanford-Sierra Conference Center at Fallen Leaf Lake in Lake Tahoe.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 138

Photo by P. Rickrode

Crystal clear Fallen Leaf Lake is protected on all sides by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and sits at 6,300 feet in elevation. It is completely surrounded by two indigenous species of conifers; Jeffrey and White pine. Just a short walk from the lodge, civilization ends and desolation begins. Desolation Wilderness offers nearly endless hiking and breathtaking views throughout its 63,960 acres of federally protected land.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 125

Fallen Leaf Lake
Photo by P. Rickrode

The lodge and cabins at The Camp date back to the turn of the century with some staff housing still sitting on original foundations constructed in the 1920’s. One of the famous staffers at Stanford-Sierra was John Steinbeck who worked at the camp in 1925 and helped construct many of the staff cabins. He was a popular figure at The Camp and was known to spend his down time hiking, fishing and writing by the light of his lantern at night.

Sacramento Valley Rose was honored to have Margie Lawson as our guest speaker. Margie filled our Friday night with fun and our Saturday with valuable knowledge, tips and other information to make our manuscripts sparkle and shine in a way that would capture the attention of an agent or editor.

Anniversary & 2013 SVR retreat 154

Margie Lawson, SVR Retreat, May 2013
Photo by P. Rickrode

After a long day of learning and a mouth-watering feast Saturday night, it was time to let our hair down and have some fun. We played our own special convoluted version of Wheel of Fortune, minus Vanna White and lovely prizes. Much belly-laughing ensued.

Anna "AJ" Stewart, Janina Henderson and Judy Ashley Photo by P. Rickrode

Anna “AJ” Stewart, Janina Henderson and Judy Ashley
Photo by P. Rickrode

We did what writers do best with limited letters.

Kendra DeSantolo Photo by P. Rickrode

Kendra DeSantolo
Photo by P. Rickrode

Patricia Rickrode aka Jansen Schmidt Photo by Anonymous

Patricia Rickrode aka Jansen Schmidt
Photo by Anonymous

As the night progressed (and more wine was consumed), things got a little more raunchy.

Anna "AJ" Stewart showing us her extensive vocabulary. Photo by P. Rickrode

Anna “AJ” Stewart showing us her extensive vocabulary.
Photo by P. Rickrode

Once the tone had been set, there was no going back and it got easier to guess the words.

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly Photo by P. Rickrode

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly
Photo by P. Rickrode

Or not. Turns out, the laugh was on us. Suzanne’s a cunning fox that way.

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly (aka The Trickster) Photo by P. Rickrode

Suzanne Pitner aka Suzanne Lilly (aka The Trickster)
Photo by P. Rickrode

Despite the building-shaking thunder and brilliant flashes of lightning on Saturday night and the lack of cell phone communications, a good time was had by all. The staff at the Stanford-Sierra Camp were simply the best greeting each request with a smile and offering assistance over and above what we expected. The weekend couldn’t have been more perfect.

So tell me readers, where have you experienced a little bit of writing heaven? Where have you attended a retreat that made a lasting impression on you?

Word of the day: Xebec (have fun with this one Colleen)

Fun fact about me: I used to change my own oil and filter in my car.

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