Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Women in Film

This is where it can get tough.

My last post was about my favorite women in books.  I only wrote about two for times sake.  Lord knows I could go on about this woman or that woman (Jo March, Ayla, Kivrin to name just a few more.)  Today's post is about women in film.

Do not get in her way!
I suppose I could go for the obvious.  Like Black Widow in The Avengers.  LOVE her.  Even tied to a chair, she is in complete control of her situation.  She doesn't have superpowers, she's just an ordinary (enough) woman with highly specialized skills.  She's confident in her ability to handle whatever situation she's in, except maybe when fellow Avenger Bruce Banner transformed into the Hulk; she was a bit unnerved then.  Her character hints at a tragic past in the movie, which from what I've read on the sequel for the movie, we'll see more of.  It's always interesting to see what events helped create these strong women.

Often times, they have no other choice but to be strong.  Life is hard, no matter who you are.

Ready to kick some zombie butt...
Another good example of this is Alice from the Resident Evil movies.  There is no way to take these movies seriously, but that doesn't diminish the character of Alice.  Dealing with amnesia at the beginning of the first movie, Alice handles things with far more spunk than I would.  As the movie progresses and she discovers her own set of highly specialized skills, she gets over her shock and quickly dispatches whichever set of zombies is plaguing her.   I hated that the movie turned dogs into zombies...it's disturbing, but this virus doesn't discriminate between species.  Alice was one of the few rare individuals able to adapt to the virus.  Alice was even able to defeat the Umbrella Corporation's attempt at mind control.

Another female character I like, isn't exactly one of the 'good guys'.  Isn't that how it goes sometimes?

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...
Charlize Theron's portrayal of Ravenna, the evil Queen from Snow White and the Huntsman is riveting (at least in my opinion). In this version of the fairy tale, Ravenna's mother cast a spell over her so that the girl would remain young and beautiful. Because that's the only way that a woman has value and power, right?  Ravenna fell prey to this lie, and magically sucked the youth and beauty from younger woman.  Her obsession to remain youthful and beautiful (and therefore powerful) drove her to cruelty and murder. Personally I felt her character had more depth than that of Snow White.  She walks with confidence, with her head held high, knowing that none can outshine her.  Even though her insecurity is that someone will come along someday and do exactly that.  This particular Queen had nothing to fear in this movie, but of course that's not how the story 'had' to go.  I was quite disappointed that the movie ended with her death.

Of course, these are all fantasy/sci-fi flicks and the scenario's aren't always realistic.  It's no surprise as my taste tends to lean towards that genre.  But I don't think that takes anything away from these complex women and their roles.

I do have other favorites.

Keeping Frank Moses on his toes...
One is Sarah Ross in the movie Red.  It's possible that an everyday customer service agent could end up kidnapped and fall into all sorts of adventures with a retired spy, right?  Especially one who fantasizes about that very thing happening because her real life is, well, boring.  After the initial shock and fear wear off, Sarah adapts to the excitement.  Even though her kidnapper didn't live up to her imaginary expectation of him (she thought he'd have hair) and their first meeting wasn't exactly a stellar first date (she's had worse) she does fall in love with him.  That doesn't take away anything from her independence or adventurous spirit though, because in the second movie she is frustrating her love interest (Frank Moses) with those very things.

Holding her ground...
Another favorite comes from the same movie.  Helen Mirren's ex-spy Victoria kicks some serious tail.  She is as calm and collected firing a machine gun as she is doing a flower arrangement.  To keep her retirement from becoming stale, she takes the 'occasional odd job'...after all, one can only do so many slower arrangements. She's not one bit phased that another ex-spy shows up at her home needing to be stitched up.  Although that's a bit of a stereotype, they make up for it by having the characters originally afraid to got to her for fear of being shot.  We learn that back when she was as spy, her loyalty was questioned because of her love affair with a Russian spy.  To prove her loyalty, she had to kill him.  She shot him three times in the chest, and we later learn that he did survive.  She is gutsy, efficient with her firearms, and at ease with her male counterparts.  Even though she has to drop back from the action because of a gunshot wound, she doesn't just curl up in a corner.  Yes, her Russian spy meets her at a locked gate and rescues her...but hearing Helen Mirren called bunny in Russian is well worth it in my opinion.

Sadly with the exception of Alice, the women I've listed are all side characters.  There is a rumor that Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow will be getting her own solo movie.   That would be pretty cool, even if she is dressed in her skintight black leather.  Whether this is an accurate representation of women in film, I can't even begin to say.

Do you have a favorite movie character you'd like to share?

2014 ~ year of changes

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Women in Books

I made my last blog post about Robin Williams unfortunate death over at Broads of a Feather's blog.  I do not have it in me to continue writing about him, not any time soon.  And I would not want to add to his family's suffering in any way (as if any of them will ever stumble upon my posts!)  So back to my planned posts.

I've been giving this a lot of thought the past week, and to continue my small series on how women are portrayed in entertainment, I'm going to break it into two different posts.  Women in Books, and Film.

In general, I tend to stick with what I like to read.  Occasionally I'll venture out and try a new author or genre.  I ventured out of my norm and read Phoenix Island by John Dixon recently.  It was enjoyable enough; I had no problem finishing it, even though in my opinion it is "Lord of the Flies meets Hunger Games".  And unfortunately, it fails the Bechtel Test.  One conversation between the female First Sergeant and the female love interest about an incident "happening a certain way" isn't exactly stellar.  But onto two of my favorite chicks to read.
Nynaeve al'Meara

Although I've read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books to death, I still reread them.  I like to visit the universe.  Largely because it is one of the epic fantasy universes in which women are on equal standing with men.  There is the usual gender griping: the men thinking the women don't know anything and vice versa, but hey - that's pretty normal even in our universe.

In some cases in Jordan's imagined world, the women are in positions of leadership even above men.  More respected even.  Perhaps because it was the men who Broke the World.  (It can be argued that the world was Broken because the women refused to help the men, but hindsight is always 20/20)

Most of the nations in the world are monarchies.  With as many queens as there are kings.  Villages are ruled by both a Village Council (male) and a Women's Circle.  The two councils battle it out in such a way that each think they hold more sway. Typically the Village Council is led by the Mayor and the Women's Circle by the Wisdom.  The Wisdom is the village healer/weather forecaster/wise woman.  You can go to her to have your illnesses healed, or have her settle an argument you're having with a friend.  The most notable Wisdom in the Wheel of Time series is Nynaeve al'Meara.

At least, that's how her character starts out.  By the time the books end, Nynaeve has progressed from Village Wisdom to being an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah and Queen of Malkier.  For those of you unfamiliar with these stories, think of an Aes Sedai as Jedi. They are the series' magician servants of the known world.  Nynaeve is not only one of the most powerful Aes Sedai since the Breaking of the World, but she's gone head to head with one the Forsaken from the Age of Legends and matched that woman in the Power.

Nynaeve is head-strong, and confident (even over confident).  Her inclination to heal people of wounds and illnesses drives her to discovering not only new ways to heal, but also discovering ways to heal what was once thought incurable.  From the severing of a person from the One Power to the madness caused by the taint on the male side of the Power.  She has a soft spot for children.  She is brave enough to hunt the Black Ajah (evil), brave enough to walk in the World of Dreams, brave even though she thinks of herself as a coward.  She is also short-tempered, arrogant, prideful and in the beginning she was something of a bully.

Women are a bright shining beacon in the world around them
She routinely pisses me off and amuses me.  The complexity of her character is believable and seemingly well thought out.    In many ways, she is a typical woman.  More powerful than she realizes because she's so afraid of wielding her power that she's managed to block herself from using it.  I think we are all guilty of that at some point in our lives.  Nyaneve, this small town woman from the middle of nowhere ends up participating in some of the most important turning points of this society, from the cleansing of the male half of the One Power to aiding the Dragon Reborn in the Last Battle.

While the series is about the three young men from the same village being focal points and shifting the lives of everyone around them, they could not accomplish half of what they did without the women who accompanied them.  As the series progresses, we see more and more from the women's viewpoints.  And in the end, their greatest feats were won when they worked together.

Not my mental image of Eve, but she'll do
My other favorite woman to read about in fiction doesn't have an image I can share.  Although in the beginning Nora Roberts (AKA JD Robb) posed as the main character in her In Death Series, I'm not sure she counts.  There does seem to be a lot of fan art of Eve Dallas, as well as the other characters in her world.

The In Death Series is the opposite end of the spectrum from Wheel of Time.  WoT is epic fantasy, complete with swords and horseback travel.  In Death is a futuristic world where cops have traded in guns for what amounts to Tazers and vehicles can go vertical at a moments notice.

I'll be honest, I haven't read every single book in the series - yet.  But it is one of my life's goals.  I like the books, because it's easy enough to figure out what's going on that you don't necessarily have to read them in order.  The Romance/Mystery/Crime Drama novels are light and fun, though they can go deep.

Eve Dallas is a far more tragic character than Nynaeve in that her past holds far more trauma.  Determined not to be a victim for the rest of her life, Eve rises above her childhood abuse and creates a life for herself where she needs no one and depends on no one.  A lieutenant in the the New York City police force, where the rules are definitely different from what we have here in the real world, Eve investigates homicides.  However her sense of duty usually lands her in an non-murder incident at least once in a book.  Usually it's a petty pocket thief she's caught while she and her partner are taking a lunch break on the street, or a taxi/minivan accident in the traffic she loves to hate.

Due out in September
While her romance with Roarke, one of the world's richest people, is typical of the Romance genre (quick attraction/quick to bed etc.) it doesn't end there.  Because it is an ongoing series, we get to watch Eve and Roarke (who is another emotionally starved person) learn how to love each other fully.  When you have two strong personalities, both of whom are used to living independent lifestyles, there are bound to be clashes and learning curves for both sides.

Eve has a tough exterior, and an even tougher interior, that covers up a vulnerable woman.  And I like reading about her because of that.  She is proud to be labeled 'top bitch cop' and tends to be embarrassed by the press coverage of her more sensational cases (the Icove Clones) that bring her more popularity of her own.

She has her weaknesses.  Chocolate.  Coffee.  Children terrify her, even as she is driven to protect them.  The woman has more layers than an onion as something new is revealed about her complexity in each book.

Whether she'd ever admit it or not, Eve is what the series calls a sensitive.  Bordering on ESP, one of the ways Eve can solve the tough cases is she knows how to think like the criminal.  She can walk through a crime scene and almost visualize the crime.  It disturbs and awes her partner Peabody on a regular basis.  We all have our talents and this is one of Eve's.

I don't know about you, but I like reading about women who are more than a cookie cutter cutout. I know that there are stereotypical people in real life, but I deal enough with them on a daily basis.  I want to read about someone who's different from those around her.  Having never felt safe to reveal the 'secret me' to anyone, I like reading about women who have more than one facet to their personalities.  I feel that both the women I've mentioned here today exhibit those qualities.  Not everyone will agree, and that's okay.  Different characters will speak to different people.  What draws me, might not be the same that draws you.  Thankfully there are many female characters that fill this bill, these are just two I've read recently that I enjoy.

The really tough part will be picking two women in film to write about!  But I'll be tackling that next post, which given I posted at Broads this week as well, won't be until next week.

Off topic question - any comments about my background tweaks?

2014 ~ Too much sadness

Click HERE :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Dark Side of Joy

True immorality...forever in our hearts
I find that I can't resume my planned posts just yet.

Like many, I am still feeling the blow of Robin Williams' unfortunate death.  I think a large part of this isn't so much all the sharing that has been going on Facebook - - - the video clips and meme's have been a huge comfort.  Williams had such a varied career that there was something for everyone.  I think what drives the knife in deeper has been the overload of 'suicide is for cowards' opinions that have been cropping up.  Expected, perhaps, but that doesn't make it right.  Any more than "freedom of speech" makes right the harassment Zelda Williams received online.

The last thing that anyone needs when a loved one has died, regardless of the cause, is someone's opinion that your loved one is going to hell.  Because honestly, that's all it is --- your opinion.  It's not just insensitive...it is outright cruel.  Even inhuman.

I haven't read Matt Walsh's blog, discussed here and here.  And I won't, because I just can't expose myself to the negativity anymore.  I understand completely why Zelda Williams shut her social media off.

And Fox, why is that anchor still employed with you?  Any apology that has a clarify-er is not an apology.  It's his job to share the news, not pass judgement on the dead and try to get away with it by saying he was 'wondering out loud.'  He can do that on his own time!  He's made the children's experience worse by his own insensitivity.  As if it's not bad enough already without everybody and their brother putting in their two cents worth!

And given the recent revelation that Williams was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease ought to clue those people in to the fact that no matter how public a famous person's life is, there is so much about them that we don't know.  We have no idea what he struggled with in those last few hours.  And honestly, we don't need to. Tweet that nugget.

Really, America needs to get over its obsessive need to know everything. Tweet that nugget.  Because we don't.

The dark side of joy...the weeping before...
I've been thinking a lot about the boy who killed himself in high school.  He was a freshman who ate lunch with my brother and I.  That alone should have told me something, because no one sat with us.  He was a lot like Williams, always making jokes and being a bit wild.  I didn't think much of it when he told me I could keep the book he'd lent me. Just a boy being nice to a girl.  And then one day, he wasn't there.  He'd run away.  And then came the news that they'd found him in the river.  There were no signs of foul play, and they never considered that it could have been an accident.

And I was struck with the knowledge of how little I had actually known about the boy who shared the lunch table with my brother and I.  When I later learned that one of the signs that someone is contemplating suicide is the giving away of their belongings, I couldn't help but feel guilty for something I hadn't known.  I told myself I should have seen in.  Not that I would have been able to help him, I was too wrapped up in my own sorrows.

His name was Jeremy.  And I have never forgotten him.  Just like Robin Williams, I never will.

2014 ~ Be kind to one another

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Sad Day for Us All

"Oh, there you are Peter!"
This is a sad day for us all, and like with Paul Walker's untimely death, I keep hoping to hear the news that the report of Robin Williams' death is nothing more than a hoax.

Shock was my first reaction. I have one friend, who is always at the top of my newsfeed when I go on my mobile Facebook app and like with Paul Walker's death, it was through my friend's top post that I learned of Robin's demise.

I was running late today with regarding my blog post, planning on finishing it and posting it once my dishes were done. However, during one of my last breaks (I can only stand so long) I happened to check Facebook and my entire world came to a screeching halt. No, I didn't know him personally...I didn't even like all his stuff...but he was an actor I loved. My favorite movies of his were Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Hook.

So, instead of going ahead with my original plan, I'm changing it. I'm posting this short piece, sharing this video from Dead Poets Society.


As well as sharing Walt Whitman's poem behind the Oh Captain My Captain quote. Very fitting I think, no matter who the original poem was meant for.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Token Female In Entertainment and Reality

I've been thinking about this post for a while now, and have to admit that I've held off writing it and posting it partly because of pure good old fashioned fear.  I read this article about Women in Movies and decided that it was time to start writing it.

The article deals with how many roles go to women in today's movies.  Not just the good roles, but the "crappy" roles...or rather, the extras in the movies or side characters whose genders aren't vital to their character.

Anne, one of my favorite heroines...
Female representation in entertainment is something I think about as an author.  I was raised in a rather traditional mindset that the Males are dominate.  God created them first and women were an afterthought to 'help' men rule but not rule on their own.  I'm not here to split hairs about this today, although I will say that this particular teaching is a misreading and twisting of the bible.  Ever since I learned of the Bechdel test for movies, I've asked myself this question about my own work: do I have at least two female characters who talk to each other (without a man present) about something other than a man?

I try to have as many female characters as I do male.  So far, I am a traditional Romance author in that the romance is between a man and a woman.  ("Traditional" church upbringing remember).  I'm only beginning to experiment with characters who are either gay, bi, or lesbian.  As I myself am married to a man, my romances will probably stay in that arena.

Available on Amazon
In Farmer's Daughter, aside from the main female character, there is her friend Michelle.  While they are separated by distance - one lives on the East Coast, the other the West, the two talk often on the telephone about many things.  Most of it is Michelle trying to "play doctor" to her friend, which does become conversations about a man (it is a Romance).  Angela's mother Maude is always trying to push her daughter into a relationship with a man, although not necessarily the one Angela is interested in.  But the two have other conversations as well, about the farm and whether Angela is overworking herself.  Maude and her other daughter Cassandra (or Cassie) are seen talking with each other, and that conversation ranges from Angela's treatment of her younger siblings during their growing up years to the death of the family's oldest son to what kind of job Maude's husband Philip did before Cassie was born.  Grandma Pearl sticks her nose into Angela's romance, and how the past tragedy makes it hard for Angela to love, but I don't think that one can count.

The two antagonists Cori and Susan definitely count.  While their scenes may be small, they are far from unimportant.  While Susan's feelings for her distant cousin take a turn for the worse because of jealousy over the male lead Craig, Cori's motives are not the same.  Cori believes that sabotaging Angela will buy her freedom back from the local crime boss and save her own failing relationship with her live-in boyfriend.  And Susan's need to pull Angela down attracts another's attention, but we don't see that person - another woman - until the sequel Ring of Fire.  Cori will also have a larger role in the second novel, as will the female State Trooper introduced at the end of Farmer's Daughter.  How large their roles will grow, I don't know yet but I can tell you that their friendship took me by surprise so there is no telling at this point how far it will go.

Daisies are a popular flower
in my series
And one cannot forget the town gossips, Flo and her friend Lucy.  They are often seen gossiping while they tend to the bushy hedgerow between their houses.  Their conversations cover most of the other characters in the books: during the opening scene with Craig and his soon-to-be ex-employee Harry they give blow by blow comments letting us know that this isn't the first time they've seen this; Angela herself is a frequent topic, mostly about her attempt to save the family farm and her past exploits because Flo just cannot admit that she's wrong about Craig's sexuality.

In Ring of Fire, due to release later this summer or early fall, I've added a few new female characters.  Toni, who in many ways will come to replace Michelle.  We all have friendships that wax and wane over the years, some bounce back but some never do.  Angela has a housekeeper whose only given name so far is Nan.  The new antagonist Nikki is often seen alone (although she does have conversations with her girlfriend over the phone), while the other antagonist Veronica is often only seen with her male family members.  There is a scene near the beginning of the book where Angela is in the farmhouse kitchen with her mother and grandmothers - seen through Cassie's viewpoint.  That conversation has nothing to do with a man as it is by and large about Angela: whether she's eating right, whether she's on birth control or not, and why she needs a housekeeper.  Cassie intervenes to take the focus off of her sister and whole new subjects are introduced, mainly Cassie new tongue ring and her sexual exploits at college.  My favorite comment in that scene is when Maude's mother makes a comment to Maude about how her daughters are just like she was growing up.  Maude is still embarrassed about the way she lived when the children were very young and often does not allow mention of it and it will be interesting to see how her character will develop in later novels.  At least for me.  The character of Sherry has never been seen without her husband Kevin, but I can promise you that changes in the third book.

I think part of the reason why we see so few females in important roles, or even crappy roles in both movies and novels is because of how things are in real life. Movies have what I call the "Token Female" just like workplaces will have the Token Female supervisors.  I can't talk about generalities, I can only talk about what I have seen in my own workplaces.  And that is where the aforementioned fear comes in.  I dare not tell tales on any of my work places, past or present.  Not and get away with it.

Unless I don't name them.

One place I have worked, in my department there was only one female supervisor.  One.  There were two supervisor assistants roles filled by women, and there are at least twice as many of those positions as there are supervisors.  I can't begin to tell you the male/female ratio of workers in the whole department, but in my particular section we were mostly women.  I noticed how in promotional videos that the company made these Token Females in leadership positions were always featured, like it was common in our plant.  When the truth is the opposite.  What you saw in the video is it.  None of the upper leadership were women, except for the HR Director. While I am in no way deeming her position, as Human Resources is an important part of any company, she is only one woman.  All the other decision making positions are filled by men.  What the hierarchy looks outside of that plant, I can't tell you as there is very little contact with the front line employees from Corporate.  Their flyers they mailed looked equal, but I know how those kind of things go.

Another place I worked, the night shift supervisor position had a high turnover rate.  When I was hired, there was one man on his way out and other set to take over.  That man lasted in the position about a year.  The woman that took over for him did not last that long.  She gave it up herself.  From there we had another man, and then we went without for awhile just having a "supervisor assistant".  Last I heard the female supervisor they had when I stopped working there is still in charge - which I credit to the change in the leadership above her.  (He often lamented that he could never keep a supervisor for more than a year.)  The biggest reason why we had such a high turnover in that position, and even with the general employees, was because of the attitude of the Night Shift Production Manager.  I think that was his title.  He was unsupportive of all his supervisors, male or female; although he favored the female employees in general - and not always in a good way.  Again, the higher up in the hierarchy you went, the fewer females in leadership there were.

When I worked at the library, the head librarian was male.  The rest of us were all women.  He has since left to another job and his place was taken by a female.  That was after I decided to give the job up as it was too much to deal with at the time as I was trying to work night shift.  It is the job I missed the most.  I was treated the best there, and the job itself made me happy.  This is just one library in the system though. The females tend to outnumber the males, but last I knew the head librarian of that system is now a man.  It is of course a completely different dynamic than the factories I've worked at.  Like night and day.

Strong and courageous
Image downloaded from morgueFile
So once again, I think one of the reasons why females have such a low profile in many novels and movies, is because we are often overlooked in reality. We are passed over for jobs and routinely slighted in our abilities and talents. Things are changing, but never as fast as we'd like them to.

Next time I'll cover a few of my favorite books and movies series that give women their just due.  Series that show woman as equal to men, whether they are good or bad, strong or weak.  Women who are as complex as real women are.

And that's not a bad thing because we are complex.  Many of us play different roles in our daily lives.  Wife, mother, mistress, teacher, friend, doggy walker...the list goes on. We are strong and courageous.  We are weak and cowardly.  We give into temptations.  We deny ourselves our deepest desires.  Why should we expect anything less in the characters we love on screen and on the pages of the books we read.

Until next time, keep reading!

2014 ~ Keeping on  keeping on...because that's what we do

Monday, August 4, 2014

Impulse Blogging: Not For Every Post!

In some things, I am a perfectionist.

You'd never know this by how I keep house, I have spiderwebs in the corners and dust on my figurines.  But then, the spiders and I do have this agreement - as long as they stay out of my reach, they get to live!

But when it comes to writing, I pull out the magnifying glass.  It doesn't matter whether it's a novel, a poem or a blog post...deep down I never feel like it's finished or good enough.

While I've been blogging in one form or another since 2005, I am still learning. Especially since I began to blog as part of my online platform as an Indie Author. There are a lot of things I am still trying to "define" or consciously remember as I type.  Like writing for my target audience instead of everyone.

Rebekah Radice, my favorite social media guru, shared some of her advice from her own blogging experience in this GooglePlus Hangout recently.  I've heard and read a lot of it before, but that doesn't always mean I've actually thought about the topic.  You can watch it here if you're a fellow blogger just getting started, or if like me you've been blogging for years and need to make changes.

One thing I've never given too much thought about has been the color of my blog.  I have the color scheme that I do pretty much just because I like it.  I like purple.  It's says "pretty" to me.  I may end up looking into color psychology, but whether I'll ever change the color - I don't know.  It depends on whether that's the message I decide I want to send!  I do wonder what a yellow based blog would look like, because yellow says Happy!! to me.  We'll have to see about that one.

The list never really ends, does it?  lol :)
Another thing that came up in the video was which blogging platform was best.  +Rebekah Radice is a WordPress fan, because it gives you ownership of your own content.  Which apparently not true of Blogger.  Say What???  I've used Blogger since day one.  Never gave much thought to who 'owned' what I post.  I may have to look into that.  But there's no hurry at this moment.  Just one more thing on my To Do List!

I started out with a pretty frilly font, but I like what I have now better.  There weren't any complaints, but since I kept wondering if anyone had any trouble reading it, I decided I'd better change it.  Because if it was frilly enough that I was wondering, odds are there were people out there going, "I wish she'd write in a different font."

One thing I really need to get cracking on is formulating some kind of blog schedule.  Most of the time I have no idea what I'm going to be writing about.  Even this post came as a surprise to me, after I watched the video interview.  Even if I end up breaking it, I ought to plan ahead a bit better.  Especially since I went a few looooooooong weeks without internet in my home and wasn't able to get into my account on outside computers (thanks to two-step verification!!)  If I had been smart, I would have had posts written and scheduled for publication.  I mean, I knew it was going to happen!

There is nothing wrong with being spontaneous and blogging about something off the cuff.  Or even looking at your scheduled topics and changing your mind.  But if you don't have that list to look at, each time you...uhm, I...sit down to write a post - you're starting from scratch and sometimes you...uhm, I...just draw this blank.  All too often I am an Impulse Blogger - and while that can be a strength, like today's post, it's not something I should rely on for every post!  Tweet it!

Now if I will just be able to decipher all my shorthand...
Likewise, there's nothing wrong with just writing a short post updating readers on what's going on in your life.  My life.  I say YOU, when I really mean ME because it's easier to preach if I can pretend I'm not talking to myself!  All too often recently there hasn't been anything interesting to report!  "Yup, another blah day - did physical therapy, got hubby to work, hung out with friends."  People will get tired of those kind of posts pretty darn quick!  I know I do!

Now, I do have a great story to relate about an awesome anniversary gift from my in-laws...but I have to take pictures first.  Trust me on that one!

I did take notes while I watched the video, of things I know I need to pay attention to.  A lot of great things to ponder and consider.  I even hit pause a time or two because my fingers just weren't cooperating and I couldn't write fast enough!  Because this isn't even the only blog I have to think about!  I have to apply this to the blog I co-author with C.P. Stringham, Broads of a Feather.  At least when it comes to my own posts.

Speaking of which, I need to switch gears.  This week is my week to post...and well, yeah I need a schedule of some kind for that blog too because...I don't know what I'm writing about yet!  I'd better do some brain storming!  (And some laundry...)

2014 ~ A year of more changes...