S’more Hamentashen

S’more Hamentashen Graham cracker dough adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery via Smitten Kitchen 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
 1 teaspoon

via S’more Hamentashen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

S’more Hamentashen

S’more Hamentashen Graham cracker dough adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery via Smitten Kitchen 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
 1 teaspoon

via S’more Hamentashen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

It’s Never JUST ‘call them.’

When did people stop answering their phones?

Everyone I know, except me, screens their calls, or just lets messages pile up until they feel like dealing with them.

Is this efficient? Well, maybe for the person being called, but I’m so old fashioned, I like to have a real person answer when I call. Since I don’t screen my calls most of the time, me leaving a message means that the person on the other side always calls me when its inconvenient. 

Like today. I called someone for a simple question, did they mind if their name was on a list with 100 other names, instead of being anonymous. They didn’t pick up, so I left a message, twice. The first time I wasn’t succinct enough and the machine cut me off.  They called back a couple of hours later. I was in the bathroom, but since I had my phone in my pocket, I picked up. I asked my question again. The person wanted to see the document with the 100 names, just to be sure. So I had to call them back.

Fortunately, this had a good outcome, I got to my computer, and they were at their computer, so the document in question was viewed right away, an answer was provided, business was concluded.

But so often, it doesn’t go that way. Say we have the same exchange I call, leave a message, they call, ask to see the document I go to my computer and send a document. But they weren’t home when they returned the call, so I have to wait for their response, and I can be on tenterhooks all day. So I have started to avoid calling people because it’s more trouble than its worth.

Am I being too sensitive?


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Report on the San Francisco Writer’s Conference

I got a late start on the conference, as I only showed up Friday morning, Valentines day. Fact is, I typed out about 8 Tweets. First, the supportive cupcake at lunch
:, Embedded image permalinkd
Then, the keynote at lunch was Chitra Divalkalkuruni, whose name I misspelled in a Tweet. don’t know how I managed to misspell herThe magic words ‘you don’t have to pay me’ #chitra divulkarney#writing #books name. She talked about the Foothill Writer’s Conference and her instructor, whom I think I just missed–Tom Parker?
I went to two panels with the idea of preparing for the agent speed dating.  This was very good, as I got to see the agents up close and personally. And learn about creating something called a talking tag line, which I needed for my memoir. My pitch was not polished at all, so the tag line “I’m trying, through my memoir, to encourage people who have tragedy in their backgrounds, and 4 of the 6 agents I pitched said “OK, send me a couple of chapters” -but I think they did that just to be nice,
The focus of the conference was really three fold. Craft, community, and marketing. And that included editors, coaches, website designers,promotores and  authors selling their work To be fair, you could actually sign up for a 15 minute free session with them. One of them, NIna Amir, had a very interesting idea–start a blog to write a book.  I follow her on Twitter, so I signed up for a free 15 minutes, It was worth it for both of us, since I bought her book. One of the agents on a panel pitched Nina Amir’s book, then laughed at herself, since Nina Amir is not her client. I tweeted it, after I chased down the agent to get her permission..
Katharine sands, the agent says”I live to plug” talking about #ninaamir‘s new book#SFWC14
She was was of the agents who said she would look at some of my chapters.
Naturally, the panel with fiction editors–the people that work for actual publishing houses–got the big room. They had a couple of interesting things to say, most of which point to the fact that you cannot have an ego about your work:

@Brenda knight says ‘really be able to kill your darlings’. #SFWC14

There was a yelling match at lunch Saturday that I missed–one author bought back the rights for his book, and is making a lot more money per book publishing himself. The conventional publishers spoke up.  So I heard.
I played hooky and had lunch with my niece downtown. But I came back in time to take a session on marketing poetry, which turned me on to the most fun I had at the conference–a jazz and poetry evening, organized by “Dr. Andy” Jones, from UC Davis.  I USED to write poetry, and it was great fun. I bought two books of poems at that evening.  Had too much fun to tweet that. The CEO of BookBaby is a great piano player, and an interesting poet. People are rhyming again! Or maybe they never stopped, out here in California, and I stopped paying attention.
In the morning, the self-publishing vs. old-school publishing battle started again wih Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, who called out some high priced publishing houses that have expensive ‘author services’ packages:
Mark Coker, president of Smashwords, just called $25,000 for author services criminal.
If Mark Coker knew how much I paid someone for developmental editing, he’d have a stroke. So I’m not telling him. I really liked this guy, so I followed him around.
Mark Coker, Smashwords, power belongs in the hands of writers.#SFWC14#selfpublishing
YES! POWER! Once you can figure out the damn websites and don’t forget your passwords.  I have to say that the software model, where you write something, then refine it and refine it until everyone is happy has really taken hold in publishing, at least self-publishing at Smashwords.

@markcoker Think of your books as as an amorphous object with buttons knobs and dials that you can tweak#SFWC14

And  so went to two more sessions by Mark Coker where I discovered that your cover has to match your book, there are various ways to boost your sales, I saw a lot of nifty graphs, and almost talked myself out of contacting the 4 agents who wanted to see my work because self publishing is better. But not quite.  I sent part of my memoir to the agent I liked best today.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Curling! the ice kind.

How hard could it be to push a rock across the ice?
Well, pretty hard, actually.
So curling is sort of like crouching down and pushing yourself off of a set of starters blocks to begin a sprint on a track, except instead of a running track you are on the ice–which is specially textured so it is not as slippery as it is for skating. Anyway, picture a sprinter, one foot (for your stronger leg) in the blocks, one foot planted on the track. Now imagine the foot ( your weaker leg) on the track has a huge Magic Slider under it. Instead of balancing on your fingers you have one hand on a 42 pound stone with a handle on it and one hand holding a tiny little PVC hurdle. Your butt is lowered, so you are upright. Push off with your stronger leg off those starting blocks and then that leg drag behind you…and end up in sort of a low warrior yoga pose while sliding down the ice with one hand on the hurdle (which experienced players don’t use) one foot (your weaker foot) on that Magic Slider, one hand on the rock with a handle, and one knee and ankle dragging behind you. Just dandy for me, who had an ACL replaced in 1998. I think the warranty on that ACL is about up, and my ankle with the bone spurs is on my right side, too.
So if you can stay upright sliding down the ice and haven’t let go of your rock you do need to let go of it eventually. That is the point where I usually fell over.

Oh, and you have to impart a spin to the stone, too.

The idea is to slide the stone with just enough force to slide into a round target on the ice called the ‘house,’ and stop.

Then there’s the ‘sweeping,’ which your teammates do to smooth the ice so the stone goes farther, which you don’t always need to do. Got all that?

The direction you rotate the stone and pace of the sweeping is dictated by the ‘skip’. After the thrower releases their rock,he skip yells to “sweep,” Then the skip yells “HARD!” which means the two teammates have to work harder. Or the skip just likes to yell. Our skip was Jay Diamond, who was really good at yelling. And he liked it, too.

Everyone liked yelling.  The ice was divided into about ten ‘sheets,’ for the curling, which is a curling term for lane–there was a ‘house,’ at each endof the ice, and each team had 8 rocks to try to get close to the house. Two teams share a lane, and once every stone is propelled to the far house, they line up and DO IT AGAIN, down to the other end. Ten times.  If a team six lanes away get a good shot, everyone on the ice yelled. Maybe it was because they have flasks hidden in their brooms.

Sliding down the ice and trying not to fall was tough, but doing the sweeping was tougher. Hard work! By the time I was done, I was heavily into the aerobic training zone. My ribs still hurt.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Lessons , Fiction, and Philosophy

This is 3 quarts of honey from my last harvest--addicting home grown honey.

This is 3 quarts of honey from my last harvest–addicting home grown honey.

Hello, everybody.

It’s still very dry here in California. I spent a couple of hours trying to clean the deck where I  put out a lot of pots which sometimes grow plants in them, and sometimes don’t.

I am cleaning it off  after the winter of no rain, a lot of the pots are empty, so I’m emptying pots, bringing up new plastic pots, and sweeping all the oak leaves off because I am thinking  planting a whole new bunch of seeds which I will hopefully raise to blooming glory.  I might need this oasis because with California in a major drought I might have to let my regular garden dry out. The deck is on the same level as our showers, and if we have to save shower warming up water, a deck on the same level is much more doable than going down a floor and out.

But this is not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about bees.

On my other blog, preeva. net, there is a blog post about bees. You can see it here:


It basically says I got bees, I took some combs full of honey out of the hive, then when I saw the bees crawling around on the combs I felt sorry for them and rescued them and felt weird.

Of course, writing is about saying plain stuff in a prettier way, with process and everything. So I wrote an essay about it, and tried to sell it.

Not having much luck with that.

So maybe it needs to be a short story.

What do you think?

I've seen my bees feeding on the palm flowers

I’ve seen my bees feeding on the palm flowers

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Back to my memoir, and a sad result of iOS updates

One of the first people to help me understand my father’s documents was a man named Alex Bauer, a friend of my in-laws and a lovely man from Hungary. He died last year, after a long and full life, and he was so loved that there were shiva minyanim at two synagogues full of people who had nothing but good things to say about him.

Today, I was looking up someone else in my address book, and his name was in my phone book again.  Some glitch of the cloud, perhaps. So I deleted his name all over again, and cried.

Posted in memoir, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgivvukah or Thanukah? Either way, I’m taking a pass for the rest of the month

I am taking the rest of the month off of blogging here.  I’m trying to write a novel in a month, so I have to narrow my bandwidth.

See you in December.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thanksgivvukah Idea #5–Pumpkin Doughnuts

Jodi Paley gave me this one–Pumpkin cream in her soufganiot (doughnuts)! Sounds great. she will mix pumpkin puree with whipped cream.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thanksgivvukah idea #4–Hand Pies

Thanksgivvukah idea #4

Thanksgivikkuah Hand Pies

Post image for Thanksgivikkuah Hand Pies

This family is the real deal.  They deep-fry their turkey (see idea#1),  Mom and Dad are both rabbis, and Mom bakes up a storm. She even makes her own pumpkin butter. That’s too intense for me, but I found some great pumpkin butter in the store. It’s from Oregon.

Follow the link for a full recipe. It’s a great baking blog, if you are kosher and pareve.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment