True Halloween Story

It all began on October 30, 1938.

Orson Welles was 23 years old when his Mercury Theater company decided to update the classic 19th century science fiction novel, War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

He intended to broadcast it on national radio the night before Halloween. 

Even though he was young, he'd been in radio for several years. He was best known then as the voice of “The Shadow” in the hit mystery radio program of the same name.

The Night Before Halloween

The show began on Sunday, October 30, at 8 p.m.  with a narrator saying: “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.”

Sunday evening in 1938 was prime-time in the golden age of radio. That was when millions of Americans had their radios turned on, but most of these listeners were tuned in to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy on NBC.

When the comedy part of the show was over 12 minutes later, listenerss switched to CBS. It was 8:12 p.m. By that time, the story of the Martian invasion of earth was well underway.

Welles introduced his radio play with a spoken introduction, followed by an announcer reading a weather report.

Then, the "update" of the 19th century classic began with the announcer saying: "Welcome to the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York, where you will be entertained by the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.”

Dance music began playing for several minutes until an announcer broke in to report that, “Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory” had detected explosions on the planet Mars.

Then the dance music came back on, followed by another interruption in which listeners were informed that a large meteor had crashed into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey.

Audience Stunned by Breaking News on National Radio

A short time later, an announcer was at the crash site, describing a Martian emerging from a large metallic cylinder. 

Good heavens, something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me … I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… it … ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.

The horror across America as listeners were told Martians mounted walking war machines and fired “heat-ray” weapons at the humans gathered around the crash site. They annihilated a force of 7,000 National Guardsman. After being attacked by artillery and bombers, the Martians released a poisonous gas into the air. Soon “Martian cylinders” landed in Chicago and St. Louis.

The radio play was extremely realistic for that era. Welles employed realistic sound effects, and his actors were excellent at portraying terrified announcers and other characters. 

Then, an announcer reported that widespread panic had broken out in the vicinity of the landing sites, with thousands of people desperately trying to flee. 

Reality Reflected the Radio Play

People across the country panicked. About a million of the radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway.

Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders.

People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights.

One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”

When news of the real-life panic leaked into the CBS studio during the broadcast, Welles went on the air as himself to tell listeners that it was a play—just fiction. There were no Martians.

The Aftermath

It was said the show caused suicides, but none were ever confirmed. The Federal Communications Commission investigated the program but found no law was broken.

Networks did agree to be more cautious in their programming in the future. Orson Welles feared that the controversy generated by War of the Worlds would ruin his career. Just the opposite happened.

The publicity helped land him a contract with a Hollywood studio, and in 1941 he directed, wrote, produced, and starred in Citizen Kane—a movie that many have called the greatest American film ever made.

How Do I Know This?

My mother told me about this terrifying night before Halloween. She was a little girl in elementary school. 

Her family had a radio, but its battery was dead so they heard neither their favorite Edgar Bergen Show nor the terrifying rendition of War of the Worlds.

When she went to school the next day, all the kids were traumatized. The ones who hadn't heard the show were told about it. Since they were children, they missed the important point that it was a fictional radio play. All of the kids thought Martians were coming to kill them.

She went home crying and told her parents that they were all going to be killed by monsters. Her father walked to a neighbor's farm to find out what was going on. He was told about the broadcast the night before. He was well-read and familiar with the book War of the Worlds

He calmed her, but it took some time because she was in such a state. The next day at school law enforcement officials came to school and talked to all the kids at an assembly.

This incident is probably why my mother hated science fiction movies and books.  To her the idea that "we are not alone" was always deeply frightening.

You may laugh at the unsophisticated radio listeners who believed what they were hearing.

Not much has changed. People read false things on the internet and get stirred into a frenzy. 

Takeaway Truth

Remember this story the next time you read something on the Net that seems wacko. If it sounds like fiction, it might well be.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday Share Recipe: Cowboy Soup

A cold front came through Thursday dumping rain amidst some awesome lightning and thunder.

The wind continued after the storm moved on. Piles of pine straw and broken twigs still litter most of the yards.

Best of all, the storm left the gift of cooler weather aka soup weather.

Here's a favorite soup recipe you can make in your slow cooker. It's hearty and delicious.

This makes a large pot of soup. Refrigerate any leftovers. Soups and stews are always better the second day.

Cowboy Soup


1 pound ground beef, browned & drained

1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed with the ground beef

1 16-ounce can corn, drained

1 16-ounce can of Bush's Pinto Beans (or your favorite canned beans), drained

1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes (use regular tomatoes if you don't want the heat)

7 cups beef broth OR 7 cups of water + 1 package McCormick Brown Gravy Mix 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, depending on how spicy you want it

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt

12 tortilla chips, coarsely crushed

2 cups of your favorite pasta


In a slow cooker, place the sautéed meat and onions and all of the other ingredients and seasonings except the chips and pasta. Stir.

Add the chips and pasta, stir, put the lid on, and simmer on low for 6 to 8 hours (on high for 4 to 5 hours) or until the pasta is fully cooked so check the pasta for doneness an hour before the shortest time indicated.

This robust soup is delicious and has just enough kick to warm your insides. Fabulous served with more corn chips or cornbread.

Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese if desired.

Takeaway Truth

I'm making a Crock Pot full of this soup today so it will be ready tonight in time for Game 4 of the World Series. Go Astros!!!

The Baseball Song: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Years ago when Darling Hubby and I attended Astro ballgames fairly regularly, the 7th inning stretch always featured the song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

This year, fans in the stands sang that song  during the 7th inning stretch in every major league park except 3. New York Yankees fans sang “God Bless America,” Toronto Blue Jays fans sang “OK Blue Jays,”and Houston Astros fans sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”

Even though I'm an Astros fan, I personally, I like it when we sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." I'm sure that's because I first heard it when I was a child. My grandfather whistled and sang it.

I remember many a night when I visited my grandparents in the summer, when my Papa would tune in the Chicago Cubs game on the radio. Back then, I think the Cubbies games were broadcast all over the U.S. I'd listen until I fell asleep.

Words & Music of the Baseball Song

In case you didn't know, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is the 3rd most sung song in America.

In 1908, 29-year-old songwriter Jack Norworth was riding a subway to Manhattan. 

He glanced out the window and saw a billboard that read: Baseball today—polo grounds

Inspired by what he read, he impulsively wrote the lyrics we love. Later that year, he and Albert von Tilzer, his friend who was a music composer, filed a Copyright application for the song with the United States Copyright Office.

In 1934, the song was performed at a baseball game for the first time. Later that year, it was performed at a Major League Baseball game.

Then in 1946, the tradition of singing this "baseball anthem" in the seventh inning was established when the band started playing the song during a game while fans stood for the seventh inning stretch.

Oddly enough Norworth didn't attend a Major League Baseball game until June 27, 1940—32 years after writing the lyrics. Eventually, Major League Baseball, Inc. presented him with a gold lifetime ball park pass.

To read more about this song and to learn the lyrics beyond the chorus we all know, visit The History of the Song.

The song came out of Tin Pan Alley and is now in public domain so feel free to quote the lyrics and pass them along.

Take me out to the ball game.

Take me out with the crowd;

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,

I don't care if I never get back.

Let me root, root, root for the home team,

If they don't win, it's a shame.

For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, 

At the old ball game.

Takeaway Truth

I'll "root, root, root for the Home Team." Go, ASTROS!!!!!

30 MLB Teams - 30 Best Baseball Quotes

There are 30 Major League Ball teams in America so in honor of all the ball clubs, I'm sharing 30 quotes about baseball from players, coaches, sportscasters, movies, and fans.

Yogi Berra is remembered as much for his quirky comments as for his baseball career.

1. From the "articulate" Mr. Berra whose famous line was, "The game of baseball isn't over until it's over." That has morphed into, "It ain't over till it's over."

 Enjoy the other 29 quotations about baseball.

(Yogi Berra by Unknown Photographer. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.)

2. Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. —George Will, Journalist and Author

3. This is like Deja vu all over again. —Yogi Berra

4. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. —Babe Ruth

5. For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps. —Willie Mays

6. Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is. —Bullet Bob Feller

7. I'd walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball. —Pete Rose

8. I could have played baseball another year, but I would have been playing for the money, and baseball deserves better than that. —George Brett

9. "You're Killing Me, Smalls!" —Famous Movie Quote from The Sandlot

10. I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. —Roberto Clemente

11. People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. —Rogers Hornsby

12. It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." —Mickey Mantle

13. I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us all. —Famous Movie Quote from Bull Durham

14. Baseball is a lot like life. It's a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life. —American Sportscaster, Ernie Harwell

15. "There's no crying in baseball!" —Famous Movie Quote from A League of Their Own

16. If you have a bad day in baseball and start thinking about it, you will have 10 more. —Sammy Sosa

17. When you start the game, they don't say, "Work Ball!" They say, "Play ball!" —Willie Stargell

18. Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too. —Yogi Berra 

19. A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. —Jackie Robinson

20. A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings. —Robert Earl Wilson

21. When I was up there at the plate, my purpose was to get on base any way I could, whether by hitting or getting hit. —Shoeless Joe Jackson

22. There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all. —Lou Gehrig

23. There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened. —Tommy Lasorda

24. Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer. —Ted Williams

25. As a kid, before I could play music, I remember baseball being the one thing that could always make me happy. —Garth Brooks, Country Music Icon

26.  I never had a job. I just always played baseball. —Satchel Paige

27. Baseball is a drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast. —Joe Garagiola, former ball player and author of Baseball Is A Funny Game

28. "Going to need a visa to catch this one." Famous Movie Quote from Major League, uttered by Bob Uecker, former professional ball player, who portrayed a play-by-play announcer in the movie. You may have heard other sportscasters "borrow" that line.

29. Baseball is an American icon. It is the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle, In God We Trust,  Mount Rushmore, ice cream, apple pie, hot dogs, and rally monkeys. Baseball is America. —Victor Baltov, Jr., author of Baseball Is America

30. The greatest feeling in the world is to win a major league game. The second greatest feeling is to lose a major league game. —Chuck Tanner

Takeaway Truth

I purposely put the Chuck Tanner quote last. Maybe it will bring a little comfort to my fellow Houston Astro fans since our team lost Game 1 to the Braves. Go, Astros! Play ball.

Best 9 Baseball Movies

The first 2 games of the 2021 World Series are played at the Juice Box.

That's what Houstonians fondly call Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros.

Maybe if we win the World Series again, some discerning movie producer will make a movie about our Astros. Anything is possible. In the meantime, there are many baseball movies out there.

Here are some of my favorites, and it was not easy ranking these except for the one in my top slot. I'll link each title to where you can watch it free or buy it.

Best 9 Baseball Movies

1. Field of Dreams is available on Amazon in a variety of formats and supposedly free on Peacock, which I could not verify.

This fantasy movie is based on Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella.  A short story, "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa," by the late Mr. Kinsella grew into a novel.

The novel ended up being filmed as Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner as Ray, Amy Madigan as his devoted but assertive wife (she is fabulous in this!), and James Earl Jones as the writer who longs to believe in a dream.

Field of Dreams is flawless. It's one of my all-time fave movies, not just a favorite baseball movie. I've seen it dozens of times and never get tired of it. It gets the top spot.

2. The Rookie was released in 2002 and is available for rent or purchase on Amazon. Unfortunately, I could not find any service that offers it free. 

This biopic starred Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris, a high school science teacher who lost his dream of playing in the big leagues because of an injury, and Rachel Griffiths as his wife who understands his desire to chase his dream when his pitching arm suddenly seems recovered—even though he is now in his 30's. She understands but she's also a realist and knows there are bills to pay. It's an underdog story that will make your heart swell.

Quaid and Griffiths are perfect as a couple whose love has carried them through the bad times and is still with them as they've settled into life in a small Texas town. 

3. Major League is available to rent, buy, or stream on Amazon. You can also stream it on several subscription services, but it's supposed to be free on Pluto.

This 1989 comedy stars Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes, and Rene Russo when they were all young and gorgeous.

The always losing Cleveland Indians have a scheming new owner who wants them to be the biggest losers of baseball so she can move the team to Miami. What ensues is irresisitably funny.

4. A League of Their Own is available to rent or buy from Amazon. Supposedly, it can be streamed free on Crackle. I couldn't verify that.

Released in 1992, this comedy has more heart than many movies about guys playing baseball. Based on the true story of how women saved baseball during World War II, I never think of this as a Tom Hanks film. I think of it as a women's ensemble movie about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) that was created in 1943.

The film stars Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, Ann Cusack, Tracy Reiner, and Anne Ramsey. Be sure and watch it.

5. Bull Durham from 1988 is one you've probably seen on TV cut to pieces. If you've never seen it without interruptions, do yourself a favor and watch it. It's available in a variety of formats on Amazon, and you're supposed to be able to stream it free on Pluto.

Starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Trey Wilson, this film is funny, sexy, emotional, and delivers the way a great movie should. This movie is where Sarandon and Robbins met and fell in love. (As far as I know, they're still in love.) There was just something magical about this movie.

6. The Natural released in 1984 is available in a variety of formats for rent or purchase on Amazon. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a free online streaming source. 

Barry Levinson, the director, didn't follow the book by Bernard Malamud. He made the movie to show Roy Hobbs, portrayed by Robert Redford, as a hero who lives happily ever after.

I really didn't mind because the movie was emotional, romantic, larger than life, and set in the era when baseball was king. 

When I think of this movie, I immediately think of the scene where Glenn Close rises from her seat in the stadium with a halo of light around her. It still gives me goosebumps.

The stellar cast includes Kim Basinger as sometimes love interest Memo Paris, Barbara Hershey as the obsessed, unstable woman Harriet Bird, Wilford Brimley as Pop Fisher, and Glenn Close as Iris Gaines. Then there are Robert Duvall, Richard Farnsworth, Robert Prosky, Michael Madsen, and Joe Don Baker.

7. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings can be rented or bought on Amazon. It's also available for free on Tubi.

If you've never seen this movie, I'm sad for you. Released in 1976, it has an amazing cast with Billy Dee Williams, the great James Earl Jones, and Richard Pryor, one of the funniest stand-up comics ever.

Set in the 1930s, back in the bad old days of segregation, it's about a group of Negro League baseball stars who didn't let that stop them from putting together a traveling team that makes the country love them and the way they play ball. You'll love this film. It has heart, soul, and humor.

8. The Sandlot was supposed to be a kids' movie, but grownups embraced it—maybe because we all remembered playing baseball in someone's yard in the summertime. It can be found for rent or sale on Amazon. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a free streaming source for this film.

Released in 1993, this classic seems to get better with time. After you've seen this movie, if you ever go to a ball game and see someone wearing a T-shirt that says: "You're killin' me, Smalls!" you'll know that came from this movie.
You may not recognize Art LaFleur, Tom Guiry, and Mike Vitar as big stars, but watch for the big star who pops up in the movie! This film is heartwarming, funny, and nostalgic.

9. The Battered Bastards of Baseball released in 2014 is a Netflix orginal documentary and is not available elsewhere. You can watch the trailer on YouTube.

Okay, this, technically, is not a movie, but if you're a baseball fan, you'll want to watch this documentary narrated by Kurt Russell. His father Bing Russell owned a baseball team. Bing Russell was an actor who played the sheriff on the old TV series Bonanza. I think baseball fans now recognize him as the man who started a minor league baseball team in Portland.

In 1973, Bing Russell started an independent minor league baseball team consisting of outcasts and misfits, and turned them into unlikely overnight success. The team was the Portland Mavericks, and what happened next is quite a remarkable story.

Takeaway Truth

These are some of the best baseball films movies made in my generation. They're keepers. I hope you watch some of them. Play ball!

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Review: Fastball

If you're a baseball fan and can hardly wait for Game 1 of the 2021 World Series tonight, here's a documentary you must see.

Fastball: The Game is Played in the Blink of an Eye

This documentary, released in 2016, is all about the fastball and the pitchers who throw heat. It's also about the batters who fearlessly face these flamethrowers.

From Walter Johnson, the pitcher whose fast ball was first measured for speed, to the pitchers of today who followed in his footsteps, this film will have you grinning and cheering.

Many pitchers have surpassed Johnson's 82 mph throws, and you'll see a profile of these legends of the game along with many other Hall of Fame favorites. 

Directed by Jonathan Hock and narrated by Kevin Costner, the "cast" of Fastball is composed of baseball heroes and scientists who explain the science of throwing speed as well as the difference between a 92 mph fastball and a 100 mph pitch.

Nolan Ryan

One of my hometown favorites, Nolan Ryan, is prominently featured in the film. Since his retirement, many young people know him more for his Texas beef and the local TV commercials he does. Wake up, guys and gals!

Nolan - The Express - Ryan was one of the most dominating and intimidating pitchers baseball has ever known. He had the longest career of any player in major league history. When recruited by the Houston Astros in 1979, he became baseball's 1st million dollar man.

He still holds the record for most strikeouts of all-time (5,714), almost 1,000 more than #2 on the list, Randy Johnson. He also holds many other records including most no-hitters of all-time—7!!

You can find Fastball free on IMDB and YouTube. If you love this documentary, you can also buy from Amazon Prime.  (At the end of the film, you'll learn who threw the fastest pitch ever.)

My 2 Cents

I freaking LOVED this film! I highly recommend Fastball to any baseball fan and to anyone who wants to learn more about why baseball fans are so passionate about the game.

Takeaway Truth

Go, Houston Astros! Sorry, Braves fans—including one of my sons-in-law. I never root for anyone but the Astros. (Even though I did root for Nolan after he left the Astros.) Play ball!

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7 Steps to Organize Your Workspace

Ahh, that first sip of coffee. Priceless. Today, I'm offering you 7 steps to organize your workspace.

Yes, today I finally get my workspace organized. I'm excited. Boxes of books have been stacked in my office closet, tucked under my desk, and littered the floor since July.

Needless to say, I can't find anything or do anything. I spent the weekend clearing out those boxes.

Alas, I had to stack them in the guest room since the bookcases we ordered still have not arrived. I guess they're in a cargo container on some ship off the shore of California. I'm beginning to think I should have Darling Hubby start constructing some.

Conquer the Clutter

You know that funny sign you sometimes see on a messy desk? "A cluttered desk is a mark of genius."

Well, I think that's just an excuse to have a cluttered desk. I've never seen anyone who didn't work better when they knew where things were when they needed them.

Having an organized work space is actually good feng shui and good for your mental and emotional health.

There are a ton of books available to tell you how to de-clutter, find a place for everything, make new habits to keep the clutter at bay, and generally organize your house and your entire life.

Marie Kondo is known worldwide for her books on organization. My younger daughter took her book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up to heart.

She read the book when it first came out and spent about 6 months not just organizing, but minimizing her possessions.

Slowly, clutter has crept back in. Probably because her husband didn't read the book and follow its philosophy. *LOL*

Franky, what Kondo suggests is difficult for most people to do. The author is from the crowded island nation of Japan. Since I lived in Japan for many years, I personally know why minimalism is so important there.

My Suggestion

I'm not a minimalist. I just want a place for everything, and everything in its place so when I'm looking for a copy of the sales contract on our house, it doesn't take me hours of searching. (True story.) 

7 Steps to Organize Your Workspace

1. Clear a flat surface somewhere. I'm using my guest bed today. What flat surface you choose will be your staging area.

2. Get some file storage boxes and a black Sharpie marker. I like the fat kind of marker that makes a big black mark. Take the boxes and marker to the staging area. Set the boxes up in a row. (If you don't want to invest in file boxes, get some cardboard boxes that approximate the size of a file folder.)

* Also helpful are filing cabinets if you have space for them and can afford them. Amazon has a rolling file cabinet for $65.99 like the one at left that can be rolled into a closet.

* You can get a wire-metal rolling file for only $27.99, and I believe it comes with hanging folders. There are filing cabinets at many price points so you can probably find one that fits your budget. If you're in a tiny apartment, find one that looks like a piece of furniture and use it for an end table or nightstand.

3. Get some file folders. You'll place these in the file boxes and/or the file cabinet—whichever you decide to go with. Plain Manila file folders are $13.37 for 100. If you don't need that many, go in halves with a friend who wants to organize a work space.

* If you have hanging folders like with those that come with the wire-metal rolling file mentioned above, you don't need file folders too.

4. Categorize the file boxes. Use your marker to label a sheet of paper and clip the paper to a box. You may have different categories, but these are mine for the file boxes I've set up: Archive, Action Needed, Give To Someone, Miscellaneous, and Shred.

Archive box means I need to keep the papers, but don't need to access them on a regular basis. I'll be placing this box on a closet shelf.

Action Needed box goes to my desk where I will begin to take action on each item until all are completed. 

These are priority items like bills to pay, phone calls, or emails to make. I need to take action asap.

Give To Someone box contains things like a book I may have borrowed from a friend, a writing lesson I promised to send someone, a photo I wanted to give to someone, etc. I'll sort these into Manila envelopes, stack on my kitchen desk, and call the person to make arrangements to deliver it to them or for them to pick it up. If you don't have a kitchen desk, place it on an entry cabinet by the front door or your kitchen counter or table by the back door.

Miscellaneous box will have papers that are one-offs. They probably don't need a file folder of their own, but they're something I want to keep. I'll group them together as much as possible, i.e., a home improvement idea I tore from a magazine, an article about phthalates, an email with a funny joke I saved, a coupon that came in the mail, an announcement about our voting precinct, a letter with info I need, etc. 

I'll look at each paper and see if I can place it in a broad category, i.e. Health, Home, Family, Ideas. Or, I'll label a folder Miscellaneous, put a sticky note on each that shows why I saved it, and keep it in that folder.
Shred of course means, shred the papers or tear them to pieces before placing in recycle or trash. 

Shredders can be found in various price points such as this shredder from Amazon which costs $34.26. (Prime shipping for subscribers.)

I bought one very similar at Office Depot a few years ago, and it cost over a hundred dollars.

If you only occasionally need to shred something, you can get a pair of Shredder Scissors for less than $5.00.

5. Take a stack of whatever is covering your desk, floor, or chair to your staging area.

Go through the items, one by one. Place the paper in front of the appropriate box except for something to be shredded. Toss it into the shred box.

6. If you intend to place the items in file folders for storage in one of the file boxes or a file cabinet, immediately whip out a file folder, label it, and place the document in that folder.

For now, stack the folders and when you have a few, carry them to the file cabinet and place them, in alphabetical order, in the drawer.

(If you intend to use 1 or more of your sorting boxes when you've finished sorting everything, just stack the folders in alphabetical order in a  laundry basket or someplace to keep them all together until you've finished sorting everything. 

7. By the end of the day, you should have everything in an appropriate file folder and placed in a file cabinet. If you're using the sorting boxes instead of a file cabinet, use your black Sharpie marker to now label the boxes, using however many you need. 

You'll want to label 1 box Archive. Depending on how many file boxes you need, label them from A to whatever, for example, A - M and N - Z. If using boxes, ideally, store them side by side on a closet or book shelf.

Next, shred the contents of the Shred box. You're now finished. Smile and pat yourself on the back. You'll smile each time you enter your workspace rather than dread going into an area that looks as if a tornado swept through.

By the way, this process works for a home office, a crafting space, or a writing space.

Like the sign at right says, "A year from now you will wish you had started today." So don't wait, make a date to get your workspace organized today.

Takeaway Truth

When you complete these 7 steps, you should have everything organized and know exactly where everything important to you can be found. 

Enjoy working in your personal space!

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Golden Autumn Days & Ducks

During our recent trip to Louisiana, we traveled on golden autumn days with a brilliant blue sky overhead.

We traveled the backroads, over hills, down into valleys, and passed by rivers and lakes that played host to visiting wild ducks 

Laura Ingalls Wilder described the scene we saw this way: "All those golden autumn days,  the sky was full of wings. Wings beating low over the blue water of Silver Lake, wings beating high in the blue air far above it...bearing them all away to the green fields in the South."

Louisiana license plates bear the phrase, "Sportsman's Paradise" because of the wild ducks who drop by in the fall and winter.

Texas is no slouch when it comes to wild ducks, deer, and other wildlife. Wild animals live in the many woods near our neighborhood. Recently, a nearby homeowner posted a photo from her Ring doorbell of a fox "relieving himself" on her front sidewalk. 

Airborne Ducks

We saw ducks in a ragged V-formation flying overhead. We could hear their calls—sounds different for each breed of duck. In Texas, Whistler Ducks sound like a peculiar combination of whistling and quacking. They stop by Louisiana and Texas on their way to a winter vacation south of the Rio Grande.

My older brother, a farmer, told us that we're in for another hard winter. All the signs on the farm point to it, he said. 

I hope he's wrong, but I'm doing online comparisons of generators just in case.

Autumn is on a par with spring in my hierarchy of favorite seasons. Autumn is the respite from summer's fierce heat. 

It's the time when we can again enjoy gardening, when we can catch our breath and spend more time outdoors.

I can't imagine a world in which the weather is always the same—with seasons unchanging. Though many think that we have perpetual summer here in the Houston area, that's simply not true. Sometimes, our seasons are just more subtle but no less enjoyable.

Takeaway Truth

Each season has its own special beauty, and autumn is the richest hued of all.

Image: Ducks Flying Mallard by Scottslm on Pixabay 

Back from Louisiana Trip

You may have noticed I haven't been slinging words consistently since May.

Since I'd missed so many blogging days, I decided to miss a few more and take a trip.

Like many, I haven't taken a trip since CoVid reared its ugly head. So 2 weeks ago, Darling Hubby and I drove to Louisiana to rendezvous with my younger brother at our older brother's farm.

What a delight to visit my brothers, my sister-in-law, my two nephews, and their wives.

We laughed a lot, shared news about our kids and grandkids, our many cousins, and ate a lot of good food.

We stayed as long as we could, but we finally had to come home. To more unpacking, hanging paintings, etc. All the move-in tasks we're still procrastinating on.

Takeaway Truth

The wonderful first lady Barbara Bush said, "To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there."

Tune in tomorrow for "Golden Autumn Days & Ducks."

Happy Birthday, Ed McBain

Ed McBain was born Salvatore Albert Lombino. In 1952, he legally changed his name to Evan Hunter.

As an author and screenwriter, he wrote under a number of pen names, most notably Ed McBain which he used for most of his crime fiction.

The other pseudonyms he used include John Abbott, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, and Richard Marsten.

His 87th Precinct novels were made into movies and a television series. Those books became the foundation of the police procedural genre.

You can learn more about Evan Hunter aka Ed McBain at his Wikipedia page.

If you want to discover his 87th Precinct novels, grab a copy of Ed McBain Books in Order by Book List Guru. This Kindle book is on Kindle Unlimited, or buy it for only 99¢. It's a comprehensive list of just about all of the works by Ed McBain.

Mystery and My Writing

Until I discovered romance, I'd planned to be a mystery author. I still love mystery, but most mysteries in the old days had very little to offer in the way of romance. Romance in a mystery meant sex without commitment, and all of it was sex from a man's viewpoint which meant without emotion.

The 87th Precinct novels were a bit different in that Steve Carella was in love with Teddy, his wife who happened to be deaf. McBain was ahead of his time with a love relationship, a woman character who was deaf, and several other aspects uncommon to genre fiction then.

In the last few years, I've begun weaving mystery into some of my romance novels.

Recently I sold video game rights to 2 of my novels, The Key To Kristina, a mystery romance featuring a Quest, and Old Enough To Know Better, a romance, not a mystery,  between an older woman and a younger man. 

The huge tech company that bought the rights will be turning each into a video game somewhat like a "choose your own adventure." I'm excited because they already have a worldwide audience for their games. 

If you're interested in seeing what intrigued the tech company, you're in luck. Old Enough To Know Better is featured in my Reader Friends Newsletter todayIt's on sale for only 99¢ until midnight CDT on October 18.

I send my free newsletter each month (except for this summer which had too many family emergencies). 

In my newsletter I offer a free ebook and sale books from me and some of my friends. This newsletter which goes out Oct. 16, Saturday, has Just One Look as a free ebook for subscribers.

Takeaway Truth

Are you a subscriber? If not, what are you waiting for?

Sand, Salt, and Spirits by Kathryn Hills

I love it when a friend has a new book so I'm happy to welcome Kathryn Hills, the author of Sand, Salt, and Spirits. She's included an excerpt so you can get a taste of this delightful romance.

A Little Bit About Kathryn Hills

The rich history and many mysteries of New England are the perfect backdrop for many of KATHRYN’s books. 

Winding roads lined by old stone walls, forgotten cemeteries, grand homes with shadowy pasts...all sparks for her imagination. 

Whether it’s a quaint seaside town or the vibrant city of Boston, it’s easy for this “hauntingly romantic” author to envision the past mingling with the present. No surprise, some of Kathryn’s favorite stories include ghosts! Sprinkle in some magic, and you’re off on a great adventure.

When not writing, this best-selling author is reading, researching, gardening, or cooking up something special in her chaotic kitchen.

She shares her colonial home in the north woods with those she loves most – her wonderful husband, daughter, and three crazy dogs.

Find Kathryn Hills Online

Discover Sand, Salt, and Spirits

Can a weekend visit to Last Chance Beach undo decades of brokenhearted memories? Conjuring up some island magic might just be their trick. Or treat!

Kyle Worthington hasn’t returned to Last Chance Beach in years. He’s worked hard to prove himself to his overbearing father and the rest of the world. Now it’s October, and the vacation island paradise is celebrating the season with an island-wide Fall Festival. Family obligation demands he participate. Everyone will be there, including the ghost that haunts his grandparents’ B&B.

The running joke that Kyle never sticks with anything—not a career or a woman—will continue to plague him. Unless he brings a knockout of a date to the weekend-long event. Cassandra Corwin fits the bill perfectly. Kyle’s had his eye on his brilliant, beautiful coworker since day one. But Cassie is an enigma, a loner. There’s no room in her life for anyone except Odin, her goofball of a Great Dane.

Will this woman of mystery agree to Kyle’s scheme to impress his family? Can two near strangers from opposite worlds survive family gatherings and back-to-back Halloween events while pretending to be a couple? Kyle’s father seems hell-bent on derailing everything before they even shout “Boo!” Or will the island’s magic prove too powerful for them to resist?

Excerpt, Sand, Salt, and Spirits by Kathryn Hills©2021

Kyle held his breath, as he pushed through the back door and went around to meet her by her car. Game on, buddy. Pull yourself together.

Yet a shockwave rippled through him at the sight of her. Black hair piled on her head in a messy, windblown bun. Short, sexy, red sundress. Her legs were bare. Pale yet gorgeous and toned. On her feet? High-top red sneakers with white laces.

Cassie dropped big, round sunglasses into place on her nose, and she grinned at him. “I made it.”

The huge dog—about the size of a pony—glanced his way but didn’t move. As if to say, “I am unimpressed by your appearance, human.”

“Yes, you made it.” He forced a pleasant smile though inside he was in full, freak out mode.

“This is Odin,” Cassie explained, still smiling. “Odin…say hello to Kyle.”

The Great Dane bared big white teeth on command in a ridiculous smile-esque maneuver. Yet still he didn’t budge from his seat.

“That’s his only trick,” Cassie offered with a chuckle. “We don’t ask much of each other.”

Kyle’s brain screamed, okay…time to fess up. 

“Cassie…before we go any further, there’s something I must confess. Please don’t get mad.”

Her smile evaporated. “Oh, that’s never good.”

“Hang on…it’s not good, but it’s not terrible, either.”

“Yet to be determined.” She crossed her arms and leveled a hard stare on him. “Spill it.”

“I may have…Okay, I definitely said…you’re my girlfriend.” Kyle cringed in anticipation of her reaction.

“You said what?” Her voice spiked.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

“A death wish?” she accused with a scowl. “Who did you say this to?”

“Not many. Just my sister, Kat.” He swallowed hard and took a step back. “She told my grandmother.”

“No?” Her tone went dangerously low.

“…who then told my mother when she called to say she wasn’t sure if she was coming. Who, in turn, told Kendall, my younger sister. Who really isn’t coming, by the way. So, that part’s good.”

“Is it now, Kyle? Really?” Cassie demanded with an infuriated huff.

“Yeah…except Kat told her boyfriend, Ben. Now I’m done. I think. Maybe not. News travels fast on Last Chance Beach.”

Her dark eyes pinned him in place. “So…basically…you’re telling me everyone in your family and on this island thinks we’re a couple?”

Kyle gave her a small, shrugging wince. “Yeah…pretty much.”

Cassie glared at him. Lips pinched together. The tiny muscle alongside one eye quivering. “I cannot believe this.” She started pacing alongside her car. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a vacation? A little time off? A day, even, just for me? This was a gift to me. A chance to unwind after all the work I’ve been drowning in.”

“I’m sorry. Again. I didn’t mean to screw up your vacation. I don’t know what came over me. It just happened. Kat was bragging about all the great things in her life. She literally walked in with an engagement ring the size of a bus on her finger. Gran was gushing. Ben had just proposed. She got a promotion. Ben is expanding his business, yada, yada…My brain blew a gasket.”

“So? Who cares, Kyle? It’s family. Not like you’re competing with anyone.”

Kyle dropped his head in shame. “You don’t know my family,” he admitted.

Gotta Get This Romance. Right?

Lucky you! Sand, Salt, and Spirits is only 99¢ from now until Halloween. It's available at many retailers. 

If you're an Amazon only shopper, click here.

Takeaway Truth

Grab your copy of Sand, Salt, and Spirits, and check out the other wonderful books in the Last Chance Beach Romance series too.

Review: Thirty-Two Going On Spinster by Becky Monson

Looking for a book to make you chuckle? Try Thirty-Two Going on Spinster (Spinster Series, Book 1).


Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her career, and lives in her parent's basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia's mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

My Thoughts

I needed a lighthearted romance to read. Know what I mean? Sometimes you just need something that will make you smile. Thirty-Two Going on Spinster was perfect for that.

Life didn't turn out the way Julia Dorning thought it would, and she's fighting the idea that she's a spinster—a word more commonly seen in historical novels. Julia resolves to get out of her rut rather than embrace her spinsterhood. 

That's when Life throws her a bone—or a challenge if you will—in the form of Jared Moody. The result is a funny chick lit romance that made me smile. In fact, I'm still smiling as I write this.

Takeaway Truth

Take a break from life challenges. Read Thirty-Two Going on Spinster. I think you'll find it delightful.

Post Script

*Wink. Wink.* Maybe try one of my chick lit romantic comedies too. They're all on Kindle Unlimited. Here are 4 that might appeal to you:

Whatever you choose to read, enjoy, and tell your friends about the books so they can find the pleasure reading offers.  

Always Compare Yourself To...

I heard something last week that I want to pass along to you.

I can't remember where I heard it. I was passing through the living room, and the TV was on. The words kind of glanced off me.

However, I must have internalized them because they popped into my head later.

Never compare yourself to anyone but yourself.

Wow! Powerful words, aren't they?

We're always told don't compare yourself to someone else because you'll always be disappointed. That's true if you're comparing careers, achievements, children's achievements, homes, cars, or whatever. There will aways be someone who has bigger, better, shinier whatever than you.

But we all play the comparison game from time to time, don't we? That's an evil game you can never win.

But, wait. Comparing yourself to yourself is a game you can win. It's a comparison you can easily make and come out ahead. Comparing who you are to the you of a week, month, or year ago probably gives you a win because most of us strive to do better—be better.

Takeaway Truth

So go ahead. Compare yourself to yourself. In fact, make it an affirmation to chant. "I compare myself only to myself." That's something that will empower you.

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Saturday Share: Pineapple Pound Cake

Today's recipe is for a delicious cake you can make Sunday and have on hand for a fabulous dessert every night this next week for dinner.

It's easy to make so don't be discouraged by the list of ingredients or the odd instructions to place it in a cold oven and then set the temperature.

Pineapple Pound Cake

Before you start, set out the butter and shortening in advance so they will soften to room temperature.

This makes a heavy cake so be sure you check it for doneness when the time is up. You can glaze the cake with Pineapple Glaze (recipe follows) or dust powdered sugar over it.


1/2 cup Crisco or other shortening
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups self-rising flour (or 3 cups all-purpose flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed pineapple including the liquid (I use Dole Pineapple in 100% juice, but if you want organic pineapple, you can find it on Amazon.)


1. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
2. Cream the shortening, butter, and sugar with a mixer 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg.
4. If using all-purpose flour, sift it, the baking powder, and the salt together. If using self-rising flour, sift it first then measure it.
5. Combine the flour with the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk.
6. Mix in the pineapple at slow speed then add the vamilla.
7. Pour batter into the bundt pan, smooth the top.
8. Place in a cold oven. Set the temperature at 325 degrees F. and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9. When done, remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Then invert onto a serving plate.

Pineapple Glaze

2 cups of sifted powdered sugar
Juice from the pineapple

Whisk in the pineapple juice until the glaze is a pourable consistency. Spoon over the cake so it drizzles down.

Takeaway Truth

Serve and collect compliments.

7 Wonderful Things About Autumn

Ah, Autumn! How delightful to have brisk air on sunny days and cool nights.

I like October because it's the month the seasons begin their transformation here in Texas.

From long, hot summer days to cooler, shorter days, we breathe a sigh of relief as we luxuriate in the shorter days and welcome the cool nights.

Raquel Franco said, "And then the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep, and autumn was awakened."

That's exactly how it seems this first morning in October.

I like the changing of the seasons. It's kind of like a mini-New Year's Day. As the season changes, I embrace the idea of wiping away mistakes and failures—without waiting for New Year's Day.

7 Wonderful Things About Autumn

1. Getaway. If you're a parent, chances are your children have been back in school 6-8 weeks. Now is the perfect time for a romantic getaway because school is established, and grandparents will enjoy a chance to take care of the munchkins. Get vaccinated, mask up, and escape for a few days.

2. Plan the holidays. Now is the time to plan your holidays from soup to nuts. Take a weekend or two and get started. to plan your holiday. Bring back the art of sending real Christmas cards by mail. Put together your Christmas card list now and print address labels for them. Be sure and save the file, and you’ll only have to edit it in the future.

3. Plan an indoor picnic.  Summers here make picnics problematic because of the heat. Treat everyone to an indoor picnic for a change with paper plates and disposable cups. Spread a cloth, provide a sumptuous meal, and have some fun music. Best of all? No dishes to wash.

4. Collect autumn leaves. Pick up some of the beautiful red, gold, and orange autumn leaves. Take photos and post them online. Get some really big ones and place them on a pretty tray as a centerpiece on your coffee table.

5. Smores. Yes, cool nights are perfect to break out the chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers. If you’re lucky enough to have a fire pit in the backyard or a fireplace, learn how to make Smores the old-fashioned way. Or, just pop the treat into the microwave or oven and heat until melted and gooey. Delicious.

6. Enjoy a fire in the hearth. There’s something primitively enjoyable about a fire in the hearth. If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace, use it. Make the lighting of the first fire of the season an occasion.

7. Pre-Christmas decoration checkup. Break out the decorations now and go through them. Do the repairs now rather than when it’s time to put the decorations up. Make a list of what replacements you might need. Getting on jump on the frenzied holidays now will mean less work in December and more time to enjoy the journey.

Takeaway Truth

Most of all, enjoy the sunny days and cool nights. Fall in love with Autumn. Fall in love for real. If you're already in love, celebrate that fact.

It's Autumn when Kristina embarks on her Quest, accompanied by Wyatt, a man her father designated as her protector.

A suspicious death, and an inheritance. A key and a clue lead to a Quest that becomes the adventure of a lifetime!

Now on Kindle Unlimited, The Key To Kristina is Free Read for subscribers, or $3.99 to buy and keep forever.

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