Debora Dale

The Sound of Silence

Back in August of 2012, an idea for an erotic novella trilogy came to me. It was both exciting and intimidating since my go-to genre is romantic suspense. This idea, however, came nearly fully-formed. Well, when I say, ‘fully-formed’, I mean it was an idea with a bit of depth that felt worthy of deeper exploration.

It took nearly two months for me to fully plot the first story. I was ready to start writing it yet thoughts of how I would write Books 2 and 3 haunted me. What if, after writing Book 1, the others wouldn’t take shape? What would I do then? I had to force myself to focus on the story I was actually writing, not worry about the next two. I would deal with them, I told myself, in due time.

Well… it’s time. And for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been coming down hard on myself because the plotting/writing of Book 2 isn’t going as well as I would like. I have experienced highs as I’ve completed one tiny bit of plotting work. And I have felt incredible lows when I’ve tried to move forward… only to stop cold as the muse, for no apparent reason, grew silent.

I’ve always considered myself one of the world’s slowest writers but now wondered, since this new story was so hard to get onto the page, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

And then, just this morning, I read an article about a Simon and Garfunkel song that has been chosen (and more than deserved to be) for preservation in the Library of Congress. The song? The Sound of Silence.

While I love that song – and Simon and Garfunkel – it’s not the song, necessarily that made me feel better about the sluggish pace of my plotting and writing. Instead, it was this fact I discovered about Paul Simon’s writing of The Sound of Silence:

“Paul Simon took 6 months to write the lyrics, which are about man’s lack of communication with his fellow man. He averaged one line a day.”

He averaged one line a day over six months for a 217-word song.

Maybe I’m not the slowest writer after all. And maybe, just maybe, speed isn’t want matters.

Technorati

I registered an old blog with technorati ages ago and just heard it mentioned by some friends. I thought, since that old blog is long defunct, that I should probably update the addy and other information. Honestly, I no longer know what technorati is, so I’ll be looking into that today.

Meanwhile, here’s the code I needed to post for verification purposes. 🙂 ear90j3DWEFOwe2

Beyond that, I need to give all of you a heads up – when creating this new space, I failed to update links to my photos, videos and audios. So, if you browse through some older posts, you’ll see lots of blank spaces. Please know, I’m working as quickly as I can to fix all of these issues. I promise – you WILL be able to listen to my ‘disembodied voice’ recordings soon. Promise!

Onward. horse

Voices Within an Empty Room

Just a few months ago, we investigated a report of paranormal activity in a nearby bus depot office. The claim was one of benevolence not malice. It was presumed that a spirit of someone who once frequented or worked on those grounds – which at one time were part of a military base – still resided there. Whoever the spirits are, they seemed curious and interested. Or perhaps, unaware they now lived in another realm.

Visitors to the office reported being tapped on the shoulder as they entered. The woman whose office it was, reported hearing noises and voices around her as she sat behind her desk or at her computer. There was a sense of calm, however, not concern. A curiosity most of us would feel if we heard tapping on our keyboard while we were not typing, or if we sensed someone standing behind us though there was neither a person nor room for one between our seat and the bookcase at our back.

So, we arrived one evening, around 6:00 and set up our equipment, ready for a long and interesting chain of events. We heard nothing. We saw nothing. We felt comfortable, safe and unconcerned. None of the feelings one might associate with paranormal activity came to us.

Upon reviewing the evidence, however, we did find one interesting photograph and several astounding audio recordings. Let me say right here – we had to dismiss most of the audio recordings though we truly believe we captured disembodied voices on them. There was simply too much contamination on the audio since people in the outer offices were speaking much louder than even we had realized.

Having said that, let me add this – two audio clips are keepers and, to us, solid evidence.

First, to the photograph…

This photo was taken with a flash, and as you can see, the computer is to the right, with my digital recorder beneath it. That will anchor you for the next photo because there is a green power light on the computer, and a red record light on my digital recorder.

With Flash

This is the same area without flash but with our blue/purple light grid –

with grid - w/o flash

THIS one was taken between the two pictures above. I saw this while we were there as I scrolled through my images. It might take a little looking, but if you compare the above image and this next one, you just might see the face we captured. The scale is off, the angle is odd, but there is a definite facial structure in near profile in this image. It looks to be in the area of the ‘wingback’ section of the chair.

I will post four versions of it – one as is, one indicated, one indicated in black and white because sometimes these things can be easier to see that way and one closeup and indicated in color… note in the photo above and in this first one where the green and red lights are (simply so you can compare locations to the first photo) –

FACE without flash - with grid

 

 

In this picture, can you see the red glow from my recorder? (Click on it to zoom in, it’ll open in another page)

Slowly, look diagonally up and left. You will see a bright bluish dot and then two vertical blurs of blue. Look a fraction more to the left and up. See a small horizontal bit of blue? The face is just to the right of that. See it? It’s indicated in the pictures below…

 

 

 

FACE - INDICATED - Full

FACE – INDICATED – Full

FACE - indicated - B&W

FACE – indicated – B&W

FACE - color - indicated and cropped

FACE – color – indicated and cropped

See it?  Bring the image up closer if you need to. Give your eyes a chance, it is definitely there.

Once we completed our investigation, we started chatting with the office personnel and after a while, I decided to go back into the now-empty office and set my recorder down. Just in case. I closed the door, yet you can still hear our voices coming from the front office area. If you listen closely to this clip, you will hear different voices, at a different level than ours. To me it sounds like two women. This is only a minute into the recording and it seems to me as if these entities found my recorder to be of interest. To my ears, it sounds like one says, “Where?” and the other replies, “There.”

You will need headphones –

From 2-11 seconds you’ll hear us in the other room (with one of the women walking right outside the closed office door at 11 seconds when she mentions a printer ‘squealing’). Then you’ll  hear white noise until… 31 and 32 seconds when you’ll hear the other, disembodied voices (only with headphones). Remember, no one is in the room with the recorder. btw – I kept the white noise in there so you could hear the difference in the sounds. Sometimes, when you just start an audio clip at the actual EVP, it doesn’t sound as fantastic as it actually is.

Audio – Where, There

And in this clip, less than a minute later, you can hear one of the women speaking in the front office but then there are two whispers. It sounds to me like the first says, “Two or three?” and the second responds with a forced whisper, “Don’t know.”

Listen – first there will be outer office chatter. It goes on until 10 seconds. Right at 8 seconds, if you listen very hard past the regular voice, you’ll hear the whispered, “Two or three?” At 11.5 seconds, you’ll hear the rather distinct whispered reply of, “Don’t know.”

Two or three, don’t know

To me, they sound curious, harmless. We don’t know who they are or why they’re lingering there but we hope to go back on another day, when no one else is there, and ask some questions. Hopefully, we’ll have more evidence to share.

Meanwhile, I hope you were able to see the face and hear the voices – and if not, look and listen again. Trust me. Once you see and hear it, you’ll be rather amazed. .

 

Sonoma Diet – Wave 2

yummyWe survived Wave 1 of the New Sonoma Diet – which is the most restrictive of the ‘waves’ but not truly restrictive when you consider the amount of food we were able to eat.

Wave 1 lasts ten days and is intended to retrain your body to accept and enjoy healthier, unprocessed, foods. To be honest, once I shopped for all the ingredients and stocked the fridge, I was quite impressed. It looked GOOD! Nothing went into the cupboards except some cans of beans, dried fruit, nuts and dried herbs. Everything else was fresh – veggies, fruit, yogurt, cheese, meat, fish.

Oh, and wine. Cannot forget the wine.

Trust me – the recipes are phenomenal. We haven’t had one dish that wasn’t flavorful and filling. Even if you’re not looking to ‘go on a diet’, you might want to browse through the cookbook – The New Sonoma Diet Cookbook.  Daily menus are set up with recipes and their page numbers – the thinking has already been done for you though you can mix and match as you please within Waves.

Every meal has been an adventure – and, there was never a scrap of food left on the plates (take that as a sign of the deliciousness of the food or the hunger we felt at mealtime – either or both would be right.).

Of course, portion sizes are smaller than the American “Supersize” we’ve grown accustomed to, and the ratio of veggies to meats or grains has been adjusted. That might be the biggest change of all for me. I was used to serving pasta, rice, bread or potatoes with nearly every dinner. Carbs were a big part of the meal yet now I realize none of that is necessary for one to feel satisfied, though it’s a nice treat in moderate amounts.

All that said, this diet is not for anyone who is short on time. Meal prep, for me at least, seemed to take all day. I barely left the kitchen before it was time to return and start again. To be fair, this was all new to me, and I didn’t give myself enough time to read all the info before starting, so maybe there are hints in the book for less time-consuming ways to deal with meal prep. I don’t know. What I do know is that everyone in the family was happy with the meals and the outcome.

In ten days, our average weight loss was 4.5 pounds.

Yes, we all grumbled about not being able to nosh on cheese Fresh Veggiescrackers or some other not-good-for-you mid-day snack. But once we got thehang of it and realized how to space out the snacks we were allowed to have – the occasional mozzarella cheese stick, an ounce of nuts, celery and nut butter, cottage cheese or yogurt and fresh berries – we found we weren’t as ‘hungry’ as we were ‘bored’. We’re snackers because we feel like doing something other than work. Grabbing a handful of chips during break time provided us with a quick fix. We simply had to retrain ourselves to avoid dipping our hand into a box of something and, instead, prepare a snack. It took time and discipline but it’s been well worth it.

Did I mention that the only day I wound up with a migraine during this 10 day wave was the day after we cheated by going out to dinner?  There’s something to be said about the wholesomeness of fresh foods. I’m happy we started this. I hope to organize myself better so I’m not so reliant on ‘the book’ and can prepare  healthier meals and menus on my own.

Until then… onward with Wave 2! Fourteen Days… or until target weight is reached.

Wave 3, then, will be maintenance – which we all know is a lifelong process.

Onward! ridinghorse.gif

 

 

 

Sonoma Diet Day 0

Yes, you read that right. Today is Day 0 of our new Sonoma Diet routine.

As I mentioned in my last post, I love to bake. Sometimes, I bake way too much and run out of people I know and can’t seem to give it all away. So… guess where it winds up? In my house where each of us has the ability to nosh on a regular basis. That’s great for the taste buds. Not so great for the waistline.

So… before things get out of control, we decided, as a family, to get back into shape. We sit a lot – daughter with her schoolwork, me with my writing and hubster with his photography (digital editing, etc). We need to exercise, yes, but we also need to change the way we dine.

The Sonoma Diet is about a lifestyle, not about ‘dieting’, per se. It incorporates the sun-kissed freshness of the Sonoma Valley with the exotic, healthy and sinfully flavorful herbs, spices and recipes of the Mediterranean.

What is Day 0?

Cleaning crap from the cupboards. No cakes, cookies, white flours or processed foods. It means filling the cupboards and fridge with new ingredients – whole wheat bread and bread crumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, brown or basmati rice, fresh and frozen berries, lean meats, spinach, broccoli, feta cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, nuts, nut butter, dark chocolate, whole grain pasta and more.

The main point of the Sonoma Diet, as I can see, is retraining your body to enjoy more natural foods and less processed food. It’s about enjoying the meal – dining instead of eating. Connecting with family and friends over a meal rather than scoffing down food while sitting in front of the TV. It’s about enjoying a glass of wine, feeding your sweet tooth, filling every craving without over indulging. It’s about portion control as well.

That might be the biggest hurdle for us since we are food whores and will try almost any type of food from any region in any part of the world. Notice, I said “almost”. But, we’ll be trading in our 12″, American-sized dinner plates for 9″ plates so lunch and dinner are not about gluttony but about enjoying the flavors and textures of our meal in a slow but satisfying way.

HA! That’s the goal. Let’s see how it actually pans out as we stomach-growl our way through Wave 1 – which is the most ‘restrictive’ (though it really isn’t) and lasts 10 days. Wave 2 follows and that allows for more food and flavoring options.  Wave 3 comes next and that, ideally, will last a lifetime since it’s about applying all the common sense attitudes and cooking all the phenomenal-looking Sonoma Diet recipes on a regular basis without obsessing.

Goal? We’re each shooting for about 12 pounds.

I will keep you posted!

Reality Blog Award

Donna Coreality-award1e-Velleman nominated my blog for the Reality Award. I feel so special. 🙂

Thank you, Donna.

Here are the rules for The Reality Award :

1. Show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
– Happily DONE!
2. Add the award logo to your blog.
– Done!
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
– Done! (below)
4. Nominate 5 – 10 or so bloggers you admire.
– oh my. There are so many bloggers I admire but I’m never sure if I should pull them into something. I will nominate bloggers privately and if they accept, I will post them here. Surely the rules can be tweaked this way?
5. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know.
-Easy peasy! Will do.

So, drum roll… because you are all just itching to know my secrets…  here are seven facts about me:

1) I’m a lefty when it comes to writing, but can do just about everything else with both hands – ha, let that sink into your imagination. I do write romance, after all.

2) There are two things I simply CANNOT do with my left hand, yet do well with my right – eat soup/cereal and play air hockey. Yeah. I know. Strange, isn’t it? 

3) I love to bake and am into cake decorating.

4) My dream car is a red Mustang – I’m really not picky on the year. It can be a 1967 or it can be a 2013. One day, one of those beauties will be sitting in my driveway and I will be holding the keys.

5) I am an impatient learner, wishing to ‘know’ instead of ‘learn’.

6) I am terrified of anything that……. scurries. (That should be 6a, while 6b should be that even the word ‘scurries’ gives me the willies).

7) I’m allergic to tree nuts, strawberries and… are you sitting? ….chocolate.

==

There. Your life is complete now that you have learned seven little things about this Gemini. Oh. Ha! Make that eight!

Four More Years

With the end of a harsh campaign season, the USA has finally voted. Though the president won comfortably, this country is still divided, with some Americans feeling hopeful again while others are afraid for the future. If the vote went the other way, there would be the same split of emotion with merely a flip of who felt what.

What I find sad is how close to the edge Americans now stand, staring at each other across a chasm of our own making, trying to tug some invisible knot  over to our side. If we care about our country, we will drop that knotted rope and extent our hands.

Neither side is stronger. Neither side is ‘right’. Both sides have value to add to the discussion. Both sides simply need to listen – and act – for the betterment of the country, not a party, an ideal or an agenda.

It starts with each of us and ends with the demands we make on our representatives – and on the motive behind our demands. Insist on compromise, not on stagnation, and this country’s focus will soon go back to being of the people, for the people and by the people.

And ‘the people’ is everyone of us. We all bear blame. We all bear responsibility. We all bear the brunt of dysfunction. It’s time to demand better from all. For all.

Shootings at Theater Nine

I know we’re all stunned by the shooting in Colorado, and that our hearts and healing wishes go out to everyone involved, but I can’t stop thinking that each time we talk about “the victims” we minimize who they were (WERE, not are) as people.

They were daughters, girlfriends, sons, fathers, boyfriends, sisters, brothers. They were special. They were loved.

And now, through some disgusting and senseless act, they are gone, no longer to be hugged, to be part of a conversation, a meal. If we feel gutted by this, just imagine the families of those who were hurt or killed.

There is no punishment harsh enough, no words soothing enough. No logic. It could have been any one of us.

Our hearts ache yet I doubt it helps.

Imperfections Make the Memories

Every fourth of July, my family heads out in search of the perfect spot from which to watch the fireworks display. We’ll stroll through town to see what the neighbors are doing, we’ll sit in traffic as we inch toward the city along with all of the other last-minute planners in town. Ultimately, every fourth of July, we wind up watching the Macy*s display on TV because, in truth, that is the best view. We’re comfortable on the sofa, not standing or straining our necks to see the sky. We’re surrounded by a/c, not shoulder to shoulder with strangers in the sweltering July night air. And we have snacks.

Last year, however, we planned early and headed up to Rye, New York where, at Rye Playland, there would be an evening fireworks display. It was going to be perfect. The first live, professional display we would see as a family.

We arrived early and enjoyed some brain-scrambling rides and a mind-sorting stroll along the boardwalk. When the heat became too much for us, we found a shady area where we could sit, relish the lush coolness of overpriced ice cream and watch a bandshell performance. With tummy’s too full for more rides, we spent some tokens in the arcade at the ice hockey and skeeball tables then sinfully noshed on food items we’d deem questionable at any other venue.

And then, as the air grew slightly less humid, and the sky turned gorgeous shades of pink and blue, we headed toward the paths overlooking the Long Island Sound. We plucked our way through a growing crowd until we picked a perfect and comfortable vantage spot from which we’d wait for the start of the show.

We waited standing. We waited leaning against the chin high wrought iron fence. We waited sitting cross-legged on the ground. We waited, fanning ourselves, as the cooler night air no longer seemed cool. We commiserated about the long wait with strangers sitting beside us. We laughed. We chatted. We met people from our own neighborhood who had taken the drive as we did. We met people from France and Poland. We complained at how late it was getting with nary a hint of celebration in the sky.

And then music blasted over Golliath-sized speakers and we all jumped, covered our ears, then laughed and rose to our feet, eager for the show to finally begin…and with a sputter, it did. The music faltered as the first rockets shot into the air. The music started again. Fireworks were suddenly absent. Silence fell and we waited. Faces tipped to the sky. And then another blast of music and crash of explosions sounded above us, beside us, in all directions as glorious showers of light streaked through the sky.

Ooo’s and aaah’s came from the crowd. Applause, pointing, random “wow’s” and laughter sounded all around and then…all went quiet. And dark. Again. And then a sputter, like a premature ejaculation, left us all with brows furrowed as we wondered over the anti-climatic conclusion to the show. Many people turned away, young ones skipping, smiling and happy about what they just saw. Older ones wondering if they should request a refund since staying for the fireworks required an additional park fee.

As they reached the mid-point toward the exit, the music started again. People stood in the exit paths, faces to the clouds again as the sky lit up and an awe-inspiring show ensued. The music and explosions were not in sync but at that point, no one cared.

We’d made friends with the people beside us. We’d shared quips about ‘poor performances’, and we bitched about poor planning. We also shared sympathy for the firework handlers since the whole thing had been planned quite properly but a computer glitch had sent the whole show – and all of the computer techs and summer part-timers – scrambling to get this once-per-year event back on track.

Here’s a look at the show as we saw it that night –

What does all of this mean? If the show had gone off without a hitch, we would have loved it, we would have thought back on it fondly and agreed to go back there again one day. But this night, with all of its mishaps, was our most memorable Independence Day celebration.

The imperfections of the night made it memorable.

And from that memorable night, I’ve taken this –

Strive to do the best you can but keep it personal, keep it real. Make it memorable.

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