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Observation Monday – Characters

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

It is time to sharpen up some skills in advance of NaNoWriMo. The writing I do every day is very different from 30 days of the intense heads-down writing required by NaNo.

So, the observation skill for today has to do with character development. I will be going to the grocery store today and tomorrow so I will put on my observation cap and watch people in the grocery store. I will observe their habits, the speed in which they move through the store, how they treat the staff, how they make choices, what they wear, and see if I can get a feel for them as a character.

Of course, observing is not enough. Afterwards, the real challenge is to write a short piece featuring your character. Can you bring them alive so readers can visualize what you saw? And just how do you go about choosing a name for this character? Does the name matter?

Feel free to jump in and join me. You can observe anywhere. I just happen to be going to the grocery store. Leave a comment or write your own post. You are welcome to link back here if you want to share what you wrote.

This should be fun.

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Clean Water News – #WATWB

Image that says we are the world

Welcome back to the monthly bloghop – We Are The World Blogfest. The last Friday of each month is dedicated to shining a light on the good news throughout our world.


WATWB is co-hosted this month by Eric Lahti and Susan Scott.


Clean water is a resource so many of us take for granted but yet is a threatened life-sustaining resource at risk for 1.42 billion people across the world who live in areas of clean water vulnerability. Since fresh water accounts for less than 3% of the water on our planet, fresh water is becoming more and more scarce.

At the University of South Australia, Associate Professor Haolan Xu led a team of researchers in the development of a device that uses solar evaporation to derive fresh water from sea water, brackish water or contaminated water.

This inexpensive device from easily sourced materials holds the potential for providing enough daily fresh drinking water for a family of four from one square meter of source water.

Read the Entire Story Here.


Want to read more good news or join in the effort to contribute to the spreading of good news throughout the world? Use the hashtag #WATWB on your good news post and share it in our Facebook community here or on Twitter at @WATWB so others can read your post.

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Throwback Thursday – Music Memories


Welcome back to Throwback Thursday Memory Blog Hop. Lauren and I rotate publishing this challenge every Thursday.

Participation is easy. Write your own post about the subject and share your own memories or experience about the topic and leave a pingback to this post in the comments. You can use the photo above in your post and tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen to make it easier for others to find.

If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below!

Music Memories

Maybe it’s a song that brings back good memories. Maybe it was your first radio or record player – or iPod depending on your age. Maybe it is the song that always moves you to tears. What song was played at your wedding? Did you have band posters hanging on your bedroom walls? What are your music-connected memories?

My post follows below.


In our house someone was always singing. My grandmother sang hymns as she did her housework. The song I remember her singing was “Peace in the Valley”. I realized early on how comforting music could be.

My grandfather sang old songs like “Old Dan Tucker”. As a little girl I remember him telling me a story about a man killed in a crane accident when they worked building bridges for the railroad. I think my grandfather was operating the crane and it devastated him. I never knew the man’s name, but my grandfather said he always sang “My Blue Heaven”. I somehow felt a sort of responsibility to always remember him by remembering that song. He has lived through my memories all these sixty odd years and I never knew his name.

My grandparents had a Victrola in the bedroom upstairs. It was built into a dark wood cabinet with a felt covered turntable and a removable crank on the side. There was a circular metal tray to store spare needles. I loved to hear the crackling sound of the needle moving across the record. I can close my eyes and still picture it in great detail.

When I was about six or seven, my grandmother was upstairs listening to 78 rpm records on the Victrola. I came running into the room, bounced up on the bed and broke one of my grandmother’s records. That was the first time I had ever seen my grandmother cry. I was devastated. The record was “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen”. I could not tell you who recorded it, but I realized just how much a single piece of music could mean to someone.

I grew up listening to and loving the music of my parents’ era but they were also about newer music, too. They would put Chubby Checker records on and we would all do the twist in the living room. “The Peppermint Twist” and “Let’s Twist Again” were favorites. It was so much fun.

We listened to a lot of records. My siblings and I had 45’s strewn all over the house. We didn’t buy albums until much later. My sisters were the right age to go crazy over the Beatles and Elvis. I listened to all the music of my siblings and learned to love it all. As time progressed, I was a big fan of The Monkees, The Beach Boys, The Association, the Guess Who, Simon and Garfunkle, and Cat Stevens.

I didn’t have a lot of posters on my bedroom walls, but when I joined the Air Force, I had the huge Chicago at Carnegie Hall poster on my wall along with lots of black light posters. I had a huge collection of albums at that time.

Eventually cassettes and 8-tracks took over and now almost everything is digital. We’ve come a long way from the 78 records my grandmother loved so much. Regardless of how the music is presented, it is woven into every fiber of my being. Music has accompanied every important moment of my life and all it takes is just a few seconds of the right song to take me back to another place and another time. That’s a special kind of magic.

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Blue Laws – Never on Sunday

I grew up in what some would consider the northernmost fringe of the Bible Belt – an area of our country steeped in conservative Christian values. Of course, I had no idea about such things. It was just home and I loved everything about it.

Virginia, like many other states, observed Blue Laws which affected what you could and could not do or buy on Sunday. Considered a day of rest and worship, no work should be done on that day.

The problem with the law was that the interpretation and the adherence was as varied as the citizens it applied to. Enforcement  varied from county to county and often times adherence demands were stricter when a new political force was trying to make the law central to their platform. Attempts to repeal the 1610 law in Virginia continued until finally successful in 1988.

What I remember was the law was intended to keep people at home on Sunday to go to church and spend time with their families. No work was allowed. Stores were generally closed with the exception of places that sold essential goods – and essential seemed to always be up for interpretation. Women could not buy nylons for example. You could buy a loaf of bread but you could not buy food that required work to prepare.

The sale of alcohol was a big no, no with blue laws. In fact many states still have such restrictive laws. In some states or counties, you cannot buy alcohol until after noon and some, not at all.

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Another interesting practice was the closing of businesses at noon on Wednesdays. I have read many different reasons for this. In our area, we had church service on Sunday morning and Sunday evening and usually had Bible study on Wednesday evening. This could have played into the need to get home early and have time to prepare dinner and then go to church.

I have also read that Wednesday afternoon is when many of the stock yard auctions were held. Being in a rural and farming region, this was an important aspect of life there. Add that to the increased amount of business being held on Saturdays, a mid-week break would not have been unusual.

Regardless, the banks and retail businesses all closed for the day at noon on Wednesday.

Blue laws existed in many northern states as well, but were perhaps not as prevalent. I doubt there are many places in most states that are not open for business on Sunday these days with the exception of those owned by certain religious interests.