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E--Education & Environment
Posted On 06/02/2017 14:01:01



Education. I believe in education for everyone. When I was in high school, anyone who had good grades--and was on the College Prep schedule--pretty much expected to go on to college. I really hadn’t thought much about it, to be honest. I did have good grades (a B average), so my counselor had automatically put me on the College Prep curriculum.


Back then--mid 1960’s--our town had a ‘community college’; it was a 2 year Junior Collge--tuition free. We had to buy our textbooks, of course; but otherwise, the only ‘fee’ we paid was a $5 ‘activity fee’. Yes--that was it! Now, I have no idea what ‘activity fee’ meant. But I did know that without this community college, I probably would not be able to attend any college. My parents were your average middle class people, both working, but who really could not afford to send any of us kids to college without help.


Now, I have to admit: I’m a college drop-out. Yes, I should have continued with my education--at least for those two years. However, I knew what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be a writer; and I wanted to have a family.


I ended up getting married that first semester. Yes, I could have continued, since it was free tuition. But by then, I’d developed my style of writing--and was in the process of writing my first book. As I’ve mentioned before here on the Hill, I have never been published; but I’ve written about eight or nine ‘novellas’. So I ended up dropping out after that first semeter.


 As a side note: I actually had the same English teacher at the JC as I’d had in high school--and she admitted she’d probaby taught me all that she could, when she asked if I wanted to switch to another class. I declined, probably already thinking I might not continue on, anyway.


I think another reason I ended up dropping out was that I didn’t expect to go on to a four year college; and the courses that counselor insisted I take really didn’t interest me. I think perhaps if I could have chosen what “I” wanted to take, I might have continued. However, at that time, I was still a shy, mousy person who didn’t speak up very much.


Now, of course, I realize how lucky I was: I could have gotten two years of college classes for ‘free’. I think all community colleges should still be free.

By the way:  our 'community college' is now 4 yrs & they charge by the 'credit hour'. Average class load is approximately $2,000 per semester. 


Environment. This is the only planet we have! It’s our responibility to future generations to do whatever we can to ‘save’ it. With the industrial revolution came pollution. Now that we know what our ‘carbon footprint’ is doing to the planet, we need to address the problem. It’s saddening to see people in authority not only ignoring what needs to be done, but also actually trying to undo what good that has been done.


We need to put more effort into ‘helping’ the planet--not destroying it. When we can put greed/personal gain aside in order to do what’s right--and necessary--maybe then we’ll be able to say that we deserve to be here.

D- Designing my Profile Page
Posted On 04/18/2017 10:54:47

I actually had several ideas for my 'D' Blog. However, this one is so 'me', I just had to use it!

When I first joined NOTH, I didn't know anything about social sites, including how to design my own profile page. So I started out using NOTH Layouts.  Later, I decided I wanted to try my own design.  Luckily for me, there were several very helpful people here who were eager to help all of us 'newbies'.  I joined a group called NOTH LAYOUTS, run by DocShell. Shell was so very helpful to all of us who wanted to learn.  She gave us the 'codes' needed to personalize our pages. Shell is no longer able to 'be' here at NOTH; but all of the information she--and the other designers--shared is still here, in that group.

And most of the info can also be found in the NOTH Computer Help & Info Group; when I joined this group in 2009, it was called COMPUTER TIPS & TRICKS.  When the original moderator left NOTH, I took over as Moderator & eventually the name was changed, to reflect the changing information in the group. One of the QUICK LINKS threads is called 'common faq about how to do things here'.  Several of us monitor that group's forum, so you can usually find someone to answer whatever questions you might have.  

Now, before I go on, I have to say: PLEASE do not 'change' actual Layouts! The designers spend a lot of time and energy (not to mention actual money, buying the programs which help them make layouts) on their designs & many of them specifically tell you NOT to change the designs. 

The info I'm talking about is for when you design your own page, without an actual Layout!  I work with a lot of graphics designers and they also tell you NOT to change/re-size, etc. any of their designs.

Again I have to say: many of the things I change on my page are things that actual Layouts have already taken care of. But if you are not using an actual Layout, then you can use the different codes to 'fix' your page the way you want it.   Example: I prefer to have my main background at least partially show through so I use Opacity to do that.  And, I like to 'match' the colors from my main background in the comments background as well as the 'box' background (About Me, Things I Like, etc). 

Over the years, I've had 'themes' when I design my profile: everything from colors (with graphics in those colors, like Mauve, or Teal, etc) to Cats, Unicorns, Butterflies, Science Fiction (either 'general' or a specific SF topic like Star Trek or Dr. Who, etc).  I've even had a Chocolate page. The possibilities are endless!

Right now, I have an Easter page--although that will change as soon as I come up with an idea! I got rid of the winter theme on my 'main' account (Altara336060), but haven't yet decided on my next theme for that page, either.  So far, I've just put on a pretty teal background. 

I'm waiting for inspiration to hit!   And when it does, I'll probably spend hours finding just the right graphics to complete the page.  It's what I do.  Friends tell me it's my 'creative' side coming out. Whatever it is, it's something I really enjoy doing.  So...stop by sometime to see what I finally come up with.            

B- Baby-sitting
Posted On 04/12/2017 11:52:11

I started 'baby-sitting' when I was about 8.  Well, ok--not exactly Baby-sitting; my brother was 6 and my sister was 1 yr old.  Mom says I always called Debbie 'my baby'. I have a photo of me holding her right after they brought her home from the hospital; and apparently, I wanted to help as much as possible.  

Later, when I was around twelve, my mom went to work, and I 'watched' the other kids during the summer.   To this day, my brother says that what made me the 'maddest' was when they refused to eat lunch!

And then when I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, I started baby-sitting for neighborhood kids.  I think I earned twenty five or fifty cents an hour. I don't really remember for sure.  That and my allowance paid for the bird food and treats I talked about in my Animals blog.

 But my first 'real' baby-sitting job came when I was in high school.  At that time, we had one public high school in town, which was pretty crowded; so the schedules were 'staggered'.  My classes started at 7:30am and ended at 2:30pm.  I suppose I must have answered an ad in the paper, but I can't remember for sure.  The 'job' started at 3pm. The mother of the familly picked me up at school and drove me to her subdivision.  Later, her husband would drive me home--to the other side of town.

I believe she had five children. I would watch the younger ones and help out around the house as she got ready for work. After she left for work, the older children would arrive home from school and I would supervise them till supper time.   I fixed supper with the girls' help, for all of us; then the girls would clean up while their dad drove me home.  I enjoyed it a lot!   

I'll never forget one 'funny' incident. I was making gravy to go with mashed potatoes and I had 'lumps' in the gravy. I calmly reached for a strainer and poured the gravy through it.  No more lumps! The kids got a huge laugh out of seeing me do that.

  And yes, I did a lot more baby-sitting after high school. Once my own children were off to school, I decided to take it up again. I loved babies; and this was a way to 'enjoy' them without having more children.   At one point, I watched a total of 7 children, on staggered schedules.  One Air Force couple dropped off their three children at 6:30am as they headed for the  Air Base near us; they would pick them up at 4:30pm.  Another lady dropped off her two children about 10am.  And yet another, who worked a later shift, dropped off her children around 5pm and her husband picked them up around 11pm.

  So yes, sometimes my days were very busy!  But not only did I enjoy having the children around, it also game me a bit of extra income.  However, you have to remember, at that time, no one paid very much for a sitter! So, no, it didn't pay as much as I could have made for part time work; but it was much more enjoyable.

The last children I baby-sat for were my grandchildren. But I gave up full time baby-sitting long ago.       

A- Animals
Posted On 04/11/2017 12:25:14

Since Mona (yourchoice) has sort of issued a 'challenge', I thought I'd give it a try.  Animals is my "A" contribution. 

I love animals: anything furry!  When I was little, we had a cocker spaniel who was the sweetest dog I've ever seen. Blondie was her name.   We had her for many years; then, when she was getting old, she went to live on my great-grandparents' farm. Yes, we visited her there when we were in town; I think perhaps the adults figured it would be easier on us kids if we didn't have to see her at the end. But when we learned she had passed on, it still hurt.

We also had 'chicks'; not the 'colored' kind, however.  Because of the farm, we had plenty of them to 'play' with.  But of course, as they got older--and naturally, we didn't see them daily--they became just more chickens in the hen house. 

My one Grandma always had a cat and a dog as pets. I loved the cats! She had what I thought were Persians; later, I learned they were just long haired tabbies.  I wasn't as crazy about her dog: a Bulldog. I thought that was the ugliest dog ever--not to mention she 'snorted'. 

On my great-grandparents' farm, there was an old work horse called John.  My brother and I loved brushing him.  As he was a 'work horse', I'm sure that was about the only real affection/attention he ever got!  I recently came across a photo of myself and my brother riding John. That brought back memories, to be sure! 

It was many years later when I finally got to have my own 'pets'. As a teen, I had a blue parakeet. He/she only lived a few years; I have no idea why.  But I remember spending my allowance on bird food & 'treats'.  

In my final year in high school, I 'found' a stray kitten and took him in; he went with me when I got married. Sadly, I soon learned he needed to be neutered, which we couldn't afford; so I had to give him up. 

It was about four years later when we got our first 'real family pet', a black cat that was half Siamese. We named her Baby. She lived to be 21 yrs old & my children grew up with her.   That wasn't our 'last' cat, of course. 

And over the years, we've had other cats--and one gerbil. My daughter's best friend in high school gave her the gerbil as a birthday gift.  He/she was very sweet and loved to be 'handled'.  Then, when our daughter went off to college,  the care of the  gerbil fell to me; and sadly, the poor thing eventually had a stroke, after which it didn't live much longer.  

Now, we have two cats, who will be our last pets. Not only do we not want to outlive our pets, but it's getting harder to care for them on a limited income. Sammi is 20 yrs old & Max is 14. I know it will be a very sad day for us when those two are gone. But we've enjoyed all our pets and wouldn't have missed this for anything.    

My Stories
Posted On 03/29/2017 09:48:10

As I've mentioned before, I'm trying to 'weed through' things I've collected over the years. Well, this week, it's a box of 'my writing'. 

Back when I was writing daily, I usually wrote 20-30 pages per day.  I had started out with a manual typewriter, then graduated to a used IBM electric typewriter.  This was in the 1970's. And yes, it had the 'type ball'--which was interesting to watch.

My husband worked on business machines, so once I even had a Friden Flexowriter that had been destined for the junk pile. I'm sure none of you have ever heard of those,  but they were the precursor of the word processor.  As you typed, it would spit out a paper tape--with 'hole punches' which contained the text of what you were writing.  If it had been a working model, then I could have stuck that tape back in to let it print out another copy of what I had written. But, alas, it was 'broken', which of course was why I even had it. All I needed was a decent typewriter; so this worked for me.

But, I digress. Back to my story.   Obviously, I was a prolific writer!  My first 'story', was 50 typed pages, which I thought was pretty good for a 'story'.  Later, I went back & added a 'prequel'--and later, a sequel, etc.  By the time the orignal story was finished, it was over 200 pages.

Over the years, when I came up with a new idea, instead of jotting down notes, I would just start writing. And that's what I found yesterday.  I thought of the Flexowriter because I found a page that had the 'holes' in the side of the paper, which aligned it:

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Apparently, this was going to be a short Fan story--a 'crossover' between Dr. Who and my own characters in the Star Trek univere. Yes, I discovered  Dr. Who in the 70's & I've been a Star Trek fan since the very beginning! When I saw this, I was excited to read it; however, it turns out, this was only the 'start' of the story. Sigh. I have no idea how I planned on finishing it!  One friend told me I should sit down and finish writing the story. I guess I will have to--one of these days.  

In the meantime, I went back into this box and found more stories. I found an early copy of the first few chapters of my novella I named  ALTARA.  Then I found a copy of the first chapter of another novella, WOMAN'S WORLD. The complete copies of those are stored elsewhere.  I also found a copy of a time travel novella I called 2176 (written in 1976). 

I also found some completed short stories.  One was a 'fan story' in the Battlestar Galactica universe.  Another was a fan story in the Star Trek universe with my own characters; that one I've already shared here at NOTH. 

And yes, I found half a dozen other 'beginnings' of stories. One actually has six chapters written. But most are just a few pages.  

As you may have guessed, I was really into science fiction romance in those days!  I called myself a Futurist.  I mainly wrote stories set in the future. But I did write one 'spy' type novella as well.  

That's what was in this box. I know I have more writing stored in a file cabinet--and maybe another box.  I look forward to seeing what else I've written over the years!

  My only regret is that I didn't keep the very first story I wrote, which was co-written with a friend when we were in high school.  It wasn't very good, but it was fun to write: I'd write a few pages, then give the big spiral notebook to my friend between classes, and she would write a few pages. And no, we never did 'finish' it.  She graduated the year before I did. 

However, after I graduated and started at the local junior college, I got the idea for Altara--and started playing around with that idea. I worked on that more after I got married and finally finished it later.  That's when I started writing daily.

Back to school shopping
Posted On 09/05/2016 11:56:02

Have you ever taken your grandchildren shopping for school clothes?  I hadn't--until yesterday.  Emma turned 9 a few days ago, so since this was her weekend with daddy, we had a bbq/birthday party here yesterday.

 Our daughter & her husband came in for the day, having planned to visit the St. Louis Zoo. They had asked if Emma could go with them; naturally, she jumped at the chance! They all had a great time at the zoo and got back here just after 4pm.  

So, while my husband got things ready to start the grill,  Terri Lynn and I took Emma over to Walmart to get some new clothes for school, since her mother hadn't done that yet. Oh my! A nine year old girl thinks she is so grown up; she has her own ideas on what she wants to wear. I know it's not just 'me', lol: my daughter also had comments on what Emma wanted to pick out!

 After Emma's vociferous comments on what we should get, we tried to explain why those items were not appropriate for school.  My daughter finally told her that we were not going to get things that made her look like a hooker! She replied that her mother lets her wear that; we said, ok, then your mother can buy them for you.

After half an hour or so, we finally found 'appropriate' shirts & a couple of dresses that she liked. Thankfully, the one dress fit perfectly. However, she's at the 'in-between' stage so we had to make several trips to the dressing room. We never did find jeans to fit her! But we did find one ' 2 piece outfit' that had 'leggings'.  I'm going to look online to see if I can find at least one pair of jeans for her.  School started a couple of weeks ago, so she does need them. At least now she has some clothes that fit to wear to school.  

Candy bars
Posted On 11/08/2015 11:14:51

      I'm a total 'chocoholic'. lol. I could eat chocolate any time of the day/night!  But I've learned there are differences in chocolate bars.  Now, I don't mean  the fancy "expensive" kind versus what the rest of us eat. I mean:  plain chocolate (like Hershey's) vs candy bars that contain nuts/peanut butter/coconut, etc.  

     Plain Hershey's bars are my favorite; I also like Hershey's with almonds.  I also eat Nestle's Crunch; but I recently had one of those right after having a Hershey's. And to me, the Nestle's Crunch just didn't taste as good. Am I getting picky in my 'old age'?  Or has something changed in the Crunch bar? I have no idea; I just know I won't be buying any more Crunch bars any time soon.

    My husband prefers Baby Ruth candy bars; personally, I don't want 'peanuts' in my chocolate. The same goes for 'coconut'--but I must admit, I'm not a big fan of coconut, anyway.  

    Another of my favorites has always been Milky Way bars. However, in recent years, I've stayed away from those for the simple reason that my 'teeth'  have given me problems; and I didn't dare risk having 'fillings' fall out from all that 'gooey-ness'.  Ok, maybe that's not really a word; but you know what I mean!  

     Anyway, I got curious after posting a recent Poll about candy bars. I'd like to know what 'other' candy bars everyone likes. Obviously, there are many different ones to choose from. Do you have a favorite?    

My So-called Writing Career
Posted On 10/06/2014 15:30:07

I started writing when I was about 15, in high school; a friend & I co-wrote a story. Between classes, we'd hand the large spiral notebook back & forth; I'd write some, then she'd write some--we never did finish the 'book', since she graduated before me.  But it was fun.

Later, after I was married and had dropped out of college, I kept  writing on my own. I invented a set of characters (girlfriends, from different countries) & wrote one story after another about their adventures. I think I ended up with about 8 or 9 short novellas in that series. Back then, I had no idea how many pages a book or novella should be.  However, I kept at it because I "had to"--writing was just a part of 'me'. I branched out & tried other ideas: one was a series of Science Fiction romances (several of those that I eventually put together) and a spy story, etc. Anything that came into my head. And just my friends would read my stories. I had no idea how to go about getting published & really didn't care.  

After my first baby, I told myself it was time to put away the typewriter & concentrate on the baby. Ha. Little did I know: he slept most of the time! So I got out the typewriter & started again, any time I had free time.

  And from then on, that's what I did. I'd write anytime the kids were napping--or later, when they went off to school. I didn't work with an outline, just a basic idea & set of characters; the storyline came to me as I typed. And because I was just writing for my own enjoyment, I didn't do any real research.  I ended up with something like 23 novellas--I learned to stretch out the storyline to give me more pages & let my characters develop more.   I would write at least 20 pages per day, which was usually a chapter, sometimes more or sometimes less.

    Sometime in the 80's, friends kept telling me I should try to get published. Since my 'stories' weren't as complex as novels, I started sending them to magazine publishers. I thought of that because at the time, I was enjoying reading what they were publishing. Naturally, I got rejections: 21. Then I shrugged & went back to writing for myself.   


But I enjoyed it, so I wrote until I got writers' block in 1998. Then I got my first computer.  Actually, I bought it to 'help' with my writing, but I got sidetracked. Every time I'd try to input one of my stories, I would find myself rewriting yet again.  So then I got more 'into' playing with the computer & didn't write anything else till I got my first website.  That was mainly what is now called a Blog.

  Then I discovered NOTH.  Now, I write Blogs--when I have anything to say; I also write Tutorials, to help others learn what they need to know here. Examples: how to make & use graphics in comments, how to fix minor computer mistakes, etc.  

Well, all you need to do is check out the NOTH Computer Help & Info group to see what I do:     http://notoverthehill.com/groups/view/id_328/

    So that's my story. I may end up going back to fiction writing one day--you just never know; but for now, I'm happy with what I'm doing.

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