Saturday, December 31, 2016

Out with the old, and that means resolutions

Happy New Year! May 2017 bring you everything your heart desires.

I'm looking forward to a year filled with enjoying my writing. So, I've decided to let go of resolutions of how I am going to post all sorts of Facebook updates, blog bits, and all other social media stuff.

The pressure is off, which means I will probably get around to doing the stuff. LOL. You know, reverse psychology.

Here a few notes I received this month. I want to share them, not to brag, but to demonstrate how a few sentences can really make my day.

Here's to a wonderful 2017.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Has it really been since July 15?

You can thank Alexandra Franzen for this blog post. One of her recent pieces opened with something like "I haven't done a post in 80 days ..." It made me feel a lot better about being so lax about my own communications.

Recently, one of the best, and I mean the best, writing tips/nudges/inspiration came from Sara Caputo, principal of Radiant Organizing. And when a productivity expert sends me something, I read it. It's a post from the blog Barking up the Wrong Tree about, well, about writing. Read it. You'll laugh, and you'll laugh more.

In other Orozco Ink news ... 

Recommended reading!
Here's a cool thing about my work: I get to be involved in other people's cool projects. I was part of the proofreading team for Cynthia Hamilton's book Finding Ruth, which was just published. Cynthia notes that Finding Ruth is a tribute to her mother, who held her family together at all costs, who showed dignity and strength when most people would’ve fled. What she learned by fitting together disjointed memories and facts has made her love and appreciate her mother more deeply than ever before. I recommend Finding Ruth

My husband and I took a month-long vacation and visited Sweden and Italy. Actually, it was 32 days. If so inclined, you can check pictures of the fabulous trip on my Facebook page

My vacation journal. 
"Cooperative Wisdom" is the book on my nightstand. The timing could not have been more perfect with the U.S. presidential election just ending. The sub-title is "Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart." (See what I mean about the timing.)

This is from the book's  Web site: Cooperative Wisdom explains how cooperation breaks down in settings from boardrooms and family rooms to volunteer organizations and public agencies.
Written as a spirited exchange between an acclaimed ethicist and an inquisitive journalist, the book introduces five social virtues that crack open stubborn problems and reveal cooperative solutions. 

The inquisitive journalist is Carolyn Jabs, whom I know from the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Association for Women in Communication. I'm sure I'll be writing more about the book when I finish it. 

•I'll be in an improv show next Sunday, the 20th at 3 p.m. at the Plaza Playhouse Theater. It's been a while since I've performed, but it's guaranteed I'll have fun.
Improv Showcase on Nov. 20. 
Here's more info: 
Just in time for National Absurdity Day, is the Improv Showcase. Under the direction of Tom Mueller, this one-hour unscripted, unrehearsed show highlights the tools of improv, where just like in real life, the players make it up as they go along. Tickets are $10 and available at the box office starting 2:30 p.m. day of the show. There are no pre-sale tickets. For more information, call Diane at 805-284-5404.

Thanks for reading. Nice to be in touch again. Let's enjoy the day!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sometimes little steps are the most difficult

Where to start with this mess?
A single small step, that's where. 
More than once, I've thought, "If I would follow my own advice, I could rule the world." Today presented a perfect opportunity to do just that ... uh, follow my own advice, that is. A friend and I have been helping each other. She's looking for a new job; I'm (as always) looking for new business. In response to her email about not feeling motivated, here's how I answered: 

"Yeah, the motivation thing is tough to sustain. Real tough at times. 

I find it difficult to keep the faith in doing small steps. I often think "Oh, it won't matter, what's the use? This is stupid." But those small steps always add up and I'm always surprised they do. 

How about trying something small and different? A few years back, 15 or more, things really weren't how I wanted them to be in a number of areas in my life. I probably read somewhere about doing something different. So I decided I wasn't going to sit in my usual place on the couch. (Thinking, of course, that this was stupid, but hey, what did I have to lose.) It wasn't like I sat on the opposite end of the couch and Publisher's Clearing House immediately knocked on our door. But I did consciously keep the change up for a bit, which had a ripple effect on some other stuff. Now I can't recall exactly what but I remember the feeling and talking about it with Al. 

I think the theory is that you start looking at things differently - though it's almost imperceptible, extremely subtle to you. And by looking at things differently you come up with new ways to live the life you want to lead. 

You could brush your teeth with the opposite hand, get out of the other side of the bed, eat your breakfast outside (you guys have a really nice patio and patio furniture) or don't even sit on the couch (or whatever). Of course, the idea is to keep on keeping on with the job hunt or whatever. 

How about deciding on a small change and reporting back to me? 

And how about taking one step today toward finding a job? Have you written out your dream job? How about calling/emailing the pet resort place if you haven't heard back from them? Look online for an adult ed acting class in your area. Choose a company you'd love to work and check their Web site for the Careers tab or how to get hired. Send your resume to your former boss with a note you're looking and if he hears of anything to keep you in mind (if you haven't done so already). 

After I hear back on your small change, I'll send you one I'm going to do." 

After sending the email, I thought, "A small step I could do for my business is turn this into a blog post. Practice putting more of my writing out in the open. 

What a good way to start the weekend. Looking forward to taking more steps on Saturday and Sunday. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July! 

Enjoy your independence and celebrate with family and friends. (Excellent example of an imperative sentence, BTW.

Thought I would do my share for the digital environment and reuse a previously published post that celebrates our great nation. 

Check out The National Archives - Worth the Trip to D.C. Its claim to fame is the place in D.C. where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence make their home. There are so many other wonderful (and not so wonderful) records and documents of our country's history there, too. 

Please remember that this weekend isn't a blast for all of us. The Fourth of July can be particularly unpleasant for animals. Here's a piece on Fourth of July safety for dogs from my colleague Joan Hunter Mayer, dog trainer extraordinaire of Inquisitive Canine. Read it here

Shadow was frightened by fireworks, thunder and other ka-booms

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Buying a Bestseller (while on vacation)

Recently, I took a trip to Portland, Oregon. Part of the planning process was was the decision to treat myself to "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondoh at Powell's Books.

I enjoyed the book very much. One, I love reading about organizing, planning, and straightening up and usually become inspired to actually do some organizing and straightening up. The book delivered on that account.

Written in first person, the book has a conversational tone. Marie Kondoh is like a friend giving you "the straight dope." She really lays it on the line. And some of her advice is a bit surprising. Here's an example:

"My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away." 

Truly, without exaggeration, I can say that's one of the best things I have read EVER in a book. Any kind of book - non-fiction, fiction, self-help, reference, and so on.

She follows the above principle with this: "My clients are stunned when I say this, but there is nothing more annoying than papers. After all, they will never inspire joy, mo matter how carefully you keep them. For this reason, I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely. (The bolding is hers.)

Ms. Kondoh's guiding philosophy is if something gives you joy, keep it. Otherwise get rid of it. A pragmatic approach to say the least.

I could share her approach to clothing and books, but then I would be robbing some of the pleasure gained from reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I encourage you to buy your own copy. I also encourage you to buy it from an independent bookseller.

If you haven't been to Powell's Books, I highly suggest it. I think it's worth a trip to Portland. Next time I visit, maybe I'll pick up "Spark Joy," the newest book by Marie Kondoh.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Animal Writes - #Train4Rewards Blog Party

I'm participating in the #Train4Rewards Blog Party! And you're invited. Click the button and you will be whiskered away to a gathering of animal lovers reinforcing rewards-based training.

Nella after acclimating a bit to life with humans. 
Here's the story I'd like to share:

Meet Nella, she's the muted calico pictured above. Muted refers to her coloring, not her personality. Nella came to live with us via Catalyst for Cats, a nonprofit dedicated to helping stray and feral cats in Santa Barbara County. I'm on the board of Catalyst for Cats and help with publicity.

When 3-year-old Nella came to live at our house, only one word was used to describe her: MEAN! I think family, friends, visitors, and neighbors wanted to use other descriptors but were too polite.

After a few months, we could actually pet Nella without getting bitten or scratched. A few more months and we could pick her up. Later on, she'd sit next to us on the couch to be pet, and then eventually strike us. Slowly and surely, she became more lovable and friendly.

Each day was a journey. Lots and lots of treats were involved. Always soothing voices. Well, that's not true. Honestly, more than once my temper broke and I yelled at her.

Nella lived with us for 14 years. She had become quite matey in her last few years. Though, with all her purring and snuggling, there was always the chance of a swipe, scratch, or bite. She never seemed to put her feral past behind her.

All the rewards and treats paid off, however, and Nella became a loving, involved member of our family.

I'd like to thank my colleague, Joan Hunter Mayer, of the Inquisitive Canine, for sharing the word on the #Train4Rewards Blog Party. Thanks!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Carpinteria Magazine – Hot off the press!

Just in time for some summer reading, Carpinteria Magazine is hot off the press and available all over Carpinteria and in select locations in Santa Barbara's south coast. Here's link to pick up locations: Where in the world is Carp Mag?
That's the Traveling Hurtados on the cover. I think you'll enjoy reading their story, which I wrote. Also have a couple of other pieces in the magazine. 
Here's the Web site: 
Let me know what you think, and thanks for reading. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Taking things too literally. Literally.

Just because this was posted on Facebook, doesn't mean it's true. But it is good for a chuckle and for illustrating how important clear and concise language is. 

Check 'er out: 

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS pilots ("P") and solutions recorded ("S") by maintenance engineers:
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit
S: Something tightened in cockpit
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to: straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A DIY Writer’s Retreat

Writers lock themselves in hotel rooms or escape to an isolated area for a reason – to write. It’s so much easier to write when no one else is around. To write for hours and hours. And hours. That’s why I love the occasional dog/house-sitting gig that comes my way.
I’m about 20 miles from home in a three-bedroom home with four very nice dogs, a large yard, and excellent wi-fi. My workspace is the dining room table. 
My work station and officemate. 
The pups are very good company while my husband keeps the home fires burning. Sometimes we switch locales if I’ve an important meeting or something. And sometimes we work it together.
Mostly, the dog/house-sitting gig is a writer’s retreat for me.
Or as Alexandra Franzen recently wrote: “a work-cation.” She says her friend Melissa coined the word.
My computer/laptop, paper, and pens are the only things I need for my writer’s retreat. I’ll use the timer on my phone once in a while. But that’s about it.
The main thing is to keep it simple so I can get as much work done as possible. There's only one rule – out of bed by 8 to walk and feed the dogs so I can be writing by 9.
Then, things tend to take care of themselves. 
A writer’s retreat = being by one’s self to write. This can be done in the bathroom for 20 minutes while kids (hopefully) nap. Or 10 minutes. Or 2. 
A work-cation perk: picking tangerines. 
A writer's retreat doesn’t have to be a dog/house-sitting gig, a formalized-you-pay-lots-of-money weekend at a university, or a trip to the local coffee house. Anywhere with just you and your writing tools will do. For as long as time allows.