Friday, November 11, 2011

Flashback Friday--Veteran's Day

As you can see, I posted this in 2009--read to the end for the updated twist.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Always In Our Hearts

Blanche, Bob and Bruck (my dad)

Earlier this year, I had a very unique Google experience. My father, a WWII pilot, asked me to see if I could confirm the precise date on which his best friend had been killed during the war. Armed with just a name, I clicked on a link that took me to a page containing photographs of a cemetery. Specifically, a young man stood next to a cross. Knowing Google, I wasn’t sure of the significance−if any. There wasn’t a visible name on the cross and, at best, I figured a random American had taken the picture to honor the nameless dead.

I continued my search, but I kept going back to that page...until, suddenly, my mouse hovered in just the right place and I saw that the picture had a title−Robert B. Pfusch by Chris Yunker.

Still a random American?

Maybe not.

Somehow I contacted Mr. Yunker (via his flickr account, I think) and told him why I was writing. Sure enough, he replied immediately with the news that Robert B. Pfusch was his grandfather and that he would forward my email to his mother.

I was rather blown away since I’d assumed Mr. Pfusch had died without having children.

Soon, I had an email from Bobbie, the daughter who was born six months after her father was killed overseas. She asked if my father had known her dad well.

In reply, I wrote her a lengthy letter of what I knew, including the fact they’d been fraternity brothers back in North Dakota. When she read my response, she realized that my dad was the man in her parents’ wedding photograph−their best man. She said she cried throughout my letter.

What followed was a back-and-forth correspondence between two daughters of WWII vets−one who never knew her father and one who was exceedingly grateful to have had so many years with hers.

On this day that we honor our veterans, I’d like to pay special tribute to Robert B. Pfusch and the sacrifice he made so many years ago.

He is not forgotten.

Edited to Add:

Four months after I wrote and posted the above tribute to Bob Pfusch, I found myself having open heart surgery--to be specific, I had my aortic valve replaced. During my research prior to surgery, I got involved with a forum on a valve replacement website and, in particular, traded emails with a helpful young woman named Luana.

After surgery, I wasn't so quick to get back on the forum to report my success and good health, and Luana worried.

When I finally posted that all was well, she sent me the most amazing email.

Randy, she wrote, when you didn't post a progress report, I sent a prayer request to an on-line group I'm involved with. One of the participants wrote back asking if, by chance, this Randy's last name happened to be Bruskrud. Her name is Bobbie.

Yes, the paths of two veterans' daughters crossed again. This time, as one prayed for the other.

Small world, indeed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Rant Alert

Today's post ain't about neither writin' nor romance, so if that's why you're here, best to move on.

Ready? Set? Go!

Okay, people. WHY do big companies make it so friggin difficult to conduct the basic tasks of commerce now that we have the Internet?

Case in point: Exostar. This wonderful byproduct of the e-era (my new term since everything either has to have an e or an i before it these days) was ostensibly put in place to streamline the procurement process for companies like Boeing, Lockheed, and Raytheon.

But, seriously? How come it takes forever to create a simple invoice? And how come I have to tell the Boeing buyer that she has to input her purchase order CORRECTLY before we can create that simple invoice? (And how come I haven't heard back from her since I did that?) So...and this is just a small example, we have yet to be paid for a $9,000 invoice from last August.

Moving on to Boeing. Hey, Boeing...thanks for letting us have milestone payments on that big job. Sure would have been nice if you'd actually PAID them as we went along (y' keeping with the whole concept of MILESTONES). Silly us for heeding the instructions on the Purchase Order which said to invoice that snail mail address in Seattle. No wonder you haven't paid ANY OF THEM since June. My bad!

And while we're on the subject of Boeing, thanks for that 12-pages of instructions on how to invoice through your Boeing portal (which requires not one but TWO usernames, TWO passwords, TWO separate accounts). checking...but isn't that what Exostar is for? Are you saying we have to invoice in two places?

Because we will, if that's what you want...cuz, after all, YOU'RE the CUSTOMER and the CUSTOMER'S ALWAYS RIGHT.

We don't even mind that your payment terms are NET 60 because we understand that with this new STREAMLINED system, it's hard for you to pay for stuff that used to take you NET 10 in 1975. (And at least you're not the slowpoke of companies--that award goes to Honeywell who needs 75 days to process an invoice.)

Don't get me wrong, we love this whole new world of electronic procurement on Exostar. We love it so much we actually PAY THE BILL for doing business with you. Yes, that's right. We pay about $500 a year for the CONVENIENCE of receiving your purchase orders and issuing our invoices.

It's all working out so well, isn't it?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Flashback Friday--NaNo of Yore

Hey, since it's that time of year (and yes, I AM doing NaNo), I'm flingin' a NaNo post from 2006. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

NaNo Week Two

Okay, clearly, the NaNo guys aren't mathematicians, 'cuz that widget thingy I imported ain't working right. Here I was merrily typing along, admittedly smug, and relying on the widget thingy for accuracy--I thought I was staying ahead of the game. But, nooooooo. If you do the calculations, I'm apparently consistently BEHIND.

Permit me to do it for you:

I need to average 1666 words a day to reach 50,000 in thirty days. Today is the ninth day so by tonight I should be at 14,994 if I wanna stay on track. But it already shows me in the plus column! Which, like I say, ain't right. In fact, I have to write roughly 2774 words to catch up.

Yikes. You know how many manuscript pages that translates to??? Well, I'll tell ya. It translates to roughly eleven. CURSE the guy (or girl) who came up with whatever formula's behind that widget thingy.

In other NaNo news, today I'd like to discuss the main drawback to performing this exercise. See, for my money, balls-out writing fosters lazy writing. And man, I'm doing a ton of it. In some cases, I don't worry--like if I'm rolling along and run into a blank for a good metaphor, I just type a long underline and move on. Or, say I encounter a new character and need a name--I grab the first one that comes to mind. That's the kind of stuff that's easy to fill in or change later. But other stuff--like all those "was" sentences...they make me nervous. Once I write something, I have a helluva time imagining it written another way. Well, that's not entirely true. I can re-work it, re-structure it--but in doing so, I run the risk of forcing it into something awkward. Hate when that happens. If you'll remember a post from a couple weeks ago, I can spend an hour on one sentence, so the prospect of of spending an hour on each sentence of the manuscript makes me queasy as hell.'s nice to think that at the end of the month, I'll have a pretty good grasp of the story. Not the entire book of course, because even after 50,000 words, there will still be about another 30,000 to write. (How depressing is that?)

I keep reminding myself that, according to legend, Lani Diane Rich wrote a NaNo novel, spent a year editing it, then voila: "Time Off For Good Behavior" and a Rita Award.

Yep, it could happen to me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things That Go R-r-r-r-ring in the Night

So I'm in the middle of a dream...something about being held captive by a rather handsome bad-boy from whom an old high school guy friend is trying to free us. Then that escapade is suddenly over and I'm reading a report of prescriptions I've used. (Sidenote: WTF?)

Suddenly the doorbell rings.

The dream, I think.

Or was it?

Is there anything worse than waking from a dream to wonder if what woke you was part of the dream or based in reality??

I don't move a muscle, remaining as silent as possible while my heart beats out of my chest.

No sound.

I picture myself coming in from the grocery store earlier with bags under each arm. I picture that flick of the lock that didn't quite engage all the way.

Is my front door securely LOCKED???

Finally, after ten minutes, I tip toe to the extra bedroom--the one with a window overlooking the driveway and street. (Naturally, I can't get real close to it since there's a host of computer debris standing in the way.) Careful not to make any noise, I twist the blinds open and bend into an interesting contortion in order to look outside.

Nothing I can see but fog...but then my roof obscures much of the view.

Decide to bite the bullet and creep downstairs where I peer through the peephole. (Is there a more useless invention?? I can't make out SHIT through that thing.)

Meanwhile, I wonder if someone is standing silently on the other side of the door.

Thump, thump, thump. (That's my heart, not the possible doorbell ringer.)

In the darkness, I do the Helen Keller thing, waiting to feel the familiar shape of the deadbolt. Seems to be in the proper position.

I stealth my way back upstairs and sit on the bed. Think about posting something on Facebook but don't wanna freak out people on the east coast who might be up reading it.

Don't turn on the TV because I wanna be able to hear every last sound.

The minutes drag on...then they turn to hours...and I finally fall asleep, only to wake up late for work.

Sometimes it SUCKS to be single.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday

From October in 2007

25 Other Letters--Pick One

Years ago, back in another lifetime, I worked for the company that syndicated The Richard Simmons Show (yes, darlings--it was my big brush with, er, "celebrity").

Anyway, I handled the 10 million dollars worth of advertising placed with us, and we retained 2-1/2 minutes of of commercial time, so that meant placing 5 spots somewhere in the show each day, five days a week, for the period of the buy which was 3 months. Simple, right? Except our biggest account was General Foods, and their contract stipulated a specific requirement: no bumping up next to other ads that would make the consumer go, "euw"...

In other words, no scheduling our Preparation H commercials to lead into Cheerios.

Which got me to thinking in California we have something on the ballot called Propostion H. Now, without even knowing what it's about, I'm not sure I can vote for something called Proposition H. I mean, couldn't they have picked another letter? Every time an ad comes on for it, I start laughing and I miss what the issue is.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do Writers Dream Differently?

"Other people's dreams," my father used to tell me, "are the most boring stories in the world."

Well, folks. Prepare for boredom--'cuz I just have to write this one down.

So there I was, gambling at a (non-existent) local casino, playing slots. All of a sudden, my machine froze, bright lights blinked on and off, and a sign flashed "BIG WINNER."

Clearly, I'd hit something huge. Now, this being a dream and all, I couldn't quite make out HOW huge. I kept trying to count the a comma or a decimal point somewhere. The best I could make out, I'd either won hundreds of dollars or thousands.

Being a seasoned gambler, I waited patiently for the gaming clerk to arrive for the payout. Eventually, a young woman showed up, asked for my I.D., and departed to obtain my winnings.

She returned with my I.D. and a small envelope. I peeked inside, retrieved a check and zeroed in on the amount: EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!

Yikes! (In my dream state, I'm pretty sure my heart rate skyrocketed.)

Meanwhile, I called Ann and Marty, telling them to get down to the casino--exciting things were happening. I pulled out the check again, to bask in all its glory and discovered...huh?? Wha...happened? Instead of seeing MY name as the Payee, I saw "Delores Willings."

After a brief moment of panic, I calmed down. Mistakes happen, I reasoned. Somehow they typed in the wrong person's name. Immediately, I set about trying to rectify the situation, starting with using the "need service" button on the slot machine.

When that didn't summon anyone, I went in search of "security," and found myself re-routed several times. Finally, Ann and Marty showed up and I reached inside my purse to show them the check...only THIS time, only the stub was left.

The check was GONE!

Another mysterious turn of events!

After mulling the situation over, I figured out the nefarious scheme to which I'd obviously been subjected--the old I.D. switcheroo. To wit: when I sent my I.D. with the casino clerk, this Delores chick somehow intercepted the transaction, substituting HER I.D. for mine so that the check would be made out to her. Then she stole the check from my purse (not sure why she left the stub).

If my theory were to prove correct, I would now discover my I.D. missing...and sure enough, it was gone. Because, I reasoned, the one returned to me was not mine but Delores's. And along with the 80 thousand smackers, she'd retrieved her I.D.

Totally bummed, I finally located the Head of Security. With a sad smile, he reached inside his breast pocket and produced my driver's license.

"Looking for this?" he asked.

End of dream.

Weird, huh? Pretty detailed. And a handsome show of analytical powers, eh?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lose It!

Hey, remember my FIVE FOR FALL quest? This week I downloaded an APP to my Droid to make things more interesting. It's called "Lose It!" and--best of all--it's free!

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know we've all done the food logs, the exercise logs, the calorie counting. But this APP actually makes it kinda fun!

First you enter all your info--gender, age, weight, goal, etc. Then it even asks you how many pounds you wanna lose per week and by when, taking that data and calculating how many calories you can have per day.

Next you start entering your intake, and this is the interesting part. For instance, at lunch I eat one of Amy's organic burritos. It asks me: "Search for food?" Or "Scan barcode?" Why, SCAN BARCODE of course, because how much FUN is that? Ding ding, click click, shutter snap and voila! All the nutrition for my burrito shows up on my phone and it's one keystroke from there to put it into my daily total. Better yet, I only have to do it once--when I eat an Amy's burrito again, I just call it up from my food list.

Meanwhile, my daily log automatically updates to display how many calories I have left for the day.

And, yep. When you enter exercise, it adds calories available back in! (Talk about visual incentive for hopping on the ol' Dreadmill!)

So I suppose y'all are waiting for an update on my progress since announcing my Five For Fall quest here. of yesterday, I'd lost about two pounds.

Today they had returned.


Hey I'm no newbie at this. I know weight fluctuates--and I also know my ancient scale is slightly demented.

I shall persevere!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not What I'd Call Progress

I said stay tuned, didn't I?

Well, fell free to change the channel cuz I ain't got nuthin' to report. Oh, I tried. Truly, I did.

On Saturday morning when I'm more apt to have...say...spaghetti...or popcorn maybe...for breakfast, I had friggin' oatmeal. And may I say there's something about eating it at home that turns it into a 3-slurp meal? (What's up with that?)

For lunch I had a half a sandwich, not a whole one.

And then...okay...the big downfall. Blogreader Joe took me to my favorite restaurant for a belated birthday dinner. BUT. We split EVERYTHING. Doesn't that count at all?? Half a Caprese salad, half an order of steamed-friggin-broccoli, half an order of salmon...half an order of garlic mashed potatoes...okay, so maybe that last bit did me in. (Not to mention the signature dessert BUTTER CAKE with fresh whipped cream they brought for free on account of Blogreader Joe being so testy about things.) Still...when I would have had an Irish coffee, I ordered a Vodka tonic instead. Doesn't that mean anything to the Diet Gods???

Okay, so how about the 20-less-calorie per slice whole wheat bread I bought. Or the 10-calorie crap masquerading as healthy mayo?

Oh! Oh! And I only had ONE serving of everything at Ann's house for dinner on Sunday night and--much to her consternation and dismay--I PASSED on what she called CAKE "that's really very light."


Huge sigh.

Yep. You guessed it.

For the week...................I GAINED ONE POUND.

Obviously, more desperate measures are called for.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Flashback Friday the random date generator takes us far back into the earliest days of my blog! February 11, 2005 to be precise. That seems like FOREVER ago, doesn't it?? So without further's what was going on in the mind of Randyland back then....

Shhh...Don't Tell Anyone...

...but, I love the rain.

Hey, I’m born and raised in Southern California where every damn day looks like the next, so give me a break. You know how sleep deprivation makes you hallucinate? Well, too many sunny days in a row has the same effect. People need a little down time from all that relentless cheer. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had those puffy white things they call clouds. But noooooo….nothing but blue skies for days on end. Enough to drive a person nuts.

Don’t get me wrong. Southern Californians are an embarrassment when it rains. All the local TV stations go on STORM WATCH (in that James Earl Jones kinda voice), we drive too fast (or too slow) and we still dress in t-shirts and shorts. Umbrellas? Raincoats? What are they for? By the time we could dig them out from under the bellbottoms and platforms, the rain’s over so why bother?

Don’t be fooled by the Rose Bowl telecast—our weather is simply not what it’s cracked up to be. Sure, we can surf in the morning and snow ski in the afternoon, but who needs all that sun and exercise? Certainly not Southern Californians who spend half their time in the gym and the other half in the tanning salon.

Yes, rain spells relief from 365 days of pure monotony, and the only people who bitch about it are transplanted New Yorkers and homeowners with leaky roofs.

One more thing…Betcha don't know the best part about Southern California rainstorms, do ya?...Give up? Okay, I'll spill: when they're over, for at least three or four days, the L. A. River actually contains water.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Five For Fall

Okay, so I realize the title of this blog is Randy Writes Romance, but hey. It's MY blog. Deal with it.

Five For Fall refers to my current in, my commitment to lose five pounds per month (roughly over Fall--hence the name) before my next cruise. I mean, really. Clearly, that's an obtainable goal, right?

I plan to use my blog to report in on all the little things I'm doing to get there. Er, as you can see, I'm a little late in beginning, but oh well.

On Monday, I hit the treadmill (first time in weeks) for 25 minutes. At my stepmom's house for dinner that night, I drank one small glass of wine instead of two. Oh, and I ditched the scoops of tuna (loaded with mayo, no doubt) on my Subway salad. (By the way, my new go-to for fast food! The Subway salad bar.)

On Tuesday, let's see...I'm sure I took another fabulous step toward slimosity. Ha. New word. Can't remember what it was, though.

Last night, I DRAGGED myself onto the treadmill again, DESPITE coming up with excellent excuses to avoid it just moments before. AND, during the workday, I continuously walked back and forth past the most DIVINE smelling bagels a vendor had brought in.

Today I skipped oatmeal for breakfast. Yeah, I know...that's the wrong direction, but still. Less calories! (I'm in that obstinate minority who refuses to believe in the whole eat-more-often-to-keep-the-metabolism-going group.)

So there you have my progress thus far. Five measly pounds a month is all I ask. Trust me, fifteen pounds by late December would make ALL the difference in what clothes I take along to the Caribbean.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ashley's Homecoming Night!

For my friends and family not on Facebook, we now take a break from our regularly scheduled program (ha--if indeed I was blogging regularly or on any kinda schedule) to bring you photos of my great-niece Ashley on the night she was crowned Homecoming Queen!

Ashley and brother Jake

Left to right: Proud grandmother Polly with arm around little brother Zac, mother and former Homecoming Queen herself Jamie, Ashley, dad Jon, brother Jake, and aunt Mindy

Friday, September 30, 2011

Flashback Friday

Okay, many of you remember THIS post from June 13, 2005 (courtesy of the random date generator)? It's interesting to note that I left out a significant detail...that his guy was a semi-famous comedic actor from a well-known sitcom....

A Single Romance Writer Laments

Okay, picture this:

I’m at a bar with some friends when I run into a guy I’ve met on a couple other occasions. Let’s say that on the male version of the Bo Derek scale for looks he rates about a 6.5. However, he’s bright, entertaining, stable and single—in other words, possesses the minimum qualifications for dating material. One of my friends even claims the guy has a “thing” for me.

So, he goes to say good night, leans over to give me a kiss and whispers: “I’d sure like to sweat all over you.”


I don’t even remember what kind of reply I sputtered.

Then he says, “What kind of lingerie do you have at home?”


How does a well-educated, successful man arrive at the conclusion that these are good come-on lines? Trust me, I’ve done nothing to make him think I’m the town slut.

Then, beginning to wonder, I think: Uh-oh. He knows I write romance novels.

In some people’s minds, this translates to: She writes about sex.

So is that what prompted the pathetic stab at a pick-up? Does he imagine he’s just lifted a piece of dialogue from one of my books?

All I can say is, eeuuuuwww.

On the other hand, if the guy were a “10,” I might have said, “you’re place or mine.”

(Okay, just kidding about that last part. Maybe.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flashback Friday

No Flashback Friday, folks...because (here's a flashback for ya)...I'm in Puerto Vallarta celebrating my birthday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sneak Peek!

Geez, do you realize how easy it would be to misspell one of those words in that title?? I'm about 99% sure I got it right.

Anyway, so guess who's been busy updating her, I 

Exactly! Me! 

I still plan to add some fun stuff like, Where In The World is Randy, and DAMN, I'm having a helluva time figuring out how to redirect my old one to the new, but for now...


(Crap. Nothing's working right today--that link is supposed to be underlined and in blue. Just trust me and click on it, 'kay?)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Flashback Friday

Not difficult to choose an old post for today's Flashback Friday. As the tenth anniversary of that fateful day approaches, I'd like to re-visit the post below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 (Updated)

Never Forget

My first memory of Mike was when he sat down beside me in a crowded economics class circa 1972. He wasn’t hard to miss, nor forget. A portly guy with an easy smile, a ruddy face, and vacant blue eyes.

His guide dog sat obediently at his feet.

I didn’t really meet Mike until four years later in a graduate seminar in Interpersonal Dynamics. We’d been assigned to the same group and would spend an entire quarter on a project designed to teach us how to work effectively as a team. The task was to pick a project—as banal as putting together a volley ball game or having a dinner party—then observe the process of how we went about doling out tasks, assuming leadership roles, dealing with conflict, and so forth. All skills to be used later when we entered the world armed with freshly-minted MBAs.

Besides Mike and me, our group consisted of an older Asian female mom, a transfer student from Spain, a highly-charged Type-A male, and an easy going young man who always went with the flow.

For some reason, we didn’t take an easy path toward satisfying the requirements of the class. We didn’t just plan a dinner—we planned a 24-hour, overnight stay, at my parents’ house up in Lake Arrowhead.

I’ll never forget our arrival. Instantly, as Mike and his dog stumbled into furniture and as the toddler (brought by the Asian mom along with an adult sister) yanked everything in sight off tables, I questioned the wisdom of having invited this motley crew to my folks’ pristine home. But in the end, we all settled down, accomplished our task, and at the end of the quarter received an A on the paper that I mostly wrote.

Twenty-seven years would pass before I saw Mike again. This time on television. Larry King, to be exact.

A couple days after 9-1-1.

Do you remember the story of the blind man who walked down 78 floors to get out of the first tower?

My old friend, Mike.

Read the riveting account of how Mike escaped on that fateful morning here.

***Edited today, September 9, 2011, to add that Mike has written a book titled Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero. Here's the link at Amazon.

Ground Zero, January 2002.