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“Forever Wild Sanctuary” Unscathed from Blue Cut Wild Land Fire

From Out of the Ashes

If you sat spellbound watching the news as the devastating wildfire raced into the High Desert, you were most likely wondering how any thing could survive.

The good news is that many homes and ranches in the Oak Hills and Phelan areas were spared. And where fire encroached deeper into the neighborhoods, fire fighting units deployed men and equipment to stand fast against the blast furnace-like flames. One critical non-profit business that I wondered about was Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary  — their close proximity to the fire and ash.

Defending the Sanctuary

Ready to Defend, a unit of fire equipment is stationed in the neighborhood.

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Heir Today — Gone Tomorrow: Tracing Your Family

Genealogy is a growing trend

Years ago trying to trace relatives was like digging for King Tut. You knew he was there but the cost to trace him was way beyond your means. Lower costs and the Internet have changed all that — you can afford it now. Look for free networks and resources.

Geneaology

Some of the research is free compared to just a few years ago

You can even submit your DNA tests for under $100 to find out if you’re on the right track. It used to cost several hundred dollars without a guarantee that it would help you in your quest to find a base for your heritage hunt.

With the advent of the video blogs and online YouTube Channels, you can find free help and advice from professionals right from the comfort of your home.

Ready to figure out your Family Tree without hefty membership fees? Then you can visit two ladies that are full-time researchers:

Gena and Jean Genealogy Journeys activities

Have you been listening to the podcasts? They are posting these every 2nd and 4th Sundays (they are pre-recorded), 4pm (Pacific time). You can listen to them from their blog: http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and each podcast is accompanied by a blog that includes additional information on resources for research. Some of the topics coming up deal with Irish Immigration (on 27 March); Frozen Foods and Refrigeration, a tribute to Mothers (on Mother’s Day) from their listeners; Ocean Travel (from the earliest days up to 1912); Advertising and how it has evolved and affected our ancestors . . . well, there’s a lot of stuff coming up. But you can also listen to the recent ones from that blogspot’s archive, too. The primary topic is “Social History” and how it is important to family history research.

Join a Club

Some Internet searches allow you to find data for free

Some Internet searches allow you to find data for free

If you do join a Genealogy website or visit a local genealogy club, make sure that your online trail of sources is redirected to your own home folder and not to the “Clubs” folder. Collecting the data is half the fun, but finding everyone’s relatives in your folder is horrible. Remember to direct all your research to your private email. Ask for help if you need it.

You can also check out: http://www.scgsgenealogy.com and see if they have some free downloads for beginners. We all have to start somewhere.

How else will you be able to know if Uncle Tim was really in the military or ran off with your Mom’s sister on your Dad’s side? Hhmmm?

Rusty

Beware: Kraft Foods Puts Out Recall for Mac & Cheese

Check Your Mac Boxes

Check Your Mac Boxes

According to reports, the Kraft Foods Company has sent out a general recall for its signature mac dinners. The recall affects only Mac & Cheese regular dinners in the 7.25 oz. size product. Look for the date stamp: “Best When Used By” dates of “September 18, 2015” through “October 11, 2015”, with the code C2 below the date embossed on each individual box.

Other later reports said that metal pieces were found in the product boxes. The recall affects 6.5 million boxes.

If you locate one or wish to find out more about the recall go to :

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm438700.htm

According to Kraft, eight consumer complaints have been logged about the product, but there have been no reported injuries. “We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed,” Kraft said in a statement on Tuesday.

The recall affects 242,000 cases of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner that have been distributed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and some South American nations. The Associated Press reported that it amounts to about 6.5 million boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, one of the Kraft Foods Group’s signature brands.

Consumers who purchased this product should not eat it. They should return it to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund. Consumers also can contact Kraft Foods Consumer Relations at 1-800-816-9432 between 9 am and 6 pm (Eastern) for a full refund. There was no indication when the recall would end. Products purchased with end dates after the recall dates listed should be considered safe. It was also stressed that only product boxes with C2 stamped under the dates were in the recall. The C2 indicates a certain production line location where the metal contamination was found.

Rusty LaGrange

This post has been provided as a public notice and does not reflect any personal view or liability on this blog network.

15 Ways to Create a Fun Valentine’s Day with Family and Pets

Vintage, Antiques, and Candy

Sugar Shack

Valentine’s Day, that special day of the year for celebrating love and romance, will be here soon. Stores such as Sugar Shack in Oro Grande, a community in California’s Mohave Desert, are getting prepared.

Sugar Shack is a candy store plus vintage pieces and antiques. I saw an adorable sign for grandparents on their Facebook page today that says “GRANDPARENTS’ HOME ALWAYS OPEN”. Valentine’s Day can be fun for everyone. A typical gift on February 14th may include candy gift wrapped in red or pink with hearts. However, it’s okay to get creative with your list of things to give. When you think of love, what do you think of? Your beau? Spouse? Children, grandchildren? How about a pet?

Valentine's Day pets

Dress up your pet for Valentine’s Day

 

Here is a fun shopping list of gifts and things to do as you prepare to make this Valentine’s Day the best ever:

  1. Wrap candy in a festive bag, and tie ribbons with a key
  2. Give a gift of flowers to plant in a garden.
  3. Enter a Valentine’s Day give-away contest (hint: Sugar Shack and a shop next door, Silver Trails, are each giving away a basket of goodies and gifts).
  4. Go to an Improv Show.
  5. Make your own candlelight dinner at home.
  6. Buy your pet a big pretty red or pink bow (or tie for the male gender pet).
  7. Wrap up purple or pink stationery to give to your young daughter who loves to write (my parents did that for me one year — I was thrilled and have never forgotten it).
  8. Purchase a fancy vintage sugar container and fill it with red hots (hint…you might find something like this in the Silver Trails basket).
  9. Take your dog for a walk and treat both of you with treats.
  10. Surprise your hubby or wifey or significant other with a basket filled with bubble bath, candle, favorite CD, chocolate, favorite magazine, almonds, and berries.
  11. Give your granddaughter a red or pink outfit for Valentine’s Day, a pink ball — and bounce the ball outside with her.
  12. Give your grandson a red cap, red ball, and red car (a toy one preferably unless you’re up to buying a car for your older grandson) — and go outside with him to play ball.
  13. Cook a special breakfast that includes the favorite foods of your spouse and children.
  14. Give your pet a new toy.
  15. Treat yourself to dessert!

If you choose some of the listed items above for your Valentine’s Day plans, I’d love to hear from you. Share your Valentine’s Day fun and creative experience in the comment section provided.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How To Seduce Script Readers to Love Your Script

Those who wish to be a screenwriter know that it’s tough to break into the industry. Half the battle is writing the script, the other is getting past the gatekeepers known as studio readers…

Wannabe screen writers had an evening session with Robert Flaxman on video hosted at Hesperia Library by High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club (HDCWC). The Wednesday event gave insights to the mysteries of screen writing and how to best develop a well-structured script that will get seen by script readers.

The hour-long video, an excerpt of a series of writing seminars offered through Creative Screenwriting.com, pointed out some of the typical problems that even experienced and professional screenwriters make.

“It’s tricky. It’s a balancing act to get enough dialogue with scene details. You only give a reader what “they” are doing ( the exposition) and what “they” are saying (the dialogue). Anymore than that and the reader might get confused. If the script reader gets confused then it won’t go much further,” says Flaxman to a live audience in his seminar.

This #1 rated free screening of the session — “Seducing The Studio Reader” — made some of the mystique fall away. With 15 in attendance, viewers found the insights to scriptwriting well worth the time. The HDCWC hosts occasional events at Hesperia Library and holds its general membership meetings on second Saturdays of the month from 10am-noon at Apple Valley Library on Dale Evans Parkway. Next meeting is January 10th. Guests are welcome.

 

Rusty LaGrange

High Desert’s Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away Ends Saturday Dec. 6th

By this Saturday, we’ll have the final winners of the “Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away.” Have you signed-in? Anyone is eligible to win if they stop by at these listed Vintage and Antique shops around the Victor Valley. Earlier, shops sponsored to hold baskets which were filled with a variety of collectables, antiques, foods, and specialty items for the season. No obligation to buy. No tickets. It’s a free drawing offered by bloggers from High Desert Bogging.com to shoppers who enter their names and e-mail addresses. We just wish to give back to the communities who have helped our High Desert blogging group grow.

So far, Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques in Victorville has gathered 135 entries. Vintage Gypsies in Apple Valley already received 40 entries, and another 45 signed-up at The Desert Cottage in Hesperia. See the asterisk for current stores awaiting the drawing this Saturday. Winners need not be present to win.

The first baskets were given away in November but due to the overwhelming interest in hosting new baskets, the second give-away continues until Dec. 6th. What are you waiting for?

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

1.      * Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA

2.      * The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

3.      * Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA

4.      Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA (past basket host)

5.      Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA (past basket host)

  Let us know if you won a basket. We love feedback!

Rusty LaGrange

Basket Winners Announced for “Enchanted Treasures’ and “Salvaged & Tattered” Vintage Shops Held Nov 16

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.

 

It was a beautiful day in the High Desert for a Autumn Basket Give-Away. The first vintage shop Angie and I traveled to, out in Oro Grande on National Trails Highway, was Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. Old Town Oro Grande has several old whitewashed brick buildings that are receiving facelifts and new tenants. But Linda Marie’s has been an anchor store for many years, and the first to sponsor a basket in her shop.

If you haven’t made the trek out there, it’s filled with outdoor imagination. Wander through little mazes of amazing stuff. Booth owners make changes often so the inventory moves. Here, patio furniture and almost anything get a new upcycled life. At the front is an antiques and collectibles shop housed in an old adobe turned showcase. “It’s a solid building,” says Linda, “even when the trains go by, the glass items may ring and jingle, but nothing falls.”

Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures is just down the street from these new shops. In fact, she opened a second shop, Salvaged & Tattered, with the assistance of vendor Virginia Martinez and others. This shop is flaunting a white and cream, lacy vintage theme. It makes you want to stop and gaze  around at the many designs and sparkly jewels, lamps, and bric-a-brac that make vintage shops so charming.

                                                                                               Owner of Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

                                                                                  Owner of Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

The drawing for the winner of the basket sponsored by Enchanted Treasures was held at 11 am. And the winner is Ceily Highburger from Colorado, who happened to be on vacation out West! What a surprise.

 Sponsored Basket Winner Announced

Sponsored Basket Winner Announced at Salvaged & Tattered

We walked down the street to see how Salvaged & Tattered was doing. In only a month, since their doors opened, manager “Vee”  agreed that the traffic into the shop has been very steady. And that’s understandable with the lure of many shops in one convenient location.

Victorian Cream and Lace
Victorian Cream and Lace

 

Our Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away was also planned for this Saturday drawing, so with a faux drum roll please …

Ruth Guffey from the High Desert was drawn as the winner of a beautiful wire basket full of vintage goodies, some food items, and little secrets stuffed inside. Congratulations, ladies!

 Vee Martinez greets shoppers at new store

Vee Martinez greets shoppers at Linda Marie’s newest store

 

 

Another door down is Silver Trails specializing in native Indian jewelry and antiques. Engaged couple Patrick Morton and Maddie enjoy collectibles and hunting for antiques that shoppers will love. Just open 30 days ago, traffic and sales are encouraging. It’s early yet, so vintage shoppers can find some new goodies at Silver Trails. They also offer lay-away. They are another one of our newest basket sponsor for our Bloggers Basket Give-Away. You’ll find them at 19248 National Trails Hwy. Their number is (760) 484-6300.

Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
                 Shopping in Silver Trails  Shopping in Silver Trails

Besides the fact that Angie and I will be returning December 6th for our basket drawing at Silver Trails, another store opening in December promises to fill our sweet tooths. An old-fashioned candy store with sodas and other goodies is tempting us. Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

 Open! Open ! Open!

 Later, we’ll meet another newcomer to High Desert’s sudden bloom of vintage shops.

Rusty

 

Vintage Gypsies Join “Autumn Basket Give-away”

 

A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop's odds & ends

A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop’s odds & ends

 

Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Historically, gypsies have been known to travel, so when Vintage Gypsies moved into Old Town district of Apple Valley, the move was well worth it. Reopening last month, Vintage Gypsies displays antiques and collectibles, outdoor décor, and their own line of scented lotions and handmade soaps. Antiques above all else, shoppers stop and gaze up, around, and down to take it all in. “We really do like the extra attention we’re getting. Old Town location is great,” said Becky, during the Grand Opening. She and her partners, Kathy and Kevin, all seem so

 

much happier with their new digs.   Their shop is now in a row of antique shop storefronts facing across from Mollie’s Country Kitchen, on Happy Trails Highway, Hwy 18, Apple Valley at the east end of town. The shop hours are 10-5 Wednesday through Saturday, with Sunday through Tuesday closed. Find them on Facebook, too. Those extra days off  will help them buy, repair, and refresh their inventory of eclectic goodies each week.

Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th    Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th

We’re proud to announce that Vintage Gypsies is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items, coffee gift card and mug, and samples of their house brand of scented soap and lotion — too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Overall, three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.

And why is all this happening? Because High Desert Blogging.com and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into our local High Desert communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.

Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods, and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

See Vintage Gypsies listed below, or call (760) 552-5851 or contact them on Facebook.

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

  1.  Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA
  2.  Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  3. Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  4. Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA
  5. The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

 Our first three baskets will be given away this Saturday, Nov. 15th between 10:30 and noon at stores #2, 3 & 5. Winners do not need to be present to win.

 Rusty

More news to come…

 

Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Latest Shop on 7th Street

At Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Kelli, daughter of owners, admires the Green Room

At Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Kelli, daughter of owners, admires the Green Room

Scott and Daughter Kelli greet shoppers on the weekends

Scott and daughter Kelli greet shoppers on the weekends

One of the newest antique and vintage shops is Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques. The odd name and the eclectic collections draw in curious vintage shoppers. There’s no disappointment at all. As you wander throughout, individual consignment rooms are filled by the whimsy of the booth renter, the collections become like night and day, antique and repurposed, tattered and loved, collectible and curious. 

 

Scott and Debra Pavone, and their daughters Kelli and Brandi, just hosted their Grand Opening of Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques to a crowd of eager shoppers last month. The owners’ daughters jumped right into the “up cycling” trend and crafts venture of their own, making personalized and themed coffee mugs and tile coasters.

 

Find Your Ps and Qs is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items. Too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.

 

And why is all this happening? Because High Desert Blogging.com and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into the communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.Love pink? Step into the room that honors it.

Love pink? Step into the room that honors it.

 

Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

Scott and Debra’s shop is easy to find on downtown 7th street at the renovated Metropolitan Plaza in Victorville. Look for Gridiron Pizza, Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques is to the far right. The shop was formerly a doctor’s or dentist’s office many years ago, and now houses a variety of collections in small rooms and quaint alcoves managed by consignment booth renters or by the owners. Their shop is open 10-5 daily, except for Sundays, call (760) 951-2262 for more info or email FindYourPsandQsAntiques@gmail.com.

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

1.      Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA

2.      Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande,

3.      Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA

4.      Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA

5.      The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

 

 More news coming…

Rusty

 

Less than a week before we hit the trail through NaNo Land

 

Plot bunny

With only just six days to go, are you ready to hit the trail through NaNo Land?

 

As promised I’m back with more NaNoWriMo trivia, helps and hints.

 

NaNo Challenges are traditions that help the writer reach their 50,000 work count goal. At any point along the trail you may encounter one of the following:

 

  • The Traveling Shovel of Death – this is a challenge to include at some point a shovel into your story. More often than not the shovel will be used to bury or bludgeon someone – but not necessarily so.
  • NaNoWriMo Anagram – this challenge asks you to name a character using an anagram of letters in NaNoWriMo. For example, I named a character “Orwin Mano”.
  • Word-a-day Challenge – usually a thread on your regional forum where a new word is listed every day and you must work it into your story that day.  Many participants return to the forum thread and post the sentence.
  • Word Sprints – this challenge also known as “Word Wars” can be done at a Write-In (more on that later) or online (Via forums, Facebook, Twitter). A time limit is set, 15 minutes or more, and the challenge is to see who can produce the most words during that time period.
  • Guilt Monkeys – the Guilt Monkey comes to us thanks to the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty. Guilt Monkeys will nag you to finish your daily word counts. Here’s how it works – your ML gives out numbered envelopes at random that contain the Guilt Monkeys. To track the movement of the Guilt Monkeys there is thread to post on (Which Monkey was passed to who and why.)You can pass the Guilt Monkey off to another WriMo if you:
    • Reach your 50,000 word goal
    • Compete in Cauldron of Doom Challenge  (you do not need to win),
    • Win a Word Sprint,
    • Make a donation to NaNoWrimo.

 

If you don’t want to burden others with your Guilt Monkeys the MLs have a foster home for them until they can be adopted by someone in need of Guilt Monkey love.

 

  • The Cauldron of Doom – this is a difficult challenge that comes to us from Lansing MI. In this challenge the participants must complete 1250 words, in 20 minutes (I’ve seen various word counts for this challenge.)
  • Plot Bunnies – as John Steinbeck said, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” Plot bunnies are really cute and cuddly but you have to be cautious with them. They can lead you to some really wonderful vista of ideas or into a box canyon of despair.

You’ve been working on your novel and now you are stuck – where do you get help? The following are great places to go:

  • Write-Ins – NaNo public gatherings. For a Write-in WriMos gather at public place such as restaurant or coffee house and write. It’s that simple. During the event challenges may be issued, prizes awarded and suggestions make.
  • NaNoWriMo Forums – there are lots of threads with wonderful suggestions
  • Adoption Society – one of my favorite forums.  On this forum you will find abandoned titles, characters and plots looking for a good home.
  • The Dare Machine – If you want add a twist to your story then mosey on over to the Young Writers Program home page (ywp.nanwrimo.org) and try out the Dare Machine. Push the button and do what it says, for example “have one of your characters go missing for a chapter”.
  • Inner Editor Containment Unit – This also come to us from the YWP. Draw a box with a big red button. Now imagine your inner editor – what does she/he/it look like? Sound like? Now push the button, you inner editor has now been removed from your head and into the IECU for the next 30 days and will be kept occupied proof reading the NaNo Website. December first they will be returned to you.

 

See you at the trail head on November 1st!

 

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