Vacation: The Number Three Worst City in the USA and Why I Disagree

Recently Reno, Nevada was listed as the number three worst city to visit. OK, that got my attention since I live in Reno and think it is a pretty darn nice city. Here’s the link and here’s why I strongly disagree:

The events hosted here are terrific. Where else can you see a camel race? (it’s a mere technicality, but the race takes place in Virginia City) we also have hot air balloon races, and the famous Reno Air Races. Among all these sensational events is the Tour De Nez (pronounced NAY).

Tour de Nez 2010

Tour de Nez 2010 (Photo credit: RenoTahoe)

This is an annual cycling race that has been hosted in Reno for many years. New management has affected the race’s publicity and yesterday’s turn-out was only so-so.  But it’s the cycling fans that make Reno such a great place to visit. I can’t think of a nicer group of people. Yesterday’s event attracted a number of families and dog lovers. Why dog lovers? Well, it seemed I missed the memo, but a large number of people must have gone to the Reno animal shelter and said, “Hey it’s the Tour De Nez, I need a puppy, STAT!” Just kidding. But, there were puppies and dogs every where. My favorite was a sweet little Pomeranian named Gracie who sported leopard print Doggles.

Courtesy of Brad21Photo Tour De Nez 2013

Courtesy of Brad21Photo Tour De Nez 2013

Nothing is cuter, plus by strategically being seated in the basket of her owner’s bike, she placed third with her owner Dean just seconds behind, placing fourth in the Clunkers division. But, I digress. Back to the fans.

Cycling fans are among the crème de la crème of fans out there. They are a clean cut bunch, as I mentioned before, family oriented, polite, supportive, accepting, open and happy to know you. No one got rowdy, unless you count the belly dancers near the back end of the park, which I don’t. I have to admit it lent a certain Mediterranean flair to the otherwise American upper middle-class ambiance. But, nevertheless, the whole day was rather peaceful. It was a safe and fun environment to bring your kids and pets alike.

Was it hot? Yes. Was it windy? Yes. None of these things are my cup of tea. I’m really not the out-of-doors type, ask anybody. But, this was my husbands deal. He was in his glory. He knew everyone. Every ten steps he was greeting and shaking hands with someone he knew. He knew several people in the three races we watched, plus others who competed in races we missed. I can say with strong conviction that Reno is a friendly town.

Reno, Nevada should be one of the top cities to visit, not considered the worst. Mid-town is up-and-coming with hip, locally owned restaurants serving fresh vegetables and meats without hormones and other nasty chemicals. We boast a co-op grocer, Sundance books is one of the few independently owned retail bookstores in town, the Truckee river has never looked more beautiful.

running through downtown

Reno has history. Reno was a city made out of bricks, after all they were manufactured right here! If you pay a visit to Reno you will see brick buildings designed with panache and class, like the Riverside Hotel on the Truckee River.

Reno Riverwalk

Don’t you think it is well worth your while to visit my town? What is so great about your city? I welcome your comments!

Related links: Brad21Photo 

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Speaking of Reading, Anyone Know Who Karl May Is?

Joseph Kempler’s favorite author as a young boy was Karl May pronounced (MY). Who? Most Americans probably never heard of him since he was a famous German author during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Often referred to as the Louis L’Amour of  of Germany, Karl May is famous for creating two endearing characters: Old Shatterhand, a strong young German engineer who can knock someone out with one punch, and Winnetou, a wise Apache chief.

A portrait of the German writer Karl May by Er...

A portrait of the German writer Karl May by Erwin Raupp. Français : Portrait de l’écrivain Allemand Karl May par Erwin Raupp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interestingly, although Karl May wrote a popular western series, he never actually got further west than Buffalo, New York. Most of his knowledge of the old west came from guide books! Adolf Hitler was also a huge fan of Karl May’s books and handed out copies to German soldiers.

When Joseph and his family were forced to move from their Krakow apartment and relocate to a tiny, unheard of village, there was little room for non-essentials like books. However,  Malka, always an indulgent mother, allowed Joseph to bring his basket of beloved books, including his Karl May collection.

Read more about Joseph in this sample of The Altered I, a Holocaust Memoir.

Preorder The Altered I here.

Related Article: Why Karl May Captivates Germany

The Maze to Amazing: Organic Layering

Many books on writing will tell the new author that outlining is a must. If you get stuck and haven’t outlined, then it is your fault because you didn’t work out the plot properly. The following blog post is a fresh take on writing without a plan. Do you outline your plots, or are you more of an organic writer? Does each sentence lead you to destinations unknown? If so, then you may feel the same way as Pamela Morsi does in her fantastic blog about her writing process. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. As always I love to hear your comments.

Writers In The Storm Blog

by Pamela Morsi

As a writer without a plan, I don’t get invited to comment often on my writing process. Telling people, “oh, I just make it up as I go along” tends to annoy my colleagues and confuse newcomers. I’m an organic writer. Or at least that what Donald Maass calls it. Pardon the name dropping, but it’s Donald that got me into this gig.

Orly was reading his new book, 21st Century Fiction and there I was on page whatever as an example of “layering” to create a big book feel. So Orly asked me to write a blog on how I do this.

See my quote above.

This organic business is something I liken to a musician who plays by ear. The inability to read sheet music or to know the difference between a bass clef and a bullhorn, has never limited those individuals who hear…

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The Tricky Thing About Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s can be a confounding disease. Some days are a bear, while other days could make you believe your loved one was improving. On good days, we ( and when I say we, I mean his primary care-giver and sometimes my husband or myself) can get Joe up, out of bed and kept out of bed, fed, dressed, and going through his physical therapy exercises. On bad days it is a total fight. He will absolutely refuse to get up, or he will get up briefly to use the bathroom and then sneak back into bed.

On good days we can talk with him, on bad days he says very little.

Jester reading a book (png version with transp...

Recently Joe wasn’t interested in reading. He still picked up a book or two, and thumbed through the pages, but as for actual reading, nope, he wasn’t having any of it. Now that is sad. I personally love to read, if I no longer felt a passion for the written word, that would be truly grievous to me. The good thing for Joe is that he doesn’t realize he is missing reading, or at least I hope he doesn’t realize it. The words just don’t gel for him, the concepts are hard to grasp, the story lines too complicated. I even tried reading aloud to him, but he said he couldn’t understand what was happening. Truth be told, I only read about thirteen or so pages and I was having trouble with the character’s and plot line, but that is something else!

As is so common with Alzheimer’s some things come and some things go. Sometimes those little neurons connect and send a message where formerly they were missing the intended mark. But, just last week Joe started reading again! Is it the Aricept? We don’t know, but it was something positive.

As is our custom, my husband and I pick Joe up on Thursdays and he spends the entire day with us, that is if it is a good day. This time to lure him out of bed we dangled the book carrot. Long-story short: a client of ours recently moved into a new house and didn’t want any of her old books. Of course I said I would take them off her hands, no problem. We came home with twelve boxes of books! These treasures between the covers desperately needed organizing, so Paul said to his dad, “April needs help sorting books. Come over and help her go through them.” That was all it took. Joe spent about three hours sorting books into piles: those he wanted to take home and those for distribution elsewhere. He kept saying, ” This is quite a collection of books you’ve got here!” It was as if I had brought the bookstore to Joe and he was in high hog heaven.

I have to say it was a really good day.