Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Book Signing

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day for riding my Goldwing over to Books by the Bay for my book signing of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart. The sun glinted off the newly-polished bike, and the look of it hid the fact that it is a 1992 model with almost 144,000 miles on it. When I bought it in 1993, the odometer read around 2,000.

We had to do a bit of shifting around because of a large party in The Grounds Cafe, which is inside the bookstore. But that worked to our advantage as the folks who were there for the signing were able to find seats and gather around a nucleus of comfy chairs for a more cozy feel.

Judy and Karen helped get everything organized and arranged the book display in a more strategic location. Her tripod set up and camera ready, Judy began taking photos. Friend Diana introduced me, and I was off to a fine start.

There could not have been a more attentive, interested crowd. After I read my story, "Did You Ride that Thing?" the audience asked many great questions about my bike and about motorcycling. They listened and followed along in their own books as I read two humorous stories by other contributors. And, the books sold out. Bookstore owner Harold started a waiting list and ordered more copies.

It was such a gratifying and wonderful experience, reading a slice of my life that has been nationally published and having folks buy the book and want me to sign it for them.

Any of us can do this; we all have stories to tell of meaningful or weird or funny things that have happened in our lives. We just need to write them down and share them with the world. There are typically 101 stories in each volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Yours could be one of them, too. Go to and see what upcoming topics one of your life stories might fit. Then get started. See you in the Table of Contents.
~ xoA

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Coastal Mini-Vacation

Bridge over the Rogue River at Gold Beach
How many times had I breezed down Highway 101 on my way to “somewhere else” and wondered what was down a river road or how the beach looked at Nesika? How many times had I wished I’d been going slow enough to pull off at a viewpoint or could explore a waterfront area? Everytime. So, we decided that this time we would follow every nook and cranny, every pull-out, every road or trail that appealed to us. This was my birthday season mini-vacation.

We meandered south on a Sunday morning. Visiting with friends Elaine and Gene in Port Orford, hanging out at the harbor in Gold Beach, pausing for photos all along the coast, and stopping to eat our picnic lunch at a rest stop, we made the 107 miles to Brookings, Oregon, in about six hours.

Cape Sebastian Overlook

Our usual style is pretty frugal -- staying in hostels or mom-and-pop motels. But this time, we decided to splurge, to treat ourselves to a nice place, a real bed and breakfast. We chose a winner in Brookings’ charming South Coast Inn,, where friendly, knowledgeable innkeepers Michael and Cheryl Clines and mom Grace, showered us with hospitality and delicious food. 

 Their gorgeous gardens relaxed and delighted us, and the inn’s convenient location was great, serving as our base over the next two days.

On day one, we drove into Prairie Creek State and National Redwood Park, about sixty miles south, near the Klamath River, in California. We spent a beautiful, tranquil day hiking among the redwoods and taking photos. We ate our picnic lunch in the shadow of “Big Tree,” the largest tree in the park.  

The beginning of the trail

You can get a perspective on the size of the tree
Our second exploring day was for beaches around Brookings. Though there was a bit of fog when we stepped out at Lone Ranch Beach, we could see well and were pleased with our beach walk and the challenge of some of the rocky areas. At Harris Beach Park, the sun was out and the fog had lifted. We saw a large number of family groups out enjoying the water and sandy beach area.


After dinner at Pancho’s on 101 in Brookings, we headed up the Chetco North Bank road to Loeb Park and found it to be a lovely place with campgrounds, river access, and a myrtlewood grove. That was a pleasant and surprising find, and we wished we’d had more time to hike the well-marked trails.

Myrtlewood grove at Loeb Park


The morning of our departure, we had a lovely breakfast and conversation with B&B mates who were driving the coast and circling the Olympic peninsula.  Retracing our path north to Coos Bay, we took time to stop and see some things we'd missed on the way down. 

Arch Rock
It's amazing how a few days away, fairly close to home, can create a different sense of life and self. 

~ xoA

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sharing my Exciting News

The medium-sized mystery box, left by UPS, sat on the tiny wind porch. I hadn’t ordered anything. Examining the label didn’t give me any clues of the contents. Then, my eye fell on the blue illustration that encircled the bottom half of the box, and I read “Simon & Schuster.” Then, it computed. “My BOOKS!”

Last winter, I submitted a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul for their upcoming volume,
Inspiration for the Young at Heart. All stories in the Chicken Soup books are true -- slices of the authors’ lives. Mine is about my motorcycling in the second half of my life and is called “Did You Ride that Thing?”

My story had been accepted for publication, and now, here were my copies. Opening the box, I held my breath and dove through the excess packing paper to reveal the books. What a thrill!

But there was more to come. Our friends Karen and Marilyn, in their enthusiasm, jumped right in and approached Harold Midyette, the owner of Books by the Bay in North Bend, about the book, my story, and my connection to this community. Within the hour, I was meeting with Harold, and we were setting up a book signing for August 27, from 1-3 pm! Now, that’s exciting -- and more than I ever expected to happen. 

But there was more good news to come, this time from a different source. Owner, publisher, and editor of Bakersfield’s Wellness Quarterly, Jerri Neptune, had mailed my hard copy of the Summer Issue. Filled with excitement, I flipped through to page 10 to see my article, “Friendship -- Rx for a Better Life.” The Wellness Quarterly is available for free at various locations around Bakersfield, or you can see the entire magazine online at

It’s been a fabulous week, one of validation and inspiration. It’s also been a time of gratitude for the support and encouragement of my family and friends, my writing groups, and my fellow Writers of Kern members.
~ xoA ~
Chicken Soup for the Soul. Inspiration for the Young at Heart, available in bookstores August 23