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Bitcoin Guide for Beginners (Blog and Book Review)

Bitcoin Guide for Beginners is just that, a great, quick book that lays down the basics of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The title is a bit misleading, however; specifically the way cryptocurrency has been (not) performing this year. Making money in an hour could have been the way it was when the  book was published, but in today’s market, it’s a long term game.

This book was an easy way to support an independent author, it’s only twenty-eight pages.  Personally, it took me about a year of listening to my husband, reading blogs, posts and comments plus (the most important) watching our retirement account grow for me to actually, “get it”. Jonathan P. Worderth talks in basic, simple language that anyone can understand and he gives great comparison examples in his book, Bitcoin Guide for Beginners.

Fiat currency vs. cryptocurrency

The first thing people need to wrap their heads around is the difference between fiat currency and cryptocurrency. Back in the day, our money was backed by gold or silver. A tangible metal worth whatever the purchasing power was for that time period. Our money now is backed by the U.S government. (Let that sink in.) Yes, we live in a country to be proud of, a wealthy, developed country. But fiat currency is an abstraction. A crisp hundred dollar is worth nothing on it’s own.

Human beings have traded as long as they have been on this earth. Trading everything from beads to tulips to things that are aren’t moral or legal. Trading one thing for another has been a way of life as long as life has been around.

Most recently, things have been traded for time. People make an hourly wage, the money is transferred from one bank account to another minus the taxes the government requires you to pay. People in turn pay their bills using electronic transfers or swiping a plastic card to exchange their time for their groceries. In most cases, folks don’t actually have cash anymore.

It all stays the same – but different

Cryptocurrency does everything cash can do but takes the middle man (the bank) out of the equation. It’s easy to pay for goods and services directly from one on-line wallet to another. Here’s the biggest difference and where the biggest challenge for Americans is going to be; YOU are responsible for all your money.

One advantage with a bank is if your account is hacked, if your credit card is stolen and used without your permission, if you lose your PIN #, etc… a bank usually has a customer service agent that can walk you through the steps to reset your lost PIN or an insurance of sorts to replace the money that was stolen.

With cryptocurrency, that’s not a thing. YOU and YOU alone are in charge of your money. This is good and bad. A friend of mine is over seventy and has a nice retirement ‘nest egg’. This year, the government forced her to withdraw over $2k or they were going to tax her and she would lose a percentage of the money. The deregulation of the cryptocurrency was a huge draw for her as there is no one telling what you can do our not do with YOUR money. (It’s a hefty responsibility we’ve never really had, the banks have always been there controlling our money.)

In summary, Bitcoin Guide for Beginners is a wonderful place to start with your investing. I wished the author had taken us a deeper into the mechanics of using cryptocurrency specifically out of the U.S plus delved a bit more into the multitude of cryptocurrencies that are popping up every day. (There’s a subject suggestion for volume two!) But if you’re interested and don’t know a thing about crypto, this is a great, affordable place to start.


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My Hong Kong Adventure

While scrolling through a cheap-airfare google search, my husband asked, “Want to go to Hong Kong?” Is there any other answer to that but YES! Him and I set off for the other side of the world to ring in 2018 in style. Konger style!

Getting there is half the fun (JK)

We flew Alaskan to Seattle. From ABQ, we don’t have a lot of choices but I must say, I prefer Alaskan over Southwest. With some advance purchase, their prices aren’t too bad. SWA compatible. From Seattle, we went non-stop on Delta. Watched more movies on that flight than in all of 2017! (LOL! May I recommend Snatched with Amy Shumer and Goldie Hawn… Or if you need a good cry A Dog’s Purpose should do the trick.)

Our Airbnb was in Discovery Bay (fifth floor) across from the China Disneyland. Our hostess/host were pros and left us some snacks, local beer and easy directions to use the public transportation system. They were top-notch hosts all the way! Our flat was small, clean and just perfect for what we needed.

The first morning we explored downtown Hong Kong and found the famous ‘sneaker street’ where every name-brand of shoes has at least one shop. Beware though, they largest women size is an 8. With clothes too, sigh, good thing the guys shoes were cute too. We shopped an entire afternoon and had some local cuisine from a little cafe where we the only ones that spoke English. That night, the (impressive) New Years fireworks could be seen from our bedroom window. Which was a good thing as we were exhausted from the 20hours of traveling and the day’s worth of shopping.

New Year’s Day

We visited the Tian Tan Buddha and the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ngong Ping on New Year’s Day. We rode up the mountain in a glass-bottomed tram. The shops and restaurants weren’t quite open as we went extra early (yea, we were still on Mountain Time Zone, lol) The stillness and then awaking of the area was subtle and sweet, a blessing to welcome the new year. We went in and paid extra to do the self-guided tour. It was a sacred and special time to be in that specific spiritual place.

We hiked down through the Lantau North County park. It was approximately eight and a half miles straight down! (Hey HK, next time you make a trail down a mountain may I suggest switch-backs?)Everyone we passed wished us a Happy New Year. (there were a lot off people!) HK has approximately 7.5 million people and it seemed we bumped into a big part of the population. I’m out of shape AF and would ask the folks coming up, “How much further?” and inevitably they answered, “Oh, about two more hours.” This went on all day to the point I was afraid to ask!

Let’s see it all

We also visited Lautau island, rode bikes through Sha Tin’s Central Park and through the neighborhood, Tai Wa. There was a three story “wet market” we went to (oppose to a dry market, the difference being the floors-wet or dry). The first floor had live sea food, as well as freshly caught and many sides of beef, whole chickens and ducks. That’s where you pick your meat. The next floor you select your vegetables. Once you get to the third floor you pick your cook, the hostess seats you and takes your food and by the time you get your drinks, the food you just picked from the market is steaming in front of you! We had pan fried pumpkin, beef/potatoes, shrimp and garlic, and a veggie scramble. I heard a rumor Anthony Bourdain went there but the cook booth thought he was nothing more than an arrogant Canadian so no mention of it is anywhere… who knows?

The next day my calves and back were screaming so I talked my husband into a taxi up to the Pok Fu Lam County Park where we took a nice stroll along a relatively flat asphalt trail to Victoria Peak and then to a lovely restaurant with a fantastic bar! (the hostess hugged me as I came in the door, so sweet!)

The adventure the next day was shopping and eating in Sai Ying Pun, Sheung Wan and along Hollywood road to the Man Mo Temple. The public transportation is so easy and convenient, we really took advantage of seeing as much as we could. Still averaged 7-10 miles of walking day. I actually lost a few pounds on this vacation and it wasn’t from a lack of food! LOL!

Our Airbnb hosts had a swanky dinner party we were (fortunate enough to be) invited to. Many Hong Kong residents have domestic help and the party had a little crew cooking up everything from ostrich, to kangaroo, shrimp to squid and more. We met some really interesting people from GB, Australia and Alaska. Thanks Simon, the British Cathay pilot I met for inspiring my next historical fiction book, Pirate Queen about Cheng Shi. Watch for it spring of 2019.


A day in Macau was a must, so we headed there on a high speed ferry on Friday. Its the Vegas of China and INDEED IT IS!!! We took the Venetian bus to the end of the line and then wandered into an old village named Taipa. It was a Portuguese settled area so the food was a bit different, delicious but different. We went on a photo safari through the rain. It was so picturesque every where I looked I bet I took 500 photos that day alone. Normally we get a Harley Davidson shirt for my husband’s brother but the shop was closed. There were people in there so we knocked on the glass door. They didn’t open until the following Monday. “Cash?” they asked and once we confirmed our method of payment we were digging through their inventory that wasn’t actually for sale, yet.

We found a ,coffee cafe and drank some slow drip java then found a brew house and indulged in a local beer. They had French fries and gravy so we ordered up that too, YUM! All day we wandered, ate a little, drank a little and wandered more. There’s a large park area that is open space and beautiful for pictures and strolling.

Overall, I took almost a thousand pictures in eleven days. I met an ambitious young woman named Ashley whom I dare bet we keep in touch. We had quite the connection. Also, our Airbnb hostess/host were fun and I feel they are now titled ‘friends’ too. Want to go to Hong Kong? The answer to that is always a huge YES!

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Would you date Johnny Depp? Based on his handwriting…

For years, we’ve all been entertained by the amazing, yet humble and oh-so-hot Johnny Depp. Happy birthday to this legend! Back in the mid-80’s his then wife, was a make-up artist in Hollywood and introduced Johnny to Nicholas Cage who encouraged Johnny to seek out an acting career. With that endorsement, Johnny to tried-out and got the role of Glen Lantz in Nightmare on Elm Street (did you even remember that was him?) This launched his career in film and the rest is history. 21 Jump Street, Tim Burton/Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, etc…

When you look at his signature, you think he must be joking, and in a way, he is. His signature shows he’s able to laugh at himself even though there is some personal pain shown. (In fact, there are indications of self-harm, or ‘cutting’ in some of the writing I looked at.) The autograph is illegible and quick, like his mind. The word Neurotic comes to mind when I look at his writing. This term isn’t usually used in a psychological sense anymore, but it fits Mr. Depp. Nervous, with compulsive actions, obsessive thoughts and a lot of stress is all seen in his penmanship. He holds a grudge, so don’t piss him off, (just sayin’).

The good news… He’s private yet friendly. There are suggestions that even though he’s in his fifties, he still likes to ‘tie one on’ and party is not a foreign word to him. Chatty, when the mood strikes him, he can start a conversation with just about anyone. Johnny is a deep thinker and may even self-title himself a philosopher. He doesn’t watch his own movies even though they have made him a household name, for him, it’s all in a days’ work. He’s not concerned with time even though he values every minute. He jokes he doesn’t need love, but it’s really what his heart craves. He wants to be a better actor, father and person. Even though he’s probably fine at all of those things, he feels there is room for improvement in all aspects of his life.

The J and D initials are the bear and the dog. These traits imbue his personality. The bear needs his down-time and to be left alone so he may better serve those in his life. He’s a better actor when he has the opportunity to just ‘chill out’ by himself. Like a bear, he’s docile unless provoked but once provoked, he can be downright scary. The dog in his last name shows loyalty and friendliness. Plus, his bark is worse than his bite. There is an indication he is still concerned what others think of him and always wants to put his best foot forward. One would think once you rise to stardom like he has he may have the attitude of like-me-or-lump-it, but Johnny Depp genuinely wants people to approve and like him.

Quotes from Johnny Depp

I am doing things that are true to me. The only thing I have a problem with is being labeled.
I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it.
Me, I’m dishonest, and you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest. Honestly, it’s the honest ones you have to watch out for.


I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face.
With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise it’s just not acting. It’s lying.
There’s a drive in me that won’t allow me to do certain things that are easy.

If someone were to harm my family or a friend or somebody I love, I would eat them. I might end up in jail for 500 years, but I would eat them.


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Literary Legend, Beverly Cleary, Happy 101st Birthday! (handwriting analysis)

Clear, clean and easy to read as her books, Beverly Cleary’s signature is straight forward and legible. If she hadn’t become an author, she has what it takes to be a school teacher (like her mother). An only child growing up on a farm in Oregon, Ms. Cleary struggled learning to read. Once she did, the library became her favorite place to be. One of the jobs that affected her career path was being a librarian. She watched as students struggled to find characters and stories they could relate to, this inspired her to write. Her books are so relate-able they have stood the tests of time, remember Ramona? Born Beverly Bunn, she married her husband, Clarence Cleary in 1940 and published under that name. They were married up to his death in 2004. She had boy/girl twins, Malcom and Marianne, who inspired some of her characters and their adventures. Many of her characters were inspired with the boys and girls she grew up with.

Beverly Cleary’s handwriting has the perfect slant, what some call the teacher slant. This is indicative of a person who can get along with just about anyone; those super shy and those exuberant extroverts. There are a few different signs that she works well alone and can adapt whether she’s a wall flower or center stage. (Although, she genuinely loves people.) Her signature shows she forgives and forgets. This may have caused her to be taken advantage of over the years by those that prey on forgiving souls. I was able to find several samples of her writing as well as her signature. They are all consistent and haven’t changed much over the decades. She may be stuck in her glory days and comfortable the way things were. Deep thinking and analytical, Beverly’s writing shows she’s also ‘a lover not a fighter’. The only confrontation indications in her writing are a desire for an intellectual debate. What you see is what you get with Ms. Cleary, there is no BS or flamboyance, like her writing style.

Currently she’s living in a retirement home in California where she’s been a long-time resident. Happy 101st Birthday to this literary legend! (April 12, 1916)

Beverly Clearly quotes

If you don’t see the book on the shelf you want to read, write it.

I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up. I changed my mind.

Problem solving, and I don’t mean algebra, seems to be my life’s work. Maybe it’s everyone’s life work.

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Carrie Underwood’s Handwriting Analysis Birthday Shoutout

Happy 34th birthday Carrie Underwood (Fisher)!

Ever since I watched the movie, God Bless America, I’ve sworn off reality shows. However, in 2005, I was swept up in the fourth season of American Idol like the rest of the country. Carrie Underwood was the obvious choice and I cried along with her when she was announced the winner. It’s been lovely to watch this all-American girl rise to become an iconic figure in the Country Western music world. Watching her succeed and be successful, rise to super-stardom, fall in love and become a mother gives us all the sensation dreams do come true. She’s a class act with humble roots who loves animals and has a true-to-herself style. (Author to author…) Check out her book-folio, Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts. (Reader to reader…) She loves Stephen King!

When we look at her autograph, we can see the changes money and fame did to this wonderful woman as well as the traditional background she was raised with. The C is the letter of femininity, hers has a sharp edge to it. Perhaps she’s been burned by a woman or has ‘walls’ built around her in regards to girlfriends or female co-workers. This has not changed over the years. It’s been in her personality since before fame. She’s optimist and in general, happy.

The animal that coordinates with the letter C is the White Buffalo. Carrie’s C is all it imbues, quiet confidence, a-subtle-storm-not-to-be-messed-with plus pride of her heritage and family. The rest of her first name is basically a squiggle and a loop. The signature of her first name shows she’s private (and was before she became famous), has a great compassion for others and the ability to listen. She forgives but doesn’t forget, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

The Underwood part of her autograph shows she’s determined, may worry what others think of her, and is highly protective of her family, (a trait in common with Michael Jackson) I love the way she is resolute in what she wants, for example, being vegan and Christian.  Regardless of her religion and eating habits, she remains open-minded and is equally ready to teach as to become the student. Traditional and polite, her writing shows manners and respect. My guess is, she may have been a border-line introvert before she took the spotlight. Money has changed her core values very little. Since she is naturally caring, she views her wealth as a tool to make life better for her and those she loves.

Cheers Mrs. Underwood-Fisher! Enjoy your special day with family and everything that makes your heart sing!


Sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand, and what you’ve been up there searching for forever, is in your hands. When you figure out love is all that matters after all it sure makes everything else seem so small.

I am grateful for every scar, some pages turned, some bridges burned, but there were lessons learned.

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Dan Rather reporting on Handwriting

Feeling lazy this week. DAN RATHER wrote this. He said it better than I could have anyway…

I share this article because I find it interesting, informative, and because in the end I beg to differ.

I understand all the points the author makes. She makes them well and her forthcoming book on handwriting sounds very interesting. Perhaps it’s my age, my being a creature of habit, but I feel that she misses one of the essential elements of writing words on paper – the beauty of channeling the mystery of thought, through the mechanics of muscle, into the tangible reality of seeing inked letters on a physical surface. And cursive adds to this process a sense of beauty.

To me this isn’t about the dubious effects of improved mental or small muscle development. It is something essential to being human, to leaving a physical mark of our thoughts. It is what channeled the prehistoric cave painters, the etched hieroglyphics, and anyone who has carved initials into a tree.

Yes we live in a digital age, with electronic redundancies and back up. But just like the vinyl record has clawed its way back from extinction into a small but vibrant niche, I see a purpose for the handwritten thought into the future. There are many utilitarian reasons to not spend precious class time on handwriting. And I know many people who now write better channeling thought directly to keyboard. It is faster and more efficient. No doubt. But from my conversations on this topic, I know that those same people feel different when they sit down to write something physically. It’s not a substitute, it’s an alternate experience.

To lay out a beautifully-rendered note card or fine stationary and gather one’s thoughts to a loved one or friend in times of joy and sorrow, favorite pen in hand, considering where in the paper you will cast your first stroke, is to experience something special. And I hope we do not deny future generations these sublime moments. To me they are a quintessential part of the human experience.

I have saved many a letter from friends and family – some written in a fine hand, some quite sloppy, but most of them seem more personal, more connected then a the product of a computer printer.

Call me old fashioned. Call me out of touch. I call it human and I want to hold on to it.

I would be curious of your thoughts.…/handwriting-just-doesnt-matter.html

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My first book review

The Magic Strings of Frankie Pesto by Mitch Albom

Magical indeed. This has been my favorite book of 2016 (although it came out the end of ’15). If you’ve never read Mitch Albom, this is the perfect book to start with. If you have read Mr. Albom’s work than you know the captivating tale in which to expect, every time. (Side note, Mitch Albom is one of my all time favorite authors due to the dependability of his work. Although sometimes he gets a little too into the religious realm for my tastes, his writing is consistently moving me to an emotional state. That’s entertainment. And who knew? He’s also a musician.)

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, the audio was enchanting. The guest narrators, superb. The scenes are set up like a media interview at our hero’s funeral, clever. Throughout it, I thought, did this guy really exist? This Frankie Presto guy, how did I miss him? How did my dad not discover him? And then I chided myself, it’s fiction geez! As a compliment to the author, I was so caught up in this story I believed it. Frankie’s life repaints musical history that actually happened during my lifetime. It was educational and evoking.

The book is about a musician, a great musician, who like so many others out there, don’t realize just how great they are. This man’s life has harsh beginnings, challenges at each age, but molds and shapes him into the legend he becomes. It’s told from the point of view of Music (as in the talent, music) as well as many other musicians, promoters and trade professionals. In my opinion, Music is akin to a god, (he explains how all the talents are represented, babies grab the ones they grab). I love the way Albom brings this entity to life, the narrator does an excellent job at bringing the pompousness to the talent Music without overdoing it. As an author, I can appreciate the POV and the tone one must have to write from multiple perspectives, specifically one that isn’t really a person. This book pulls it off perfectly and adds to the realism of this fictional saga. The musical guests on the audio also lent a factual feel and had me completely caught up in Frankie Presto’s life (By the way, Paul Stanley, you nailed it!)

Bottom line, this book is a love story. A love of music, a love between a man and a woman and a discovery of a love for life. Highly recommend.

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European Vacation – Venice, Italy

venice-italy-dwplatoI’ll never forget where I was when the doves cried. I had just boarded a jet, going to Europe, when I read Prince had died. The soundtrack of my first overseas flight immediately became purple, with a hint of blue. Rest in peace, Prince.

When I landed in Venice, Italy, the first thing I noticed was it looked a lot like Northern California, you know, right around Napa and Sonoma where wine grows on the vines perfectly. The weather was approximately the same for that time of year too, cloudy, cool and ready to bloom.

A cab from the Mestre, main land, to the island of Venice was next. The driver tried to explain to me with limited English that there were no cars in Venice and once he dropped me off, I would be on foot. A large expanded white bridge crested over the first canal. “That way.” He pointed after I had collected my roller bag. Several men with orange vests that read ‘official porter’ were anxious for my business but I assured them I could manage.

The sidewalks were crowded. Boats cruised back and forth on the canal. I found the alley I was to go down for our hotel. It felt old and worn, like the cobblestones under foot. The room was small-ish. I’ll admit, I’ve seen smaller, but for the two nights I’d be there, it was perfect. The view was terrible, it seemed our room looked into a courtyard that was used to store the items the hotel was not currently using, tools, machinery and supplies. Once settled in, I went back to the restaurant where the nice man had given me directions to my narrow, covert alley. It was early for the dinner crowd so I had the place to myself. When I eat out, often I ask the server what is good or what their favorite dish is, this night I asked my waiter, “If I could only have one meal in Venice, what would you recommend that is local and unique?”

“For you, American, I have just the thing.”

The host that had seated me came over and asked in broken English heavily laden with an Italian accent if was sure I wanted to try what the waiter had ordered for me. “It is … um … how you say … strong.” I smiled and nodded it was fine. My dish was a black spaghetti. Dark black with chunks of meat. A flavor most certainly of the ocean, it was indeed, STRONG. Half way through I asked, “How do they make it so black?”

“It is the ink of the squid.” I was told. Yes, that’s right squid ink.

Once dinner was over, I wandered through alleys and followed canals in and out, around and down, over and under bridges, taking in the sights and smells of Venice. The one thing that stood out as far as the aroma of the city was no matter what scent I was smelling, whether it a fruit stand, food from a restaurant or piss on the sidewalk, there was an ever present odor of cigarette smoke. It was the single biggest turn-off of this area.

At one point I heard music and a woman begin to sing, “I never meant to cause you any sorrow, I never meant to cause you any pain…” I jogged in and out until I found where the street musicians were playing and stood in the shadows and watched a small group of people hush and slip into a revered daze. “I only want to see you dancing in the purp-pal rain.” I was moved to tears. When she was done I approached and told her thank you, the song was very moving. She smiled and said, “No English.”