About staceygustafson

Storytelling Show Celebrates One Year

Shelter in place leads to stories on stage. Storytelling show co-produced by Pleasanton mom celebrates one year. Join us Monday, March 29th at 6:00pm as Six Feet Apart Productions celebrates their first anniversary with a free show, live streamed on YouTube. The show will have interviews with some of the year’s storytellers, highlights from shows and, of course, stories. Access this free show by going to www.sfapshows.com and clicking on the cake. The show is free but attendees are asked to register in order to be sent the YouTube link. Storytelling Co-Producers Pleasanton’s own Regina Stoops, along with Claire Hennessy of Novato, started Six Feet Apart Productions (SFAP), an online … [Read more...]

Covid Vaccine Game Hunters – Who Will Win?

Good news. There are three vaccines available, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Bad news. Who do you have to know to get the shot? At 56, I was prepared to wait…and wait…and wait. With a population of 39.5M, California is the most populated state in the nation. Heck, if it was a country it’d be the 11th largest. I get it, distribution was going to a nightmare. But what about my 76-year-old, high risk mother in Missouri? Why can’t I get her signed up?!! I’ve subscribed her to over seven websites. Made twenty phone calls. Sent text message galore. I’ve become obsessed trying to get her the vaccine from long … [Read more...]

Somebody Feed Joan – One Mom’s Food Talk

Before the pandemic, my mother and I talked about the latest literary books, my daughter’s upcoming nuptials and the health of various relatives. But lately, our conversations are mainly Food Talk. We speak on the phone or FaceTime daily. Conversations run from five minutes to an hour. But through it all, the core of our conversation is food talk. Lunch Food Talk I think I’m going to go mad. If I call in the afternoon, I imagine her sitting on the living room recliner, frantically searching for the portable phone. It’s time to talk about lunch. Here’s a little sample. “Hi mom. How are you doing?” “I’m fine,” she says. “Did you eat yet?” “Yep.” “What’d you … [Read more...]

A Writer’s Biggest Struggle – Procrastination? Perfectionism? What?

Every so often, you stumble across a story, saying, or joke that perfectly sums up your feelings at that moment. For me, I was fortunate to open an email from Howard VanEs, President of Let’s Write Books, Inc. I felt like he read my mind. Like Howard, I’ve experienced setbacks due to procrastination, perfectionism, and lack of confidence sharing my work. He granted me permission to reprint his email. I bet you’ll uncover some of your writing obstacles as well. A True Publishing Story (Names have been omitted to protect the innocent!) by Howard VanEs, President of Let's Write Books, Inc. It took me ten years, two months and seventy-two days to write and publish my first book, but with … [Read more...]

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld – Life as a comedian, one Pop Tart at a time

One Christmas gift stands out above all others, Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld. It’s a compilation of 45 years of Jerry Seinfeld’s best jokes arranged by decade up, from the seventies to the Covid-19 era. Like Seinfeld, it’s a collection of jokes about nothing, focusing on the minutia of daily life. It includes 452 pages of jokes we can all relate to like Dad’s thermostat, the men’s room, Pop-Tarts, movie candy, nose hair, and more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR-YZ4lG2Rk Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub “Catch a Rising Star” as a twenty-one-year-old college student in fall of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved … [Read more...]

Upside Down Christmas Tree Story for Children’s Book Contest

When I heard about Susanna Leonard Hill’s 10th Annual Holiday Contest for children's writers, I thought, sign me up! My first attempt at children’s poetry is below. The contest? A children’s story about a holiday helper for ages 12 and under, 250 words or less. Thanks Susanna for giving me a reason to keep writing! Upside Down Christmas Tree In a box in a cupboard under the stairs, Rested our dusty, old tall Christmas tree. Instructions claimed “easy assembly, three parts,” Light work for my goofy Dad, Mom, and me. Dad looked at me with squinty eyes, as he said, “Son, before bed, it’s time to put up this beast.” He dumped the contents about and made a shout, “We’ll get it up in … [Read more...]

What I Learned From Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss at MasterClass

Stuck indoors? Looking for a positive distraction during the pandemic? Check out Chris Voss Teaches Art of Negotiation at MasterClass. He’s a well-known hostage negotiator and ex-FBI legend. According to Chris, “Everything in life is a negotiation; life is a negotiation.” Why do you need this class? What if I told you that hostage negotiator skills can be useful every day? For instance, do your kids want a different curfew time? Try hostage negotiator skills. Your husband wants to buy a fancy sports car? Try hostage negotiator skills. Do you want to go wine tasting for a long weekend without the husbands? Once again, try hostage negotiator … [Read more...]

Wine Tasting For Dummies – That’s All of Us!

What do we really know about wine tasting? Apparently nothing! Take it from four Wall Street businessmen who ordered a $2000 bottle of wine at swanky Balthazar in New York City and ended up drinking and bursting into joy over an $18 bottle. The story goes on to say that a young couple next to them had ordered the $18 wine and were unknowingly served the more expensive bottle. Just deserts you might say? (You may think one who was punished got their 'just desserts' based on how it sounds, but the correct spelling and has only one 's' as in 'just deserts.') Four Wall Street businessmen ordered a $2000 bottle of wine This got me thinking. Do any of us really understand wine? How do we … [Read more...]