Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Paul Revere House

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

My Dearest Abigail,

By now you have word of the Battle Of Logan Airport. Truthfully told, it was more of a skirmish. We picked the redcoats off one by one as they emerged from the passenger concourse, after which we retired to the airport bar for drinks. I fear all battles will not be that brief. Our only injury was when the fife player tripped on the baggage carousel. We are indeed fortunate, as is if he had he played "Yankee Doodle" one more time, our commander would have placed the fife somewhere not entirely dandy, if understand my meaning. Give my regards to the children, and you will always have my love.


For more odds and ends, check out the Nostalgia area!

Filed under: Nostalgia            
7/9/2019 3:47:56 PM
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It's The Big SoonerCon Round Up Post! (Kermit Flail!)

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

We had a great time at SoonerCon this year. But of course. 

The con moved to the Embassy Suites in Norman this year. It was a closer drive for us. No fighting Friday afternoon rush hour in OKC. (It's like Dallas and Austin Friday rush hours, in that it just goes on all day.) Of course, some people probably had a worse drive compared to before. I'd been at that hotel several years ago for a con, and liked it. It's showing its age a bit now and looks ready for a major refresh. (More on that in a bit.) But it's still a good venue for this type of event.

Since Paul was taking K-9 this year, we decided to rent a minivan. That was nice, even though it was a bit of a behemoth compared to our C-Max.

We arrived early Friday afternoon and the hotel had rooms ready for us. Yay! We got moved in, and I set up in the Art Show and got all the gear ready for the 4:00 Wearable Electronics panel. 

Saturday was busy indeed. Paul was off showing K-9 for most of the day, and I had three panels plus the radio show. (Of course, Paul was also involved in the radio show.) Technically, I think we did a much better job on the show this year, but I've realized that I need to go back and open the show with a brief explanation of what we're doing. SoonerCon has grown so much that a good deal of the crowd is new to what we do. I'll keep that in mind for next year. 

Sunday morning was a Kaffeeklatch and then in the afternoon I had a buckram blocking workshop. We had 10 of the 11 slots full, and I think everyone enjoyed it, even if it was a tad messy. 

The one problem with this facility isn't the con's fault. There are a LOT of airwalls in that place, and I was having trouble hearing people. Also, the battery on my right hearing aid didn't get all the way in on Saturday, and it was only half working. Grr. I think I'm going to ask the audiologist if there's anything they can do go program in a setting that will help. I suspect this will be a problem at FenCon as well. 

I also discovered that my foot isn't healed as well as I thought it was (for those who don't follow me on Facebook, I had an altercation with the credenza in my office a couple of months ago). I'm trying to stay off of it as much as possible for the next couple of days to promote healing.

All in all, SoonerCon was a blast. It's nice to get away to a con that I'm not running, and it's nice to be appreciated for the things that I do.

Major thanks to everyone who helped put on this event. I know how hard it is. Now go get some rest.

Filed under: Conventions            
6/11/2019 11:57:14 AM
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Some Kittens Have Names!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Two kittens, in Amazon boxes:



Amazing what Amazon delivers.

So, some kittens have names. We've named the Aby Daenerys and the tortie Arya. 

Arya was pretty evident. She's a fierce little kitten with claws like needles. And she buries her business in the box like she buries her enemies.

Dany is apparently the Mother Of Mousies. We've never seen a kitten get so attached to a catnip mouse before.

More kitten shenanigans coming. But of course.

Filed under: Cats   Pictures         
4/16/2019 4:54:09 PM
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Say Hello To The Newest Kitten!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Finally, the Abyssinian has arrived!

Isn't she a cutie?

Of course, the first thing she did was find a high perch. What do you expect from an Abyssinian?

More later, including kitten names!

Filed under: Pictures   Cats         
4/16/2019 4:44:11 PM
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Meet The Kitten

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

You knew we couldn't be without cat for long. Meet the new kitten!


She's a muted tortoiseshell, and if you know us with cats, you know we don't have a name yet. We're kind of waiting on her to tell us. Names usually become apparent to us at some point.

Have some more kitten pictures!




That's probably enough cuteness overload for now. As always, check out the Facebook page for cat pictures and other things going on at Stately Barrett Manor.

Filed under: Cats   Pictures         
3/30/2019 3:08:51 PM
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Signs Of Spring

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

It's cold, but here are a couple of pictures to warm you up!

Something is blooming in the front yard, and it looks like it might have survived a couple of nights of frigid temperatures. It's been in the lower 20s here the last couple of nights.

Shadow on the fence.

Now I'm going to warm up so I can leave the house again. I have stuff to do!

Filed under: Pictures            
3/5/2019 11:52:40 AM
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Another Nostalgia Section Update!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Post Cards from Maryland and the Washington, D. C. area.

We lived there for a bit when I was younger. I'm glad we had the opportunity to visit Washington.

You'll find links to these cards on the travel page.

Filed under: Nostalgia   Houskeeping         
2/22/2019 3:20:47 PM
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New Stuff in Nostalgia!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

These items are from a cache of greeting cards that my Grandmother exchanged with friends around 1900. I handled these with care so you don't have to.


Filed under: Housekeeping   Nostalgia         
2/21/2019 4:31:20 PM
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RIP, Midnight

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Midnight Louise joined our household in September of 2000. Each of the cats has had different personalities, but Midnight had some interesting quirks. She came to be known as Geek Kitty for her mixed feelings of curiosity toward and healthy fear of electronic gear. Whenever we got new tech in the house, she had to be there to check it out. When it got right down to it, she just wanted to be part of what was going on.

Except when she wanted to be left alone. 

Her favorite spot in the house may have been Paul's lap. He was most definitely her human. 


I would often catch Midnight hanging around by the patio door as it approached time for Paul to arrive home from work. For then it meant Treats.

Midnight was most certainly a creature of habit. Things had to go according to procedure. And if she was displeased, she let us know - at high volume.

In fact, the last year or so The Song Of My People has been a fixture on my Facebook feed. Whenever Paul left for work in the morning, she would walk into the office, sit next to his chair, and complain at high volume. She would demand handouts from and complain when she didn't get them, meaning those complaints were frequent.

Unlike Abby, who loved the camera, Midnight would often shy away when someone wanted to take her picture. This is why I don't have as many pictures of her to share. Abby seemed to know I was going to share her pictures with her adoring public, so she took the time to pose. Midnight was just not interested. I have more shots of black blurs in my photos folder than I can count. Her reticence also made it a little difficult to keep up the Catmas Card tradition, but we managed.

For all her quirks, Midnight was a loving cat. She would come sit with someone when they were sick. And she was almost always available to be petted. 

Midnight also ended up as the mascot for Steam Cat, my handmade goods business. You can check out her and Abby as Steampunk cats in our 2009 Catmas Card.

Midnight was 18-1/2, and until a couple of weeks ago she could still jump up on the bar stool for treats.

Enjoy cavorting in the land of endless treats, Midnight. And say hello to the other cats while you're there.

Filed under: Cats            
2/4/2019 3:41:06 PM
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Pay The Writer. And The Artist. And The Freelancer...

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

I'm killing some time until I the current batch of coasters can be moved indoors to finish drying. So, a rant, of sorts.

Harlan Ellison famously ranted about paying the writer. He was not wrong. You should pay the writer. Or the artist.

When you see someone at a table at a con drawing complex sketches with seemingly little effort, you don't see what got them there. Study. Practice. Enough wadded up bits of paper to recycle into a couple of reams or more. Supplies, which tend to get more expensive as the skill level improves. And you think a buck is fair for that sketch?

When you read a work of fiction, you don't see all the writer went through to laboriously craft that work. All the education, reams of paper, the drafts, the trunked manuscripts, the proof reading. And, if they're self-published, the hours of formatting it so your e-reader doesn't fall over and crash into the swamp when you open the file. Do you think a buck is fair?

To be fair, that writer may have the opportunity to sell many copies of that work. (And yes, there are many nuances to e-book pricing. I get that. The point is, the writer has bills to pay just like you do.)

What about the writer of copy? This is something I've done for years, though not as much these days because everyone's charging $5 for hours of work. Let me tell you what I do when someone asks me for copy for a product or for an ad:

1. I sit down with the client and talk about the product, the audience they're trying to reach, the publication(s) that the ad may be intended for, and so on. They may present me with market research. That's awesome, and saves me some time. If I don't have to do that, my next step is:

2. Research the competition on my own. Look at the language in ads targeted to the same demographic. Is that ad successful or not? Is someone using the same words or imagery that I had in mind? If so, then I need to look at different ways of presenting the information. If the client wants me to go in a different direction from their competitors, I have to know what those competitors are doing so I can take a different path.

3. I sit down and write copy. I usually have to go through several drafts. When I have something about ready to take to a client, there's one more thing I have to do:

4. Use a search engine. Is anyone else using those slogans I came up with? Did I inadvertently use something that's Internet slang for genitals or a sexual act? Or something that someone considers racist or otherwise offensive? Our language is changing at the speed of the Internet. Our slang is changing just as fast. It's important to be sure I don't make my client a laughingstock. And then, should they ask why I didn't use that awesome slogan they suggested, I can say, "well, about that..." 

5. Polish again.

6. Turn it in to the client. This often leads to more edits, more massaging of the copy. It's not easy to hit a bulls-eye the first time because I'm not clairvoyant. The client may have changed their mind on something, too. If I'm doing an ad for a tech product, it's possible the specs changed. (I used to work in that biz. Happened all the time.) 

7. Final approval by the client.

9. Invoice for the amount previously agreed upon, which is a lot more than five bucks.

10. Payment. Ker-ching! 

And I hope 10a doesn't come into play: Dunning the client for payment. Honestly, the vast majority of my clients have paid up and on time. I've had some ask me to hand deliver an invoice, and I would leave with a check. It doesn't get much faster than that, save immediate electronic payment. 

Anyway, when you see an ad in a publication or online, you probably don't think about all that went into making that happen, and the people who need to get paid for their time. Unless you're a freelancer like me. 

In that case, don't nod your head so fast. It might fall off. ;-)

Filed under: Writing            
1/28/2019 3:48:19 PM
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FenCon XVI
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