The VOLLLT Chronicles. Volume 2

I’m Charged Up About My Chevy Volt!

 

I get a kick out of glancing down at the mileage indicator on my Chevy Volt and seeing 250+ MPG. It’s a real rush. Most of my driving is local and I rarely go over the 40 mile range/electric charge. Once in a while I have a heavy-carpool or errand day and I exceed the range by a mile or two. To date, I’ve owned the car for about 3 months, driven about 2,000 miles, and used less than 8 gallons of gasoline. In fact, I haven’t yet filled the tank. (Note to self: check whether the gas tank is on driver’s side or passengers’ side – eventually will need to pull up to the pump.)

According to Dominion Power Company, I’m spending about 89 cents per charge (one charge will take me 40 miles). If I deplete the electric range every day and charge fully every night, annually, I will spend $324.85 on electricity. Compare that to an estimated 3 gallons per day I used to go 40 miles per day in my Honda Pilot. Based on $3.80 per gallon I was spending. That amounts to $11.40 per day, or an annual cost of $4,161.

Granted, I haven’t factored in the cost of filling the tank of my Volt on occasion. However, based on my current usage, I would estimate I’ll wind up using somewhere between 3 and 4 tanks of gas per year. It’s an eleven gallon tank and I’ll need to use Premium gasoline, which is more expensive per gallon. (Because the gas can sit in the tank for months, you must use higher octane gas to avoid separation). So, pad the cost per gallon a bit ($4.29 per gallon), and use the more liberal estimate of 4 fill-ups per year. That means, I’ll spend an estimated annual gasoline cost of $188.76 (total estimated annual cost for gas and electric = $513.61 for a savings of $3,647.39).

My husband (and others who know stereotypical attorneys/English majors should not be doing financial comparisons) might laugh at these financial acrobatics as justification for making a seemingly extravagant purchase such as a state-of-the-art electric vehicle. But I’m not alone in doing this. In Nore Ephron’s book I Feel Bad About My Neck, there’s an essay that struck a chord with me. She writes about justifying the cost of paying a hefty realtor’s finder’s fee to move into her dream apartment, explaining that if she broke down the cost over time, it would amount to the cost of one cappuccino per day for the next umpteen years. She points out in the end the one problem with her analysis. “I don’t even drink cappuccino!”

Aye, there’s the rub. When it came down to it, I love the car. I wanted it. And I found a logical way to justify the splurge of spending more than I would have on say, a Prius,  a Honda Civic, or a cappuccino.

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The VOLLLT Chronicles. Volume 1

My First New Car! It’s Electric.

 

You may think I’m a little old to claim that this is my first new car. But here’s my story: I didn’t need a car in college or law school because I lived in urban areas (Washington, DC and Boston). When I married, my husband and I shared a car. Thus, not really mine. We only bought a second car when our first child came along. So, immediately: mom car!

Flash-forward sixteen years, our first born is getting his driver’s license and I’m handing off my “mom car” to my kids to use. After all, it’s safe, completely “mom’ed” as in “Mom-my-ride” kind of mucked-up, dinged, you name it.

I wanted to go for the latest in fuel-efficiency and to try the new technology. I researched the well-established Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla, and the Chevrolet Volt.

Since the Tesla wouldn’t be available to the commercial market for at least another year. I ruled it out. The Nissan Leaf made me nervous, because it’s strictly electric. You run out of electricity and you’re parked until you recharge. That left the Prius and the Volt. I like the Prius just fine. But I love the look and feel of the Volt. It drives great. It’s quiet. It has a gas generator that charges the battery when you exceed the battery range. If you want to drive long distance, you can go about 300 miles on a tank of gas and then refill until you are able to get to a charging station. So many bells and whistles came standard. I couldn’t resist!

 

          

I’ve been driving my new Chevy Volt for a few months now. I love it! See my new plates? VOLLLT. Check out my cute car magnets too! My hope is that making it look “girly” will make my sixteen year old son less likely to beg to drive it. Unfortunately, he’s too smart for that. “They’re magnets, Mom. I can just take them off. Can I drive it?”

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SOCIAL NETWORKING FAST

Today is the first day of school for my children and it’s Breakfast-time for me! I don’t mean I’m making scrambled eggs and bacon (although, that sounds yummy). You may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet around here lately. That’s because I decided to go on a social networking fast.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy catching up with friends on Facebook, tweeting about what’s happening in my writing life, and blogging about quirky observations at Fodder for Fiction. However, I needed to take a hiatus from the virtual world and focus on real-world experiences for a spell.

My imagination has been nourished. My soul is energized. I’m ready to go. Stay tuned for updates on what I’ve been up to in the real world.

It’s all fodder for fiction!

Lisa Lipkind Leibow
Author of Smart Women’s Fiction
www.LLLeibow.com
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Not Too Late To Treat Your Favorite Moms For Mother’s Day!

A download of DOUBLE OUT AND BACK is the perfect gift for all of your favorite moms!

Critics call it:

A fantastic story that I would recommend to any mother, any mother to be, or really anyone out looking for an entertaining read.  -A Journey of Books

Highly addictive and engrossing. … a deeply incredible story and one that will keep you up late into the night reading. … not only captivated my heart, but also tugged at my heartstrings. -Café of Dreams

Where you can find my book

Small independent presses like Red Rose Publishing care enough about the world of independent publishing to support me and my book, I whole-heartedly recommend you support them and me by purchasing my book from them.
Available at Red Rose Publishing

Also available here

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Reading is Sexy Kindle Party

I had a great time at the Soundry in Vienna last night at the Reading is Sexy Kindle Party. (iPad, Sony e-reader, and Nook-loving public are all included even though the name says “Kindle”). What’s a Kindle Party? It’s a party to bring e-published authors together with Kindle, Nook and Ipad owners looking for new reads.

Kindle parties feature multiple indie authors reading from their e-published work and answering questions from both a live and internet audience. Like what you hear? Click here to Download it!

To watch me share an excerpt from DOUBLE OUT AND BACK queue the video to 3:05.

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The Hypocritical Pacifist

Over the years, I have tried to encourage my hubby to take up jogging with me, or yoga, or spin class. But he has no interest in that. Don’t get me wrong. He’s active. He coaches our sons’ basketball games, has played softball, golf, and tennis. But those aren’t my ‘things.’ I tried to learn tennis but I can’t play with my husband because I’m a beginner and he’s been playing since he was a kid. Our abilities don’t match up. I tried golf and decided three holes are enough for me. It just takes too darn long to play that game!

Face it; so much of my social life with hubby revolves around our children, food, and drink. The kids are growing up so fast. I want to make sure that when it’s just the two of us at home that we have some healthy hobbies to share!

I decided to look for the most macho exercise class I could – Boxing. When I suggested it to hubby, his first reaction was “No way.” He pictured an aerobics-style class where instead of dancing in step, participants kicked and punched the air. In spite of his reservations, he agreed to at least check out the place with me.

The instructor wrapped our hands, let us borrow boxing gloves, and we waited in a room full of heavy bags. (NO! not fat old women—boxing heavy bags hanging from the ceiling.) What an awesome workout! One hour of three-minute intervals of jab-cross, hook combinations, sprinkled in with 45 second-sets of push-ups, crunches, planks, etc. After an hour, we were surprised we were still standing – but enthusiastic.

Boxing has become part of our new Sunday morning routine. Each of us try to attend at least one other class during the week. It’s pretty cool. The funniest reaction to this crazy new hobby came from my oldest son. “How could you? It goes against everything you believe in.”

I just looked at him. “What are you talking about?”

“Boxing? You won’t even let us play video games with violence or play with toy guns and you’re training to fight?”

“I’m not hitting people. Just the heavy bag.” I pictured my new pink boxing gloves and wondered where to find unicorn and pony decals to stick on them.

This silly situation got me thinking about character development. (Yes, I’m a fiction-writing nerd and almost everything in life reminds me of some element or another of crafting a story!) Put any character in an ordinary world, set in her ways like the pacifist in my example above. Then BAM! Throw her into some uncomfortable situation that goes against everything she believes, like a boxing match or a war. This is a recipe for a great story. It’s a way to frame the catalyst that propels your protagonist into a page-turner. It sets up a great framework for placing obstacles and writing your character out of them.

Have fun with it. Build suspense. Weave a fantastic plot.

It’s all fodder for fiction!

-Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Author of Smart Women’s Fiction

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Join Me for A Wild Night at Art Carnage

This has been a crazy week! The Thundersnow left trees down, commuters stranded, schools closed for the week, and I’m feeling completely discombobulated. I really need to blow off some steam — get out and have a good time. It turns out, I’m in luck! Tomorrow night is Art Carnage at the Soundry in Vienna. It’s an Art Market wrapped up in a Carnival, inside a mess of happy mayhem!

Come enjoy this great event where I’ll be surrounded by great art, music, dancing, variety acts, poetry and chaos. I’ll add to the fun by reading from my novel DOUBLE OUT AND BACK or maybe a short story or two!

Art Carnage at the Soundry in Vienna, VA, 8 p.m. – midnight

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My Goofy Numbers Game

Most of my friends and family, know I love to get lost in language — words are my passion. But every once in a while a day and time roll around that make me taken note of the numbers game. This post is on the silly side, as it’s main purpose was to post at 1/11/11 1:11

Enjoy your day. I hope it’s a perfect “one.”

Best to you,

Lisa Lipkind Leibow, Author of Smart Women’s Fiction

http://www.LLLeibow.com

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Target for Inspiration

I’m planning to visit the Target Gallery. This is the third time I have been invited to write a short story inspired by one of its juried art shows. I have a month to get inspired and complete the story. I’ll read my new creation at a Spoken Word Performance to be held at the gallery in February.

The first time I read at Target, the Clothesline Project (a benefit to help victims of domestic violence) served as inspiration. I read a piece called Forbidden Passion, which appeared in Sanskrit Literary Arts Magazine and has since grown into a novel — winner of Pitchapalooza D.C. Wish me luck on the path to publication!

When I embarked on my mission to write the second Target-gallery-inspired work of short fiction, the inspiration exhibit was called Systems Failure. The artists showed work related to the financial and mortgage crisis, environmental issues, and healthcare struggles. I expected to show up and zero in on one painting or sculpture as my inspiration. To my surprise, I found myself drawn to the exhibit as a whole. Characters inspired by portraits, settings inspired by landscapes, and metaphors inspired by surrealist and abstract expressions of emotion. It turns out I wrote characters into a horrible mess in a short story I call The House On Narcissus Street. The beauty of fiction, however, is I have the ability to write them out of it! Someday I might do just that! In the meantime…

Crafting fiction with a deadline is a challenge. Reading a rough draft or new work takes a lot of guts. At least it feels that way to me. But I’m excited to push the envelope on my creativity.

So, as I embark on my next Target Gallery challenge I’m excited, savoring the anticipation of walking into the gallery for the first time to view the new exhibit. The show is called Mixing Bowl. I’m particularly drawn to the idea of the immigration-related exhibit. Living in the melting pot of the D.C. Metropolitan area, I’m immersed in the lives of modern immigrants and fascinated with the social, political, and cultural histories of the people in my neighborhood. I love to imagine what the lives of the members of my community were like before they arrived and as they settled in. In Double Out and Back, Chandy Markum is a Jewish South African-immigrant escaping ghosts of her past in Apartheid-torn South Africa. Forbidden Passion, the short fiction I read at the Clothesline exhibit, grew into a novel that chronicles the life of an Iranian emigre from her repressed childhood in 1960s Tehran to her eventual liberation. The motivations and tribulations of the immigrant keep popping up in my fiction. There are a few characters floating around in my brain who made their way to America to escape war and persecution, to chase love, or under promise of economic prosperity. I can’t wait to see if the inspiration from the exhibit feeds the already germinating character development or sparks something entirely new!

Well, I’m off to the Target Gallery. I hope it’s inspiring!

If you”d like to find out what I come up with, you can hear me read a the Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA. Thursday February 10, 2011, 7 p.m.

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New Year Brings New Opportunities

Happy New Year to Fodder for Fiction readers! The New Year is starting off great. I thought I’d give a little teaser on some upcoming events on my calendar. I’ve been invited to read my work at some upcoming events. Here’s the schedule. I share more about the events later. But mark your calendars and come out to hear me.

January 29, 2011

Spoken Word Performance, Book Signing and Sale at Art Carnage at the Soundry in Vienna, VA, 8 p.m. – midnight

February 3, 2011

Reading is Sexy Kindle Party! The Soundry, Vienna, VA, 7 p.m. (too far away to attend in person? Watch for more details on live streaming of this event!)

February 10, 2011

Target Gallery, 7 p.m. Spoken Word Performance. Come hear stories inspired by the Mixing Bowl exhibit.

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