Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Up-up and away, then down

Our former neighbor, Old Bobby was a slight fellow with a big mouth who liked to imbibe, so you never knew if his stories were true or not.

Instead of reading the local paper, he had his nose in the "pony papers" because he said in his day he was the best bookie in town.

He claimed he "bought" his wife a baby for her 40th birthday (adopted a boy).

When his ex daughter-in-law's husband telephoned and threatened to drive by and shoot up his house, the police told Old Bobby to get out of the front yard and head to the basement. Old Bobby said he had been a sniper in WWII, and he wasn't going anywhere.  

WE headed to the basement. The drive-by never occurred.

In the fall, when the apples ripened out back, Old Bobby couldn't find his ladder, and he couldn't have climbed it even if he could have found it. 

He tied thirty feet of clothesline onto a claw head hammer and flung it repeatedly into the tree, hoping to harvest enough apples to make a pie. We were waiting for him to knock himself silly.

When he came to the garden fence to tell us about his success, he toppled OVER the rickety, 36 inch chain link fence and landed face up on his back in OUR yard.

"I'm going to call an ambulance!" I said.

Fish-eyed he said, "Nah, I'm just going to lay here a while." 
I insisted.

He retorted, "You remind me of Judge Judy. You scare me."

I let him lay there.

A week later Old Bobby saw me making a homemade kite out of a plastic grocery bag.

"Let ME show YOU how to make a kite. In my day, I was a professional kite builder and I used to win kite dueling contests," Old Bobby bragged.

Uh-huh! Well  it was my day, and I was going to do it my way. Nicole and I had a blast outside that windy March day. I taped a piece of paper to the bag and Nicole decorated it. I added a small tail and string to the handles. This is so much fun for small children.She laughed when her bag filled with air and the wind tugged the string about 6 feet off the ground as she ran.

If you make one, leave it tied to a fence or post when you are finished running, and let your child watch the wind gusts fill the bag and make it rise... and fall.

When I taught preschoolers, we called these kites wind bags. I guess I could have called them Bobbys.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

For moms everywhere

                                     Book Link -

Nine more days! This wonderful book filled with inspirational and thought-provoking stories will go on sale March 19th. I am proud to tell you I am a contributor to this book and my story, The Can Opener Queen, is about Mom's cooking disaster. My brother and I laugh about it to this day.

This book would make a wonderful Mother's Day, birthday, or appreciation gift. I imagine one in every nursing home for residents to read. Why not buy one and donate it? The moms who often feel alone and or neglected would appreciate reading a short easy-to-read story. 

This is the 28th Chicken Soup for the Soul book in which my stories have been published. I am honored.

Chicken Soup for the Soul links



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What's a henway?

I am clucking the news. My story about motherhood made the first round selection. I will be auditioning for Listen to Your Mother St. Louis. I'll let you know whether or not I make the final cut. The show is on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend. 

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER is a stage performance fundraiser that honors mothers across the nation. I was a cast member in the inaugural show in May, 2014. 
Today hubby's phone rang, and a man said, "Yeah, what's up?" 
Bill said, "Nothing. What's up with you?"
Man:  "You called me. I'm returning your call."
Bill:   "Well sorry, I must have butt dialed you. Who is this?"
Man:  Introduced himself.
Bill:   "My name's Bill."
Man:  "How many you want?"
Bill:   "How many what do I want?"
Man:  "Chickens."
Bill:   "I don't want ANY chickens."
Man:  "You sure you didn't order any? That why you called me?"
Bill:   "I didn't call you. Matter of fact I couldn't have butt dialed you; I don't have your number in                 my phone."
Man:  "Okay then."
Bill:    "It was a pleasure talking to you."
Man:   "You too, sir."

And they say women talk more than men.

On the way home from the grocery store, what do you think we saw in someone's unfenced front yard tidbitting? FOUR tidbitters! Guess at least three of them will be cock-a-doodling at the crack of dawn.  
As long as we're bawk-bawk-bawking, here are some facts: A hen weighs about three pounds. Now you can ask someone, "Have you seen any henways today?" When the other person asks, "What's a henway?" you can tell them.

According to Sarah Zeilinski, a female chicken is called a pullet until she is old enough to reproduce, then she's called a hen. A male chicken is called a rooster or cock.

Roosters announce to a flock of chickens that he’s found food with a “took, took, took.” But the hens don't pay attention if they already know that there is food around.

So, roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food.

Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.

The lure of food is the key to the heart!

Read more:

Friday, March 1, 2019

Calling all writers!

For all  you fantasy and Sci fi writers, here's a resource for you.

THANK YOU to all who attended my workshop. If you have writing questions, contact me at write SLWG on subject line.

If you want something badly enough you'll find a way to obtain/achieve it.

I am an early riser. No, not 6:00 a.m. crack of dawn. More like pitch dark 5:00 a.m. There is nothing I can do about my circadian rhythm. Once my eyes open, my mind wakes up. Even the promise of more snuggling under the warm covers isn't enough to lure me back to sleep.

I invest my early morning time wisely, and it has paid off in the form of publication credits. 

I search key words on line for writing markets with the latest submissions call outs. 

I read guidelines and articles, take copious notes, and jot down info on Post-it Notes.  By the end of the month they're scattered everywhere on my desk. Sometimes the deadlines have expired, and other times I have to write fast to make the deadline.

If you prefer a nice warm bed to market researching, let me do the leg work for you.

Writing Markets:

Erica Verillo Published to Death Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity

Be sure to check her BLOG for PAYING MARKETS
in many genres: Alternative Apocalypse, Speculative Fiction, Horror, Children's Publishers, Chicken Soup for the Soul latest needs...and so much more.

WOW Women on Writing

Erika Dreifus (articles, markets, and jobs)

Poets and Writers for a comprehensive listing.

Freedom With Writing

Submish mash Submittable

Jacob Jans

Trish Hopkinson

Monday, February 25, 2019

Paper or computer, just get it down... and come on down to Lodge of Des Peres

When I taught preschoolers, I loved to see their faces when they actually understood a concept or read a simple word, such as CAT. It was very rewarding to see their brains in action.

It has always been my belief  that literacy is the most important skill we can teach little ones. And phonics instruction is the way most kids learn easily and feel most successful.

Liam is making me very proud. I was doing worksheets with him, although I completely disagree with the exclusive use of work sheets and table work. Kid's finger and hand muscles aren't well developed at 3& 4 years old. I always made my worksheets floor size throughout the year and then after a year of developing finger/hand small muscles through finger plays, play dough squishing, and games, we graduated to worksheets and table top work the last month of school.

Liam was finger painting and creating a masterpiece with foil hearts and sparkly confetti for his mom. He asked how to spell some words. Then he said, "Never mind, I'll do it.

He filled an entire page, line after line with scribbles. Scribbling with intent is a precursor to writing
and spelling. He is now driving every one crazy with one sentence, "How do you spell ____?"

I am so pleased to witness his interest in learning and reading.

If you are a writer,  scribble ideas, jot a word that intrigues you. As William Wordsworth once said, "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."  

I am speaking on the topic of freelancing creative non-fiction, at St. Louis Writer's Guild on Saturday 3/2/19 

10 a.m. - 12 noon at Lodge of Des Peres, at 1050 Des Peres Rd. St. Louis, MO 63131

Free for SLWG members/ $5.00 for non-members.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Mom always did things HER way

One month from release date, March 19th, in time for Mother's day gift giving! My story, The Can Opener Queen, is included in this collection. 

My mom did not make homemade food, but she served us yummy meat and potato meals. My story is about a time she decided to bake chocolate chip cookies, (no mixing bowl or standard ingredients) which led to a disastrous outcome. 

I hope you buy a copy of this book for yourself or someone else. Easy to read, 101 short stories of love, gratitude and wisdom.

Did your mom prepare a favorite dish?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

My hubby says the darndest things!

Where has he been? Why didn't he know?

I never know what he will say next! Bill and I were talking about Doris Day. I said, "She and Rock Hudson made all those sweetheart movies together, and the public didn't know he was gay. He was so good looking, wasn't he?"

Bill said, "What did you say?!"

"Didn't you know he was gay, or did you just forget?"

My wisecracker said, "Good looking? Gay? You mean I had a better chance at him than with you or Doris Day back in the day?"

Not a day goes by... he makes me laugh out loud at his antics.

This is not a post to elicit opinions on sexual preferences. Personally I don't care about other people's private lives.  Just letting you know I married a comedian twenty-five years ago.