Friday, July 31, 2009

Why worry?

Two funeral parlors in one day, too much.

Worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere.
~ anonymous

Now isn't that the truth!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Little things make me happy.

I finally got a new keyboard. I am so happy with it. I don't know why I procrastinate. I always "make do" with what I have. The shift key was sticking on the old key board, and it also drove my husband crazy, because I had worn some of the letters nearly off the keys. We're up and running again. And I am happily hunting and pecking.

This was sure a lazy day. I babysat this morning, taught a writing class to senior citizens this afternoon and made a Thanksgiving feast for dinner. What is the matter with me! And now I want choclate nut ice cream, which I don't have, so I will settle for a slice of sweet, juicy watermelon. I love fresh fruit, ah the peaches and cherries. I'm in heaven when I can slurp fruit and wear flip flops. I love summertime.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I have been sitting outside writing in all 9 grandkids' journals. It's 9:00 p.m. and the mosquitoes are biting, so I am back inside. I made a final entry in my granddaughter, Ashley's journal which I have kept for her since she was a baby, Nana's Girl. I would say, "You're my girl!" and she would say, "You're my nana!" She will be 20 in a few weeks, and she and her boyfriend of 3 years are moving into an apartment. If you think I worried about her last week when they drove to Ohio for vacation, you can only imagine what I am feeling now. She is so smart and beautiful and talented. She will continue her college education and work part time; Justin has a full time job as a welder, and the best part is they live nearby!

Tears are flowing and my emotions have run the gamut: I sat outside and cried over our first grandchild leaving the nest, fawned over her baby pictures and photos of that litle blonde blue-eyed wild child in my class. I was her first teacher. I smiled at images of her with my mom who loved her to the point of obsession and just couldn't get enough of her. I am consumed with love and worry and hope and happiness for her.

I came in and checked email and laughed long and hard which brought more tears to my eyes, the good kind, when I read a personal essay a friend had written about when she first met her husband. The imagery is priceless.

The next email felt like a punch in the gut. My friend and fellow writer's guild member, Mary Menke lost her husband today to cancer. I feel her pain and sorrow, and I can't stop weeping. I also learned today that one of the senior citizens in the writing class I teach, passed away from lung cancer. I am feeling vulnerable and mortal. I ask everyone reading this to offer an uplifting prayer for Mary and her family.

Check out a great womens' forum

My essay is up on Women Bloom, you can access it with this link:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friends and fellowship

Yesterday I met with L, a writer friend at a little cafe in Maplewood. The food was yummy and our time together enjoyable. I should visit more neighborhoods; there are delightful little nooks like this all over the city and county. I suggested a 'writer girls' getaway/retreat with dozens of us women, so we can all gab at one time instead of planning these hit or miss get togethers with one another that conflict with everyone's busy schedule. Anybody? Ideas? A day, an evening, a picnic, more than a lunch? Pajama party? Campout? Ha!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Concert in the park~

Carondelet Park, on Loughborough in South St. Louis features free concerts in the park on Sunday evenings, 5-7 p.m. in August. Typically, hundreds of people spread lawn chairs and blankets and have picnics. Some people bring fast food, others grill and prepare their own, while some folks sip wine from stemware and nibble cheese. It has an old fashioned family picnic feel.

This evening's high energy band, MYSTIC VOYAGE was dynamic. They sang/played a variety of music, from blues and soul to pop. The park was rocking when they sang Ike and Tina songs. Dancers crowded in front of the stage, old folks bee-bopped in their chairs and yes, Bill and I got up and danced to I Will Survive! What a blast and it's free!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seize the moment!

We spent the day at the Clean Stream annual picnic at Meramec State Park. Their members (some are our friends) are very dedicated to the never-ending job of cleaning trash and debris out of local streams and rivers. There were canoe races, poling demonstrations, inner tubing for the kids and much more.

Nope! I didn't do any of those things. I was a spectator. Bill photographed the river events. As a freelance writer, I see an article about to take shape.

If you sit back and wait for writer call outs, you could be missing an opportunity. Freelance writers should be on the lookout for stories of interest to write about. They present themselves all of the time; seize the moment.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Making Memories

There is something to be said about a 60 year old grandmother who chases her grandsons, ages 7 and 12 through her house, up and down the stairs and into and out of the basement, slamming doors, playing Grimilda. I used to play this chase game with my children and their friends when they were little. Ours was the favorite house on the block. And now I play it with my childrens' children. I pretend I am Grimilda the Witch and I am going to get them and nibble their toes, "Hee-hee-hee, my pretties!" Today, Austin and Nicholas screeched and ran and hid and taunted me, "Can't find me, old witch!" I waited behind doors and at the top of the steps, and I jumped out at them and snuck up on them as they crouched in their hiding places, and I scared the tar out of them! We laughed and squealed and ended up on the floor in a heap, breathless, well-exercised, and happy. I also took them to the Zoo where we fed the stingrays, then we went out to lunch, swimming, and to the batting cages. Ten years from now, which of these things do you think they will remember?

Make some unforgettable memories with someone you love. "Tee-hee-hee, my pretties!"

Check out Women Bloom, an awesome website for women of a certain age. They will be posting one of my essays in the next few days.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Do you write like an artist or an intellectual?

An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way.
~Charles Bukowski

A good rule of writing is don't use 'fifty cent' words to impress the reader. Keep it simple. If you can convey your idea in six words, don't use twelve. Toni Morrison, one of my favorite authors, does this. She writes with brevity. Each key stroke is like a painter's brush stroke and each of her words holds power.

I have been doing some exercises in cutting. Today, I ressurected one of my old essays, way too wordy, descriptive and flowery. I chopped, tightened, and sent it out, weighing less, but the words were weighted. I like it and I hope the editor does too.

A Cup of Comfort is looking for stories for their Golf anthology and also Relationship Anthology.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Christmas in July

Here I sit trying to make all the July literary deadlines, pounding the computer keys, so proud of having hammered out so many pieces. Then I click over to email and my heart pounds at the sight of a call out for Thanksgiving and or Christmas stories, due by July 31st. I have a wonderful, nostalgic (even made me cry) piece, and just as I am ready to hit the send button, something tells me to go back and check the guidelines one last time. Then I see it, NO COMPENSATION except a complimentary copy of the book and reduced price to purchase additional copies.

This is just too sentimental a personal essay for me to give away, so I will wait. But this might be the place for you if you are trying to get your work published.

Holiday Anthology, Dixon Hearne (website has details)
Submit to

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Ideas won't keep; something must be done about them.
~Alfred North Whitehead

This quote describes my frantic catch-up writing today. I've written several strong poems and moving essays,and have also written five pages of memoir vignettes, but unfortunately I can not come up with one idea to send to an editor requesting a story from me on the topic of The Silver Lining. Ugh!

I find it best to rest when I have brain drain. Maybe the ideas will flow after open mic at The Mack tonight. Good friends & good food.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hoping for another acceptance

Hope Whispers accepted one of my stories, Christened from on High. The acceptance was nice, but the editor's notation: "Your submission was one of the best," was cream on top!

We writer's just have to be hopeful and keep plodding along. I have submitted this same story to several other places over the year and received rejections. I didn't pout; I sent it back out. Editors are subjective. That's how you have to look at rejection. Don't doubt yourself or your writing, just realize that your submsisions aren't a one size fits all for editorial needs.
Keep writing~

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The way kids think~

We visited grandchildren today. Nicole, the baby, a year and a half, is a wild child. Nicholas 7, had three friends over, and he wore a name tag on which he'd printed, THE BOSS. Enough said? Madison, 12 and Sean 10, just returned from vacation out west and were anxious to share travel tales. Morgan, 9 was dissatisfied with her haircut and pouting. All of the kids took turns holding 13 month old Kayden. Kyle, 16said to Sean, "Quit picking him up. Don't you get it? If he's close to the floor he can't fall and get hurt!" Grandpa joked, "Don't you just want to duct tape his diaper to one spot on the floor?" Kyle replied, "Grandpa, I'd ruin the floor." KIDS! You have to love them!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walk a mile in your own shoes~

9:00 p.m. Saturday

This weather just isn't right! It is July 18th and it should be 90 degrees. Instead, it is overcast and in the 70's. Today, I sat wrapped in a blanket at a barbeque in Eureka at my coworker's cabin on the Big River. It was nice to see old friends and make new ones. More so, it was fun to laugh loud and long with my former boss about old times at summer camp. On "water day" we used the gym mats without permission. Yes, fifteen year ago, I actually allowed the children to toss their yucky tasting green Jello onto the mats and use the mats as a 'slip and slide'. Oh the fun they had with that lime slime. Sorry phys ed teacher. Now you know why the mats had that strange lime, musty, wet odor when school resumed in the fall.

I have been writing a memoir of vignettes about all of the surfaces I have traipsed on: ice, snow, sand, grass, paths etc. Think of a surface you have walked on and write a thought or two about a memory associated with it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How do you stock your pantry?

The paper scraps and sticky notes are piling up. I jot down an idea or a place to submit something. After a week or so, the mess gets shoved into a folder. Well, I just flipped through that folder and laughed out loud when I pulled out a great call for submission---dated 2008. My heart flip-flopped. I have decided that it is just best to write what's on my mind and then tweak it to fit a particular call for submission when I see it. Sort of like having a stocked pantry. Although my husband and I have a different way of stocking. I shove things in and he lines thing up. Writers have the right to be messy; it is a sign of creativity.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Images, memories, unexpected blessings

Well, it has taken me a while to figure out how to post photos, but I finally have new ones on my blog. The weather was in the 80's and 90's, a constant breeze and sunny with an occasional brief shower. I sat on the 5th floor balcony overlooking the pool and the beach, and I relaxed. I completely, totally unwound ... so much so that my intentions of writing went kaput! We swam in crystal clear turqouise Gulf water. I baked and sweated early in the morning as I walked the sugar sand beach.

One day, I sent some words heavenward about my daughter-in-law. I quetioned why her eye is not healing. Then I came upon a lone woman sitting in a beach chair. She was writing. I asked if she was a writer or just describing the beautiful view in a letter. She said she was writing in a prayer journal. I asked her to add my daughter-in-law to her list. She jotted her name. I walked on and thanked my angel-mom! The young woman ran after me and she asked if she could pray with me. The words that came out of her mouth were the very words my mother would have prayed aloud if she had been there with me. Tears ran down my cheeks when I realized, she was! I was blessed to be able to commune in such a special way, in my favorite place, through this wonderful stranger, WITH MY MOM. God is good.

I wrote one essay about our favorite campground which has been out of commission since the road washed out. Through all the devastation and pain caused by Hurricane Katrina, one tiny piece of hope emerged as we walked through the abandoned campground, actually a graveyard of skeletal pines, subtropical trees forever hunched, and bushes salt blasted white. Everything was dead. Except for the new life that we discovered atop the higest tree, a male and female Opsrey and their fledgling. I made a fool of myself by telling the lifeguard that I saw an eagle's nest. She laughed and said, "Do you mean Osprey?" Bill and I greeted that bird family. We and the birds ballyhooed at one another, as if to say, "WE'RE BACK!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Need sleep

Whew! Almost 11:00 p.m. What a ride, metaphorically speaking as well as literally. There is something wonderful about your own bed and bathroom. Too much to do, too tired to write. Goodnight.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Aqua marine

My favorite color, aqua marine ~ my shorts, my tank top, my flip flops, the sky, the water, oh my ... I am in heaven. I'm never coming home.

I just heard from an editor that one of my stories has made the short list and if the publisher doesn't reject it, it will be included in Little Super Heroes. My super hero, Jason is now 35, still a super hero, juggling his family, work and supporting his wife as she deals with her vision loss. Through it all, he has never lost his faith. Dealing with an 18 month old squealing baby,and 7 year old boy has caused him to almost lose his mind a time or two, but he's an awesome son who will always be my little super hero zooming on his toy motorcycle. These days his motorcycle is more thing for good old mom to worry about.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July, Party on!

The Air Force Band played last light at Jefferson Barracks Park. I expected patriotic songs, but they played a variety of tunes for two hours. We sat right in front of the speakers. What was I thinking! The fireworks were phenomenal. Although a tiny part of me feels really sad when I see them, as I think of what they represent - real bombs bursting in air. If the percussion from fireworks jar my gut and soul, imagine what people in war zones must really experience.

I saw three of my former 'school families'. Those Rogers' kids just keep sprouting up! The Pemberton girls are as cute as bugs in a rug, and the Shulte boys are all American kids with smiles that stretch from ear to ear.

Arriving early to assure a great parking spot means first one in, last one out! They expected 10,000 people, and I can assure you that they all showed up. Hey Laura, what time did you finally get home?

Enjoy your day, your freedoms and your friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Speaking of sitting ...

Good grief what a day of running; I feel like I've been driving in circles. We went out to breakfast and then to Bread Co. for lunch. I babysat, ran too many errands, convinced someone to take the turtle, and I taught a senior citizen writing class. Our lesson: starting a sentence with an "ing" word changes the focus and weakens the sentence: Sitting at the table, she didn't see the man with the gun.

Do you really want to focus on "sitting", or would your sentence have more impact by mentioning the gun first? The gun wasn't visible from where she was sitting.

I sat outside this evening and had dinner with my honey. We enjoyed the birds in our backyard. We have so many varieties. The mockingbird chased a squirrel all over the yard. It was comical. A pair of mourning doves got frisky. The bright red male cardinal defers to his mate who flies into the garden first to nibble a tomato. Blue Jays squawk like crazy. But the funniest sight I've ever seen was the baby robin who waddled across the ball field at a grandchild's ball game and stopped the game! Then the fuzzy headed baby hopped up on the bleachers and chattered at us. I'm sure Bill's tweeting confused the poor little thing; it was listening to its mother in the tree overhead.

Our fat little resident chipmunk, who bravely waddles across the patio must have gone off to birth that big belly full. She is the fattest chipmunk, and we haven't seen her for a few days.

I love sitting out on summer evenings just as the sun nods away. My senses seem keener; my mood mellows, and my prayers seem closer to heaven. Please keep my daughter-in-law in your prayers; she received news today that she has a cataract on her eye and the retina is again detaching in a couple small places due to the virus/infection she contracted a couple months ago. She is filled with despair. Pray for healing and also that angels surround her and uplift her, so she can get through the next few months with a positive attitude, until the doctor decides the next course of action. The silicone bubble must remain in her eye for another 2-3 months. She has very limited vision; it's like looking through a straw. No wonder she's miserable.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creative thinking...are you a question mark or a period?

I've been reading, A Whack on the Side of the Head, by Roger von Oech on how to be more creative. One of the questions is, what do Winnie the Pooh and John the Baptist have in common?

Von Oech says, "By the time a person finishes school he will have taken over 2,600 tests and quizzes. We are trained to find the 'right answer' instead of thinking creatively." He said his high school sophomore teacher put a chalk dot on the board and asked what it was. After a long silence, one person answered, "A chalk dot on a blackboard." No one else responded, believing that that was the correct answer,exactly what the teacher was looking for. The teacher waited, then said, "Yesterday I did this exercise with kindergarteners, and they came up with twenty different possibilities of what this is." Neil Postman, an educator said, "Children enter school as questions marks and leave as periods." I agree.

Von Oech says the best ideas are not in someone else's head (the teacher's) they are in yours. We're just not trained to think out of the box.

So, what do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common?
I'll bet you're thinking, size. That is because you are trying to come up with the right answer.
The thing they have in common: they both have the same middle name, THE. Kindergarteners get it, but adults would never take the chance of looking dumb, giving the wrong answer.