Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween. Hope you have a great day. I remember when I was a little girl, I couldn't wait to go trick or treating. I'd peek out the door after dinner and watch the early birds get a head start on me. My mom and dad would say we'd have to wait thirty minutes until dark. I started counting 1, 2, 3, and by the time I counted to thirty four times, they were ready to shove me out the door.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preliminary Contract

Woo-hoo! I just received a preliminary contract from Ultimate HCI Books. One of my bird stories has made it to the final round of evaluation, and I will know for certain in ninety days. I am always hopeful, but I won't go into deep depression if I receive a rejection at the last minute. Such is the writing life. I am thrilled, and my hubby is a little disappointed because they didn't select the story I wrote about him and his feathered fraulein. Would it be selfish of me to hope both stories are accepted? wink-wink, tweet-tweet, fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expressions of love

I'm reading an anthology, Heavenly Humor for the Woman's Soul. One of the stories made me smile. Rachel St. John-Gilbert wrote about aging and marital intimacy. Her mother told her that a woman has to adjust to the changes that come along with wrinkles and pounds, and she quoted Robert Browning, "Grow old with me! The best is yet to come." Her mother went on to advise, "But as time goes by, Aunt Minnie Pause drops in to visit Mom about the same time that Dad discovers his Don Juan readiness can't always be counted on. Add to that a drop in energy levels, and you may well have to take a nap before enjoying a nighttime romance."

St. John-Gilbert wrote that one winter night her husband climbed into bed before her, and she squealed with ecstatic gratitude because he had turned on the electric blanket on her side of the bed.

Sometimes it is the meanigful little things in the bedroom that matter as you age, like my hubby not complaining when I put my cold feet on him when I snuggle up. (grin)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Writer's Resource

I have a great resource for writers. Check out Bella On Line, writer's submissions; they have a lenghthy list of publications seeking submissions. Good luck to all of you. I just finished my 1,000 word column in less that half an hour. It just flowed. I love when that happens!

Time for me to go outside and do something today. I've been checking out some friends' blogs, and Becky is making my mouth water mentioning homemade apple pie.
Later~

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Piles of stuff

Saturday 7:30 p.m.

I've been gone all day. I had breakfast with an old friend/boss who came in town from Nebraska. She has a masters in physical education, taught at Harris Stowe among other places, left St. Louis for another university and is now out of a job. If anyone has any leads, let me know. She's willing to return to St. Louis, doesn't want to work with little kids though and is willing to do anything in the field of education or photography.

I came home a few minutes ago, checked the mailbox, saw a pile of something laying in the street; definitely a dead skunk. I took the pile of mail (a writer's check, yay! and bills to pay) and plopped everything on the desk and shook my head in disgust at the pile of stuff I should have been working on today. Then I read a friend's blog. She, like many writers is frustrated about not knowing where to submit her own pile of work. I then came across a most appropriate quote.

"Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing." ~Sylvia Plath

I'm sure we all have our piles whether they are on the desk, or in the computer.I think that searching for markets is a pain, but it is absolutely the grunt work that freelance writers have to do. I spend several hours a week scouting markets early in the morning, and it is getting more difficult.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where to meet old friends

It is truly a small world. We went to the funeral parlor this evening and ran into several old high school friends. Somehow we are all intertwined still. It is amazing to see the young kids I grew up with now as grandparents. It makes me smile to think how naieve and innocent we all used to be. We all looked relatively good 40 years post high school!

I received a bummer of an email from a publication that accepted one of my essays. The editor apologized for having to tell me (along with many others) that it is being rejected because due to the economy, the publisher has folded. Sign of the times. I'll just have to send it elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yes you can!

8:00 p.m. Wednesday

Attended the SLWG's open mic last night. It was mediocre at best, but my opinion could have been influenced by my achy jaw. My mouth didn't give up that wisdom tooth without a fight!

I wish I had more ambition. I just completed a lengthy IEP (Individual Education Plan) report on a student, and prepared a lesson for my senior writers for tomorrow. Now my creative writing juices have dried up. Guess I'll go swish some salt water and see if that sparks something, otherwise, it's going to be an early night.

If someone says you can't, prove them wrong; show 'em what you've got!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Editors make mistakes too

Editors make mistakes too. Earlier this year, I had to withdraw one of several stories that I had submitted. The editor inadvertantly pulled the wrong story. But after a nice little reminder, I received an apology and my story was reinstated and I received a check. When bad things happen to good writers, they don't stop writing, they don't get upset, they address the issue and move on.

I had a wisdom tooth pulled and I want pizza in the worst way. Now isn't that the way it goes. I hope the numbness wears off by the time I read at open mic tonight at The Mack.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

Sunday 7:00 p.m.

Today was an incredibly beautiful, sunny day. Bill and I walked around a lake and through a park slurping up the sun, sidling up to a blue heron, parting a gaggle of geese. Then I briskly walked at least a mile through a new Wal-Mart store. That makes up for all those treats I ate last night. The highlight was a visit with friends who just had a newborn baby girl. She's a little doll. And I was in my glory watching her mew and her little eyes flutter as she slept in my arms. Oh what a feeling!

I got an email from another friend whose mother passed away. It made me realize how we can be so filled with joy and the next instant consumed with sadness. So many of my friends are experiencing a multitude of emotions as they deal with family illnesses and their own; with loss and grief; with holding on and letting go ... with life. This I dedicate to all of you~

CHEROKEE PRAYER BLESSING
May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.
May your mocassins make happy tracks in many snows,
and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh Sunny Day

My toes are tapping, my mind is spinning, my heart is fluttering because the sun is shining finally after so many cold, rainy days. I was thinking of the time my granddaughter was nearly three. We were in a dressing room, and she shouted that she wanted a bottle. I told her she didn't take a bottle. She assured me she most certainly did at naptime when she was at her great-grandma's house. I then asked her what she wanted to drink and she boldly replied, "I want a beer!"
I almost fainted. "You do not drink beer!"
"Yes I do, in the orphanage."
"You do not live in an orphanage!"
"Yes I do, with Annie and ... (she burst into song) the sun will come out tomorrow."

You just have to have faith that eventually the sun will shine.

Worry looks around. Sorry looks back. Faith looks up.~ anonymous

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hayride in winter weather!

I took my classes and their parents on a field trip to the pumpkin patch today for a hayride. Good grief, it was windy and bitterly cold. Of course that didn't stop the children from playing in the inflatable fun house, spook house, corn maze and at the playground. The baby barnyard animals were precious. I wanted to scoop the bunnies up. The three piglets were piled one on top the other; there was a pink one, a white one and a brown one with black polka dots which made the kids laugh. When the billy goat head butted a chicken the kids cackled. The chicken skittered away unhurt.

My feet were so cold, I couldn't feel my toes. That triggered a childhood memory. My mom used to say, "My feet are like ice cakes." I loved words even then and wondered if there literally were ice cakes or if she meant just the opposite of hot cakes. Grin!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let a kid be a kid!

Children have one chance at childhood. I believe that society is forcing children to grow up way too fast; the age of innocence is rapidly shrinking. Why do adults buy Barbies for toddlers; let preschoolers watch inappropriate movies because they think the kids aren't listening, watching or won't be affected; rush them into learning activities that are far beyond their developmental levels; and then tell them they are "acting like a baby" when they revert back to younger developmental levels which represent a safer time in their lives?

Even adults when they feel sad, grumpy, afraid, or frustrated return to their earliest comfort level: kicking, crying, and complaining, and then curl up in the fetal position under the covers.

As we rush children to the next level, statstics show that most college grads are not financially independent until age 27, yet they declare their independence earlier and earlier. There's a paradox there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Uncle!

I am looking at a stack of unread books, a pile of papers and a half finished article with a Friday deadline. This cold is making me so miserable that I don't feel like reading or writing. I can only dawdle on facebook and blogs for so long. I have to admit to myself that this is going to be an unproductive night, and I may as well go to bed at 8:30.

Sometimes you just have to shout, "Uncle" and give in to what your body and mind are telling you. Giving in isn't the same as giving up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Abundant Blessings

I am thankful for my husband, my house, my health, our children, grandchildren and my friends. If only we knew when we're young what we know when we get older, but life itself is a learning experience. I have learned that what you give -whether it comes from deep within, out of your heart, or pocket -is reflected back to you. Anger generates more anger. Love and kindness, peace and calm, still the waters instead of ripple them. When your life seems to be spinning too fast, go to a quiet place in your mind, if only for a moment. My quiet place is a sunny lagoon in Mexico, shallow and turquoise blue where I eased my body down and floated without a care one summer day and listened to the surf pound the breakers hundreds of yards out. The ocean, my metaphor for life: daily living is sometimes like those breaking waves, but just beyond, there is a beautiful, calming, quiet refuge. Whether you are religious, spiritual or agnostic, may you find your higher power today and give thanks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finished reading a book

I finished reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. It was awesome. I could almost feel the sweltering southern heat and hear the buzzing bees.
I love a book that I can plunk myself right down in the middle of and feel like I actually know the characters.

I have been writing about a character who lived in my old neighborhood. Imagine Johnny Appleseed...drunk. I'll read it tomorrow at St. Louis Writer's Guild open mic.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nana's Girl

Seems only yesterday her dress-ups dragged the ground, and she listened spellbound to me read her fairy tales. My oldest grandchild, Ashley Anne Antoine is the author of her own life now, a college student living and working independently. Her early "chapters" contain some interesting, and memorable (real) characters! Along with all my love, this is my wish for her twentieth birthday tomorrow: may every chapter you continue to write end with happily ever after. Throw caution to the wind; write your life with flair, fun, forgiveness.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Under the Covers

I think there's nothing better than fresh sheets on the bed. I got the brushed cotton sheets from the linen closet tonight because it is officially cold.

I remember my mom telling me how cold it was in her house during winter when she was a little girl. At bedtime my grandpa used to cover her with his overcoat. What a wonderful childhood memory he created. It made her feel special, as she had five siblings. Do you remember a particular blanket, comforter, afghan that you snuggled under as a child? A great memoir topic!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is your broom still standing?

Okay, so I heard on the radio that several planets are in alignment and the gravitational pull is so strong that a broom will stand upright by itself. It's true! I can't tell you how many people thought I was crazy until they tried it and discovered it works. I don't know what the phenomenon is, whether it is the heavenly bodies or some other scientific thing, but give it a try.

I love this quote. What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't get too big for your britches!

Today a three year old girl who was playing with a doll, wanted to put on dress-up clothes, but she didn't want anyone to get her doll. She asked me to help her find a place to lay it down for a nap. I opened my jacket, tucked it in and said, "I'll keep it safe for you right here." She shook her head no and said, "That is not the softest place in the world. I want my dolly back." Then she buried it in a pile of clothes on a cot. Now that is a little girl who knows what she wants and will succeed in life.

I've been thinking a lot about success. A woman I know wrote a niche book, promoted it on local and national television and went on the lecture circuit. She made a blanket statement that her only correspondence with email buddies would be to further her career, no personal chit-chat because she didn't have TIME. I think when writers burst at the seams, it's because they get too big for their britches. Time is the only thing we have, maybe not enough in a given day, but we must make time for others.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

random thoughts

Almost midnight

Rush Limbaugh buying the Rams? Why that's like Jack in the Box selling Chinese food. I was listening to KTRS this morning. Several idiots called in and said that they had never been to a Rams game, did not support R. L.'s politics, but if he bought the team, they'd go. HUH?!

It makes me sad to see all these people standing on street corners in their work uniforms soliciting patrons for their businesses: pizza guys and Oil & Lube workers and hairdressers flagging potential customers with signs. Guess it's a sign of the times.

Bought a new watch, had to return it, stood in a long customer service line, only to be told I had to take it to the jewelry department.

Today: biting incident, potty accident, kid shoving tissue paper up his nose. Same kid. UGH! Going to bed, tomorrow will be better.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Submit your work

Have you checked out Writer's Digest Your Story? It might be something you would be interested in. You must submit by the 10th of each month. No fee contest, no payment, but publication.

I have been sorting through a stack of possible places to submit. Wouldn't you know it! I am too late on most of the deadlines. Sheesh! How long were these little Post-its sitting here?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunny Sunday

I am delighted with the fact that the anthology, Hope Whispers in which my story appears, has my name on the back book cover listed as one of several "noted authors". Now that is noteworthy.

Today was delightful. We took a long drive about an hour away to St. Francois State Park, walked along the river bank, then stopped by to see my daughter. I am enjoying her company so much these days. She is a changed person, calmer and self-confident. My twelve year old grandson was all smiles even though I interrupted his impromptu baseball game to present him with a bag of Resse's peanut butter minitaures.

Yesterday I visited with my son and his family. I received news that my cousin's doctor was able to remove her breast cancer the other day. I spoke with my out-of-town brother, and also my long time friend who has first stage dementia. She was "with it" and said she had a wonderful day with all of her children and grandchildren at a county fair in her town. I also heard from a favorite writer friend. And I spoke with my elderly aunt who gave me information about things she and my mom did when they were little girls. My husband made me laugh a lot today. Life is good.

I finally broke down and put the comforter on the bed. After a bowl of homemade vegetable soup and a half slice of blueberry pie, I am ready to snuggle in; it's only 8:30. I hope my dreams and yours are as pleasant as my day was.

Video Games, mine and theirs

We have two grandsons who we're going to call cavemen. They literally stay in their lower level rooms and play video games for hours on end. The good thing though, is they are also very physical boys and are involved in sports. But when we drop by either of their homes for a visit, and they are not outdoors playing, we know we'll find them in their "caves".

I attended a workshop fifteen years ago presented by a neurologist and therapist who demonstrated how a child who was hooked up to a computer (think EEG wires and pads attached to the head, not inserted) could actually move a cursor with thoughts, concentration, and brain waves instead of hands. I must admit it was amazing.

I am not against video games, but I do believe that many kids these days get more exercise in their thumbs than their bodies. My friend has a 13 year old autistic grandson, and over the years, after many therapies and special schools, they discovered the one thing that improved his behavior consistently was rewarding him with video game time. As a form of therapy/self-therapy, I suppose it is a good thing. The boys are intense when they play and are able to tune everything else out, but then again, I have a suspicion that all male brains have that capability. (grin) On a positive note, maybe it increases their focus.

I must admit, I act the fool when I occasionally play video games. Of course, mine reward me with, or rob me of my quarters.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sue Monk Kidd book signing

What a lovely evening! I met my writing friends Becky, Tammy and Theresa at the county library headquarters in Frontenac to listen to authors, Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. They were very inspiring speakers, and their NY agent was even present.

After hearing the women speak, I am convinced that I must write more. I know I have what it takes. I have to take my writing seriously and just do it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Farewell September

This week absolutely flew. I can't believe that Friday is here, and I have flipped my Calendar to a new month. It's always difficult for me to write in September, what with getting back into a new school year and feeling exhausted in the evening. Eight submissions just isn't enough; I'll have to do better in October.