Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Naked sneezing and no more people pleasing

I teach at a school designed specifically for children with life-threatening food allergies and asthma, although not all of the students are affected. I am forever washing my hands and know better than to put my fingers near my eyes or nose, one of the fastest ways to transfer germs. I teach my students to cough or sneeze into their cough/sneeze catcher, the inside crook of their arm. But we all know that the world is a preschooler's tissue, so I am careful not to touch a sleeve at the wrist. If someone forgets to cover their mouth and they release their germs into the air, I fan it back to them with a piece of paper and laugh and say, "You keep these germs, they're yours. I don't want them." It's a nice way of saying, Cover it!

With cold and flu season upon us, I have more control in my classroom than out in public. Adults who were trained to cover with their hands, think they are doing the right thing, but those hands transfer fistsful of little buggers (not boogers) to shopping cart handles and every other thing they touch.

So many times I've been tempted to use non-verbal communication, raise my arm and point to the crook. But they'd think I was deflecting, asking for the time, or merely a confused old lady. I've thought about actually saying what's on my mind to the dumbasses who hack and cough and naked sneeze (completely uncovered) in tight spaces, but I figure if I let loose with my words it would be more viral than their sneezes.

Did you ever turn the corner at the grocery store only to run into someone who speaks thisclose in your face? " 'scuse me, hack-hack-hack, do you know where the cold medicine is?" I mean, really!

I was in the toy aisle when a woman coming directly towards me, and not two feet away
bellowed at my eye level for her kids ... out of her mouth into mine. Yuck!

I used to smile, be friendly and speak, you know...'tis the season and all that. But now, when I see someone approaching, I turn my head, and exhale through my nose until we pass.

I've had to swallow enough of my own words over my life time. I am not about to start eating other people's.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I had a vision

I embarrass myself!

A couple years ago I went to the ophthalmologist and received a good report. She asked if the Dollar Store reading glasses were still doing the trick, and approved their use. I didn't admit that I have two pairs, one for reading small print and one for watching TV.

Last evening I awoke from my three hour! nap on the couch with my TV specs perched cockeyed on my nose. I proceeded in a trance-like state to the bathroom, the dim motion light barely illuminated the room. I sat down, looked down and screamed like a banshee. I reached for a magazine and beat the heck out of a piece of black sock lint on the floor, then I looked at the wall and attacked the plug on the curling iron (the cord had unraveled and was hanging off a shelf).

Perhaps I had the wrong pair of readers on. Perhaps it's the dreaded winter doldrums that causes these sleep-induced panics. When the sun goes down, so do I. No wonder I wake up refreshed at 4:00 a.m.

Now that I am bright-eyed, let me tell you about a call for submissions. Go HERE to read an interesting interview with Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief of Wild Rose Publishing. She gives a thorough breakdown of the many romance sub-genres they publish, everything from short-story to novel length; hot and steamy to sweet, sweaty and sticky (implied sex); to hot and bothered (explicit); and everything in between. Put your "readers" on and get to it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How about you, front or back

of a book, a football player, a dress, yourself?

Usually The Front. I purchased Mama Makes Up Her Mind and other Dangers of Southern Living, by Bailey White. The picture of a cute cottage with vintage car parked ON THE PORCH along with a bathtub and rocking chair made me chuckle. I read the first paragraph of the back blurb and gave the book a thumbs up. I got home and began reading. Bailey has the writing style of Flannery O'Conner and Fannie Flagg, which I like. It was an easy read, but I kept getting frustrated at the end of each chapter. There was no continuity into the next chapter. I must be a slow learner, because I was on page 48 before I flipped the book over and read the entire back cover blurb. "Bailey White's indelible VIGNETTES of Southern eccentricity..." well, Duh!

I've done a whole lot of football watching since Thursday. So uhmm, ladies, you all know it's The Back. Unless it is my nine year old football playing grandson I'm watching, and then it's The Front because he has the cutest face.
Ahh, if only Spandex pants did for my hiney what they do for those pro jock tight ends.

Dresses: The Front
Saw some of the cutest dresses this weekend. They MUST drape across my midsection ... uhm, Okay, my midriff bulge, an old woman's version of a young girl's "muffin top". I found several that I thought did the trick, and then I looked in the mirror to discover buttons, zippers and puckers in the wrong places in the back. I walked out of the dressing room and saw an old friend from many years ago. "How are you doing?" I asked.

"Getting older, wiser and fatter," she said with a smile.

"I still think of myself as when we were young. I have this image of how I will look in these dresses. Then, I try them on and get my real age come-uppance in that dressing room mirror," I complained.

She rubbed her belly and said, "Me too. Enjoy the holidays."

I patted my belly and said, "Yep, going home to finish the pie."

"See you round," I said and headed down the aisle. From a distance you couldn't tell if I was coming or going.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I ask for your forgiveness before you read this

Bill slept with his ex-wife for nearly twenty-two years. I am embarrassed beyond words to tell you that I have slept with her, too. Let me lay it out for you.
On Thanksgiving, Bill's daughter invited her sister's family and her parents to her home for dinner. We sat around and watched big-screen football games.

Bill's ex-wife and I complained that we don't get it anymore.

We ate a big dinner.

She and I, elbow to elbow, washed and dried the dishes.

And then everyone else, five kids and six adults went to the diningroom to play Phase 10, a long-lasting, noisy card game.

That is when it happened. She and I were alone in the living room and ...

Bill's ex-wife and I slept together.
Bill's ex-wife and I slept, together.
Bill's ex-wife and I slept, together, after Thanksgiving dinner.
Bill's ex-wife and I slept, together, after Thanksgiving dinner, in the livingroom.
Bill's ex-wife and I slept, together, after Thanksgiving dinner, in the livingroom, on separate couches.

And now it is a scandal; someone took a picture of us, curled up, together, after Thanksgiving dinner, in the livingroom, on separate couches.

She is a very nice woman and we get along well. (No offense intended.)

There you have it.
The moral of my story: use your commas, and be careful of tabloid headings, unless you are trying to reel your reader in, and then you'd better be careful that you can pull it off, or you might tick them off. See what I mean?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving, circa 1969

On this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for my abundant blessings, and I am thankful for you, my blog friends.

I awoke at 3:30 a.m. this morning with Thanksgiving, 1969 on my mind. I was three months pregnant, a soldier's wife, living in a trailer the size of an old city bus, in Delta Junction, Alaska. It was a wilderness town, population 500, situated at the end of the Alcan Highway. We received Down the Road Pay, an extra monthly stipend of about forty dollars because we lived off post in a hostile environment. No, we didn't have to dodge bullets like the soldiers in Viet Nam, but danger lurked and our enemy was the extreme climate, fifty below zero degrees with unbelievably strong winds. Caribou, moose, a herd of buffalo and an occasional bear roamed freely.

Winter sunrise occurred about 8:00 a.m. and illuminated the town with a forty watt glow. Pitch dark enveloped the town by 2:30 p.m. There were no porch lights and no street lamps, like back home. Walking outside on a clear moonlit night was literally breathtaking; our exhaled breath crystallized. The stars looked so close it seemed I could reach up and pluck one. The aurora borealis spilled pastel streaks across the sky. But on cloudy nights, (3:00 p.m.) when I walked outside, my visibility was zero. I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face. I could hear and feel the thundering from the herd of wild buffalo tramping down our gravel road.

I stayed inside and watched either PBS, Public Broadcast Station or AFS, the Armed Forces Station. I viewed a lot of Sesame Street, a brand new childrens' educational program, and when I tired of that, I watched army reels. At 6:00 p.m. we were able to watch the NEWS, live from a local TV station in Fairbanks, 100 miles away. The male reporters were often caught licking their hands and smoothing their hair -talk about Candid Camera! Then Walter Cronkite would report the nightly world news. The only problem was, it was the news from the night before. There was a twenty-four hour delay because the newsreels had to be flown in from Seattle each day.

Thanksgiving, 1969 was one for the books. Every military family living off post had difficulty stretching their paychecks 30 days. We all ran out of something by the last week of the month. Often we didn't have six cents for a postage stamp to write home.

The day before, I'd purchased a roasting hen and stuffing at Diehl's, a general store, bookended by a tiny post office and bank. At 10:00 a.m. I put the chicken in the tiny oven and sat down to write a letter.

Dear Mom,
Happy Thanksgiving. As I look out the window I see an older Eskimo couple in their mid-forties walking down the road wearing parkas. They are arguing loudly in their native language. Most of the people around here are transient young military couples, and most of the wives are in various stages of pregnancy. This native couple must live nearby. I see them frequently, and he is always verbally abusive to her. I should invite them in for Thanksgiving dinner, but I know you'd lecture me about strangers. I've invited Bob and Karen from down at the end of the road. I like her, but her husband is more hot-tempered than mine. Have to go baste the bird ...

That's when my Thanksgiving took a turn for the worse. I opened the oven, anticipating the blast of warm air, but the oven was cold and the bird uncooked. My former husband and I pooled our pocket change, and came up with ninety-four cents. We scrounged around the couch, searched high and low and found three more pennies. He unscrewed the small propane tank (which fueled the cook stove) attached to the front of the trailer, and we headed up the road to the gas station. It cost $3.00 to refuel the tank, but my Ex explained the situation to the attendant, asked if he could purchase a dollar's worth of propane, and promised to pay him the three pennies later. The man filled the tank, and said, "Happy Thanksgiving, kids. Come see me on payday."

As we sat down with friends to a delicious chicken dinner, I said a long-winded prayer.

Forty-two years later, my kids and grandkids are scattered in all directions, visiting relatives. I will join Bill's children and grandchildren this afternoon and send up a prayer of Thanksgiving for good health, a good husband, good kids, good grandkids,and good gravy, because Robin makes the best!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

They THINK they are just playing


Nicole and Daniel in front of the tee-pee which they decorated. They are ready for a bear or buffalo hunt. They shot the nerf bow and arrow at turkey, bear and buffalo targets. If a messy desk is a sign of brilliance, well, please disregard the messy classroom. It is the end of the month and we collect a lot of clutter. Oh, but experiential, hands-on learning is so much fun and is developmentally appropriate. Little children should be moving and exploring, not sitting at a desk doing paper/pencil work.

Creative dramatics, Nicole and Nina rowing downriver. All we needed was a box, cardboard oars, and a blue sheet. The boys insisted on fishing poles. We also sat on carpet samples, paddled our canoes and 'tipped them over', that is, WE tipped our bodies backwards and spilled out. You should have heard the gleeful laughter.

I believe that literacy is one of the greatest gifts that we can give children, and so, I encourage story telling. Parents read aloud and the kids see their words in print. If you can enlarge it, read Daniel's to the left, on blue paper.

We are great story tellers, as were the Native Americans. You can certainly see which stories were dictated by the three year olds and those that were told by the four-five year olds. The 4's & 5's chose their Native American's Name by using their imagination. They closed their eyes, pretended they were in their Tee-pee (tipi) and peeked out. The first thing they 'saw' was what they named their main character. They also examined buffalo and bear pelts borrowed from the Department of Conservation. They learned how every part of the animal was used for food, clothing, bedding, shelter, etc. their parents were amazed at the facts they told THEM.

Albuqurque the Turkey targets many areas of learning.
Speech: we touch our throats to learn where the "Q" sound comes from, and we touch our mouths when we say the "T" sound. Otherwise they call it AlbuTurkey.
Finger strengthening: twisting tissue paper
Cooperation: working alongside a classmate
Empathy and generosity: the children help STUFF the food into the box and learn about donating to the needy (those who need it but do not have it).

The children think they are just playing, but sticking feathers in styrofoam develops and strengthens small muscles in the fingers/hands which children use when printing. Some of these had turkey heads. We also laid on the floor and blew feathers, stood and caught (the snipped off top, soft part) them as they drifted down, staying focused and in control :)

When people ask me what I do, I reply, "I teach preschoolers."
When they say, "Oh, you babysit," I want to bring them to my classroom for one day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Did you ever shake the box to reveal the gift?

Christmas Surprise (100 words)

"I don't need nor want a new stove," Mom insisted when she came home and saw the appliance box in her small kitchen.

"Be nice. I'll call Johnny long distance. He sent me the money to buy you a new stove. We both went to great lengths to surprise you."

I dialed my brother who lived in Nevada. "Mom wants to say thanks for her present."

"Hi Mom, do you like the color?"

She frowned, stretched the phone cord, opened the box. My brother popped up with the extension phone. Her son in the box was her favorite Christmas present.
Check it out. If you can do it in 100 words, and your entry is chosen, you could win a $25 gift card.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things are not always as they seem

I babysat Nicole for a couple hours while her dad and brother went to football practice and her mom went to school. She played with her little mermaid Polly Pockets.

"Nana, help me get her dress on."

Dressing those rubber mini dolls in rubber clothes is worse than stuffing that big-boobed Barbie in a too tight dress.

She came into the living room and snuggled with me under a warm blanket. We searched TV for something child-appropriate. No such thing at 7:30 p.m. So I turned on reruns of The Waltons. FYI, it wasn't all Utopia on Walton's Mountain. In this episode the preacher found one of the red haired sons in a road house (bar). Pa Walton, after being struck by lightning, walked into church, and then got up and walked out on a fire and brim stone, circuit riding preacher.

The Waltons all had their problems, just like modern day families do. Mama Walton not only had to put up with living with her in-laws, but she had to feed, clothe, referee and care for her brood, not to mention deal with a husband who wanted no part of religion and refused to attend church.

The entire town turned out for the annual revival and baptism. Pa steadfastly refused to take part. He said there was nobody going to shout at him to save his soul; he already believed in God, and no amount of river dunking was going to change the way he already believed.

I watched those stair-step Walton kids walk into that river one after another and get fully immersed as the preacher pronounced their souls saved. A song from my childhood, Shall We Gather at the River was being sung by all. Dang! That preacher held those kids under way too long as he invoked the Trinity.

I got to thinking on this cold night about how warm the ocean feels. I was lulled by the memories of floating at Maegan's Bay in the Bahamas. I could actually feel the warmth, and the wetness, and the heat. And then I realized, Nicole had fallen asleep and had just "baptized" me.

I am praying that I can save my sofa. First, I am going to immerse myself.

Hamming it up

The Pigs Took the Cake!

My wedding date coincided with my best friend’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We decided to repeat our vows together; she and her husband would renew their vows at my small, second wedding.

Brides go to great lengths to select the perfect wedding cake and topper. I am not a professional cake decorator, but every birthday cake I’d ever baked for my grandchildren had received rave reviews. How difficult could it be, I reasoned, to make my own small, three-tiered wedding cake? It actually turned out quite beautifully. I chose a unique and most appropriate ceramic figurine topper: bride and groom porkers smooching. Yes, pigs!

The reason for my selection began five years before when my best friend, who had been my former next door neighbor in Alaska, came for a visit. We had so much catching up to do. I couldn’t wait to introduce my fiancée and my best friend to one another. Even though twenty years had passed, it was as though we’d never been apart.

We visited tourist attractions. At one of our town’s animal sanctuaries, she saw her first pot-bellied pig and fell in love with it. Her obsession with that paunchy sow became the topic of every letter and phone call when she returned home.

“How’s my pig? When are you going to send me one?” We sent her pig photos, but in each letter she jokingly begged for the real thing.

My fiancée, with his warped sense of humor, decided to grant her wish. He called to tell her that her pig was on the way. He went to the pet store and purchased rawhide pig ears for her dog to chew, pickled pig’s feet in a jar and pork rinds in a bag. This went on and on until the two of them were swapping ceramic pig figurines for every occasion and no reason at all. His office study soon looked like hog heaven with decorative wooden shelves on each wall lined with miniature swine of every kind. One pig sat in a rocker reading the New York Times; another stood on a scale with an ice cream cone in hand, a reminder that our favorite vice is ice cream. Then a bikini clad pig with sunburned buns arrived after our beach vacation. She sent the pig in the hammock when we returned from Cancun where we’d taken daily siestas in hammocks. Each pig she sent had particular significance.

On the day of our mutual weddings, my friend admired the three individual cake layers on my kitchen table. She laughed aloud at my choice of cake topper, in honor of her “pig.” We drove the cakes to the reception hall. I stacked the three layers which were positioned on thin wooden dowels. As the wedding music began, she and her husband, and my fiancée and I walked down the white silken carpet runner and took our places in front of the pastor.

Standing with my husband on one side and my best friend on the other, we sealed our friendship with hilarity that April afternoon. The four of us had no sooner said, “I do”; “I do”; “I do”; “I do,” when I glanced over at the cake. Horrified, I whispered in my friend’s ear, “I do not believe it!” The minister solemnly continued to speak. We had to stifle our giggles when the middle cake tier collapsed. The pigs on the top layer tumbled … icing on the cake of our life-long friendship. Usually it’s the bride that steals the show, but at our wedding, even though there were two brides, it was the pigs that took the cake!

Published in Patchwork Path, Wedding Bouquet

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I wake each day with a prayer. This morning I had so many prayer requests and so much gratitude on my mind, I fell back asleep and woke up with a song on my lips not even related to the requests. I wonder if God feels as overwhelmed with all the major and minor problems. I often think my piddly problems are a nusiance.

I sometimes just ask His angels to guide and guard my kids, grandkids and friends in need. I think this is as direct a line to heaven, especially if you believe that each of us has a guardian angel.

Case in point, last evening my daughter had car troubles, and her husband was gone. She called Auto Zone who advised, but could not do diagnostics on a car in her driveway. She asked if they knew of a nearby auto mechanic. She telephoned the person they reccomended in her small town. He offered to stop by her house on his way home. That in itself is way beyond the call of duty. He looked at my daughter with surprise and she recognized him, but she couldn't quite place where she knew him from.

He said, "Years ago, you lived on my road, and you found my lost Great Pyerenes and you kept him for days and fed him, and then you found me! This is the least I can do for you."

The car ended up being a minor problem, but in a very big way, I know the angels were at work yesterday, for I do not believe in coincidence.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

For the birds

It is 77 degrees on Novemeber 13th, but the wind is gusting at 40 mph. It feels like springtime. I feel exhuberant, alive. The sunshine on my face warms me, the leaves letting go, floating and swirling, and the crunch beneath my feet are as good as chocolate in my mouth. Imagine my surprise when hubby and I were hiking in a county park this morning and came upon this. Perhaps some summer campers did it, maybe it is a neighbor child's gift to the birds. Whatever, it made me smile. It made my day! Little things do that for me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Memoir can be difficult to share

I was relcutant to read an excerpt from my incomplete memoir at Open Mike. I was surprised by the reaction of the younger people. They were interested. I told the group of twenty-somethings that I am sometimes embarrassed to share personal details about my "nomad" dad and my childhood. They encouraged me to lay it out there. They are right.

Do not allow fear to hold you back. If you have a tale to tell, write it down. You can revise later. Sit down and free write. You may be surprised at what you find. Among all the junk in your life, you might find a nugget you can work up into a piece for publication. I did and you can too.

Traipsing Through the Decades
published in Tiny Lights, A Journal of Personal Narrative
by Linda O'Connell

Ahh, wanderlust! I inherited it from my father who had a third grade education and was functionally illiterate. He traveled wherever his wandering heart desired, and when he couldn't actually go someplace, he'd spin a yarn that kept adults and children spellbound with vivid details of people, places and things. His story telling was the catalyst for my writing.

Personal essay is my favorite writing genre. Writer's block is as painful as writer's cramp, but I have discovered that if I allow myself to travel into the past instead of plot a future story or article, I can write prolifically. Sometimes I am five years old smelling autumn leaves burning in the gutter and Grandma's homemade soup bubbling on the stove. Other times I find myself wandering into my children's childhoods. Remembering their baby days triggers a memory of nuzzling a newborn grandchild, and so it goes as I traipse through the decades.

Although I am planted in a chair in front of a computer, often I am walking across the tundra in Alaska where I left a little piece of my heart, or I am power walking on a beach listening to the ocean roar. I can almost feel the crunch of gravel underfoot as I stroll down Memory Lane with my best friend; and to feel lush grass on bare feet, all I have to do is kick off my shoes and allow my mind to wander. A short jaunt is all it takes to jog a memory. As I hop, skip and jump through the decades, I kick up dust-covered memories that result in nostalgic personal essays or blog posts. It does a writer good to take a short jaunt every now and again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's THIS Sunday!

Please come out for a while to support this great effort. Stay a short while or a long while. Meet the authors, listen to them read their work. Please repost this and tell others.

Storm Country release party and book signing $10 per book
All proceeds benefit Joplin tornado victims to replenish their library books.

Sunday, November 13 • 7:00pm - 9:30pm

Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar Boulevard St. Louis, MO

Authors will read from their work and discuss their contributions to the anthology. Some of the authors scheduled to read include: Elaine Viets, Linda Austin, Lynn Obermoeller, Linda O'Connell, Donna Volkenannt, Anene Tressler-Hauschultz, Kelli Allen, Bill Hopkins, and others. Event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the Missouri Writers Guild.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wear your words wisely

Usually on Fridays, we go to a nearby buffet because I like the catfish. They also serve breakfast on weekends but we had never eaten there.

Sunday morning we drove past the new International House of Pancakes because there were picketers stringing a parking lot-length banner which stated SHAME ON IHOP. It was probably a union dispute, but how do I know they weren't putting a forbidden ingredient in their pancakes and omelets?

We drove to Denny's for their advertised Grand Slam Breakfast: two of everything, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes. The line looked like Noah's Ark, two by two out the door.

We decided to try Golden Corral, the trough food place. I am a people watcher. I couldn't believe how crowded that place was, how overweight 99% of the diners were, and how delicious the maple flavored 1/2 slices of bacon were.

After our meal we sat and sipped another cup of coffee so I could take written notes. Some folks were dressed to the hilt and obviously had come from church. They wore glitzy dresses, sparkly shirts and suits.

Some people in their twenties, I'd bet money on, couldn't even spell the names of the universities embroidered across their sweatshirts.(Goodwill sometimes has good sales.)

Most teens wore product advertisements; branded with logos and company names. Unlike my kids who had to wear mix and match Garanimals until they were thirteen, these kids wore names of Fortune Five Hundred Companies. I'll bet none of the CEOs were stuffing their faces at a buffet.

Younger children wore T shirts with wisecracks printed on them.
What are you looking at?
If You're Looking for Trouble, Here I am!
I'm With Stupid. (That kid was being held in his seventeen year old dad's arms.)

As I looked around I noticed pretty teenage girls wearing granny skirts and ugly oxfords, not so pretty grannies wearing mini skirts and high heel shoes sporting an assortment of spindle legs, plump stumps, and turkey drumstick-shaped varicose-veined gams.

Males and females wore their affiliations and fondesses on their bodies in the form of art, tattooes ie: needles and ink, no thank you. I'm not one to judge; each to his own. I just know that no one is etching my neck, arms or legs. Not to mention other parts of one's body that I prefer to cover, unlike one gal who preferred to show her proud purchase off.

Emblazoned across her chest flesh, well let's be honest, breasts, was the word BEAUTIFUL.

I almost choked on my coffee when my husband said to me, "Hey, Beautiful, you ready to go?"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good news for all writers

I have more great news, some about me and some just for you! The editor at Sasee Magazine accepted my Christmas story for the December issue. It is a holiday story near and dear to my heart about my children. I will link to it here on my blog in a few weeks.

The great news for you is PROFESSIONAL, EXPERIENCED, MULTI-PUBLISHED WRITER, Jennifer Brown Banks is launching her writer's service. See details for the wealth of information she has to share. Jennifer is Managing Editor of Coffeehouse for Writers. Why not sit down, sip a cup of your favorite java and learn from Jen? She knows her stuff! I discovered an article penned by her in a writer's magazine about breaking all the rules. I have followed her wonderful advice ever since, and here I am today, prospering, multi-published in many genres. No wonder her blog is titled PEN AND PROSPER! (click on it for the link)

I received this email from Jennifer, and I am passing it on to you. Will you please pass it on to others?

From: Jennifer Brown Banks


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Jennifer Brown Banks

Veteran freelance writer, Columnist, Pro Blogger
Managing Editor, Coffeehouse for Writers

Monday, November 7, 2011

This chickie is clucking!

I am so excited. I just signed TWO more Chicken Soup for the Soul preliminary contracts, Messages from Heaven and the Married Life . I am hopeful but realistic. I know that rejection can occur thirty days before the publication release date. If these stories are accepted, that will be fifteen (15) Chicken Soup for the Soul books my stories will appear in. I feel very blessed to have the ability to write a compelling, often humorous and or inspirational story.
This Sunday evening 7-9
Regional Arts Commission on Delmar
Storm Country, an anthology $10.00

I am joining Elaine Viets and other contributing writers who have been published in Storm Country, an anthology.

Deb Marshall, Kelli Allen, Dianna Graveman will also be on hand. All proceeds will be donated to Joplin tornado victims to replenish their libraries. Please spread the word. This is not about the contributors. It is a benefit for the people of Joplin.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trick or Treat, or the joke's on you!

Last night we went to a belated, outdoor Halloween party. The weather was chilly, about 55 degrees, but there was a fire and a heater. There was also Karaoke, too much food, and lots of fun.

I wore my striped black and yellow, long sleeve pullover with black pants, and pinned a stuffed bee to my shirt. I went as BIG "B" and Little "B". Hubby wasn't about to wear an elaborate costume, and even insisted he would only wear a T shirt with a slogan.

I convinced him I would make him a costume that he could slip over his head and take off soon after we arrived. Bought a yellow disposable table cloth from the Dollar Store and cut out a bee pattern, drew some lopsided stripes. He tried it on and said, "I look like a wood bee."

"That's it! You are going as a Would Bee."

He had so much fun telling everyone, "I WOULD Be thinner if it weren't for my honey. I WOULD BE happier at the beach. I WOULD be ... "

He thought his jokes were hilarious because everyone laughed ...

when he walked away!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Give me a little hug, won't you, huh?

Every person needs a daily dose. It has no monetary value. It is one of the most beneficial things in life; it is affirming, healing and transfers energy from one person to the other. It is a hug.

Four year old Nicole was over last night for a couple hours. She and I drew pretty designs on paper plates. Then she snipped the edges.

She played 'family' with three dolls. A big rubber boy doll (wearing her daddy's baby clothes) for Paw-paw, a chatty pull-the-string-doll for me (hmmm) and a Baby Beautiful baby doll for herself. She named them and gave them personality traits.

Paw-paw Bill being the male that he is, held the doll for a moment, and then he chased her, played monster, teased her etc. She would run to me with open arms shouting, "Hold me, Nana!" Then she'd yell, "Do it again, Paw-paw!"

She knew her safety zone was in my arms. How often we go through life unable to say, "Hold me." or "Hug me."

Later as she was snuggled with me in a blanket on the couch, she jumped up unexpectedly, ran over to Paw-paw, laid her head in his lap, wrapped her little arms around him and said, "I love you Paw-Paw Bill, let me hug YOU."
She sat on his lap and they snuggled for a while.

I think I disagree with my previous statement that there is no monetary value to a hug. Sometimes a hug is worth a million bucks.

When you are in the midst of a heated discussion with anyone of any age, and one of you says, "Stop that right now!" It is almost impossible to immediately switch gears. Human beings reason with emotions first and logic second. It requires a powerful shift in our emotional state to turn off what is bothering us. BUT...a hug first can lead to peaceful resolution.

Today, won't you give away one smile and one hug? The energy spent will be returned. Know that God loves you, and His door is always open even if yours isn't. He believes in you even if you don't believe in Him. My personal belief is, one God, one earth, many religions. HUGS to all of you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stretch your imagination

When young children color on a flat service, they work different hand/finger muscles hand down, than they do with the hand up. I mount foam peg boards or puzzles and table toys on walls, ends of book cases etc, so children can exercise the area between index finger and thumb. When this area is strengthened it is easier to grasp a writing instrument.

Geo Boards are great manipulatives. Usually they are table top toys. Children stretch rubberbands between pegs to make different shapes. My approach is a bit different. I used a large sheet of cardboard, hot glued the center of buttons in three sizes, and added some happy face stickers. I glued a box on the bottom filled with colorful rubberbands and I mounted the entire contraption on the door with clothespins (the glue pops right off). Children stretch rubberbands to make designs. They use this game during free play; it is a self-directed activity and they play cooperatively, believe it or not.

Easy to make for pre K and elementary classrooms. Imagine the joy on your child's or grandchild's face if they were to come home and find one of these propped up against a wall or mounted to a door.

With a little imagination and few discards or reasonably priced items, you could be the star where you are!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can you say OUCH?

It's that time of year for me again.

Ladies, be vigilant and get your

Mammy Whammy

“Disrobe,” said 20 something
“waist-up completely bare.”
I removed my shirt & bra
and awkwardly stood there.

“Point your toes now forward,
twist your body right this way.”
Maybe ten years ago,
but I can’t move like that today.

She lifted Mopsie and Flopsie,
manipulated my chest,
depressed that boob smasher
and said, “Honey, hold your breath.”

“All done now. Take those with you.”
She joked and continued to yap.
“Don’t worry,” I said sarcastically,
“I’m not leaving either one of these
flatsos in your booby trap.”