Thursday, February 28, 2013

Publishing opportunities

For my writer friends, click to view many opportunities for possible publication.

Quote of the day by Nicole (5) "When I grow up I'm going to be a flower princess and I'll give you one of the flowers out of my hair and you can be a rock star."

Oh, if wishing made dreams come true.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Where is it? There is it!

Communication can be difficult when you don't speak the same language. A few years ago at a resort in Mexico, a waiter brought me a warm glass of soda. I asked for "Grande ice" and he returned with a large chunk of ice. I said, "Gracias, grande-grande?" He came back with a larger chunk of ice and another at each request. What I should have said was MUCHO ice, but we didn't speak the same language.

I have three students for whom English is their second language. It is difficult to teach them spatial concepts. I have cards with a basketball in many positions: a basketball in the box, on the table, above/below the shelf, between a pair of tennis shoes, etc.
I held up a card and  asked a little boy, "Where is the basketball?"
He answered, "It's right there!"
"Yes, but WHERE is the basketball, in the box or on the shelf? WHERE?"
He looked at me like I'm crazy. "I told you WHERE. There!"
I placed his hands in his lap, and said, "Now, tell me with your words where the ball is."
"Okay-okay, it's still THERE." He smiled. I rubbed my temples.

I went over the cards and positions with him several times. He acquired some of the meanings. I sent the paper home with him. But I wanted to make it a concrete activity for him for better understanding, so at dismissal when his mom came, I picked up a book and placed it under a chair in the hall and said to him, "See, it is UNDER."
He laughed out loud and said, "No-no-no, that is not a basketball."

I came home and took an aspirin.

Spring break is a few weeks away.

Make sure you are concise when you are conveying a message in your writing.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I gave him a Lamborghini

trying to get from one side of a suspended swinging rope bridge to the other side.
Leaving childhood, holding the rickety railing of youth, stretching for a grasp on adulthood.

Propped up on the safe stuffed tiger of childhood. Sometimes subdued, often surly, he vacillates between playful growling, ornery snarling and marking his own territory.

Linked to his lap top, detached from family, obsessed with sports and texting. Like a litter mate testing his limits, trying to be alpha dog, discarding old ways...and then, his girlfriend presents him with a present. He props that cute, stuffed puppy on his pillow and cuddles with his hopes and dreams.

Happy birthday to my grandson who was born almost two months premature and has grown into a strapping, muscular hunk. You should see his biceps. I am proud of this young man!

Since he was a little boy, he's always wanted a yellow fast car. I made his cake.
If only I could afford to give him a real Lamborghini.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I write funny, for love and money

Cupid's Quiver is a collection of twelve, short "nice" romance stories published by Well Spring Press, Patricia B. Smith. The e-book is availbale for $2.99 on Amazon. My story, Sizzling in the Kitchen is included in this anthology. You won't be disappointed. After you read, will you please post a review on Amazon or your own blog? Publishing and promoting takes team effort. I appreciate your help. 
Publishing Syndicate has accepted a humorous story I wrote about the first cruise hubby and I took. "I heard about the decadent things people do on cruise ships, eat! I am afraid of heights. I thought if I looked over the eighth floor balcony I'd be providing fish food for the lunkers lurking below."

This book, created by Dahlynn McKowen and Terri Elders will make you laugh, and sigh with satisfaction. You'll want to spread your sails, hop on a plane, train or in an automobile and make your own travel memories. This anthology will be released on March 26, 2013.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Do I have a stage presence?

I submitted a story to Listen To Your Mother St. Louis. I received an email stating that my story was one of thirty out of sixty submissions to be selected. Next step, I must audition and read it aloud next Saturday. Twenty-four cities across the US were selected to participate in this event. St. Louis writers will read on the Saturday before Mother's Day.

I am thrilled and a bit nervous. I am hoping my voice doesn't crack, my pants don't split, and I don't trip. Whether or not I make the cut, I am happy to have had my story considered.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh my, Fannie!

She was born Patricia Neal in 1944 and went on to become an actress and a novelist. Fannie Flagg won me over when she was on Candid Camera. My mom and I used to laugh ourselves silly at how she tricked the unsuspecting. Well, she may have tricked others but she didn't trick me. Not for a minute!

I loved her book, Fried Green Tomatoes and I have read most of her novels. I like her folksy writing style. I recently bought her novel, Standing in the Rainbow (2002). I read the opening: set in 1940's to present day in Elmwood, Missouri. My era, my home state, and my kind of writing. I invested part of my day off in leisure reading.

I was hanging on every word, falling in love with the characters, and then Fannie did me wrong. She set the scene in a fishing cabin; the 1945 calendar turned to a pin up girl wearing short-shorts, fly fishing. Fannie had me hook, line and sinker.

Then, she changed the scene and took the characters, a young boy and his dad, to St. Louis to watch the World Series between the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals. Little Bobby rode a Yellow Cab to the huge Rexall Drugstore downtown, and he rode the North Grand streetcar to Sportsman's Park and had a great time in the big city. He even had his picture taken under the big steel Gateway Arch.

What?! Was this a Candid Camera moment? Gotchya? She didn't get me. The Gateway Arch was not built until the 1960s and I watched the last top section (that didn't fit) being hoisted into place from my high school window.

This is a major detail for folks from the Show Me state, not a minor little thing I can overlook. Oh my, Fannie. It is too late to correct. Your royalites are still rolling in, and I am happy for you, but I am upset with you. Nonetheless, I will read the book, but it now feels like there's a chicken feather lodged under my collar.

Readers, do YOU know what I mean?

Monday, February 18, 2013

A hairy situation

Haircuts, love them or hate them. I am way overdue. This long, thick, straight,
won't-hold-curl-for-even-an-hour hair is dragging me down. But I am trying really hard to wait it out.  I'm not a pony tail kind of gal. My ears look like wing nuts. I can't push the hair off my forehead; it exposes this little mole that is a weirdo magnet. I don't need it prominently exposed attracting all kinds of nuts and bolts. So, I will live with this devil-may-care (alright, bag lady) look for two more weeks. Then I shall have my locks lifted and shaped into a new do.

This reminds me of something that happened years ago when hubby was still working night shift. His daughter stopped by with the young grandchildren one afternoon. "Grandpa!" they shouted as he sat down between them on the couch wrapped in his robe. His curly hair was wild, like Albert Einstein's frizz. The kids asked why. I told them Grandpa had just woke up and hadn't had a shower yet.

 "What does that have to do with his hair?"

 "Water makes his hair shrink back to its naturally curly shape."

 Little Georgie, the scientist and little Morgan, the kindergartener  leaned behind Grandpa's back and conspired. They left the room together and came back together. They sat down beside Grandpa. I caught them just as they were lifting their water filled glasses atop his head.

 "Stop! What are you doing?" I shouted.

"Science. We want to see Grandpa's hair shrink."

 "Yeah, shrink."

I shudder to think...








Saturday, February 16, 2013

We're calling it quits


Now that Valentine's Day is over I can tell you the truth. My hubby and I are calling it quits.

Sometimes it's nobody's fault. It just doesn't fit. You try and try to make it work even when you know it won't. Yet, you hang on, like a pair of shoes that constrict your bunion, rub a blister on your heel, pinch your toes. You live in denial, ignore the pain as long as possible, talk yourself out of it or into it, and keep them around for show or perhaps a brief traipse. Then, every time you endure the aggravation you wonder, What was I thinking?

There comes a time when you realize it's time to toss out that which does not work, hampers and harms, causes pain and agony. When you can pretend no longer, you must face reality and do something about it.

The opposite of having a poor fit, is finding a fit that becomes so comfortable you simply wear out a good thing. Being taken for granted can feel like abuse. Like that perfect pair of shoes you become attached to, you hang on too long, wear out the soles, snap the threads until they no longer support you.

By the way, I've been noticing a lot of shoes laying on the sides of the highway in all sizes, shapes and kinds. They are never in pairs. In one day I've seen a sling slung out a window, a kid's tennis shoe on the run, a Nike just doing it, a man's gargantuan brogand sitting upright filling with rain, a flip no longer flopping and a cute, embellished  Mary Jane in my size that I'd have stopped for if it had had a mate.

Now, if this footwear frenzy were on the same highway, I'd surmise that someone in transit lost the lid to their large Rubbermaid shoe container from the back of a pickup truck. But no, these shoes are all over the place. A baby shoe, well you can figure the kid pitched it out while having a high-pitched fit. A woman's spike heel...perhaps a night on the town, or a get-away that should be forgotten. I wish I had the back story for all of this footwear. I don't have an explanation. I just know that someone, somewhere is going to realize they have one shoe and will have to call it quits.

 Back to Bill and me, we've been so comfortable together, like a pair of old shoes splitting our seams. We've come to a mutual decision. Someone has to decide to say ENOUGH! So...

the chocolate covered pretzel chips have to go. I've got to stop unwrapping Dove chocolate squares, you know, to read the inspirational messages. The box of Russell Stover's from my students...once
we remove all of the nuts and chews... oh, and the buffets, even coupons for free ones... well, hubby and I have decided if we want to stay together we'll have to call it quits.

Note to writers: simile, analogy and metaphor are fun to play with. Do you use these techniques in your writing?

Seriously, what do you think is up with all of the shoes laying around town? Have you noticed them, too?



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shot in the... and who's to blame?

Forget all of the fancy-schmancy anniversary cards, the cutesy-wootsey Valentine cards. Nothing will ever compare to this card that my honey bought me on our anniversary/Valentine's day 2002.

Every year he adds another date, and that simple gesture makes me so happy.
The dinner will add to my joy.
On this day a long time ago when I was a new teacher, a little three year old came up to me and said, "Teacher, who's that guy who comes around at night, naked and gives you love?" My heart skipped a beat. I thought sure I was going to have to hotline. Then she said, "You know he shoots arrows at you to give you love?"
Whew! Cupid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I love you yeah-yeah-yeah!

We were married on Valentine's Day nineteen years ago. This was taken last week.

I wrote a parody song to the tune of He Ain't Got a Barrel of Money, in 1994. I entered it in the Valentine's Day contest at Y-98 radio station KYKY.  I won a complete wedding! Gold bands, his tux, professional wedding photo, my flowers, a reception on the Alton Belle and more. We were married on air with 97 other couples in the exquisite Grand Hall upstairs at Union Station. We had already set our original wedding date for April. My honey married me twice! The first time in public, on air, enmasse. He says he married me twice to make it stick. Not one day has gone by that I haven't laughed with him or AT him. I have been so happy these past years, and I know that I am so blessed.

Nicole is  my funny "little" honey. She's aware that Valentine's Day is about expressing love. On the way to school this week we've been playing a game. I tell her that I love her to the tree tops, and she competes. I watch her in my rear-view mirror sitting in her car seat THINKING.  "Nana, I love you to the top of the trees, and to the bottom of the ocean." We continue to one-up each other, but she got me today!

"Nana, I love you to the tree tops, up  into the sky, around the whole wide world,  (then she folded her hands and bowed her head) and alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way to heaven. That's how much I love YOU." She looked up and smiled. "See, I love you the most." Let her think it!

 May you feel the love today and everyday, too.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The baby doctor

My husband and I went to see a baby doctor yesterday. The last of our children is heading over the hill this year, and our grandchildren aren't babies anymore.  In fact half of them are old enough to make us great-grandparents. At this point in their lives, they couldn't afford a baby anymore than we could at their ages.
We are at a time in our lives where we now have some spending money left over at the end of each pay period, unlike our grandkids who struggle like most people in this economy to make ends meet. A new baby bed wouldn't set us back in our monthly bills, and purchasing disposable diapers wouldn't mean having to eat Hamburger Helper twice a week like years ago.

We both agree, we miss having babies around. Nothing I love better than nuzzling the neck of a newborn.
As we walked into the doctor's office, I thought of the mom of one of my students who told me about her fiftieth birthday surprise. Her oldest would be going off to high school, the middle child to middle school and her youngest to kindergarten.  The day before her fiftieth, she discovered she'd be diapering a new darling. At age fifty! Wow! It's never too late to have a baby.  

I've been a mother-figure to thousands of students in my thirty-seven year career. I love little ones, and hubby does, too. We met when our kids were grown. We don't have children together, but we agree, we'd have been the perfect parents.
We strolled confidently into the baby doctor's office yesterday for a consultation. After a Q&A session and options of where the procedure should be done: in his office, an outpatient  surgery suite or in the operating room, we decided in-office would work for all of us. The baby doctor claimed he could do the procedure right then and there.

My heart was thumping. My husband's foot was jiggling. Had we made the right decision? We thought this visit was for a consultation. The doc mentioned all of the risks, and then asked  Bill to sign a consent form if he felt ready to commit. The doctor asked if I wanted to observe the procedure. Of Course! I watch Life in the ER on cable channel.
Bill was brave. He climbed up on the table. Out came a sterile sheet, gloves and surgical tools on a tray, and the procedure began.

That baby doctor couldn't have been 35 years old. He looked more like twenty-five. I'm telling you he was a baby. And a doctor. A surgeon, a plastic surgeon. He removed hubby's benign cyst with a flick of the wrist. With another flick, he looked at me and said, "If you want to take care of that (he patted his jaw and pointed to mine) I do that, too. Set up a consultation with my nurse."

That little baby faced doc can stick to cysts, he's not tugging my wrinkles.

What? WHAT! You mean you thought Bill and I were...? Really? ME, oh ummm, No way!
Be careful, my writer friends. Playing with words can be fun, but you don't want to alienate or tick off your reader.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

There was a little woofing going on

The folks at St. Louis All Dogs ( certainly know how to throw a Valentine Party for their pooches. Four of the seven St. Louis area writers who have true stories published in Not Your Mother's Book...On Dogs, (Publishing Syndicate LLC) attended the event and signed books.
Everyone knows that dogs leave their paw prints on our hearts. Treats included heart shaped cookies with paw prints on them for the people and homemade dog biscuits for the pooches.
 There were so many dogs in all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds, one cuter than the other. There was even a beagle wearing a tu-tu. The dogs and their owners played games. They gatehered in a circle and each adult was given a spoonful of peanut butter. At the command, "GO" the dogs licked the peanut butter off the spoon. First to finish was designated the winner.
Renee Hughes, Linda O'Connell, Sioux Roslawski and Greg Lamping signed and promoted Not Your Mother's Books...On Dogs, Not Your Mother's Book on Being a Woman, and Not Your Mother's Book...On Being a Stupid Kid. What a fun way to spend the afternoon.
YOU, too, can purchase one of these books from There are also many publishing opportunities at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Introducing my Skookum

She's mine all mine. I've had her for over half a century. My dad used to be a "junk man" in the 1950s. He'd sell scrap metal and haul items for his regular customers. One of them gave him this doll for me. I may have been five or six. She used to have leather boots on but I remember peeling them off.
When I was eight, an out of town aunt came to visit and fell in love with her. She begged me for her. This doll hung on her wall for probably twenty years. Theres a nail hole in the back of the blanket.  I was visiting her one day in her town and she gave it back to me. I have had my Indian doll tucked away for years. She has a cellulose face, and she wears a dress under the blanket. I did some research and discovered the historical significance of the Skookum "Bully Good" dolls.
They were manufactured from 1914 to 1962 and were designed by Mary McAboy of Montana, modeled after the Chinook Indians’ dolls. Skookum means excellent and it is derived from the Chinook or Siwash language. The original Skookum dolls were made of dried apple heads and were on stick figures. These were used by a medicine man during a healing ritual.
Mary took the inspiration for these dolls and created her dolls with Native American features. She then received a patent for the name Skookum in 1919. Later on the doll heads were replaced with composition or plastic ones in the 1940’s. The hair for the dolls was made of horsehair and sometimes human hair. They do not have arms and their legs are wooden sticks.
The dolls’ costumes depict the native outfit of the Indian tribes. They come in its customary Indian blankets worn above pants and skirts. The earliest batch of dolls wore leather moccasins which were later replaced with felt or strong paper material. The Skookum dolls measured 2 inches to as tall as 36 inches. Established in the 1920, the Arrow Novelty Co. of New York was popularly known for its production of these Skookum Indian tourist dolls. A mark that signifies that the dolls were made by Arrow Novelty is an oval paper tag with the markings: “Trademark Registered – Patented, Skookum (Bully Good) Indian U.S.A. Aside from these Skookum dolls, Arrow Novelty was also known for its cloth, hard plastic, composition, and vinyl dolls. They manufactured and distributed the Skookum in the east coast.
True Skookums eyes are looking to the right. Right on! I've never had her appraised. She is priceless to me, as she represents my ancestry. My dad claimed (no proof) that he was Native American, and he looked like it. My childhood memories are imbedded in this doll.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Did he really read that aloud?

Happy eleventh birthday to grandson, Nicholas. Instead of a birthday cake, his Aunt Chris made him delicious chocolate cake pops in the shape of a number 11. Eleven years ago, I was coaching my daughter-in-law who was in labor. She hadn't eaten all day. Every time she rode out a contraction she'd wince and say,"Owwww! That hurts and I want a BIG MAC!" We still tease her about it.
 Nicholas is still a sweet and innocent little boy. I wish I could show you the group photo of the ten boys piled in the small living room, laughing themselves silly as Nick read his cards aloud. He started out reading the inspirational cards from grandparents. Then, he opened the cards from his buddies. He was as thrilled with the $ that fell out, as he was astonished at the verses. They were crass, crude and definitely purchased by the boys themselves, at least I would like to believe that. One had a cute dog on the front. "I left something inside for you..."
Nick's smiled disappeared when he saw the inside. "Dude, really. Poop?" We cracked up at his repsonse. Then he opened the next card; it was about passing gas. His facial expression was priceless. Then, the most inappropriate of all, the one he's holding. "Bet you never thought you'd get a paper weiner for your birthday." The rowdy boys rolled on the floor laughing. Nick half-snickered. And I had to laugh at his expression of disbelief.  I won't mention the jokes those boys made about eating the dessert.
He received more $ than I have, Blues hockey tickets, Cardinal baseball tickets and this, his favorite gift, a ghost detecting kit. When he removed the first item, it started beeping. "Hey, does that mean we have ghosts in here?" I'm sure he will have many fun adventures with this. He's been on the lookout for Big Foot all year.
 Nick's hiding in the bushes from his gun-toting buddies who were searching for him. Those overgrown, football-playing "little boys" ran and chased one another and giggled and wore themselves out playing army.
My thoughts on that gun-play took me back to the days when his dad ran the neighborhood playing army with his buddies. When I lectured him and took his guns away, he used a stick. 
While I have always discouraged gun play, I realize, having raised Nick's daddy and also having taught preschoolers for almost four decades, and knowing that Nick has a tender heart like his dad...
sometimes it's best to allow boys to be boys. 
 My sad reality: within a year or two, these kids will think they are too big to 'play' and they will have lost all of their innocence. In seven short years, they will all be registering for the draft. Don't let me get weepy here. The kids are just growing up too fast.
At least I have Nicole, Nicholas's big-blue-eyed sister (pictured above) to make me smile. Please, no jokes about Nick and Nick :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Am I his sunshine?

I received news that two of my poems were accepted by CANTOS, the Literary and Arts Journal of Missouri Baptist University.

I do write poetry, but I prefer writing personal essays. I have a wonderful husband who supports my writing efforts, accompanies me to writer events and open mic nights. But I have never considered him a writer, much less a poet, until I found this waiting for me on the computer. You think he's trying to tell me something?

On a partially cloudy morn
the world rotates, and (from the bed)

in the East I can see
the glow of ---
the computer screen.
Life begins
and ends with email.

~your ever loving husband

Hey at least there's a glow in his eye.