Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going through the emotions

I put my Halloween decorations out early so I could photograph them and send the pictures to my best, dearest, old friend, Sheila. We met as army wives when she was 19 and I had just turned 20. She and her husband Bruce drove my then-husband to the Fairbanks, Alaska airport to pick me up at 1:00 a.m. when the midnight sun was shining. It was surreal.




Sheila and I baked bread, swapped stories and old secrets, walked narrow winding trails through the woods where buffalo, moose and wild animals roamed. We delivered our baby girls in Alaska. When we had to return home, she to Boston and I to St. Louis, we continued a long distance friendship with five to ten page weekly letters and costly phone calls, which we had to pay for by the minute but were cheaper and better than any therapy.



I went to Boston by bus with my 14 month old baby to see her baby, Michele. Twenty years later when I was ready for divorce, I went again for a heart-to heart. Then, five years later, she and her husband came to meet my fianc√©. The guys hit it off right away. The next year, she and Bruce returned to St. Louis to stand beside us at our wedding (which was also their 25th wedding anniversary) as we all repeated our vows.

For years we vacationed together in Mexico and Florida and in each others' states. We laughed so much when we were together. We had water fights and acted like children.

Now my best friend is making the saints and angels laugh and loving on the heavenly cherubs and babies. She loved little children so much she would approach strangers and interact with their little ones.

I am feeling so many mixed emotions. I am happy for an enduring real friendship, even when it became one-sided. After brain cancer robbed Sheila of her short term memory, I vowed to send my forever friend a letter or card a week as long as there were Forever stamps. She liked reading about my family, but more than that, she loved reading about classroom activities with my students.

I am sad for her husband, children and grand and great grandchildren. I am grateful she is no longer suffering. I am blessed to have known Sheila and had her in my life for 45 years.

I hope these photos bring a smile to your face. I know they would have made my friend very happy.

This was taken with my cell phone and is not good quality. The scarecrow is worse for wear, but I can't bear to part with it yet, and he looks so cute when viewed from the road.

This cloth jack-o-lantern withstands the elements, and rests at the base of our new tree which is leaning toward the sun and growing a bit askew. This baby will grow to be 50 feet tall.

 I got this little guy at a yard sale last week and absolutely love how he looks sitting on a table on the front porch. Bill said, "This is the cutest you've decorated the yard in all our years."



Do you decorate for Halloween?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another murder, another mystery...


 

        An interview with C. Hope Clark

C. Hope Clark's latest novel, a mystery, Murder on Edisto, has been released via Bell Bridge Books, and is available wherever books are sold. Hope is also author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, and she is the editor of FundsforWriters.com. She has been awarded Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best.com / www.fundsforwriters.com. Her newsletters reach forty thousand readers.

Linda O'Connell:

Welcome, Hope. Congratulations on your newest release. Please give readers an overview of your latest mystery novel, Murder on Edisto.

C. Hope Clark:

I’m in love with this book, though I wasn’t when I first started it. It’s made me grow like nothing else I’ve written:

When her husband is murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan suffers a mental break and relinquishes her badge to return home to South Carolina. She has no idea how to proceed with her life, but her son deserves to move on with his, so she relocates them to the family vacation home.

But the day they arrive on Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor and elderly neighbor murdered. Her fragile sanity is threatened when the murderer taunts her, and the home that was to be her sanctuary is repeatedly violated. Callie loses her fight to walk away from law enforcement as she becomes the only person able to pursue the culprit who’s turned the coastal paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody’s safe. But what will it cost her?

 

Linda O'Connell:

You have an innovative approach to storytelling. Please tell readers a little about your writing process. Do you outline your novels? Do you have a feel for your strong female protagonists before you begin, or do you plot your characters and get to know them as you write?

C. Hope Clark:

I’m not sure that I’ve written any two books the same, Linda. Lowcountry Bribe was inherent, almost. It’s part autobiographical since I was offered a bribe in my once-worked federal capacity, and the ordeal was a stressful one. I drew upon what I knew, and I painted Carolina Slade as someone I wanted to be. Tidewater Murder had to become purely fictional, which was a challenge, but I chose to flesh out my characters more, get creative with the secondary players, and design the plot around them. The process worked well for that book. Palmetto Poison, however, made me realize I had grown into a deeper writer, with the capacity for more intricate plot. Since most of my characters were developed, I focused on plot, and became a little more of an outliner.

The new release, Murder on Edisto, however, became a completely different animal. Driven by location and a new protagonist (this is an entirely new series, the Edisto Island Mysteries), this character drove the story. She enters broken and shattered, and the book becomes as much about her regaining her strength and self-confidence as it does solving the crimes. Placing the whole story on Edisto Beach paints a sense of the romantic as well as the suspenseful with the gentle breezes and the roaring surf. She goes there to heal, only to face danger as bad or worse than any she’d faced as a detective.

The next book in the Edisto series is purely plotted, though that doesn’t mean the twists don’t turn into turns as I start writing a chapter. It goes where it goes, but I do have a mission plotted. If you’ll note, the first series is named after the protagonist. The second is after the location. That in itself tells you that it’s a different process . . . and focus.

Linda O'Connell:

What inspired you to write Murder on Edisto, and how did the premise come to you? Was it a voice, a character, an event, a location? Did you have any challenges along the way? Did you tap into your own life experiences, as you did for the Slade series?

C. Hope Clark:

Murder on Edisto was forced upon me, actually. While contracting for Palmetto Poison, the publisher asked me to diversify myself . . . write something outside of the agricultural arena. Not everyone appreciated rural life, they said. At the same time, however, they praised my writing abilities, saying I was talented enough to write in a new direction and stretch those unused muscles. To acquire a two-book contract, I had to agree to the new series.

I was given three general parameters: a law enforcement protagonist (no amateur sleuth), an attractive setting that could withstand all the books in the series (the Slade books are each set in a different rural SC locale), and a Southern family full of angst. I was scared to death at the challenge, and had no idea where to start: character, location or story?

After much tossing and turning, I chose a place I adore visiting. Now I could write off my taxes all my jaunts to Edisto Beach, an obscure beach south of Charleston, South Carolina. It’s secluded, very slow, devoid of franchises and neon. A family beach where nothing happens. The beach is its own island off the bigger Edisto Island, and the region is gorgeous with awesome history (think Gone with the Wind on steroids), ghost stories, and beauty to drop your jaw to your knees.

Edisto is where I go to mentally regroup, sometimes taking worries there to toss away on the surf. From that location, I began to see my character. I broke her to bits in the opening chapter, ruining her life. She heads home to South Carolina only to regret moving in with her domineering political parents. She’s closer to her father, however, and in a bit of fatherly wisdom, he hands her the deed and keys to the family’s beach house on Edisto, so she can have a place of her own and heal at a place where nothing could go wrong. Then before she can take a deep breath of those ocean breezes, murder happens.

Did I tap into my life experiences like Slade? Not really other than I knew the place to take a broken person.

Linda O'Connell:
Was it difficult to leave Carolina Slade, the main character who readers have come to know and love in your three book mystery series?

C. Hope Clark:

Oh, you have no idea. Ultimately, I backed the editor and publisher in a corner until they agreed to continue with Slade. They, however, want to see the Edisto series promoted first. They are super proud and confident about the Edisto series. I’m sure they envision Slade being done. I assured them she wasn’t, because if they didn’t publisher her, I was sure someone else would. But for now, we’ll focus on Edisto. Slade is taking a breather.


Linda O'Connell:

Directly above my computer, is a tiny little monkey cut-out hanging upside down holding a small seashell. That image encourages me to write, to quit monkeying around, and is a reminder that publication will lead me one step closer to the next beach vacation. Do you have any habits, addictions, superstitions you engage in as a writer? For me, it's barefoot and a cup of tea when I write. You?

C. Hope Clark:

Sweet iced tea and bedroom slippers. A map of Edisto Beach hangs on my wall full-time now, to keep me in the story. But I must admit I’m an ADHD writer. I write a paragraph then read an email. Write another paragraph and check Facebook. If the thought is flowing, I write. If I stall, thinking of a new word, up pops the email. I have to keep moving forward. Busy, busy, busy. But that’s often why you see me online late at night. I write most of my fiction when the world has gone to sleep . . . because nobody is bouncing around on my email and Facebook page.

Linda O’Connell:

How long did it take you to develop and publish your first mystery, Lowcountry Bribe?

C. Hope Clark:

Oh, you don’t want to know, LOL. The first should always take the longest, because you are not only learning how to write, how to plot, how to develop a character, and how to sit your butt in the chair for long periods of time, but you are most importantly seeking confidence. Second most importantly you are seeking voice. Lowcountry Bribe took about 12 years from thought to publication. Of course there was down time in there (four years at one stage) when I questioned whether or not to be a novelist. If I crammed all the active months together and added it up, I’d say six years.

Linda O’Connell:

Do you have a favorite writer quote? A favorite book? Which authors inspire you?

C. Hope Clark:

Funny you ask. I have a new favorite quote I’m toying with painting on a canvas, framing and hanging. It’s so appropriate for my life right now:

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. ~ Isak Dinesan

My other favorite quote is:

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~ Howard Thurman, an influential African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader.

Favorite book? I cannot say because my tastes change, books change, authors come and go. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy comes closest to my favorite. It dug deep into the author and you can read it in every line.

Which authors inspire me? Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, though I am not a fan of most of their works. I am inspired by their work ethic and wisdom that continually profounds me.

Linda O’Connell:

What do you do when you need to escape?

C. Hope Clark:

Go outside. Touch trees. Plant and get my hands dirty. Sit on the edge of water and watch it play. I’m a huge Mother Nature fan, having lived in the desert, on a lake, on the beach, in the foothills, at the foot of a mountain. I cannot get enough of Mother Nature. It’s the closest I can get to God. It’s where I know my spirit will return when my time is done on this planet.

Linda O'Connell
Tell us something we might not know about you.

C. Hope Clark:

I used to play 4.0 tennis, and miss it terribly. And I’m putty in the hands of a little one-year-old named Jack. Wednesdays are my days with Jack, and we pretend like we rule the world.

Linda O'Connell:

Please leave us with a little bit of "Hope."


C. Hope Clark:

The advice I’ve adhered to from day one as a writer is this: I will write through it all. That’s the best prescription I can hand to anyone. My second most important adage is: Write daily. Cannot emphasize that one enough.

Linda O'Connell:

Hope, thank you so much for sharing with readers. I sincerely appreciate your time. You have been an inspiration to me and many others. Personally, it is a relief to know you are a bit ADHD when you write. I have always imagined you hyper-focused on your projects, not at all distracted. It's nice to know you're much like the rest of us. Wishing you every success with your new series, especially your latest release. I can't wait to read Murder on Edisto.

I have not been compensated in any way for this post. I am grateful for this interview.

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is your writing in its infancy?

Liam is three months old and growing so fast. He has such a personality; and in three short months of life he knows how to make an impact. When he starts with, "Eh-eh-eh" I know it will soon build to a full fledged scream if I don't get him moving. I placed him in his stroller yesterday and told  him we were going bye-bye. I know he knows, because receptive language comes before expressive. When I say, "bye-bye" or "up," he responds appropriately by kicking his legs or stretching his arms. He's a smart one.

He's learning tongue and lip placement and jabbers away now. I model for him, "Ma-ma, da-da, na-na, baby." He looks, listens and coos. When we're in the car we sing to an old rock and roll song, Chantilly Lace. I said WE, because he joins me sometimes. His mama says he jabbers himself to sleep at night.

Looking at how he has developed in three short months reminds me of when I was a novice writer. I felt as helpless as a baby. I had to learn to speak the terminology. I had no idea what "genre" meant. I didn't know how/where to submit. I looked, listened, and learned from those in the know. Slowly I developed.

As I paid attention, I learned more and more, built my self-confidence and began to submit. I met with mild success, I received positive comments about how my work made an impact on editors and readers.

I made a deal with myself that I would submit for publication, not always monetary compensation. When I did receive a stipend, I felt like a baby being rewarded with fruit and cereal instead of a bottle. Other times I was just happy to see my tag line. Decide what you want and go for it.

Nobody starts on top, you have to climb your way up one step at a time, stretching your muscles. You can't get published if you don't take the chance and submit. You can't make progress if you don't move forward. Everyone stumbles, missteps, falls down, feels like crying when they fail. But you can't quit.

Yesterday I received a rejection on a personal essay. I was disappointed, of course, but I didn't tantrum. I know that my story was not the right fit for the publication. Down the line it may work elsewhere. Never let a rejection stop you in your tracks.

No matter where you are in your writing career, be proud to say, "I am a writer." Don't just think about writing...WRITE. SUBMIT. HOPE and WAIT.

Submission Opportunity
If you haven't heard of June Cotner, think inspirational greeting cards and booklets. People like you and I submit to June, and she selects from those submissions to fill her books/cards. Are you ready to submit?


FAMILY BLESSINGS: Prayers, Poems, and Traditions
by June Cotner & Nancy Tupper Ling.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lead me on


Good writing keeps the reader interested. It’s about people; it touches emotions and uses sensory details: sight, sound, smell, hearing, taste. Good writing doesn’t TELL right away, it prolongs suspense. Are you up to the challenge? Will you choose one, or as many as you want,
and finish the sentence?

Tammy paused in the hallway when she saw (describe what she saw but don't tell what IT is)

Beth froze when she came through the door and heard (describe what she heard but don't tell what IT is yet)

Lynn cringed at the familiar smell of (Help your reader discover what IT reminded her of)
Sioux inched her way closer to the object on the floor (Help your reader discover what IT is without telling right away)

Thank you for playing along.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Who? What? Why? Where? When?

Any writer will tell you the five "W's" are the keys to a good story. I teach this to my pre-kindergarten students who dictate their imaginative stories to me, sometimes faster than I can transcribe. Then, I hang their stories in the hall and listen as parents stop and read aloud to their children. It is very rewarding for me as a writer.

Over the course of the school year, I am amazed at how proficient some of the kids become at storytelling, using their imagination and developing creativity. They add dialogue without being prompted. They learn about continuity, staying on topic, but most of all from an early age, they develop a love of "writing." No matter how scary, funny or horrific their stories, there is a common theme: mama to the rescue.

A high school student, once a very shy preschooler, came to visit me at school. She told me I had inspired her to become a writer. I am so proud of Jessica. I know I have influenced others; I taught school-age summer camp for 17 years and preK for 38 years.

Another of my former students, now in college, nominated ME as her most influential teacher. Speechless, honored and overwhelmed...that's how I felt when Abigail said, "I spent my childhood with you every summer, and you had the greatest influence."

We wrote stories, put on plays and talent shows. We had fun.


I will share my five "W's"; will you share yours?

Who inspired you to be a writer?  My dad was a fantastic storyteller, but my first grade teacher introduced the class to composition writing...we copied off the board and added our own information.

What is your genre? I prefer personal essay/creative nonfiction, humor, but I write poetry and fiction.

Why do you write? It is an outlet for my creativity. I love word play and hearing from others that my words have somehow affected them.

Where do you find inspiration? The past, the present, the conversations and behaviors of others.

When do you prefer to write? Early morning I am freshest in my thinking, but late at night when the house is quiet also works, if I have enough energy :)

Please come back next Thursday. I will be interviewing a high profile and well known author.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ceased or Deceased?

Beginnings are always more fun than endings. It is sad when it's time to bid adieu.

I heard this week that Ladies Home Journal folded. Is that true?

I found this link recently to ceased markets. I find it depressing. As a freelance writer always seeking new venues, I am saddened to see the markets continually shrinking. Is the print industry dying?

What do you think? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'm no Yankee, but...

Yesterday I picked up a used copy of Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch, by Haywood Smith (2002)

I live smack dab in the Midwest. I don't consider myself a Northerner or Southerner, and I am certainly not a Yankee, but when I read the back blurb quote, I laughed and knew I had to have this book.

"Strong characters and...irrepressible wit...snapshots of Southern living will charm even the hardest-hearted Yankee." ~Publishers Weekly

I can't put it down. It is such a fun read. I get tickled at Southern humor. Maybe it's because I know some other real Southern belle authors: Cathy C. Hall, Lisa Ricard Claro, and C. Hope Clark, whose warm, witty writings trip my trigger.

Haywood Smith lives on the shores of Lake Lanier, near the small town of Buford, Georgia.
This line in her book made me think of "all y'all."

"You'd have thought I'd just slapped his mama and accused his daddy of working for the IRS."

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I did it at a grocery store

Tweak-tweak-tweak (not the same thing as twerk-twerk-twerk) is what I do when I write poetry. Mine is plain spoken, and it usually deals with real life. I was invited to read my work on Friday evening at Whole Foods Grocery in Town and Country, an upscale suburb of St. Louis. Acclaimed poet, Dwight Bittikofer is the curator, and I was honored he selected me.

I read several poems and one humorous essay. I left one of my most recent poems at home. I wrote it on vacation while the emotions were strong in my mind, but weak on paper. I kept trying to figure out how to portray a black roiling sky without using those words.

Started out like this as I sat on a balcony watching a storm brew over the ocean:
Cloud formations roil at midday and morph into black terror.
UGH! Too many words.

Then I tried this:
Puffy teddy bear clouds
morph into grizzly terror,
at midday, lightning rakes the noon darkness clawing terror...

UGH! I don't like the way it feels or sounds, so I will tweak it many more times before I decide to read it at an open mic.

There was quite a gathering at Whole Foods despite the gloomy and rainy weather. Here is the advertisement and promotion.


second friday notes presents poetry and music throughout the evening in the store's large cafe.  Music begins at 7pm, followed by poetry.  Food and drink available for purchase.  Open to the public.

Mazar√© Rogers is a spoken word poet who hails from Durham, North Carolina. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina– Chapel Hill and has taught middle school English and Poetry Writing. Now, she is pursuing her Masters of Divinity at Covenant Seminary and performs her poetry at churches, conferences and concerts.   

Linda O'Connell is an award winning poet and essayist. She is a two time recipient of the Metro Arts in Transit poetry award. Her work appears in Mid River's Review, Grist Literary Journal, Flashquake, Mochila Review, Well Versed, Lucidity Poetry Journal, 22 Chicken Soup for the Soul books and more. She co-created Not Your Mother's Book...On Family. Linda blogs at http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com

Music: Keyboardist, Bradley Ellebrecht is active in the St. Louis area as a professional pianist, composer, and educator.   He has a B.M. from Webster University and has played music in a variety of settings from church praise bands and choir accompanying to jazz and rock bands.


My take:

Mazare` a young, self confident and well spoken African American woman, refers to herself as a black woman. Her words grab listeners by the gut and twist. I experienced her work with all of my senses, and in addition, every time she engaged in word play, my brain zinged. I love when a writer can do that.

Brad, a hip, young musician transported me back to the French Quarter during last spring's jazz fest. His music is easy listening, mellow and moving, especially his own composed songs. WOW!

Linda, an old gal, stands at the lectern trying to suck in her gut, hide her double chin while gazing into the crowd. She writes from the heart and tells it like it is.

It was fun and enjoyable and I thank Sioux Roslawski, one of my critique partners and a multi published writer, and  Marcel Toussaint, a famous local poet, and everyone else for coming out to listen.

Favorite comment: "Your poetry is as strong as your prose."

Ten years ago I would not have been comfortable reading in front of strangers. My poetry and my presentations have improved because I practice, or tweak-tweak-tweak, also known as revising. Revision is such a big part of the writing process. Do you agree?

This is one of the poems I read.
 
FIRST DANCE
published in Mom Writers (2008)
by Linda O'Connell
 
Chubby little legs stuffed like sausages in pink tights,
Itchy ruffled tu-tu cinched at waist.
She shuffles down the hall
Carrying her ballet slippers.

Takes the stage
In ruby red lipstick and grandma-rouged cheeks.
Bats her eyes, stomps her feet,
Twists, turns, twirls, swoops, sways and sings.

She pirouettes,
Spins further and further
Out of my orbit
Already on her way to independence.

One day she’ll dance on my heart
Shuffle-slide away and
Boogie all night long,
But for now, she’s my ballerina baby.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Did you feel THAT?

My friend had a successful elbow surgery, survived the anesthesia. While her husband was in the hospital bathroom, dietary brought her tray of food, and she nearly choked to death on a  carrot before he could get to her tray and chop her food small. They called a code blue, revived her, but said she has a DNR, do not resuscitate. Ugh, the decisions that have to be made. If she can get up and walk, she will be released today. Thank you all for prayers and concerns.


I have been in need of a good laugh. I can always depend on my funny honey.

We were in bed and my son's fat, lazy, cat who we're fostering, settled down on top the sheet, between our feet. I heard hubby's respirations grow shallow, or I should say his pre-snore breathing, an indicator that I can turn the TV volume down from 40 to 15. I reached over with my toe and tickled his ankle. I figured he'd move slightly, or startle thinking it was the cat. He didn't. I repeated my action (aggravation) a few more times. Concerned that his leg had grown numb, I nudged him and said louder than the TV, "Did you feel THAT!?"

He sat straight up, half asleep and asked, "How many magnitudes?"

"What? Magnitudes? What are you talking about?"

"I figure it would have to have been a 10 to feel it through this memory foam mattress."

I laughed and snorted until we were both wide awake.

"Did you really NOT feel it? Were you messing with me, or is your neuropathy creeping up your leg?"

"Feel what?"

"My foot tickling your leg?"

"Of course I felt THAT! I thought it was the cat stretching. What magnitude was the earthquake?"

I turned the TV volume up, laughed some more. He said, "I don't know what you think is so funny."

If you have to explain it...
  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Frick and Frack... that's what her husband calls us

Sheila and I have been friends for 45 years. We met in Alaska as soldier's wives. We baked bread together, and we walked narrow wooded paths with our arms folded over our distended abdomens, and we wondered aloud if we were going to have a boy or a  girl. We both had girls.

We have continued our friendship through letters, phone calls, visits, and shared vacations. When brain cancer robbed her of her ability to think clearly, and dementia set in a few years ago, I continued to send her a letter a week. As long as there are Forever stamps we will be forever friends. She loves receiving mail from me, especially if it's about my students and class activities.



I cannot explain how I know things, but I had a sense of foreboding, doom and gloom, something bad about to happen. I asked Bill as we were driving if he felt it. He said, "With the world situation, it's a matter of time."

"No, it's closer. This bad feeling is close and will affect us, me."

 The phone call came. Sheila's husband said she fell and is at Mass General with a broken elbow, and will have to wait till morning for a specialist surgeon. The elbow has to be wired.

She had a skin cancer removed from her face recently. The bad news: it is a rare tumor directly related to colon cancer. They scheduled her for a colonoscopy in a few weeks. Her daughter and I agree, WHY? Why put her through it? She fought the good fight 25 years ago when she was first diagnosed with brain cancer. Her quality of life has steadily declined and she is more confused than ever, weak and sleeps a lot.

I believe in the sanctity of life, but not of keeping a body from doing what is natural. It is harder to let go than to hang on. Her family is in pain and my heart is breaking, too. Prayers appreciated for my dear friend and her husband and children.

Friday, September 5, 2014

She made me laugh till my face hurt

The year was 1970 something when I first heard her. I liked her style so much, I went to Peaches Record store where they displayed record albums in peach crates, and I bought her Live and In Concert 33 1/3 RPM . I played it for my best friend, Rose, on our record player when our husbands were at work and our kids were at school.

Sassy women were not accepted so easily then, especially when the feminist movement was erupting and women were finding their voice and men were still suppressing them. Rose and I could relate because we knew when the arm dropped on that record player and the needle landed in the first groove, she'd speak her mind. She said what we were thinking and could not say to anyone but each other.

My mom and I were at the airport one day when she came through. I nudged my mother and said, "Oh look, that must be an impersonator. This gal is too tiny."

She was under five feet tall, probably weighed 85 pounds and she had her pert nose in the air. She looked back at one of her Yorkies trailing behind and gently tugged the leash of the one in front, until they were all walking together, taking up half the width of the concourse.

"OMG, Mom! That's really her!"

Yes, it was Joan Rivers arriving off an international flight, and I was thirty feet from her, and completely speechless.

Her humor was crass and biting and sometimes mean spirited, but Rose and I could sure nod in agreement at her "men are such..." jokes.

Thanks, Joanie for the laughs at a time when I really needed to laugh.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The joke's on you Ms.Clairol

I am of the generation that would rather repair than replace broken objects. Most people want to toss  rather than salvage. I am always on the lookout for good home remedies, also.

Did I hit the jackpot the other day! I was watching a guy on TV talking about food products that you can use topically for beauty products. Well, I know about facials with mayonnaise. I thought I knew everything he was talking about, and I was ready to change the channel when he said, "Next, hair care."

I am so glad I did not change that channel. I have found the fountain of youth. Okay, so I'm no Ponce De Leon, and no one has carded me lately, but I am NOT spending a fortune on hair color every four weeks. If you are a brunette you can rid yourself of that skunk stripe by dabbing a wet tea bag on your crown and around your facial frame, and on those white roots. It works as a temporary rinse.

I haven't been caught in a rain storm yet, but I am extremely pleased with the outcome on my noggin. I can extend my coloring by two weeks or more at this rate. And no, it doesn't reek or have an odor. Try it, you might like it. If you do, let me know.

Monday, September 1, 2014

She was only trying to help...or bite your tongue, lady!

Experts can be wrong. We attended a 45th wedding anniversary yesterday for Pat and Phil, a couple I went to high school with.
Back in the day, we had a wonderful school counselor,  Marian Mabuce, a pretty, older, white haired woman who really did mean well. She called Pat to the office in 1967 and told her she was making a mistake by dating Phil, and she advised her not to marry him after graduation.

"You could marry a doctor or lawyer, anyone. You're so smart and beautiful. You should marry someone who can provide well for you: beautiful clothes and cars, anything you want. Phil has nothing to offer."




Phil used to have red hair, now he has a Brock-a-brella for his chrome dome, thanks to Bill.
47 years later, after what Pat jokingly refers to as "45 freaking years of marriage" she asked, "What were we thinking, Phil?"

He said, "I can't remember what I thought yesterday, and you want me to remember that long ago?"

I glued the yearbook picture of our counselor in their anniversary card with her "words of wisdom", and included some of my own: Phil runs with the wrong crowd. Then, I glued the yearbook pictures of Phil's best buddies below it. They got a big laugh out of seeing themselves at 17. As they sat around and rehashed their escapades, I realized, not much has really changed in all those years.

Boys will always be boys. Phil still rides a motorcycle like a bat out of hell, plays a guitar like a ringin' a bell, and for his family, he has always provided well. They have two beautiful and successful adult children. Pat is an acclaimed artist in her own right, and she was a para teacher for years. They are both retired and enjoying life. Wishing them all the best.

After listening to those 55-65 year old guys outside shooting the bull, and after talking with all of their sensible and fun loving wives and partners inside the air conditioned house, I came to my own conclusion.

I think women grow up and men grow older :) What do you think?