Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Deliberately eavesdropping

Some of our best friends and family members are truck drivers, big rig drivers, OTR drivers. Those trucks scare the daylights out of me. I know for a fact that truck drivers get as flustered and frustrated with car drivers as we do with them. I've heard their stories. Now it's time to share mine.
Many years ago, we were going on vacation. One of the kids had given us a CB receiver. We could receive broadcasts but not respond. That was fine with me, as we would have had to use a handle ( a call name). We joked about what we'd call ourselves, but decided anonymity was best. It was fun to listen in on the truckers' conversations. As we headed toward Florida it became apparent that most of the drivers disliked other OTR drivers from Arkansas. My goodness, some of the disparaging remarks were funny and filthy.

The chatter increased when a trucker was thrilled with a female driver. They talked about the "seat covers" like adolescent boys.

We were coming up on a trucker who had his microphone in hand. Our receiver cackled a wolf whistle. "Lordy be! Wait till you boys see the two seat covers coming your way. Sweeeet! Passenger's got a handful; driver, bigger hooters." We passed the truck and approached a sedan with a family. Nope, it wasn't that car, obviously. We passed a few more cars, still on the lookout for what this guy considered eye candy.
We noticed other big rig drivers craning their necks, too. Then we heard a more detailed description: "Any of you boys get a good look at the foreigner wearing the pink shirt?

We looked at each other and laughed hysterically. I grabbed a pillow and covered my chest. Bill slunk down in the seat of his Toyota, as I straightened the collar on his pink Polo shirt. Red necks didn't take kindly to foreign cars or guys in pink. I think we turned off at the next exit. Can't figure out why my honey put his jacket on.

We still laugh about that, but if you ever mention it to him, he'll say I have an overactive imagination.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Freebies and maybes

I have been generously blessed with the ability to write and touch others with my words. I received another acceptance from Sasee Magazine.

My Charming Friends will be published in the August issue. This particular essay holds special meaning to me. It is a salute to my writing pals.

Click here  to learn more about freelance writing. This is Linda Formichelli's site. You will find lots of good information on The Renegade Writer. The above link is for beginning writers, but she offers so much more. Here's another link that you will find helpful. Click here  to receive a free query packet from her. Sign up for her free newsletter. I promise you will not be disappointed. Share this information with your friends.

When I was a novice writer and not familiar with all the terms and conditions, I cringed when I saw a tri-folded envelope addressed to me in my own handwriting. Rejections hurt. I used to keep rejections in a file and move on to write the next piece. Then I got smarter. I would send that piece someplace else. I still spend a lot of time searching for markets, but that's part of the job.

The other day I received a rejection on a story I thought for sure would be accepted. The editor liked it and asked if they could hold it for their next book. If I chose not to, I was to let them know.
I chose to leave it with them for the time being.

Here's a tip if this happens to you, don't just sit and wait. Submit it elsewhere. If it gets picked up, then notify the first editor. That's what I did.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Links for you; good stuff, too

Thank you for checking in. I have been remiss lately in posting for my writer friends. I am wrapping up 39 years of teaching and have been tossing materials for two days. Tomorrow I should be finished. I will turn in my key, close the door behind me, and head into a new direction, where I am certain new doors will open for me. I believe in helping others.

Click on the above link to read my latest published personal essay...maybe a little too personal for some of you. The publisher laughed out loud. Thank you if you have already left a comment on their website.

Now I have something for my writer friends who are looking for submission opportunities: http://www.beyondyourblog.com/opportunities-online/

I am waiting impatiently for Amazon to ship my copy of Love Built to Last by Lisa Ricard Claro who blogs at Writing in the Buff http://www.lisaricardclaro.com/ Drop by her page to see the cover and read all about it.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

He's talking and driving at a year old

I have made cakes for all the birthdays and special occasions in our family. I am self-taught, never had a lesson. Liam's birthday theme was trains, so I made Thomas the Tank Engine. He got so excited when he saw it.

Here's my little conductor waiting for guests to arrive.

His mom, my granddaughter, gave me this hat, sandals, blouse and earrings, and a beach bag for my birthday, so of course I had to model my hat. 
Liam toyed with the icing, licked it, thought about digging in, and then he did.
He ate almost an entire piece of cake and was so messy he had to have a bath.

Then his mama put him in his Thomas outfit, and it was present opening time. He liked the tissue paper best, but when he saw his last gift from his mommy and daddy, a little battery-operated four wheeler, he was so happy and couldn't wait to ride it. He knew exactly which button to press to make it go. But he still wants to use his feet to propel himself forward like he does with his ride on toys. 

He received so many gifts, a swimming pool, a wagon filled with goodies, Thomas the train toys and so many balls. He loves balls and says, "ball". This little guy is so loved. Both sides of the family, grandparents and great grandparents and cousins, aunts, uncles and friends came. What a party! 
God bless my little sweetie with many more birthdays.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I try not to be judgmental. I am liberal-minded about what others do, as long as they don't offend me or my family. I know I am going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy,  but here goes.

We went to the pool this weekend, and I was flabbergasted at the flabby young and old bodies in bikinis. Nobody is body conscious or modest anymore. Two young women were nine months pregnant wearing barley-there bikinis, and many others merely looked nine months pregnant.

I am not prejudiced against overweight people; I am one. I am amazed that so many people want to expose as much skin as possible. I felt a little embarrassed in my suit with blousy top and little skirt.

There were women over fifty with blue hair, and I'm not talking sweet little blue haired ladies. These gals had Kool-Aid dyed hair like the kids wear. Then I swore Ariel the mermaid was surfacing when an old granny with bright red Kool-aid hair came up for air. My head was swiveling this way and that, taking in the unbelievable sights.

Ninety percent of the swimmers (preteen to senior citizen) had tattoos. I'm used to seeing an anchor or the word MOM inked onto an old sailor's arm. I don't object to artful expressions of color on other people's bodies. It's their choice to use it as a billboard, to wear a sleeve or mark it up as a means of self-expression.

Personally, I don't need permanent ink to announce my affiliations, beliefs or In Memoriams. But obviously I am behind the times. Some people had quotes, Bible verses, or inspirational messages scripted on their arms, legs, chests, backs, behinds. Some appeared to have tombstone names and dates. Birth/death? I don't know.

One guy had an entire PARAGRAPH on his chest. A young woman had her thigh covered in her philosophy. I read this on a young man with a group of rabble rousers: "I'd rather live everyday like a man than die one day like a coward." I can't attribute the quote because he didn't, so I can only assume those were his thoughts.

When he started using foul language, MFing this and that, I wanted to remind him that a man has respect for young children at a public pool. But I became so fascinated with the twining vine with turquoise blue morning glories spreading ALL over every exposed inch of skin on an older woman's body I forgot about the bad boy.

There were ink logos of US military branches of service spread across male backs, and also foreign service insignias on chests. Maybe this is the new form of bumper stickers...and yes, some people had remarks on their bumpers too.

I wonder, do you think police officers have to draw reproductions of these tats on incident reports? I imagine there are far less reports these day with this comment: No Identifying permanent marks on body.

I might as well accept the fact that future professionals, politicians, private and public figures will be walking around as a sandwich board. Don't know what that is? Look it up.

Now don't get me started on the girl with quarter sized holes in her ear lobes and purple discs inserted. I know there is term for them, but I just call it nuts! 


Saturday, June 13, 2015

A measure of time

Well, look what I found behind the guest room door this evening. There are so many memories attached to this simple measuring stick. Looking at it evokes such happy memories. I can almost hear their little boy and girl voices. It is not just a measure of height, it is a measure of time.

The beautiful, almost-grown girl who will be a senior, is heading to Florida to check out college ROTC programs so she can earn her nursing degree and continue her dad's family Navy tradition ... I can still see her strawberry blonde curls bobbing as she begged me to see how much she'd grown. Her brother, who is going to be a high school junior insisted he wasn't standing on tip toe when I measured him.
Our two oldest, are in their 20s and such good people. Kyle has a lucrative lawn care business, and well, you know Ashley is a working mom. She gave me Liam. Kyle and Ashley were our first granddaughter and grandson. Our practice kids. How we adored them because we were frequent babysitters. We helped raise them their first three years.
One of our smart grandsons just graduated high school and wants to be a counselor. Our pretty as a picture, middle girl is driving on a permit, and her goals are to be a psychiatrist. She was always Grandpa's girl. The rest were Nana's babies. 
Nicholas and Nicole used to race each other to the measuring stick, and now they are racing into 2nd and 8th grade in the fall.
 Whenever they came for a visit, each of the grandkids darted past us and insisted I show them how much they'd grown. Oh the competition was fierce, especially on holidays when the house overflowed with kids. The names are out of order, so no, the girls have not outgrown the boys.
 They've all grown in so many ways. As the memories overwhelm me, I am nostalgic... remembering. This week I will hang up my teaching hat. Baby Liam will celebrate his first birthday.
I am blessed with all of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. So blessed.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

And my little amigo is off...

Exactly one week from his first birthday, with lots of encouragement, Liam finally started crawling. He is mobile, and it won't be long until he's walking. It is so exciting watching him in motion.  He is overly cautious and it takes him a while to believe he can, but once he starts moving and grooving he's off and going.

That's sort of how I am with writing. I am cautious, afraid to step out, try something that might propel me forward. Once I try and meet with success, I am inspired to try harder. How about you?

If you have been sitting on your laurels or waiting for someone to carry you, get up on your hands and knees and move forward. Don't stay where you are for too long, keep moving onward. Good luck in your writing endeavors. Step out in confidence.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Potty Talk

You know how a parent or great grandma can't wait for the baby to talk? Well I confused Liam, and everyone else is suffering the consequences of MY actions.

My daughter is a nanny for two little boys. She told them, "Before we leave for the library, you have to use the bathroom."

Liam said very clearly, "Bathroom."

I scooped him up and said, "Did you say, bathroom?"

He repeated it. I clapped, hugged him and kissed him. He knew he'd done something wonderful.

A few minutes later, he was watching Thomas the Train video, and I could not distract him. So I dangled my keys on a stretchy band (which he teethes on) in front of him. I said, "Liam, want Grammy's keys? Say, bathroom."

He was more interested in Thomas chugging down the track.

I said, "Here, you can have my keys if you say, bathroom."

He grabbed my keys, kept his eyes on the video and said, "Bathroom, bathroom, bathroom, bathroom." Naturally, I gave him my keys.

He associated my keys with the word "bathroom" and so, when his paternal grandma took him to a baby shower Sunday, he kept asking for keys. Yep, he squealed in his high pitch baby voice, all afternoon throughout the shower, "Bathroom!"

Guests asked, "Is he saying, bathroom?"

I would have replied, "Yes, he's potty training." But that's just me!

Every time I look at him, he smiles and says, "Bathroom." I dangle my keys in front of him and he says very excitedly, "bathroom!" I've confused the baby.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Those groans were either primal or carnal

I had a wonderful birthday. Bill and I now own gym/pool memberships to the new recreation center in our neighborhood. Soon, I'll be floating that lazy river after hoofing it around the indoor track a few times. I might get brave enough to try one or two of the machines and contraptions. I'll let you know.

Started off my birthday yesterday with a waffle topped with strawberries and whipped cream and a ham/cheese/spinach omelet. I am dieting the rest of the week.

I received lovely gifts from my family and over 100 happy birthday wishes on Facebook. As the wishes added up,  FB sent me a graphic of a cake with candles glowing and a note, "You have received 96 birthday greetings, happy birthday from Facebook."

Today has been low key. Scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees, cleaned house, made tacos for dinner, a meatloaf for tomorrow, and I read a book. I did not do any writing because when I sat down at the computer to get started, I heard the TV in the living room blaring, as usual. There was grunting, groaning, more grunting. My first thought was someone was getting beat up. His first choice of movie viewing is someone killing, maiming or torturing someone. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and John Wayne trip his trigger.

The primal/carnal groaning continued. I figured it was either love/hate: two people engaged in lovemaking or two people duking it out. I wasn't going to listen to those groans another minute. I stormed into the living room to give my honey a piece of my mind, ask him how he expected me to write. Then I saw what was going on. He was watching a Wimbledon tennis match.

Guilt-ridden, I looked at Venus and felt terrible that I hadn't broken a sweat all day, had eaten a waffle with whipped cream and strawberries, and I had been all set to nag my hard of hearing honey for watching trash.

Now if you'd like to read about my experience years ago when we were considering joining another gym, read on.

Gym Dandy by Linda O’Connell

I joined a gym this morning. I rode the stationary bike
until ‘Barbie’ sat down beside me and gave me a look I didn’t like.
I moved over to the treadmill and kept a steady pace.
After just one mile, I was sweaty and red in the face.

My bosom was bouncing wildly, my belly keeping time.
I hit the speed up button and nearly landed on my behind.
I hurried to the ladies room, feeling like a fool.
I spied a class of women exercising in the pool.

“Aha!”  I said, delighted, and opened up my locker.
I slipped into my swimsuit; yikes! That was a shocker.
I couldn’t believe that bimbo reflecting in my mirror.
My tiny little swim skirt didn’t cover half my rear.

I made my way to the edge of the pool, got brave and dropped my towel.
I swear I heard that teenaged life guard let out a little yowl.
The aquatics instructor smiled, “Come in; the water’s fine.”
I heard two whispering women comparing theirs, to my behind.

“Okay ladies,” the instructor said, “pull your partner up and down the lane.”
I headed to the lazy river. Water aerobics looked insane.
A woman came around the bend, shouted, “Watch out for my noodle.”
I’d had my fill of exercise. I drove home and ate my apple strudel.




Thursday, June 4, 2015

My charming friends

There's just something special and intimate about laughing so hard we all wet our pants. That's how it is almost every other Wednesday night when my critique group The WWWPs  meets. Early on, one of our members gifted each of us with a package of ultra thin panty liners for our ultra boisterous and rambunctious editing sessions. We're always looking out for one another.

Just so happened the Wild Women Wielding Pens celebrated my birthday last evening. I am so blessed to have these wonderful writers and women in my life. They showered me with delightful and unique presents, chocolate mug cake and a live herb plant of fresh basil.

Blessed, that's what I am. When I was a in 8th grade I always wanted a silver charm bracelet. At recess, the girls would discuss their newest charms which indicated their latest interests.

I feel like the WWWPs are the charms on my imaginary bracelet, each of them linked to me.   

Monday, June 1, 2015

Who's got your nose, big boy?

We went to Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a few things. Hubby was heading to hardware and I was going to the health and beauty department. I walked in ahead of him, and turned left instead of right. I remembered I needed a box of cereal. We often go separate directions because I don't care to peruse electronics and the home repair aisles every time we go there. He was looking for green spray to touch up the picnic table.  

As I was walking down the center aisle, I heard clop-clop-clop. I stopped. The sound ceased. I walked on, and the clip-clop, echoed my every footstep. I thought it was probably some clown in the security office, a spy in the sky, watching customers, pounding a  rhythm to my "sway" as I walked. It sounded like it was echoing over the intercom.

I tested the fool. I took a hop skip, and the sound echoed accordingly. This was getting annoying. I stopped. The noise stopped. I walked, the echo picked up again. When I turned down the cereal aisle, I saw the clown. He was not wearing a big red nose, but he had big feet and a big laugh.

There was my big guy tapping on the grocery cart to the rhythm of my stride with the lid from a spray paint can. The stock clerk laughed with him, but when he passed by, she looked at me sympathetically and said, "I'll bet he drives you crazy."

"Yeah, he's a big clown, but I love him!"