Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Up-up and away, then down


Our former neighbor, Old Bobby was a slight fellow with a big mouth who liked to imbibe, so you never knew if his stories were true or not.

Instead of reading the local paper, he had his nose in the "pony papers" because he said in his day he was the best bookie in town.

He claimed he "bought" his wife a baby for her 40th birthday (adopted a boy).

When his ex daughter-in-law's husband telephoned and threatened to drive by and shoot up his house, the police told Old Bobby to get out of the front yard and head to the basement. Old Bobby said he had been a sniper in WWII, and he wasn't going anywhere.  

WE headed to the basement. The drive-by never occurred.

In the fall, when the apples ripened out back, Old Bobby couldn't find his ladder, and he couldn't have climbed it even if he could have found it. 

He tied thirty feet of clothesline onto a claw head hammer and flung it repeatedly into the tree, hoping to harvest enough apples to make a pie. We were waiting for him to knock himself silly.

When he came to the garden fence to tell us about his success, he toppled OVER the rickety, 36 inch chain link fence and landed face up on his back in OUR yard.

"I'm going to call an ambulance!" I said.

Fish-eyed he said, "Nah, I'm just going to lay here a while." 
 
I insisted.

He retorted, "You remind me of Judge Judy. You scare me."

I let him lay there.


A week later Old Bobby saw me making a homemade kite out of a plastic grocery bag.

"Let ME show YOU how to make a kite. In my day, I was a professional kite builder and I used to win kite dueling contests," Old Bobby bragged.

Uh-huh! Well  it was my day, and I was going to do it my way. Nicole and I had a blast outside that windy March day. I taped a piece of paper to the bag and Nicole decorated it. I added a small tail and string to the handles. This is so much fun for small children.She laughed when her bag filled with air and the wind tugged the string about 6 feet off the ground as she ran.

If you make one, leave it tied to a fence or post when you are finished running, and let your child watch the wind gusts fill the bag and make it rise... and fall.

When I taught preschoolers, we called these kites wind bags. I guess I could have called them Bobbys.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

For moms everywhere



                                     Book Link - http://bit.ly/2tdYL5h

Nine more days! This wonderful book filled with inspirational and thought-provoking stories will go on sale March 19th. I am proud to tell you I am a contributor to this book and my story, The Can Opener Queen, is about Mom's cooking disaster. My brother and I laugh about it to this day.

This book would make a wonderful Mother's Day, birthday, or appreciation gift. I imagine one in every nursing home for residents to read. Why not buy one and donate it? The moms who often feel alone and or neglected would appreciate reading a short easy-to-read story. 

This is the 28th Chicken Soup for the Soul book in which my stories have been published. I am honored.


Chicken Soup for the Soul links


            https://twitter.com/amynewmark

            https://www.instagram.com/amynewmark/



Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What's a henway?

I am clucking the news. My story about motherhood made the first round selection. I will be auditioning for Listen to Your Mother St. Louis. I'll let you know whether or not I make the final cut. The show is on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend. 

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER is a stage performance fundraiser that honors mothers across the nation. I was a cast member in the inaugural show in May, 2014. 
Today hubby's phone rang, and a man said, "Yeah, what's up?" 
Bill said, "Nothing. What's up with you?"
Man:  "You called me. I'm returning your call."
Bill:   "Well sorry, I must have butt dialed you. Who is this?"
Man:  Introduced himself.
Bill:   "My name's Bill."
Man:  "How many you want?"
Bill:   "How many what do I want?"
Man:  "Chickens."
Bill:   "I don't want ANY chickens."
Man:  "You sure you didn't order any? That why you called me?"
Bill:   "I didn't call you. Matter of fact I couldn't have butt dialed you; I don't have your number in                 my phone."
Man:  "Okay then."
Bill:    "It was a pleasure talking to you."
Man:   "You too, sir."

And they say women talk more than men.

On the way home from the grocery store, what do you think we saw in someone's unfenced front yard tidbitting? FOUR tidbitters! Guess at least three of them will be cock-a-doodling at the crack of dawn.  
As long as we're bawk-bawk-bawking, here are some facts: A hen weighs about three pounds. Now you can ask someone, "Have you seen any henways today?" When the other person asks, "What's a henway?" you can tell them.

According to Sarah Zeilinski, a female chicken is called a pullet until she is old enough to reproduce, then she's called a hen. A male chicken is called a rooster or cock.

Roosters announce to a flock of chickens that he’s found food with a “took, took, took.” But the hens don't pay attention if they already know that there is food around.

So, roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food.

Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.

The lure of food is the key to the heart!

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/14-fun-facts-about-chickens-65848556/#Zy3sGwCHVYKThZtD.99

Friday, March 1, 2019

Calling all writers!

For all  you fantasy and Sci fi writers, here's a resource for you.
https://www.authorspublish.com/17-themed-calls-for-submissions-for-march-2019/


THANK YOU to all who attended my workshop. If you have writing questions, contact me at billin7@yahoo.com write SLWG on subject line.

If you want something badly enough you'll find a way to obtain/achieve it.

I am an early riser. No, not 6:00 a.m. crack of dawn. More like pitch dark 5:00 a.m. There is nothing I can do about my circadian rhythm. Once my eyes open, my mind wakes up. Even the promise of more snuggling under the warm covers isn't enough to lure me back to sleep.

I invest my early morning time wisely, and it has paid off in the form of publication credits. 

I search key words on line for writing markets with the latest submissions call outs. 

I read guidelines and articles, take copious notes, and jot down info on Post-it Notes.  By the end of the month they're scattered everywhere on my desk. Sometimes the deadlines have expired, and other times I have to write fast to make the deadline.

If you prefer a nice warm bed to market researching, let me do the leg work for you.

Writing Markets:

Erica Verillo Published to Death Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity
https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com

Be sure to check her BLOG for PAYING MARKETS
in many genres: Alternative Apocalypse, Speculative Fiction, Horror, Children's Publishers, Chicken Soup for the Soul latest needs...and so much more.


WOW Women on Writing
www.wow-womenonwriting.com



Erika Dreifus (articles, markets, and jobs) 
https://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing/


Poets and Writers for a comprehensive listing.

Freedom With Writing

Submish mash Submittable

Jacob Jans

Trish Hopkinson



Monday, February 25, 2019

Paper or computer, just get it down... and come on down to Lodge of Des Peres

When I taught preschoolers, I loved to see their faces when they actually understood a concept or read a simple word, such as CAT. It was very rewarding to see their brains in action.

It has always been my belief  that literacy is the most important skill we can teach little ones. And phonics instruction is the way most kids learn easily and feel most successful.

Liam is making me very proud. I was doing worksheets with him, although I completely disagree with the exclusive use of work sheets and table work. Kid's finger and hand muscles aren't well developed at 3& 4 years old. I always made my worksheets floor size throughout the year and then after a year of developing finger/hand small muscles through finger plays, play dough squishing, and games, we graduated to worksheets and table top work the last month of school.

Liam was finger painting and creating a masterpiece with foil hearts and sparkly confetti for his mom. He asked how to spell some words. Then he said, "Never mind, I'll do it.

He filled an entire page, line after line with scribbles. Scribbling with intent is a precursor to writing
and spelling. He is now driving every one crazy with one sentence, "How do you spell ____?"

I am so pleased to witness his interest in learning and reading.

If you are a writer,  scribble ideas, jot a word that intrigues you. As William Wordsworth once said, "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."  

I am speaking on the topic of freelancing creative non-fiction, at St. Louis Writer's Guild on Saturday 3/2/19 

10 a.m. - 12 noon at Lodge of Des Peres, at 1050 Des Peres Rd. St. Louis, MO 63131


Free for SLWG members/ $5.00 for non-members.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Mom always did things HER way

One month from release date, March 19th, in time for Mother's day gift giving! My story, The Can Opener Queen, is included in this collection. 

My mom did not make homemade food, but she served us yummy meat and potato meals. My story is about a time she decided to bake chocolate chip cookies, (no mixing bowl or standard ingredients) which led to a disastrous outcome. 

I hope you buy a copy of this book for yourself or someone else. Easy to read, 101 short stories of love, gratitude and wisdom.

Did your mom prepare a favorite dish?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

My hubby says the darndest things!

Where has he been? Why didn't he know?


I never know what he will say next! Bill and I were talking about Doris Day. I said, "She and Rock Hudson made all those sweetheart movies together, and the public didn't know he was gay. He was so good looking, wasn't he?"

Bill said, "What did you say?!"

"Didn't you know he was gay, or did you just forget?"

My wisecracker said, "Good looking? Gay? You mean I had a better chance at him than with you or Doris Day back in the day?"

Not a day goes by... he makes me laugh out loud at his antics.

This is not a post to elicit opinions on sexual preferences. Personally I don't care about other people's private lives.  Just letting you know I married a comedian twenty-five years ago.




Thursday, February 14, 2019

He married me twice!

Here's the scoop!




                                                         “WE  DO”

            I was driving to work when I heard my name announced on the radio as a winner of a complete wedding package. I shrieked like a maniac. The woman driving next to me must have thought I was in labor. A little old for that! I was a divorcee in my mid-forties, engaged to be married in April.
    
          On a whim, I submitted a parody of the song, "He Ain't Got  a Barrel of Money" to a local radio station’s Valentine’s Day contest, and it was selected. I called my husband at work and bellowed into the phone, “Meet me at the court house by 5:00 p.m. to pick up our marriage license.”
     
         “Calm down. We have two months. What’s the rush?” 

         “The rush is, we’re getting married on Valentine’s Day. I won a contest.”
          
         “Have you been drinking?”
          
         “You know I don’t drink.” 

          I explained that the wedding would be performed at the ornate, elegant Grand Hall of the Hyatt Regency located in Union Station, St. Louis’s once-bustling train station. It would be broadcast live and covered by local television media as well. I told him all about the things we had won: wedding bands, tuxedo rental, flowers, photos, morning and evening reception, hotel package and more. What I didn’t tell him was that I was not the only winner.

            We checked into the hotel the night before. As we sat in the balcony restaurant overlooking the vestibule, we observed other guests arriving. The couples came in droves. Women carried gauzy white wedding gowns, sleek satiny dresses and beaded, sequined veils.

             My fiance looked bewildered. “What is this, a bridal convention? There must be twenty sales people down there hawking dresses.”
            
            “I counted twenty-five. It’s not a bridal convention, it’s a mass wedding.” I mumbled.

            “A what?” he asked incredulously.

            “Uh yeah, they’re getting married too.” I looked away.


            “With us? Are you kidding?”

            “Uh no, but I’ve decided, I’m not going to go through with this anyway.” I looked him in straight in the eye.

            “What! Why?”

            “Those girls are all young brides with long wedding gowns and gorgeous veils. I’ll be the only one in a white suit with an embellished sequined collar. I’m just not going through with this.” My voice rose and his eyes widened.

            “What now? We’ve registered. Does this mean you don’t want to marry me?” He was getting perturbed, and my tears began to flow.

            “No, it means I’m not going to be the only one not wearing a wedding gown!”

            “Is it too late to go buy one?” He was serious at seven o’clock at night.

            That comment convinced me that he was definitely THE ONE, and I made every effort to be pleasant and proceed with the wedding, regardless of my attire.

            In the morning we made our way down the corridors and onto the elevator with other couples in formal wear. I breathed a sigh of relief when I spied two women my age wearing similar suits and white silk hats.

            “You feel better now?” my betrothed asked. “See, out of twenty-five brides, you are not the only one in a suit. You look glamorous.”

            When we entered the Grand Hall with its ornate gilded ceiling and intricate carvings, Bill gasped audibly. It looked like prom night in the 1950s. There was so much chiffon and so many guys in monkey suits with adoring women clinging to their arms.

            “How the hell many people are getting married with us?”

            “Ninety-seven other couples.” I winced. (The call letters of the radio station sponsoring the event was Y 98, thus 98 couples.)

            Simultaneously all couples repeated their vows and said, “I Do.”

            Not many women can say their husbands married them twice in two months, but we did it again, as planned in April.

             Twenty-five years later Bill is STILL THE ONE!


Monday, February 11, 2019

Everyday is precious

Last Sunday I was driving us to breakfast because Bill has a bad knee. I had no idea we would be in the emergency room fifteen minutes later.

An uninsured, 40 year old,  pick up truck driver, under the influence of narcotics, ran a red light and totaled my car. If the impact had been three feet back paramedics think I'd have been a goner.


As it is, Bill and I are recovering from contusions, abrasions and awful bruises. Each day last week we discovered more muscle aches and bruising, but we are on the mend now, dealing with insurance, and replacing a car. Not something we planned on, but we are grateful we weren't injured worse. The driver and his female passenger were not wearing seat belts and sustained more serious injuries.

In my case, my hard head paid off. They did a CT scan. No concussion or brain bleed. Very bad bruise above my temple. My skull hurts, but the headache has subsided, and I no longer feel goofy.

When a life threatening event occurs, it makes you appreciate your life. Bill and I are grateful for one another and thankful that our little guys were not with us. We have to replace the car seats because they were involved in a collision. Just the little headaches of dealing with paper work and being redirected to claims adjusters, etc.

People asked if I was angry. I am not. Our uninsured motorist reimbursed for damages which did not cover the cost of a replacement car, but helped.

I figure the driver and his passenger have it far worse than we do: injuries, vehicle impounded, numerous traffic violations, and  possibly jail time. I wish them well and hope this was a wake up call for them. It does no good to hold a grudge.

Liam, Alex, and Charlie are a handful, but they make me so happy. I babysit two days a week, one or two at a time.


Liam misbehaved when I visited him at my daughter's house. I had to correct him. He asked, "Are you going back home when Nana Tracey gets back from the doctor?"

I said, "No, sorry."

He said, "Will you be gone when I wake up from my nap?"

I said, "No, I'm thinking about spending the night here."

He looked aghast. When my daughter came home he said, "Can Nana Linda leave now?"

I said, "I'm staying here."

He tried a new approach. A few minutes later he came out of the playroom and said sweetly,
 "Nana Linda, you'd better leave. Papa Bill is missing you, and he really-really needs you."

I hugged him and told him Kindergarten was going to be really fun for him, maybe not his teacher.

We took Alex to McDonald's Play Place Friday. We ate our meal, and then I took him in to play on the baby slide. Suddenly he spied Bill through the plate glass window. He screeched excitedly, "Paw-Paw!" and left the play room to greet him... again. He jabbers constantly and is saying more words: cookie, Paw Paw, car, go-go-go,  DON'T DO THAT! Don't touch!
He is going to be  talking in paragraphs soon.

Charlie is pudgy at six months old, and he loves Papa Bill. He watches him all the time and coos at him. Bill says, "That's the only grandchild who hasn't been afraid of me." Their relationship is fun.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

I may avert my eyes the next time I see you.


If you would like a little laugh at my expense (and a splash of written imagery I probably shouldn't share with readers) please take a moment to read my humorous essay. Leave a comment on their site if possible.

http://sasee.com/2019/02/01/spy-in-the-sky/

Cover artist Tim Rees.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

That little dickens!

Did you know you have a wealth of publishable writing material at your disposal if you have a child or grandchild?  
When Alex's mommy was about eight years old, during a presidential election, she heard the news commentator say, "More on candidates at 10:00 p.m."
She looked aghast and said, "I did not know they could call politicians MORONS on national TV."
A prominent publication bought that quip/quote for $100.00.

I have sold many stories that revolved around my kids and grands. 

Now great grandson Alex (17 months) is following in his mommy's footsteps. He repeats words and speaks his own jibberish fluently with inflection, tone, and attitude. But his language is still developing. When he does begin speaking English it will be in paragraphs. I can't wait.

He has been miserable for three weeks; teething is the pits. He had four molars coming in top and bottom, plus he had a cold, and was whiny, and only wanted to be held. He ate very little, and we were worried about him.

As soon as those teeth erupted through the gums he was in better spirits, and I babysat at our house.
I made him scrambled eggs. He sat in his little booster chair on the table, eating his breakfast, as I prepared Liam's.  I heard Alex saying, "Yum-yum." When I checked on him he had cleaned his plate. I bragged and applauded,"Yay! You ate your eggs all gone."

That evening after the boys had gone home, Bill and I were going out to dinner. Because we are experiencing the Polar Vortex, I grabbed my winter coat with furry hood. As I swung it over my shoulders, cooked scrambled eggs flew everywhere!

My coat had been hanging on a kitchen chair, and Alex must have thought he was coaxing a dog or kitty to eat his eggs... "Yum-yum." He had been stuffing them by spoonfuls into the fur around the hood of my coat.

I just submitted that anecdote to a paying site. Maybe they will, or maybe they won't accept it. But I sure bet the person reading will smile.





Friday, January 18, 2019

I know it's not funny, but...

My funny honey makes me laugh every single day. I am so grateful for him.

We took Alex and Liam to breakfast one day. I was picking up food as fast as Alex was dropping it.

He was doing pretty good with a fork and his fingers, so I let him alone and began eating. Bill was joking around with Liam when I noticed Alex drop a tater tot on the floor. I slid my chair over and STEPPED on it. Smashed flatter than a pancake, I picked it up, asked Bill to take it, and...

Before I could tell him to put it on the discard plate, he popped it into his mouth. "What was that flat little thing?"

My mouth and eyes popped opened wide. I could not answer.

He stared at me. "What's wrong? OH NO! You picked that off the floor, didn't you?"

"After I stepped on it," I said with my eyes downcast.

We all laughed and said, "Eew!


Yesterday we were in the car. I was driving. My honey had to sneeze. He rolled down the window and projected his sneeze out into the air. Then he grabbed the bridge of his nose. His astonished expression frightened me. "What?" I asked, thinking he had a nose bleed.

"I think I sneezed my glasses off into traffic. They're gone."

"Um, that's because you don't wear glasses anymore since last week when you had your last eye surgery."

We laughed all the way home.

I am happy for my happy man.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Life is a laugh a minute.


I met Stacey Gustafson, an Erma Bombeck award-winning author, when I was an acquisition editor and developer for Not Your Mother's Book on Family, a Publishing Syndicate anthology.
Stacey's hilarious and relatable submissions stood out. 

Her second book in the Are You Kidding Me? series is available NOW! 



Stacey targets a multi-generational demographic with her family stories. Her wry humor and emotionally resonant wit make her a hit on the stand up comedy circuit. This book will make you laugh out loud.

In addition to her spilling the beans about family, friends and farting husbands, she tells it like it is with hilarious, snarky internal dialogue.

****
I had a bit of trouble accessing the Amazon Book review site this morning and disturbed my husband, who was trying to access his Solitaire game on line. I asked for his assistance.

He sighed heavily and asked what the title was.

When I replied, "Are You Still Kidding Me?" he said, "Okay just forget about it, then."

Then I explained I wasn't being snarky...

There's a story there, I'm telling you.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Go, snow! or, Read my red flip flops.

I'm sure you've heard by now St. Louis bore the brunt of a 12 inch snowfall. One foot! Deeper for other parts of Missouri, up to 18 inches. 

Keep the cute boots. I prefer summer, with my feet in flip flops or sandals. 



There were over 900 accidents on Friday into Saturday, and sadly, four fatalities. 

My daughter and granddaughter traveled the treacherous roads. Their normal travel time from work to home is about half an hour. It took my daughter four hours. I prayed them home.

Our roads and highways were gridlocked. Semi trucks were stranded overnight on Interstate 44. Our four lane street was bumper to bumper, and even on flat ground, tires were spinning and cars were sliding. Snow plows could not keep up with the snow falling at an inch an hour.

We stayed in our jammies all day Saturday and watched a great family movie on Amazon or Netflix, called Wonder. It should be mandatory viewing in all schools.

Snow used to mean I made a mad dash to the bakery and devoured a few donuts over the course of being house bound. Not this time. Pasta with fresh spinach, ONE Oreo thin and TWO chocolate chip thin cookies. I'm going to show that doctor I can get my cholesterol down in three months. I am determined.

I babysat butterball Charlie on Wednesday. He reminds me of a baby doll I used to have.

On Saturday Mommy and Daddy bundled him in his baby blue snow suit.

Liam was ready to dive into the deep snow as soon as he woke up and looked outside.

Alex was like the little kid in the Christmas Story, so bundled up he couldn't walk. But he could wail!

They all built a snowman and enjoyed this white fluff. Saturday they received more snow....enough to bury the snowman's bottom half.

I'll enjoy this snow when it has returned to its former form: all liquid.





Thursday, January 10, 2019

You sure the Fed's shut down? Or just hang up!

I do not need a knee brace,
or one for an aching back.
My elbow still bends well,
and my joints aren't out of whack.

I told the man who called me
I do not need a brace,
then he started yapping.
This guy was in a race
to provide me information
about a freebie from Medicare.
"It's a very lightweight brace,
you can wear it anywhere."

"I will not wear it here nor there,
I will not where it anywhere.
I do not need a brace.
I'm in good health," I did insist.

"But Ms. Linda, it is absolutely free;
it won't cost you a dime."
"Put me on the no call list.
I do not have the time!"

Friday, January 4, 2019

Somebody is confused

The new Year is bringing changes to our lives. Hubby has to have a knee surgery, which means I will continue to be designated driver for six weeks post surgery.

Bill has been dealing with doctors, therapists, specialists of all kinds. This too shall pass.

After having an MRI yesterday we stopped at the pharmacy to pick up a routine prescription. The pharmacist said, "That will be $60.59 for the inhaler your doctor just ordered."

Had to convince the guy Bill did not see the doctor, nor did he need an inhaler.

There was a message to call same doctor on the answering machine. I mistakenly reversed the number. I was in the bathroom when my hearing impaired hubby dialed on speaker phone. I heard the woman answer, "(?) Bar and Grill."

Bill asked, "Is Stacey there?"

"Can you call her back?"

He called back. Same gal answered.

"Can I speak with Stacey?"

I screamed from the bathroom, "You are calling a bar!"

He thought I wanted a bar. He finally called the right number only to find out the lab didn't do his quarterly blood test for platelets correctly, after he told the person how the doctor said the procedure should be done.

The phlebotomist said, "They don't know what they are talking about!"

Somebody doesn't. He is on his way at 7:00 a.m to have his blood drawn again. And so the fun begins.

Appreciate prayers, and good thoughts for the big guy and all the medical people he has to deal with. Not sure when surgery will be scheduled.