Friday, April 30, 2010

Puppy Love

Babies and puppies make my heart swoon. The weather was gorgeous, 80 degrees and windy last evening when my 20 year old granddaughter called and asked if I wanted to walk the nature trail near our house. She brought Riley, her six month old boxer pup. Riley is a sweetie, but she is a bit of a wild child. She ran in circles when she saw me, and as we started down the path, she wrapped her leash around my legs. Ashley and I laughed ourselves silly. Such a simple memory and fun bonding time. I imgaine one day I'll be giggling at a great-grandchild, but for now, this great-grand dog does it for me. Riley wasn't satisfied with her leash walk, so Ashley took her to the dog park where she loves to run free and romp with other dogs.

Playgrounds always made me nervous when my kids were young. I couldn't read a book or relax. I was afraid I'd lose one of my toddlers. Ashley says her greatest concern at doggy playground is that her over-friendly puppy keeps getting put in her place by miniature poodles.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What would your license say about you?

I would never pay the additional cost for personalized license plates, but you can sure learn a lot about a person who has them. Yesterday I saw these: CUPCAK, YBAWAK (Why be awake?) and WTRBUG (not on a VW either).

Speaking of cupcakes, hop on over to my friend Lynn's blog at Present Letters and view some awesome and unbelievable cupcakes. No, the license wasn't on Lynn's car.

Do you have personalized plates, and if not, what would be on yours? Mine: bekind

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's a writer to do?

I've had two writer-related experiences lately that have gotten my wheels spinning and have left me aggravated and scratching my head. I submitted a story to an editor who was seeking "female reproductive stories" for an anthology. I wrote an essay about my miscarriage many years ago. The editor replied that the essay was wonderful, and asked me to consider allowing it to be posted on the website, as opposed to being included in the book (no compensation). HUH? I don't think so!

Recently, I queried another person on a story that would fit perfectly in a book that this editor is developing and seeking stories for. I received an email stating that the book is not an anthology, but YES do send the info, although my words won't be anthologized. Now, why would I want to give my story or the idea away? Exposure?

I want credit and compensation. I ask you, is that asking too much from a writer?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Vacation Blues

Missed My Vacation (in verse ... just when you thought it couldn't get worse)

We headed for the Smokies to visit tourist sites;
just a mini vacation, only for three nights.
We chugged up Look Out Mountain to see what we could see.
Bug guts on the windshield affected visibility.

My honey pulled to the side of the road,
and rummaged through the trunk.
He finally found the glass cleaner
among all our travel junk.

He scrubbed the windows front and back, and then he washed the sides.
He hustled over to where I sat, and sprayed Windex in my eyes.
“I thought you had the window up!” He shouted as I wailed.
“I thought that you could see I didn’t, and now my vision’s failed!”

We drove down Lookout Mountain. I didn’t see a thing.
We ended up in Nashville where the country singers sing.
We saw Ryman Auditorium and toured the historic sight.
Then we got a hotel room, a place to spend the night.

We found our room at the top of the stairs; the door it stood ajar.
So, we placed our luggage on the bed and headed back to the car.
We ate a lovely meal; it really was the best.
Our bellies were so full; we decided to take a rest.

My honey put the key in the lock; twisted and he turned.
We had to find the manager, and this is what we learned:
our luggage was in room 234, where we could plainly see,
but the room we rented was 234B and 234A didn’t have a key!

We waited hours for a locksmith. We were exhausted tired and crabby.
That night, we boarded a shuttle bus driven by a former, crazy cabby.
At the new, Grand Old Opry, we saw Hank Jr. and many more.
Hank sang this tired old gal to sleep, and I began to snore.

Yes, we went to Look Out Mountain
and the place where the country singers sing.
I can honestly say we went there,
but I didn’t see a thing.

Hope this made you smile. I can laugh NOW, 20 years later. And to think, this year we're anticipating our first cruise!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A little story telling isn't all bad

This week at school my students are drawing family pictures and dictating stories about their families in preparation for our spring events. Some of their stories are hysterical. I know which little boy's daddy hides his money in his underwear when he sleeps so his mommy won't find it!

Sometimes in order to gain cooperation, you just have to do a little creative story telling. When I served sliced bananas and dry cereal for snack one day, half the class moaned that they didn't like bananas. "Well you'll love these bananas; they are not ordinary bananas," I said. I told them that I had sprinkled them with a special dust and all they had to do was take a bite to discover the kind of dust. The entire class nibbled and guessed. "Fairy dust! Barbie dust! Power Ranger dust!" I smiled and merely asked, "Do you think that's what it tastes like? And what do YOU think?" At the conclusion of snack, I told them the truth. We were at the bottom of the cereal bag, and so I dusted them with Lucky Charms dust.

Where will your creativity take you today?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sassy little story gets published in upcoming issue of Sasee

Yippee! Happy dance! I received another acceptance from Sasee Magazine for the June issue. That was a nice surprise. Sasee is a quality, woman's magazine produced in Myrtle Beach, S.C. by Strand Media Group. Leslie C. Moore is the editor and her layouts are wonderful and colorful. Check out the website and consider purchasing a subscription. You won't be sorry.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ladies Room

Any woman who has waited in a long line to use the restroom can relate to this incident which happened to me at a sporting event.


Woman’s line moves at snail’s pace and stalls.
We eye each other in mirrored walls.
Shift and slosh from side to side,
Hurry lady, step aside!
Some of us prefer to hover,
Some, a tissue paper cover.
Place it on very neat.
Last lady tinkled on the seat!
Rip another, try again.
The center cut-out falls right in.
Water seeps up way too fast
No sitting now, just squat at last.
Give the single ply a jerk.
Darn the big wheel just won’t work.
Perforate a single square.
One good yank and I’m out of there.

Roll spins a streamer to the floor,
Dang thing rolls right out the door.
Attendant’s broom sweeps near and far.
She and I in a tug-of-war.

I'm telling you, it really happened!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Extreme vacation adventures

I saw a call out for extreme vacation stories. I suppose what the editor had in mind is white water rafting, deep sea diving and adventure stories. I've had some extreme vacation experiences, but not on that level.

The time we stood outside a tiny beach motel office waiting for the couple ahead of us to register was extremely memorable. We watched the two gentlemen carry their luggage in, then we waited impatiently on the small porch in the glaring sun. We waited for fifteen minutes, then, Bill cupped his eyes and peered through the sliding glass door. One of the gentlemen opened the door and asked, "Can I help you?"
"Yes, we'd like to rent a room."
"Well, the office is around the other side." He looked as embarrassed as we felt.

That's only one of our extreme vacation experiences. One year we drove to Colorado on a whim, without motel reservations. A big storm came rip roaring into town ahead of us. All of the campers headed from the hills to the big city motels, and there were no vacancies anywhere. We drove on until about 2:00 a.m. Bill finally pulled into the parking lot of a closed auto body repair station. It was not well-lit and because I had a wad of money in my purse, I feared being robbed. I stuffed that roll of twenties into the waistband of my shorts. Bill reclined his seat and passed out from exhaustion. I wiggled until daybreak wishing for a bathroom and a bed. As the sunrise illuminated our surroundings, I was glad to see a weight station across the highway and a nearby 7-11. I scooted out of the car into the damp, crisp morning air, stood and stretched my arms and shook my stiff legs. That's when it happened. Those twenties fluttered down my leg one at a time and skittered in the breeze. They stuck to the wet pavement like adhesive-backed stamps on envelopes. About the time I peeled one off, another dropped. I can only imagine what the shift change workers in the weight station thought as they peered across the street and saw me chasing twenty dollar bills falling out of my shorts every time I took a step. If you ask me, that was pretty extreme.

Have you had an extreme adventure,or fiasco you're willing to tell me about?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A blast from the past

Many of you grew up in St. Louis and the surrounding areas and may be interested in a web site that is sure to keep you planted in your chair. Check out St. Louis Memories, David A, Lossos' site. It is a trip down Memory Lane. Who knows? You may even reunite with an old acquaintance. It is addictive.


The tax man cometh, today is the day
so if someone acts edgy, stay out of their way.
If you're sinking in debt that seems gigantic
Remember, it could be worse...
Ninety-eight years ago an iceberg sunk the Titanic.

When you put The with IRS you get the word THEIRS, need I say more?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shoe lovers step out and try your hand, er foot at this

The little girls in school are wearing their sandals. So am I. Nothing I love better than freeing my tootsies. One little girl has a pair of sandals; each strap is a primary color. I fawned over them, remembering that I too had a pair just like those when I was her age. I loved those sandals, love-love-loved them!

There is a call out for an upcoming anthology: A Love Affair With Shoes, seeking 1,000 words(in the body of an email, no attachments) from avid shoe lovers. Winners will be published, receive $100.00, plus I think a pair of cool high heels. Get going ladies, walk a mile in your own shoes, kick up your heels and write about your old kicks. Deadline is June 1st

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do you ever recover from grief? I say, yes.

You never know how your words will affect someone else. My dental hygienest, Laurie, made a profound observation that has forever changed my way of thinking about the deaths of loved ones. She did not talk to me of spiritual things, afterlife, religious beliefs, but her comment was eye-opening. I just sent my story off to Chicken Soup Grief and Recovery. The deadline is May 31st. We have all been touched by grief and loss, and we have all gotten through it somehow. Perhaps your story will positively impact others. Why don't you write about it today and send it off tomorrow? NOT today, because the first version you write will have too many words, personal details and raw emotions. Your revision may be exactly what they want. Plus it is cathartic. I will be reading my story at Wired Coffee Open Mic.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I was well-intentioned when I went to the grocery store Friday evening. I bought carrots, celery, 100 calorie chocolate-raspberry yogurt. Summer is almost here and I am going to be 'good'. Yeah so much for that idea.

I love finding bargains, half priced anything! I found chocolate covered mini pretzels sprinkled with multi-colored non-pareils in a cellophane bag, tied with a cute ribbon. There was even a bonus inside of three mini carrots (white chocolate dyed orange). My dear husband heard me moaning with delight as I devoured them. He went out and bought me ten more small (individual-sized) bags. I do not care that I am eating two week old Easter "candy". They are the right blend of chocolate, salt and crunch. I am my own worst enemy. Three down, seven to go. I think I'll take a bag to work. They are addictive.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I double dog dare you!

Don't be deterred by a title call out. When I saw a submission call for Chicken Soup for the Soul,Devotionals for Mothers, I immediately thought, Darn! They want stories from moms, probably young moms. Then, I raised my foot behind me and gave myself a swift kick in the pants. I searched my files for a story that I had written ten years ago, one that has been rejected by many publications. It has always been dear to my heart, BUT it's written from a grandma's perspective. I wavered: They won't want this 'old lady story'. Maybe I should change the point of view. Then I came to my senses and said, woman, stop that negative self-speak and send it off. The worst that can happen is another rejection.

Yesterday I received a contract stating that my story has made it to final round. Woo-hoo! It is about Bill's verbose granddaughter who, at age three met me at our door, tugged me by my heart strings and brought me to my knees with one sentence. She has forgotten the incident; I shall always be guilt-ridden.

So instead of bragging about my success, I want to encourage YOU to write from your heart even if it is about a topic you think you have nothing to write about. You might be surprised. My greatest Chicken Soup success story is about The New Mom's book. Years ago I sent the story; they sent a contract and then at the very last minute they pulled it. I sent that same story five years later (retitled it) for another New Mom's book, and they accpeted it.

Writers have to bide their time, believe in their abilities and take a chance. So the next CS call out with May deadlines are for the Cat and Dog books. Start writing. What's that? Do I hear you saying, "But I don't even like cats. I don't own a dog." So what! Did you ever see a stray cat on the edge of the highway scouting for food? I have and it bothers me. I may write about that. And dogs, well, even if you don't own one, you've had an experience with one. That shaggy dog who swiped my baby's ice cream cone in a gulp...well, I was laughing so hard I couldn't do a thing about it. But now I can write about it. On second thought, I think they are calling for stories about YOUR pets, so come up with something. I dare you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring is here - what color are your bloomers?

Flowers are blooming and Mother Nature is tatting tiny leaves and blossoms on all the branches. Our cars have a greenish cast, and windshield wipers stir the washer fluid into pollen soup. Forsythia bushes and flowering trees, especially the red buds make me sigh contentedly. Fall is my favorite season, but the older I get the more I appreciate spring, although I am not fond of rain and storms.

I am reminded of a springtime long ago when I was walking the trails at Powder Valley Nature Center with my granddaughter who was about six years old. She spied a plot of newly planted saplings that were about four feet tall. Ashley tugged me by the hand and shouted excitedly, "Nana, look at the newborn girl trees." I asked how she could tell they were girl trees, and she said, "They all have pink ribbons on their trunks instead of blue."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Journals and pictorial histories

I have been keeping journals for our nine grandchildren since they were born. Austin, 13, discovered his and thrilled at the photos of himself from birth to present day. He decided it was time to have the journals in his possession. I gave his sister hers when she turned eighteen, and that was my plan for all of the kids, but he asked for his now. Apparently, he's having a wonderful time discovering how much Nana loves him and how much fun he's had through the years. I write their quips and humorous quotes and tell them what they did when they came for a visit or if we went to one of their events. Now that they are older, I try to do a monthly entry, an overview, unless they dropped by unexpectedly or if they had a school or sports event, and then of course I jot a note about that. Not a long journal entry, just a written page of a small, spiral bound, chunky notebook. Each child has one or more with their photo pasted on the front.

George celebrated his thirteenth birthday Saturday, and Madison turns thirteen this summer. Where did the years go, and what makes kids these days grow so tall? They are all taller than I am. That was some year when we had three daughters pregnant simultaneously; you talk about hormones gone haywire!

My aunt gave me a black and white snapshot of myself when I was about four. I am standing with her. Looking at that picture is like a trip into the old neighborhood, a visit to my childhood, a glimpse of Grandma's house, a reminder of events, people and places. No wonder my grandson likes his journal.

This week, paste a photo of someone you love on a piece of paper; write a memory or meaningful message about that photograph, and give it to that person. It's a cost-free, priceless gift that is sure to be a treasure.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The rabbits at our house are getting rambunctious awaiting the Easter Bunny. This is my favorite grouping. It is a reminder of every mother's love for her sleeping child.

This display is in my kitchen. Note the mama rabbit's expression, her cute little bunnies and the snoozing daddy. A reminder that a woman's work is never done.

This granny bunny is ready to collect a basketful of eggs, after tea, of course. A blessed, peaceful and relaxed Easter to all of you.