Thursday, May 30, 2013

Critter Crazy

We accept responsibilty for the destruction taking place in our neighborhood. Tonight neighbors to the side and also the back of us pointed the finger of blame.

The woman behind us called us to the back fence and said, "I want to tell you what they found in my car. Remember I told you my granddaughter threw up in the back seat last month? The smell was getting worse, so I took the car in and asked them to check the cabin filter and guess what they found? YOUR mice! Four of them."

Bill asked, "How do you know they were ours?"

"The mechanic said they have a stash of bird seed in there, and you were complaining that you found a stash of bird seed hulls in your shed. So, they were your mice!"

We all had a loud and boisterous laugh which attracted the attention of our Bosnian neighbors who speak little English and were in their large garden looking for a culprit. We tried to relay the message about the mice, but they weren't understanding, so I drew a picture of a mouse and pointed to the car engine. They said, "Oh no! Rabbit."

We said, "NO rabbit. Mouse."

The neighbor said, "No mouse. Rabbit. Your rabbit!"

A baby bunny so small it would fit in the palm of our hand was happily munching at the lettuce buffet in our neighbor's garden. It came under our fence.
Again we all had a good laugh. The critters in our neighborhood have the life of Riley. I haven't mentioned the mocking birds. Bill has them almost trained to get their hard boiled egg yolk each morning. They wait for him on the patio table.

Rain-rain go away! More storms predicted tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Who's the boss?

Last week the preK class celebrated Dad's Night at Preschool
This is my funny honey, Nicole, and her daddy, my son. The dads played with their children for the first half hour. The children eagerly anticipated this event because I told them that THEY were their dad's boss for the evening and their dads had to play where the children told them. The dads were as thrilled as the kiddos. After the performance we went outdoors for a parachute lift. Each child sat on a pillow in the center of a large parachute, and the dads raised the kids high into the air and set them down gently, two times. you should have seen their faces and heard their giggles. 
Then, we had snack on the parachute. It was such a memorable evening.
The children sang many songs and did finger plays. Their favorite was the dinosaur song:
Never go to lunch with a dinosaur, they're a mean, (facial grimace) foul, nasty group. They'll burp (kids pretend burp), and they'll slurp (make the sound) and they'll never sit down, and they'll spit right in your soup. (Sptooie!)
The dads laughed and applauded after each song or rhyme. My message to the fathers: As you watch your little boy or girl tonight, remember that they are also watching you and listening to you. They want to be just like you. And one day, they will do what you do and say what you say.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The real American idols and heroes

On this Memorial Day weekend, 4,000 local scouts placed American Flags on the graves of veterans at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery near our house. Thanks to all who served.
We drove through at dusk. There were so many visitors remembering their loved ones. The tombstones looked like Dominoes. The thought of war makes me sick to my stomach and the loss of so many lives is absolutely heartwrenching.
This is only one small section of the cemetery. There are acres and acres of graves of men and women who served our country. My former husband was drafted during the Vietnam Conflict, but he was sent to Alaska. While not a war zone, the climate and wilderness were hostile, yet, nothing compared to those who were in combat.
Overcome by sadness, I spied a bit of happiness in the park on this glorious 80 degree evening.
This deer stood perfectly still and allowed me to photograph it.
Then we saw the herd grazing nearby and meandering across the roads and in and out of slow moving traffic. My dad used to refer to this holiday as Decoration Day, and every year he would pile us into the car and we'd drive a few hours to visit my grandparents' graves in an overgrown family plot at the edge of a farmer's field. I am feeling melancholy. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Will you come out and play next week? PLEASE?

Do you see what I see?
When I first began to write for publication, I had no idea what I was doing. I was uncomfortable attending workshops, afraid a "real writer" would ask me what I wrote. I wanted to blend into the background and not stand out. I watched those around me and I listened to speakers share their knowledge and experiences.  
Slowly, I began to step out of my comfort zone. I smiled, greeted people by name and mingled at writer's guild meetings. Two years ago I attened my first Writer's Conference and pitched a book I had written. I felt so out of my league, but I didn't allow that to stop me.
I have met a lot of nice people who were very helpful. Soon, I was able to walk into a room with some degree of confidence. I began to share my knowledge and success stories. Now, I present at workshops, meeting and events. After having a story selected for publication by a national magazine, I was ecstatic. I was uncomfortable admitting that I seldom follow all the rules; in fact I've always submitted my work without query letters. I'm not bold and beligerent. I started out ignorant. I've always believed that my writing stands on its own, and if the editor is interested, my two sentence introduction will lead them right into the story, or not. I've always been willing to take that chance. The worst that could happen was someone would say, NO. And they did, frequently. But although I wanted to scream, "You dummy!" at myself, and the editor, I never stopped writing and submitting. Back then I spent a small fortune on postage.
Fifteen years later, having received my share of rejections and more than my share of acceptances, I am as proud as the chameleon, out in the open showing my true colors. I have rubbed shoulders and dined with editors and writers that you probably know, but I am not a name dropper and I do not put them or myself on a pedestal. We are all in various stages of learning, and sharing is part of the writing process. It is important to be kind to every writer.

I do not like the job of promoting my own work, but as a published writer, it is a requirement. Sometimes I feel as though I am imposing when I announce book signings, especially numerous times on social media. I never want to come off as boastful about new publication credits, but I am proud of how far I have come.

Some of you are stepping out of your comfort zones and submitting more. A rejection does not mean your writing is bad. It means your submission did not meet editorial needs ... this time. I have resent the same story at a later date or to a different publication and received an acceptance. You can't win if you don't come out and play.

 I am still accepting stories for the upcoming anthology, Not Your Mother's Book...On Family. Please send something.

Now the part that I don't like: begging. The co-creator of Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel will be flying in from Washington state to meet/greet and sign books. I know St. Louis writers support their fellow writers. Let's show Theresa Elders a hometown welcome.

Please pass the word around that I will be signing, Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel, at Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO on Sunday, June 2nd, at 1:00 p.m. with Theresa, Sheree Nielsen, Greg Lamping and Sioux Roslawski. PLEASE come out and play, stop by and say, hi.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

You may feel like a priest in a confessional...

My (then) 19 1/2 year old daughter went to the doctor for her annual exam and to get her prescription for birth control refilled. The nurse returned after the exam and said the doctor would be in to talk to her soon. My daughter asked for the prescription. The woman said, "No, dear you're expecting."

My daughter who was young, on the pill, and not dumb, said, "Expecting WHAT? I was expecting my prescription." She had completed her two last cycles and had no idea. Well, you know the rest of that story. My first grandchild is now 23 1/2 and she has been my greatest blessing.

But during that pregnancy, my life was spinning out of control and so was my daughter's. Her fiance` decided to join the Air Force and then got kicked out. Next he decided he didn't want to be a dad, and fathered another child during that period.

Emotions ran high. I'll spare you the screamfests: mine, theirs, ours. I knew we needed help. So while reading about local events in the newspaper one evening (and having been through a brief family counseling stint after divorce) an advertisement caught my eye. It was a free group meeting called Emotions Anonymous, open to the public, located at a nearby hospital.

I talked my daughter into going. I intended to state the facts and nothing more. As we introduced ourselves around the table, my daughter went first. She was very much in control of her emotions.
I on the other hand, (who presented a professional image to my colleagues and school parents every day,) unhinged my mouth and tear ducts. I was totally embarrassed by my emotional meltdown. People were kind. As we continued around the table, I realized that my problems didn't compare to some of the others'... and, I was in a room filled with "whoop-di-doo weirdos."

I was never so glad to leave that room. One woman said, "Hello, my name is ____, and I am a nurse in this hospital. My emotions are so out of control, I steal drugs from the patients and take them."

WHO admits such a thing?! I felt like a priest in a confessional.

I nudged my daughter under the table. One after another twenty strangers confessed their infractions, labeled their emotions, and some of them started arguing amongst themselves. It was a peer led group, and as the saying goes, there's nothing worse than peer pressure.

Our life was off kilter for a while, but soon we were back on track. That sweet, intelligent, fun, funny, first grandbaby of mine just celebrated her wedding anniversary. I look back on those early days and wonder how we survived the turmoil. She is a logical thinker and does not let her emotions rule her decisions. I am so proud of the women my daughter, granddaughter and I have become. I can't believe how fast time flies.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Honey bunnies

Nicole had her dance recital Saturday and she looked like a little doll.
She received flowers and a basket of purple flowers from Nana. Each window of the little house basket had a picture of a Disney princess in it. I glued a picture of Nicole in the doorway. She was so thrilled.

She sat on the ledge outside the school and we took pictures. Her brother happened to look in the bush behind her and he said, "Look! Come here, be quiet and look!"

There were two nests of bunnies peeping out of their burrows, not moving a muscle. They were almost as precious as our little ballerina baby.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours

Shhhh, I want to know YOUR secret and I will tell you mine, but you must not laugh and point to me and talk to others (while in my presence) about my little quirk.

We all have quirks AND talents. If you ask my granddaughter's husband, he will tell you my greatest feat (since he's known me) is sneaking 16 ounce sodas out of a riverfront casino for him and his then girlfriend, my first granchild. They were in their late teens. The riverboat Admiral, used to cruise the Mississippi River in its hey day, but when it fell into disrepair, it became a stationary casino moored on the St. Louis Riverfront.

Hubby drove us down on the wharf, under the Arch, and we wanted to dart into the casino for a minute. The kids had fun discovering the Mighty Mississippi and chasing hundreds of pigeons. He was from a rural area and that many pigeons in one place was a thrill. I told them we'd be out in fifteen minutes (we were) and I would bring them a soda (I did.)

They were sitting on a bench, and he was thirsty from all that pigeon chasing. He looked at me expectantly and then with disapointment when he didn't see two bottles in my hands. I said, "Walk up on the sidewalk off the casino property and I'll give you your drinks."

It was illegal to take any beverage (even water) from the casino back then. But that didn't stop me.

As their shoes left the cobblestones and met the sidewalk, I slid my hand into my purse and pulled out a filled-to-the-brim cup of soda without a lid. And then another one. My grandson-in-law's eyes widened and he asked, "How did you do that?"

"Very carefully," I said with a smile.
He looked in my purse expecting it to be saturated. It was dry. Now, you know my talent, which he still talks about.

Here's my travel quirk:
Ever since I saw on Sixty Minutes that hotel linens, especially wash cloths and towels can contain E-coli bacteria even after washing in scalding water, I refuse to use their wash cloths. I buy a package of cheap ones from Wal-Mart and toss them...into the trash if they are still wet when we pack to leave, or if they are dry, into the dirty laundry. Am I the only one?

Would you share your travel quirks/secrets with me? I may include them (with your permission) in an article.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Retired, fired, hired

Nicole is five, and life at five can be confusing. Before leaving for school she said, "Grandpa, I love when you don't tease me." Usually he is like an aggravating boy, "Give me that pancake, I'll eat it all gone. That's MY pancake."

"NO! It's mine. Nana, Grandpa's teasing me again." And that's how most mornings go.

But for some reason he was sweet and lovey-dovey, "How's my little girl?" And she was thrilled with him.

On the way to school she asked, "Is Grandpa going to be there when we get home after school, or will he be at work?"

I said, "He doesn't go to work anymore. He's retired."

She said, "I was REtired yesterday, whew, I was so REEEEtired! My dad's not retired, but he must have got fired for not doing a good job, because he doesn't work there anymore, now he works on pumps. I wish he could find our pool pump."

"Your daddy didn't get fired. The Ford plant went out of business."

"Oh yeah, that's right, my daddy got HIRED, not fired, but mom says he doesn't do a very good job, so I think he might have got fired."

"Hey, Nicole, look at that dog over there!"

Now multiply that conversation by 14 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and by 12 on M-W-F. I am a preschool teacher, and I still love my job. But I find myself feeling Reeealtired some days.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just my luck!

Sometimes my luck is good, and other times my luck sucks.
Went on a field trip today, and my coworker/driver got a nail in her tire.
She made it back in time to transport us back to school.

Last week before I went on stage, I bought a pair of  panty hose guaranteed not to run. 
I tugged them up and shoved my thumb right through them.

I found a cute pair of fabric summer shoes in my closet that I had forgotten about.
Went to clean them with a dab of bleach and yep, I splashed the rug.

I received a monetary prize from a poetry contest last night.
It was exactly the amount I paid to fill my gas tank today.

My husband offered to take photos of my Listen to Your Mother performance.
He took candid shots, and I look like I've been on a binge in every one of them.

I found a really cute blouse at a thrift store.
It matches the new jewelry my daughter gave me for Mother's Day.

All is good in my world at the moment. How about you?


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

St. Louisans, show us what you've got!
Submissions have reopened for a few weeks only for Not Your Mother's Book...On Family, which I am cocreating. You know you have wacky stories to share. Please, submit to the above link.

 Dianna Graveman is actively seeking stories for Not Your Mother's Book...On Being a Mom.

Our July deadline approaches, so please submit soon.


On Sunday June, 2nd at 1:00 I will be doing a book signing for Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel at Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO. Take a Sunday stroll through this quaint little river town with its many shops and restaurants now housed in the former historic homes.

Meet the co creator of this wonderful book. Theresa Elders is flying in from Washington for this event. Please, let's give her a home town welcome and show her our friendly St. Louis spirit.

Also meet local authors who have stories in this anthology: Greg Lamping, Sheree  Nielsen, Sioux Roslawski and me.

Dog the Bounty Hunter will be there on Saturday 6/1 and will probably have 800 people seeking his autograph. We would be happy with 8, 18, 28, 80 people dropping by to see us. Share this message with others, please? Not necessarily about Dog; spread the word about Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Going through the Emotions

          on May 11th at the Emerson Auditorium, St. Luke's Hospital Education Center. 
                                             I was priviliged to be a part of this wonderful cast.
                                                           Click on photo to enlarge

My baby turns forty this year. I am old enough to be mother to most of my fellow cast members, yet I feel like we are all sisters.

Rehearsing with the women from Listen to Your Mother St. Louis 2013, an Ann Imig Production, made me feel like an expectant and new mother all over again. My hormones took a hike years ago, but the mood swings over the past weeks brought it all back. My chin broke out and I also got a blemish above my lip; admittedly, that may have been from dry shaving my mustache, I don't know, but it was a red honker for a week. I worried the entire time and had to buy extra strength antiperspirant!

When I first received the email that my story was selected, I screeched with joy, felt as excited as when the positive lines on the pee stick show up blue, (only in my time I think the rabbit died,) sorry.

I was nervous at the audition, unsure of myself amongst a group of younger professional women, apprehensive sharing my life story with strangers, afraid I'd trip over my tongue or my own feet in my gorgeous, new heels provided by sponsor, Bronx Diba Shoe Outlet. I was hopeful that my sinuses (spring in St. Louis!) would stop draining so I wouldn't have to clear my throat, snuffle snot, or hawk up a hair ball during rehearsals.

I was relieved after we read our stories to one another, so happy to discover that we were ALL more the same than different. I could relate to every single story, although I do not have as much jewelry as some. We laughed and cried together.

Then, came the big day, May 11, 2013. As I sat in the green room watching the cast toast and sip mimosas, I was envious of those who can drink alcohol and not suffer from my malady: running off at the bowels and mouth. My husband can attest, when I have even one drink, I talk endlessly and end up in the john, so I knew better than to start sipping the bubbly. Instead, I noshed on Jilly's miniature cupcakes. Thank You, Jilly's! Before we exited the green room, Alana Flowers led us in prayer. We did an all hands in salute, then we headed out the door to take our places.

Sitting backstage with all of the women in the hallway, waiting my turn to "go on" reminded me of waiting in the OB's office  many years ago. I felt special knowing that we all shared a unique bond. I was SO EXCITED when the moment finally arrived. I pranced proudly onto that stage and made the delivery look easy, while inside I was quaking.

When we returned to the stage and joined hands and took a bow, I felt a sense of unity, a connection beyond explanation. Afterwards, as we mingled in the hall, I felt that sense of euphoria that every new mom feels after she gives birth. Each of us had done something so special that no other person had ever done, delivered our own babies. The "birth announcements" rolled off our tongues, came from our hearts, and souls, and funny bones right through the microphone. The gifts came in the form of compliments from friends, family, and perfect strangers who appreciated hearing our life stories.

Every single cast member made me feel special, accepted, appreciated and loved. Getting to know each woman has been so much fun. Listen to Your Mother St. Louis has been a truly remarkable experience. "Thank you" does not seem to be sufficient. Ellie Grossman, Laura Edwards-Ray, Naomi Francis, Suzanne Tucker, and Virginia Kerr did an outstanding job and YES, we did receive TWO standing ovations! Thank you and praises to one and all.

And, uhmm, although I am running off at the mouth, I am not drinking.

To view more photos of LTYM, go to and check out Kim's blog.

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my girls!
                         Granddaughter, Ashley and my daughter, Tracey make me very proud.

Happy Mother's Day to my angel mom. Ashley called her Maw-Maw and Tracey called her Nana, and Mom called each of us at least three times a day. The things we complained about seem trivial now. What we wouldn't give for one more day with her! I guarantee you we would have a bakery treat and cup of coffee. There would be lots of bossing (from each of us). Straighten your halo Mom.
Come back tomorrow. I will post photos of the event Listen to Your Mother, which I participated in.

Friday, May 10, 2013


They don't make them like they used to. Oh, I know it's cliche` but I do feel that way about television. I watched an episode of   M*A*S*H  this morning that made me laugh, gasp, it made my heart race. It had all the elements of a good book.

Today is Mom's Tea Party at Preschool. I will let you know what transpires, especially after the class introduces Tony Chestnut. I will ask Tony Chestnut to stand, but because there is no TC in class nobody stands. I act like I am getting upset, then all of the students stand and laugh as they sing (and touch) Toe-Knee-Chest-Nut (head)-Nose- I (point to self) Love (hand to heart) YOU (point to their mom) Toe Knee Nose,Toe Knee Nose, toe knee knows I love you, toe-knee-nose! Lots of laughter
and hugs and love.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We are all one

When I am curious about the weather I tune into the local news. Never fails, the meteorologist tells me he/she's GOING to tell me. SOON. Nothing frustrates me more than those news/weather teases. So, I apologize if I irritated anyone with my preliminary announcement about having big news that I couldn't yet talk about.

One of my personal essays was under consideration by the folks producing the Gloria Gaynor anthology, tentative title, How We Survived. I had to wait to see if my story made the cut. Last night I received the contract. My story will grace the pages of this book. The theme: how Gloria Gaynor's song, "I Will Survive" impacted my life. That song rocked my world in the 80s. I wrote from my heart about that time. I encourage you to also write as though you are sharing with a friend. Connect with your readers, even if you think you have nothing in common.

I learned this lesson a month ago when I walked into the cast meet/greet at Listen to Your Mother St. Louis. Many of the women were attorneys, professionals, community activists. I felt like the oldest, most undereducated and insecure woman there. The moment we shared a brief synopsis about ourselves, I realized that at our core, we are all women with a variety of experiences. If we strip away our titles, ages and pretenses we reveal our sameness, not our differences. One striking difference between my generation and the younger women (20s-40s) is the self-confidence they display compared to me at their ages.

There is still time to buy a ticket for the Saturday performance of Listen to Your Mother, St. Louis. Watch the Brian Williams show (not sure if it is going to be on tonight or Thursday). They filmed the LTYM, Chicago show. You will get some idea of how small a part I am of this big nationwide event. I am blessed.

Sasee Magazine is seeking stories about travel. Deadline 5/15

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cram it in!

Did you ever try to cram too much in? My suitcases burst at the seams and I have to sit on them sometimes. I always crammed for tests, and I work best under pressure or last minute.

No, I'm not taking classes and I'm certainly not packing my bags for vacation. Today I was doing double duty.

Today was one of those crammed to overflowing school days. My goal was to work on skill sheets packets for conferences. At best, I thought I would complete five students' packets, but I kept pushing myself and my aide, and we completed ten out of fourteen packets! THANK YOU, AMY.

In the middle of all this hectic work and  children playing in differen't centers in the room, two therapists (speech and occupational) for two different special needs students came to observe. Then, the doorbell rang, not once but twice. Two different parents with two special needs students wanted to sit in and observe. Amidst all the chaos, they were impressed (?) and enrolled their children. They said I had been referred by two different agencies.

Word must be getting out that a crazy older, high-energy and creative woman and her younger side kick can work magic on prek students. I teach not from a book but from the heart. I think every child deserves a dedicated teacher who will help them overcome obstacles and try to understand their needs, not punish them because they have a few problems.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, and one of my wonderful students gave me a miniature rose bush.
I do appreciate it, and will be reminded of this child every spring when it blossoms.

Come June 21st I will appreciate my last day of school. But for now, I have lots of ideas to cram into
the last 6 1/2 weeks of school. New techniques to discover so  I can target their needs and learning styles.

My favorite teacher was Judith Alexander, high school English, but there were many good teachers who helped me learn and grow.

Do you have a favorite teacher?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

If I knew then what I know now

When I was  teenager, my late stepdad worked hard during the week. Some weekends he drank to excess and relived World War ll. As annoying as it was to hear him carrying on, I felt very sorry for him as he ranted about his navy adventures in New Guinea. He was just a poor backwards kid from the swamps and he often referenced the C.C. camp.

From the time I was a young girl, I felt such pity for him because of his experiences. I could only imagine the hardships and atrocities he'd endured and witnessed at war, and especially as a lad in that CONCENTRATION CAMP.

It was about ten years ago when I realized that he was never in a concentration camp. I was taking my parents for a drive through Jefferson Barracks National Park when we spied an old wooden barracks building with a sign that caught his attention.

Long sober, he said, "I was a member of the CCC." I thought, Oh no! I parked the car and we went inside the new museum. He gazed into his past at photos and artifacts from the Great Depression. The Civillian Conservation Corp was part of the New Deal endorsed by President Roosevelt.

The CCC operated under the army's control. Camp commanders had disciplinary powers and the young corpsmen were required to address superiors as “sir.” By September 1935 over 500,000 young, poor men had lived in CCC camps, most staying from six months to a year. The work focused on soil conservation and reforestation. The men planted millions of trees on land made barren from fires, natural erosion, or lumbering—in fact, the CCC was responsible for over half the reforestation, public and private, done in the nation's history. Corpsmen also dug canals and ditches, built over thirty thousand wildlife shelters, stocked rivers and lakes with nearly a billion fish, restored historic battlefields, and cleared beaches and campgrounds.

The CC camp was not a concentration camp.

So, for all of those years, I was mistaken. Everybody makes mistakes.

Don't allow a mistake, hard work or rejection to stop you in your writing tracks.
Don't allow a misunderstanding to affect your relationships.
Don't bow your head in shame and embarrassment and turn away. Turn around.

Erect a virtual bridge, mend a family fence, plant a shade tree to sit beneath and contemplate.

Next time you are in a park, walking a trail, or visiting a campground in the US, remember the young men who worked hard to provide these places for our enjoyment.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's your nest, feather it your way, or...

A robin worked diligently for two days making a very neat nest in the carport rafters. I thought sure hubby, (who is quite fond of nature but not bird poop on his car,) would remove it. I walked into the house after work last week and gave him a firm look. "Leave that nest alone."
He said, "I am. By the time I discovered it, she had worked so hard and made such a neat little nest, I couldn't remove it from under her. She did a neat job, wove it tight. But once the eggs hatch, I'm taking it down."
"Fair enough," I said. And then we discovered the robin's egg on the ground. We watched a day for her to return. Hubby was adamant. "Tomorrow, I'm removing the nest. You can take it to school to show your class." We waited but there was no sign of the robin. We waited.
He waited too long. By the next day it was obvious the robin had abandoned the perfectly good nest, and another resident had taken over. The little sparrow has to be a first time mom. She has made one big mess out of this nest by adding long strands of dried grass into a perfectly good nest. Everyday has been funnier (for me) than the day before. We have discovered scraps of paper, gum wrappers and Kleenex woven in, and so many strands of  three foot long grasses, we are afraid it's going to fall off the ledge. You can't tell from this angle that the long grass hangs down to the car's attena/roof. It is making you- know-who crazy. I just smile everyday when I drive in and see the little mama's new decorating scheme. After all, it's her home.
Like a new mom, a new writer wants to protect her babies, too. We sometimes start out with the perfect sentence or phrase and then keep adding too many adjectives or adverbs until we have junked up an entire paragraph. Sometimes, less is best. The first time I learned about "cutting" I was  amazed at the difference it made to my work. Delete the unneccessary words in one of your paragraphs, and you will discover the definition of "tight writing." Have fun.