Saturday, January 31, 2015

Play it again, Sam

Do you write slice of life stories about everyday events?
I am developing a 1,500 word personal essay about my cousin's wedding reception.
There are so many ways that I can go with this, but rather than take a conventional approach, I have decided to draw parallels between something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Now I understand how a writer can sell the same story to numerous publications. It's all about the slant, I suppose. Have you ever sold the same story more than once, or do you know anyone who has? I would be interested to know more about reruns.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Baby Face

This week at school we are talking about growing and changing. The children and I bring in our baby pictures. They draw their self portraits, and I paste their baby picture alongside to observe our growth and how our bodies have changed. I write their thoughts, hopes, memories, ideas. One little girl said when she grows up she wants to learn how to peel potatoes. What a goal!


This got me to thinking about when my children were babies and toddlers and preschoolers, and everyday brought another issue.


Some days, regardless of age, it isn't any easier being the mom than it is being the kid.  When my children were very young I often felt like one of the countless P.B. and J.s I served them. I was oozing in all directions, sandwiched between this and that, spread thin between chores and tasks that never seemed to end...


Then one day, it did end. My daughter and my son grew up. No more wiping sticky grape jelly off little hands and peanut butter smudges off tables... 

Recently I sat down with a cup of tea and old photo albums, and I reflected on motherhood...


I will develop this into an essay, but I wonder, do YOU have any reflections to share with me? 



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Finders weepers, losers keepers!

Yes, you read it right! Something is rotten in Denmark, or at least up the street in the little Bosnian market. I took your advice and stopped at the gas station to cash in the lawn lottery ticket. I had planned to send half to my aunt in a letter. What a surprise! The clerk said the lottery ticket had been cashed already. I asked how that was possible since they are required by law to attach the payout receipt to the ticket. She shrugged and said she didn't know. Then she handed me the print out confirming the ticket had been cashed. I sealed the envelope and dropped my aunt's letter in the mail.

I'm on the lookout now for what other underhanded activities are going on in my nice, quiet neighborhood.

Speaking of lottery ticket scratch offs, a few years ago, Bill and I were taking an evening stroll. We passed a little independently owned pharmacy where a young man behind the counter, sitting on a stool in front of the picture window was busily unrolling an entire roll of lottery tickets and scratching frantically. I hope he hit a winner.

Coincidentally, two weeks later the pharmacy went out of business.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's circumstantial evidence at this point

Okay, I have a dilemma here. We live on a busy street with lots of auto and pedestrian traffic.

I left for work yesterday morning and saw a rather large scratch off lottery ticket on the lawn as I was pulling out of the driveway. When I came home it was still there, despite being a windy day. Hubby hadn't picked up the litter either, because he has a theory: maybe it will blow down the street.

On my way to the mailbox I bent down and picked up that Bingo Scratch Off, and I scanned the gnat-size number circles. Nah! Not a winner. Then, I saw a second chance to win on that card. It had been scratched off, too. The directions: two matching amounts win!

I looked at the side by side $10.00 amounts. Hot diggity! I had a winner in my hot little hands.

Now the dilemma: I did not see anyone trash our lawn, but I have a pretty good idea who did. There's a little old Bosnian man who buys lottery tickets at a neighborhood market up the street from our house almost every day. I have seen him wildly scratching and walking past our house on several occasions. Once or twice, I've seen him toss the losers on the ground. On those occasions I embraced my husband's philosophy, it will be down the block or in the gutter in no time. 

I'm considering asking the guy if he tossed trash onto our lawn, to which he will most likely reply: "No speak English." Or he may become belligerent and swing his loaf of fresh bread at me.

The more I think about it, the more I think I will consider the fine for lawn littering $10.00.

Now if by chance I find another winner on our property with a greater amount, I shall increase my fine.

It's all circumstantial evidence at this point. What do you think?


Sunday, January 18, 2015

And the winners are...

You don't know what you've got till it's gone. How did I ever live without a computer? Finally got my baby back, better than new, faster than a race horse, and begging me to catch up on writing and submitting.

Sent off three essays today. I have been toying with a poem about writing, so if anyone would like to take a look and express an opinion, I'd be most happy. I won't post it on my blog because some publications consider that as published and therefore won't accept previously published.

Have you ever read Wally Lamb's novels: She's Come Undone; I Know This Much is True, and The Hour I First Believed? That last one, an account of the Columbine killings was difficult to read.

Well yesterday I found a little nugget of Wally's.
"Wishin' and Hopin', A Christmas Story (2009) is one of the most fun reads ever. The main character is a kid in Catholic school whose cousin is Annette Funicello. The time warp is fun, the characters delightful and the story is moving at a good clip. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE this book!

Speaking of books, I have drawn two names. Thank you all for leaving a comment and being supportive when HP crashed and had to go to the repair shop.

BOBBY BARBARA SMITH and OPTIMISTIC EXISTENTIALIST, please email me your mailing address if you live in the US. Check out my list and select your title.  My email is listed in my header. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tell me something...anything

Turned on the computer Monday afternoon and a blue screen popped up with a bunch of code and the word error. After much tinkering by he who knows how to sign on in safe mode, he flipped it off. SO DID I.

The geeks are now in possession, and for five days I am going to be unable to breathe deeply. We have an external hard drive, so all I can do is hope...ugh. I can't even think about it. 

Tell me something to get my mind off it?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Drawing on a winter memory, and drawing for a free book

The wind whipped icy fingers up my coat sleeve today, tapped me on my shoulder, and reminded me that this cold snap does not even compare to the frigid arctic air (minus fifty degrees) that snatched my breath, cloistered my words in exhaled clouds that crashed to the ground, and numbed my toes until they burned... when I called Alaska home.  

Winter of 1969, belly ripe with first baby, stars so close in an ebony canopy that I could almost reach on tiptoe and pluck a sky diamond.

At midnight, the ancient fire truck wailed to a stop at the top of the snow-covered, gravel road in front of the white frame house. It was the only house on School Road amongst a string of crayon-colored dilapidated trailers with attached wannigans: room additions the length of the trailers, which created extended living space and the need for more diesel heating fuel, a commodity on soldier's pay.

Smoke billowed skyward from the Hinesly's home. Neighbors nosed outside in night clothes. Word travelled fast. "Only condensation in the attic. Not a fire."

But look up! We pulled our wraps tight and pointed bare fingers at the celestial smear of jeweled colors amongst the diamonds in the sky. My first glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. Northern Lights, what a sight!

How cold is it where you are? Do you like/dislike winter? 

If you wish to enter a drawing for a free book, and you live within the United States, here's what you do. Please tell someone about my blog,

Ask them to sign on to "follow" my blog. They don't ever have to return, but it would be great if they did.
That person should tell me who "sent" them, and I will put both your name and theirs into the hat for a book drawing on NEXT Sunday, January 18th. If I get more than ten followers, I will do a second drawing, so that would be four books to be signed, and one sent possibly to YOU. Thank you for your participation and help. 

Titles to choose from (my stories included in each of these):

Not Your Mother's Book...On Family (co created by me)
Not Your mother's Book...On Travel
Not Your Mother's Book... On Home Improvement
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Home Sweet Home
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Living with Alzheimer's and Other Dementias
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Just Us Girls
Chicken Soup for the Soul The Dating Game
Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Power of Positive
Chicken Soup for the Soul, Reader's Choice
Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul (my first CS published story)  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I need to see the sea

The holidays are over, the last cookie has been eaten, and the nostalgic kid-made ornaments and family of stuffed snowmen have been packed away. I loved sitting in the living room early in the morning with the tree lights on, listening to the news, gazing at the tree, praying for those who needed special attention. The glistening colors had a calming effect. They seemed to cancel out the emotions that resulted from the horrific NEWS stories that scrolled across the television screen.
Now the whites of winter, and the longest month of the school calendar are upon me. The living room seems bare without the holiday decorations. My footsteps echo. I turn on the low wattage light and sit on the sofa and gaze at my dream world. I escape every day into that large picture. In my mind, I stroll that beach barefoot. I can almost hear the gulls, the waves, and feel the sea foam on my toes. 
If you look closely in the vase filled with sand and seashells, you can see the baby starfish. 
I need beach scenes to get me through winter. The photo is the first beach sunset Bill and I ever experienced together. We smile at our favorite picture, remembering. Twenty-six years ago, his naturally curly hair was black, my hair color was not from a box, and our waists hadn't widened. Gazing at this photo makes me thankful every single day for my honey.

The beach reminders are everywhere. The photos on top are of our first grandchildren. We drove them to Florida when Ashley was seven and Kyle was four. They hated the heat and aggravation of Disney World as much as we dreaded hearing them ask, "Are we there, yet?" and complain, "I don't want to wait in line. It's too hot here." But, oh how they loved the beach! The photo to the left is more recent. The one to the right, is a favorite of us with our friends, Bruce and Sheila, taken many years ago on vacation in Mexico. My best friend was vibrant and healthy then. We lost Sheila in 2014, but that photo is a happy reminder of days gone by.
Even our cat loves the beach, well at least the NETFLIX beach video. He watches the fish swim in and out of the coral. He cocks his head this way and that, and he is mesmerized.
I am a positive thinker. On January 1st, I think, 12 weeks until warmer weather, and longer days.
Thank you one and all for being faithful readers. I am going to have a book give away and will post details next week. Happy New Year to all of you.