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Showing posts from 2011

Happy New Year. The Good Life Hard to See...

‘Good life’ hard to see when you have it
One winter several years ago, my husband and I traveled to Florida to visit my sister in a community built on a golf course. CLICK ON THE TITLE TO GO TO THE SITE. Thought you might want to check out my essay that appeared in the Columbus Dispatch today, New Year's Eve. A fun way to end the year with my essay in print. It's a very revised version of our move to and from sunny Florida. Enjoy! And have a Happy New Year.

How to be an American Housewife...

Just finished reading Margaret Dilloway's How to Be an American Housewife. Wow. What a read. Couldn't put it down. About a Japanese bride and her military husband. Shoko tries hard, harder than anyone I ever knew, to be the perfect wife and mother in her new country. More often than not she believes she has failed. You'll learn through her trials and tribulations that this is not so. She succeeds very well as a woman who loves her husband and children more than life itself. Even when her spirit is tested as she faces death.

Great characters and beautiful writing, the first novel by Margaret Dilloway.

I'm not giving away any more of the story.

It touched my heart and soul and these characters are still ambling around in my mind several days after I put the book down.

Here's to a new year of great books, great writing, and most of all good health to us all.

Blessings, Barb

Holidays Filled with Hope...

I started to write about my regrets of the past two months. How I haven't been well and I haven't written, not much anyway and how blah blah blah - my life isn't going as I want it to. Bah humbug to that sort of post.

However I realized I needed to write about the hope that has filled my heart in the last few days. As I worked yesterday on "the" story, I felt motivation pour through my veins and I realized that spending time regretting something is spending valuable time I could have used anticipating what my characters would be doing next. Or anticipating the next story that's mulling around in my brain. OR actually working at the computer turning my dreams into reality!

I have a number of ideas with help from writing buddy Sherry Hartzler on epubbing some of our work. She's already doing a bang up job of promoting her books Three Moons Over Sedona and Island Passage over at Amazon, ebooks for Kindle. You might want to check them out. Very inexpensive a…

Looking For the Good Life...

Once upon a time we had a home in a subdivision outside Columbus. We lived there for fifteen years. My husband had been transferred back to Ohio from Michigan.  In that lovely home we had family dinners and saw two of our three daughters graduate from high school. Our oldest was already living on her own.

Our beloved Pug, Sammy, came there to live when he was only six weeks old and so little he couldn’t master the jump up onto the back patio which was only a few inches off the ground. From Sammy we learned all about real love.

 From that house, our youngest daughter graduated college a few years after her father retired there.  In that house we met old friends and new. Found a church home. Established roots in the community.

From there, we married off all three daughters and began to welcome grandbabies.

Our middle daughter sadly got divorced and moved back in (sadly) with two babies. Whew. What a change in our lives! Then, she remarried and moved out again.

That house saw numerous s…

Faith, Fireworks, and Fir by Pam Andrews Hanson

This novel is set in the town of Evergreen, Michigan, home of The Christmas Store, where main character Faith works selling ornaments and trees along with a variety of newly arrived “special” angels, both beautiful and inspiring.

She soon becomes involved in helping the town’s elderly sisters, Cora and Carrie, save their Victorian Bed and Breakfast from being sold, thanks to their nephew David who has come to town to convince them to retire and move into a retirement community near him in Arizona.

Faith and David have both experienced broken hearts and try to guard their hearts from further hurt, by working actively to not fall for each other, even as they begin to feel a growing attachment.

They’re thrown together on enough occasions to make them miss each other when they are apart. Cora and Carrie help the romance along by setting them up on dates.

Faith and David volunteer to help organize the church’s Christmas in July Bazaar and work closely to set up booths and then end up stan…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 8000 Calorie Poem

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
- Anonymous

Blessings to you and yours, Barb

UNWANTED VISITOR

Unwanted Visitor -

This Cold.

Making me miserable.

Making me Feel -

Other worldly.

Cotton-brained and

Blurrry eyed.

Sneezing- sharing

Germs with

Throw pillows

And my cozy blanket -

Making apologies

As I snuggle

On the sofa


I wish for

The enemy to

Exit - take this evil and go.

Instead - 

I'm killing it softly

With an arsenal of vitamins,

Cold pills, antibiotics.

It will go down before

Seven to Ten days.


Or ELSE.

Blessings and may your days remain cold-free!

Saying good bye to summer

The weather is cooperating and we've been able to get outside and put away all the things we enjoyed during the summer weather preparing for the season change.


 We threw out the bedraggled red begonias from the front porch and all the dried geraniums from the back deck. 

Our winters are often harsh so I'll clean and store our white wooden rockers in the basement til spring. A gift from our daughter, Lisa. I love rocking on the front porch when the weather is warm.


R has already stored our red metal chairs and table from the deck in his barn as well as the bigger table and chairs where we often have lunch - when I can get him off the lawn tractor!

I find comfort in putting to bed the items that bring me such joy in summer. I feel as though I'm wrapping them in a warm quilt to rest until beautiful weather when they'll claim their rightful place outdoors.

I put away the little green garden chair with the wreath and flowers - photo on my blog.

Even the pumpkins on the f…

Sad Home Going...

The visit with our daughter Jill, her husband Jason, and the four grandchildren in Wisconsin went by too quickly.

We were able to spend some special time with Jill when the family was gone. We took her to lunch and she and I did lots of shopping by ourselves. I found the thrift stores in Wisconsin to be full of treasures. I came home with a beautiful nativity set, two pairs of jeans, a top, and a sweater. All looked new. Some with tags.

Jackson, their French Bulldog, and Samson, their English Bulldog were excited to see us. We are not dog people but we were able to exist peacefully. We got a kick out of both dogs for all their individual traits. Jackson guards food. It doesn't matter who has the food he stands on guard until every morsel is gone, I'm assuming to make sure he gets a crumb if it drops. He chases Samson away from the food area. And just looking at chunky Samson brings a smile to your face.

While R hung around the house I went to three fourth grade classes on Fri…

A Change in Scenery...

We're getting ready for a change in scenery. Tomorrow we head to Milwaukee from our home in Ohio to visit our youngest four grandchildren - Chase, Tanner, and Mackenzie - triplets - who will turn 10 while we are there. And Austin Cole who just turned 6. And our daughter Jill and her husband Jason.

We are so excited we can't stand it. I've been packing our bags and tucking in treats and little gifts all week.

We visited the neaby Apple Barn and bought fresh apple butter,  honey and apples to take to them.

You'd think we were taking a trip to Europe, the way we've been assembling items. Don't forget to take this or that, we keep reminding each other. Of course at our age, it's DO NOT forget to pack your prescriptions. We'll only be gone a week but you'd think we were going for the winter.

We both look forward to the change in scenery. Especially with fall here and the leaves putting on a grand and colorful show. Our trip will take us through Indiana a…

The Beauty of October

Thanks to the beauty of October and it's brisk refreshing days,  I've been hard at work again on my writing project - THE NOVEL.

 I've been rewriting all 312 pages of it and its nearing the finish line. I passed page 215 in the rewrite yesterday. I'm updating and tweaking the story.

Once it's finished I have some new places to send it to. Keep those fingers crossed.

This book has been a work in progress for ten years from the day I had the idea to now. It's grown by leaps and bounds.

It's been around to dozens of places and has a fair amount of rejections. Okay, a huge stack.

On the other hand it's won one award and gained praise from many readers, editors and agents.

My dream has been to see this book published. My long ago goal was to sell short stories and essays. Those goals have been met.

Now it's back to the big dream. The published novel.

If the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise and  I experience no other disasters by early No…

The days of my life...

As the flowers in the fields grow, so grow the years, days, hours, moments of my life.

Each day I take out a day of my allotted ones on this earth. And I've already used up so many -

Uselessly, trying to get it.

But what am I trying to get?

Am I trying to get ahead?

But trying to get ahead of what?

Ahead of or outrun? I wonder.

Some of the days were filled with silt.

Others with pure gold.

Joy, laughter, fun.

Now at this time in the later days of my life,

I try to make each day I take out of my jar of days -

A day that matters.

Make this a day that matters in your life!

God bless.

Writng/Editing...

Today I proofed the first 50 pages of my 300 page mainstream novel. I can't tell you how good it feels to be back working.

The other good news is, I still love this story and these characters. It's been a year since I looked at this novel seriously.

I decided to go with this project because I have two places to submit it. One publisher I found seems like a good match.  And while this book has had an agent before, I have the name of another one  that I think might be a great fit.

The main character in this novel is Vada Faith Waddell who has been unhappy for most of her life. She blames everyone besides herself for her
unhappiness. When she decides to answer a newspaper ad to be a surrogate mother for a childless couple, she sets in motion events that change her life and the lives of others in the small town of Shady Creek, West Virginia.

It's been a fun book to write and I hope it's  fun to read.

Editing and finishing should only take a few weeks. Then I can get it out…

I'M BACK...

Just to report that my nerve block for the pancreas pain went well. And I'm feeling much better. It takes a full week to feel the effects but I do already - a good sign according to the doctor.

Pictures of the pancreas showed signs FINALLY of chronic pancreas which I am not happy to have but having a diagnosis after years of pain gives me some relief and the feeling that I can develop a plan to live with this disease.

Right now I'm doing research on this so that I can eat right and do the things that will help me live a better life than I've had for a long time.

After I get my health plan in order - I'M READY TO WRITE. It's been a while and my novel is just wanting to be gone through quickly  one last time before being sent off to two places I found that might make a good fit.

Last but not least my optimism is returning. My JOY. My fight. My determination. My strength and energy.

I could not be happier on this sunny Sunday morning. Hopefully next Sunday instead of …

YOGA AND MY PANCREAS UPDATE...

On September 2 at O.S.U. Medical Center  I'll be having an endoscopic ultrasound probe of the pancreas. This will result in photos of the pancreas and it's current condition - which was great two years ago during same procedure. I have a feeling I'm suffering from some nerve damage done when the Spinchter of Oddi in the pancreas was cut on 6+ years ago.

Procedure sounds not so fun but I'll be asleep and won't care.

The doctor at this point is planning to do a nerve block on a cluster of nerves in the pancreas - I thought he said they were called the Celiac nerves.

Not positive.

I'm trying to retain only enough knowledge to get by.

I'm tired of doing research and have decided to leave this to the experts.

I've quit worrying and that's helped. LOTS.

Today I did yoga for the first time in months. Other than being a stiff old broad, I did fine.

So my plan is to do yoga every day as long as I can. It's fun and I love the Rodney Yee tape. We work well…

Stuck in time..

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. It's time. BUT the leaf just won't turn over.

I'm getting stronger after the pancreas procedure but I find myself wanting to stay stuck right where I am.

Not moving forward nor backward. Sitting on the sofa watching time pass me by.

Even the weather has improved to beyond beautiful with lots of sun and blue skies.

And still I sit. Contemplating possibilities. Options. Opportunities. Sometimes contemplating nothing.

Do I want to sit on the sofa forever and think sad thoughts about how upset I am that I have a pancreas disorder I do not understand.

I fit none of the criteria for this illness, disorder, disease or whatever it is called. Research has turned up nothing. Zilch. Zero.

Writing usually brings me out of any funk I fall into. I go to my desk now and slowly shuffle the papers. The stories. Scraps papers full of

endless ideas for stories. Notes on how to improve "the" novel. Yet I still do not move toward the office cha…

Pancreas Debuts Again...

I haven't been around to read blogs or catch up on my own. I had another ERCP to put a stent in the pancreas duct. Ended with a three day hospital stay.
I'm home now and recovering. Feeling 100% better than before I went in.

Does anyone know anything about the workings of the pancreas?

I'm still looking for answers and I think there are none.

Dr. Groce doesn't know if this condition  is genetic or caused by gall stones gone wild,  scarring the pancreas duct. Scar tissue grows I assume and makes the opening more narrow.
.
Here I must say the doctor and his staff at O.S.U. have been terrific. (The pain not so much. The hospital stay not so much.  But that's a story in itself.)

The balloon he uses to open the duct helps and then he puts in a stent that comes out automatically in several days. Thank God. Don't want him to go back fishing for it!!!

My daughter Susan and my sister have this problem as well.

It seems there is no cure for it. There is one surgery to &q…

THE HELP BRINGS BACK PAINFUL MEMORIES

THE HELP by author Kathleen Stockett tells the story of a group of black maids working for white families before the term Civil Rights was ever born. Before the race riots. On the cusp of when the southern part of our country erupted into a period of hate that spread across the nation.
As I moved into the story of the complicated lives of these women, I could taste their joy and smell their fear emanating from the pages. I felt their heartbeats. Their unease became mine. At times, I felt the need to look over my shoulder.
This book is much more than fiction. It’s the many faceted tale of what really went on in the South. It was a time when black children were turned away from white schools, while their black mothers were at the homes of those white children baking bread for their supper and rocking their little sisters and brothers.
At the time, I was growing up in West Virginia, sitting happily in the safety of my living room watching bandstand with Dick Clark.
Until the news start…

My Favorite Essay by Gladys Taber

BUTTERNUT WISDOM

From an essay by Gladys Taber
Family Circle  - September 1982

    I sat in the sun the other day while the dogs dug up the lawn and thought about work. I wasn’t working. I was just thinking about it. I have found that when I cannot possibly accomplish everything I am supposed to and feel an unbearable pressure---as all homemakers must---if I just stop, life goes better.
    I get a good book, make some spiced tea and sit down on my own corner of the sofa or in my favorite lawn chair. I let life settle in around me, and that is the only way I can express it. After 20 minutes or half an hour, I go back to the mechanics of living.  AND at days end I am just as far along as if I had not stopped to think.

Another of her thoughts: time for thinking is a gift one can give only to one’s self.


Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have over the years. When I've had it with my life some days -  I have only to sit down with a glass of sweet tea and think of this essay an…

Moving Forward and Moving Backward!

Why is it that some days we move forward and some backward?

As for me, I believe  it's because I don't have a plan. Or I haven't  this summer.

The days are flitting past  like fireflies in the night, their illusive lights blinking, "Come - follow me."

And there I am running behind them - an imaginary Mason jar stretched out in my hand trying to catch each one.  "Come back sunny days," I call, "so that I might use you as I planned all last winter when I lived beneath my cozy couch blanket."

This was to be the summer that I got things done. Great things! The summer of accomplishments!

I was going to rework one of my novels and make it into, well, into something other than what it is.

I was going to finish some short stories that had been languishing in the desk drawer.

I was going to get a natural tan, not too much, but just enough to not look sickly.

I was going to sit on the quilt my grandmother made in the shade of the big tree in our backyar…

Inspirational Novel vs. Christian novels

I'm trying to do research on the difference between an inspirational and a Christian novel?

I'm coming up empty handed in defining the difference. I can define them apart but not one versus the other.

I have some scripture references in the novel, HUNGRY FOR CHOCOLATE, and I'm trying to determine if it would fit into the category of the inspirational novel but thinking it might be too lighthearted for the Christian market. In a quandary here!

I'm excited to go shopping soon and  look at the categories at book stores to see what I can find. I thought I'd buy a few books to read to see if I can find the differences.

I've read inspirational romances and I know that category well. I like to read them but don't want to write one.

My book is women's mainstream and I'm willing to do a total rewrite - after I decide which way to go.

Any comments, suggestions, or advice will be much appreciated.

Any recommendations for reading in those categories.

I need to …

Hungry for chocolate

I  requested my novel submission, HUNGRY FOR CHOCOLATE, back from Woodland Press in WV. After emails back and forth the editor finally said he didn't have time to read it.

I feel as though I don't have time to waste. And wanted to move forward with the novel.

I've given this some thought and am thinking of  rewriting the story as an inspirational.

That means I have research to do.

I believe the book would fit in the genre well.
I'll need to tweak the novel and do some  additional writing.
I have to study the market and  read several recent inspirationals. It's been awhile since I've read one.

 I'm excited about this new venture and a little scared.

I just need to get back to writing fiction.

I've missed it. I wonder if it's missed me?

Any comments on writing inspirationals or on new titles to read?
Thanks!
Blessings!
B

WV writers contest/ Lessons in Losing and Winning.

I'm learning that there are lessons in losing and winning writing contests.
Today I'm mourning not winning something, even honorable mention,  in the West Virginia writing contest, winners announced last night. Four stories. Four stories, my babies, not cuddled or swaddled, or rocked.

I decided to give myself 15 minutes to be sad for myself and for them.
Then I'd get to work again! AND work harder.

The lesson in winning is that you have a few seconds of a  high and it's over. You walk around feeling great about yourself and you don't have to get back to writing right away because after all you are a winner. Someone thinks your writing is good.

The lesson in losing is that you have a few minutes of mourning and you get busy getting better at your craft. Affirmation is good but getting better at your craft is even better.

I have many reasons - excuses - for losing and none for winning. Winning is the epitome, the proof that I can write.

Often when I lose I figure it&…

What is a poem, actually?

I'm unsure exactly what a poem is. I've never had formal training in poetry writing but with me the words come out and seem to know the order in which they wish to appear.

I've been writing with notebook and pen and discovering a creativity that has been lacking when I compose on the computer. It's been fun to experience some of the same feelings I had when I first started to write. Pure bliss. Plus, I'm in the process of renewing my commitment to my work.

It's a good solid honest feeling.

It feels as though I've been on a sabbatical without leaving home.

The four youngest grand kids I have here this week keep reminding my grand mothering duties come first. We are now on our tenth good night hug. But they're adjusting to the fact that mom is going on a week's vacation without them. A first and a real adjustment.
So far they've handled it well.

Thanks for continuing to read my posts and commenting.
Blogging really is a give and take relationship.

Soaring.

I have to find
A new way to live.

I have to forget.
Not some. All.

The pain of the past
That rules my days.

I have to let it go.
Let it float away like a balloon.

The control.
The fear.

Yes, the peacemaker.
She, too, must go.

Untethering myself
I fly like a bird.

Soaring!

Beautiful Bird Don't Cry For Me...

On the day of affliction
Pain Unseen Untouched Unrecognized
Inside - Where only The heart Knows, feels Acknowledges - Beyond anything Understood. Wanting, longing,  Needing it ALL to be Felt by the one  Who afflicted...
Yet only the heart knows - And the soul cries.
Beautiful Bird - Don't cry for me.

A POEM - MYSELF

Myself...

Today - I made a promise
To myself.

To forget old things;

To put on a new coat -

Of honor, respect,
And acceptance.

From now on,
I will be who I truly am
Who I deserve to be.

Myself.

May 1, 2011
From my journal

Graduations and Funerals...

The new profile picture is of my granddaughter, Samantha, who graduated from H.S. with honors on Sunday.

We're so proud of her.

I represented our family at my brother in law's funeral that same afternoon. It's hard to believe  Paul is gone. Quickly and painlessly. Lately I've had  lots of time to think.

Suddenly, I'm faced with wanting to make some changes in my life and this poem prompted some serious thought.

I read it at the Military service at the cemetery in WV on Tuesday.

PRAYER FOR TODAY...

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dyi…

Loving Paul...

Dedicated to Paul, Ella, Dawn, Mark, Sue, Brownie, Debbie, Terri, Raymond, Lisa, Susan and Jill and all our family, especially loved ones who could not be here.

                    LOVING PAUL


    I was age five when I met Paul. He was holding Ella’s hand. Ella’s my sister, and she and Paul WERE a match from the start. When he met me I did not make a good impression. I wasn’t pretty like Ella and wear red lipstick. Mostly I threw  tantrums. I’d never been on “A DATE.” And I wanted to go on one --- with them!
    Paul was the tallest man I’d ever seen and the most handsome. With his black curly hair, he was called Curly by his friends.
    When Ella and Paul married they became book ends, holding each other up and the life they built between them. Oh, he might have been a step behind ELLA. BUT he never faltered. When Dawn came along I’ve never seen prouder parents. I didn’t even know Dawn had legs until she was two or three. BECAUSE Paul NEVER put DAWN  down. THEN along came his beaut…

RAKES AND FLOWERS AND MEMORIES...

When I was a child, the Saturday before Memorial Day was always reserved for going to the cemetery. Grandma would be up at dawn and waiting for us on her front porch. By the time our car rounded her street corner and rolled to a stop in a cloud of dust, she’d be out the gate, smoothing her crisp, cotton house dress and adjusting her starched sunbonnet. Her thick heeled shoes were no nonsense, her stockings sturdy. Though she was thin there was nothing sheer about Grandma.
    Yellow peonies, red geraniums and purple pansies spilled from the large wooden basket on her arm. She’d stow the basket and a variety of rakes and gardening tools into the trunk before climbing into the front seat beside mother.
    I didn’t know then about measuring love with rakes and flowers. But Grandma did.
    As the car snaked its way along winding country lanes, the somber mood in the front seat failed to inhibit my behavior. Hanging out the back seat window, with the wind rushing in my face, I’d lau…

Pattie and Our Nerve Pill Plane Crash

About 4 a.m. this morning, Pattie - my best buddy from high school - and I were in a plane crash.


Relax - don't panic - we're safe! It's almost 8 a.m. the next morning and I'm sitting right here on my sofa drinking a cup of Green Mountain Nantucket coffee and writing this event just as it happened. Or not


First of all Pattie and I have never been on a plane together. If we had it would be the best plane ride ever. All we have to do is look at each other and we smile. WE used to burst out laughing but now that we're old so we just smile! WE had so much fun in school it was sinful. Either playing pranks, getting the boys in trouble, or gossiping. Nearly every day, the teacher would call out, "Bobbie Null and Patti Jones, move those seats A-PART NOW and STOP that talking. Like talking was dirty. I guess she didn't see the laughing!!! So at the end of each day I'd be up front in my little wooden desk near the teacher and Pattie would be in back, or the other…

Thanks...

New Profile Photo is of Liz, and myself standing and Sherry Hartzler sitting with her book, Island Passage. Now on the my post:


For those of you who read my blog HELP -  I'M IN CRISIS -a big thank you for your love and blessings and lovely comments of encouragement. Especially thanks to Liz who called the next morning out of concern for me.

I realized as soon as I read the post a day later that the post had filled its purpose. Saying what I needed to say and getting it all off my chest was part of the solution. Therefore I removed the post.

I do have a plan. I found a yoga class nearby, I'm looking for a counselor, and Liz gave me some great suggestions on how to put my new plan in action.

Liz just passed her 10 year anniversary cancer free. (Breast cancer). Congrats Liz.

I look forward to spending time with Liz on my front porch rockers this summer reminiscing about all the writing adventures we've had the last 20 years. I'm proud of every one of our successes, large…

APOLOGIES....

For those of you who regularly follow my blog, I wanted you to know that health issues and family problems have kept me from my computer lately.
Of course my mind has been busy coming up with great ideas to blog about but by the time I sit down late at night to write those lovely ideas have flown out of my head and gone back to wherever good ideas come from in the first place.
I miss posting. I miss thinking. I miss resting. I miss just standing and staring, as cows in the fields are known to do. I miss all of you too. Reading about your lives and reading your comments on mine.
However, I'm the eternal optimist and I see a teeny speck of light at the end of the tunnel.
In two weeks life here should be back to normal, whatever that is. Have any of you figured out what normal is, exactly.
I get up everyday and try to live the best life I know how. Is that normal? Or is normal different for each of us.
What about a new normal? Are we doomed to live our "normal life" for the rest …

Shingles: not the roofing kind...

Just when I thought things could not get any worse at our house my husband R came down with shingles.

On the day I had to be at the hospital in Columbus with one adult daughter in the morning and then go to Cincinnati to pick up her husband after his stomach surgery the day before, R gets up with a rash that had turned to blisters.

We made a quick dash 40 miles away to our family Dr. for a check up and yes my diagnosis was correct. Shingles! So armed with two medications we headed to the medical center to see our daughter, then to Cincinnati to pick up her husband and then home to collapse and hope that that's the end of our downward spiral.

I'm worn to a frazzle and so is R.

No time for writing or fretting about writing.

I do feel good knowing that I have some contest entries out (short stories and one novel) and will be working on my novel at least two days this coming week.

I have my writers meeting on Monday at Great Expectations Cafe and Book Store and look forward to th…

A Revolutionary New Diet...

Recently I went on a diet. Like most diets this one was scheduled around a major life event. My daughter's wedding. There would be no shopping for a mother-of-the-bride dress until the pounds came off.
Typically I go on a diet on Monday and by Wednesday I've folded beneath the weight of a German chocolate cake. I've been hijacked by as little as a stale pink sugar wafer discovered in the dark recesses of the bread drawer.
But this time things were going to be different. I could tell as I went to get the mail and discovered the first crocus of the season.
Life was looking up. Even though an icy rain began to fall, my spirits weren't dampened. Not even when huge drops pelted me on the head and I had to dash inside.
My latest plan would revolutionize dieting. If it worked for me it would work for the world. I smelled a book deal. I could see myself all made-over and liposuctioned sitting between Oprah and Dr. Oz.
It was full speed ahead. Gone were those complex menus. T…

Mother's Leather Britches...

My mother gardened all her life. It was one of her great loves, next to family, God, and country.

Because she grew up during the Depression, she learned to use every last item from her garden for canning, preserving, drying or pickling.

Every year at the end of the green bean season she made leather britches, dried beans that would keep for the winter.

These were the last beans hanging on the vines. The beans inside had grown to full size with outsides a bit withered. They were beyond the stage to can or preserve, or even to pickle.

Although her fried pickled green beans and corn bread were the best in the world. (Well, next to her biscuits and fried apples.)

Mother started the drying process with clean beans. She would spread a clean white sheet on a table in the wash room and spread the beans out on that, giving them space to dry. Sometime she would carry the sheet outside and put them on a table in the sun to further the process.

The next step involved needle and thread and when …

MY HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
High School - Poca High School, Putnam County, WV
What year was it?
Fall 1960 - Spring 1963

What were your favorite bands, or singers?
Sam Cook, Chubby Checker, Conway Twitty (It's only make believe), Johnny Rodriquez.
Meatloaf. ELvis.

What was your favorite outfit?
Straight skirts, blouses, cardigans or jackets, little heels.

Other Outfits?
Jeans and a white Dr. Ben Casey shirt.

What was up with your hair?
Everything. I put peroxide on it. Lemon juice, thinking it needed to be lighter.
I cut it, styled it, put it in a pony tail or a french twist. Hair was the most important thing in my life in high school. And hair spray, the stiffer the better.

Who were your best friends?
Patti Jones, Karen Mattox, and Susie Bailey all thru elem school. Then added on Donna Dailey, Sharon "Mouse" Hackett and Janice Wick and many others. Also Bonnie Kerwood who was older than me and lived near me so we hung out listening to records after school. Sometimes her pa…

Rewriting/ Quotes by other writers

Sometimes beginning writers say they don't believe in rewriting because they're afraid they'll "lose the spontaneity" of the first draft. This is naive; rewriting means making the work better by adding, deleting, and revising; what worked well in the first draft stays--that's the effective spontaneity. Most professional writers know the heady sense of control that comes with the revision process--this is where one knows one has mastery of the writing craft. Note the following comments. Not sure who wrote the above intro but the quotes below are worthy of sharing. Enjoy!

"It is no sign of weakness or defeat that your manuscript ends up in need of major surgery. This is common in all writing and among the best of writers."
- E. B. White

"I don't write easily or rapidly. My first draft usually has only a few elements worth keeping. I have to find what those are and build from them and throw out what doesn't work, or what simply is not aliv…

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

HELP! Amy Tan's book Saving Fish from Drowning was recommended by two friends, Pam and Cheri.

I love what the story is about but I'm getting bogged down in so much detail in the beginning. What's that about? I suspect it's me and my hyperactive self having trouble settling down!

I want to know more about the story and what happens to these tourists who disappear in a foreign land.

But I've found myself skipping through some of the narrative and moving on to the more exciting parts.

Did you read this book? Did you have any trouble moving through the story? I'm leaving it on the end table and attempting a few pages every night. I find myself continually flipping over a few pages to see how long some of the details are.

IF you did read this, help me out here. Does it speed up in the middle. I enjoy Amy's beautiful writing and don't want to give up on this like I do some of the others.

I want to finish and I plan to continue to keep it close at hand.

But …

A Story - Mommy's Visit - After she was gone...

"Where did you get all those roosters on the top of your cabinets? I recognize the small set. It came from that little white house we bought up in Cass, there right along the main road into town. We bought it just after the train went in. Remember? One bedroom upstairs was ceiling to floor with jigsaw puzzles. Lordy! That house was something else. You still have the Bible I gave you from the little old lady who lived there?”

 “You know we kept the little one room cement block camp Bob, your step dad, had your cousin Dencil to build over on Jack Wiseman’s property, there where the little Dairy Queen was. The campsite was behind it. WE loved that little place. WE had an out house. I didn’t mind it at all. Why should I? I grew up with one. We had a fireplace in that little house and we’d pack for a week to go up there. Always stopped in Marlington to get groceries. We were on our way up there one time and at the store Bob had one of those mini strokes. I was afraid we’d never get …

Losing followers...

I noticed after I put the post up of my review of The Shack I lost a few followers, well not a few, two. Once I get "friends" it makes me sad to lose them. Even if it's only two. Esp if it's my fault.

I didn't mean to offend. And if I did, I apologize.

The diversity of blogs and blogging is why I'm here. To learn. To offer what little bit I know about life and writing. And to make some new friends.

This platform gives us not only a place to share our thoughts and feelings and writings but a place to form a circle of supporters that we would not otherwise have.

I'd have never met the very funny Luvia and her wonderful baby Emma, or Deb S. and her beautiful essays so far away in Washington, or several of my friends from far away places such as Austrailia, and the Uk.

Or Granny Kate who writes of things that touch my spirit and heart and soul.

Perhaps I didn't lose the two people because of anything I said. It may have just been their time to move on an…

Like My Mother...

I never wanted to be like my mother. Growing up, I thought she was strict, old fashioned, regimented, too old to really know what was going on in my life and certainly too old to know what was going on in the world. The very last thing I wanted to be was --- like my mother.

Today, as I started my day, I realized as I went about my routine I am exactly "like my mother."

Each day, first thing I do is have a cup of coffee and then breakfast. I'm not a big breakfast person and neither was she. Next, I make my bed, straighten each room in the house, get dressed and decide what I'll do with my time that day.

Since I don't work anymore I have the freedom to choose. It's a lovely freedom and one I never take for granted.

My mother did those exact same things every day of her life. Now, I do them too. In order. Very structured. Very orderly.

Most days, R and I have coffee and watch Good Morning America. Mother always checked out the news.

I can't sit and relax …