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Thursday, December 30, 2010

wrap, novel, or blog

I have a quiet moment right now.  I should be writing my novel, or working on my other writing project.  I also need to wrap my Christmas gifts, but I realized I ran out of scheduled post so I need to do this too.

While I'm at it I also have laundry that needs to get done, I wanted to walk on the treadmill, but I'm not doing any of that either.

I usually get my wrapping done at night when the kids are in bed, but now that Rascal is around I seriously don't think he is going to let me wrap on the floor and watch TV like I usually do.  All I can picture is him walking all over my wrapping paper and gifts.  It really is a funny sight when I think about it, but not one I want to go through.  Which is one of the reason why I haven't finished my wrapping. 

So instead I should write, but I can't concentrate at night, I write better in the morning or afternoon. So here I am talking to you. Tell me what do you do to procrastinate?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday Parties

Here's one for you to think about.  How many times can you plan your child's birthday party year after year and not run out of different things to do?  That is my quandary right now as my son turns another year older this winter.

In years past (I'm aging myself here) when you had a birthday party you invited five to eight friends over and basically had a big play date, had cake and ice cream, opened presents and they went home, or if you were lucky and old enough you had  a sleep over.

In today's day and age though everything is planned out to the point where you have to have a budget for a simple child's birthday party. Oh that's right, birthday parties aren't simple anymore.  No today you have to hire Bozo the Clown (Does anyone even remember Bozo?), or some traveling reptile show, or creepy crawler animals show. Oh the list goes on and on.  Don't get me wrong, I think those parties are a blast too, and I'm the parent, but they are also a lot of work.

Still I was so happy the few times my kids said they actually want to have their party at home.  Nothing special, just play with their friends and have cake.  (I think I did something right) because this year that is exactly what my son asked for.  He wants his party at home with just a few friends.  I'm so proud of his simplicity.

As parents we are so busy trying to give our kids the best party ever, we forget that sometimes, the best party is just being with your friends.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Experimenting with Genre

I wonder how many people start off writing believing that they are going to write in a specific genre.  They study that category, browse through the book store isles to see what type of books are selling and type away at their novel believing it to be the next great thing. 

And then something happens.  Your novel that you spent so much time and dedication writing and slaving over goes no where.  Not one agent likes it.  Oh you get promising rejection letters like send me something else, but you know that a no is a no, no matter how nice it sounds.  No it is time to re-evaluate your pride and joy.  Do you give up on that work of art?  Or keep pluging away at it? 

Some people close the chapter on that novel for a while and start another.  I did.  I started another, and another, and I have to be honest none of them felt like the first.  Something wasn't right.  I wanted them to be.  The last one I started felt right when I started and I still think there is a story to tell, but for some reason my belief in the story dwindled.  I will go back to it and fix it, but not now. Now I need to experiment with my writing.  I need to see what styles of writing feels good, what is easy, hard and fun. 

I'm in the process of doing that now.  I did finally finish another story line, infact I have already finished two and I have two more that I have in mind.  I'm not telling what style of writing it is or what genre.  That's a secret. 

What inspires you to write the genre that you do? Why did you chose it?  Experiment with other genre's and see where your strength lies. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Pact- And Teen Suicide

I am not one to normally read a book and give someone my review on it.  I personally find books to be subjective to a persons taste.  Many times people have told me that I have to absolutely read such and such a book. Then I'll either borrow it or buy the book and start to read it only to find I can't get through it.  Why?  It just wasn't for me.  Not that the book is bad, it's just not my style.  It happens.  Let me read the back cover and decide for myself if I think I'm going to like it.  That is why I don't review books. 

That said, I'm making an exception here.  I have recently picked up the book The Pact by Joyce Picoult.  I have seen her books before in Barnes & Noble and I knew I would like her writing, but there was always another book I wanted to read as well.  This time I finally picked one up, it was not an easy decision. I wanted to read them all.  I finally decided to pick The Pact.  Having small kids part of me knew this might be a hard book to get through emotionally, but I becided to give it a shot anyway.  I'm so glad that I did.

The book is wonderfully written.  I love how Joyce has dedicated a scene or chapter to specific characters so the reader can see the story through their eyes. I won't say to much about the book itself in fear of giving away to much of the story, but I will say: it is a book that parents should read, and teenagers as well.  It is heart warming and heart wrentching as well.

In the face of a world today where bullying and teen suicide is on the rise because of all the added pressure put on kids, it is extermenly important that we as parent's take notice of our children's behavior and talk to them, or at least set the atmosphere where they feel comfortable coming to talk to you.  The world is changing and a lot of pressure is put on kids today. Some of the pressure is old news, (getting good grads, making the team, getting into college. Some are new, being perfect, money, cars, boyfriends, girlfriends  the list go on).  The reason doesn't matter, what matter's is the pressure is there, and we need to let these kids know that they are not alone, and it will get better.  As the holidays approach we all need to remember that the holidays can also be a hard time for young kids and teens who have lost loved ones as well, so we need to keep that in mind as well.

How do you keep the conversation flowing?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Happened to Family Events?

Most of you who frequent my blog know that I am NOT a complainer.  I try to see the positive side, at least for the purpose of this blog, but there are some things that just rub me the wrong way.  Please understand this is only my opinion, and it is my blog so technically I can rant if I want to, and I want too.

I have been trying to understand over the course of the past few years what has happened to the family unit.  When I was little understandably many families lived closer together and they leaned on each other for day to day things more then they do today.  So when there was an event, say a wedding, or a birthday party, the WHOLE family was invited to attended, not just the parents.

I'd love to bring my kids with me to these functions. It is important for them to experience these family get togethers. They are just as important as holiday get togethers!  My parents and my friend's parents always brought us.  Yes, there were times when we needed to have a babysitter, but not so often.  These days children are not invited to weddings especially because of the cost.  Hello people this is a family event!  You committed yourself to one person for the rest of your life and made a family.  Okay there are only two of you now, but it probably won't stay that way. Maybe I'm the only one who see things this way.

Today with the economy what it is and families not living close to each other you would think that this unity would be foremost and important in every one's mind.  I can't tell you how many times I have spoken to parents who have a hard time finding babysitters for their young kids because they can't find teenagers who babysit anymore.  Teenagers today are getting "real" jobs, or don't want to babysit anymore.  Why I don't know because it's the easiest money you can make.  How hard is it to sit around and read a book or watch TV for a few hours while the kids sleep and go home with 40-50 bucks in your hand?  I just don't get it.
But today teens don't want to babysit and family members are attending the same function you are so they can't babysit either.  Not to mention many of us can't afford the 40-50 bucks you are spending on the babysitter in the first place.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned. Tell me what you think. Please give me a clue, because I have a hard time believing I'm alone on this one.  What is your opinion?    I'll be hunting for my babysitters phone number I lost. And yes, I did find another one. Thank you Day Care Center!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Cards

It's time for Christmas cards!  It's the time of year when people are actually happy to get mail.  We run to our mail boxes and are excited to get all of the beautiful assortments of cards from loved ones flooding our mail box.

I have to admit though, at over the years my Christmas card list has grown to the point where it is getting out of hand and I have been forced to go over the list to make sure all the necessary people make the list. That always leave a dangerous question though, who makes the list and who doesn't? This is a delicate subject.  First and foremost for me is making sure immediate family gets a card (this includes parents and siblings) then grandparents and great grandparents form the very top of the list.  After that all of the great aunts and uncles are next.  Then my cousins (both sides of the family), then friends.  Before you know it you have at least 50-60 people on this list.  At one point I have over 50 people.  After that year I've tried to cut  it down to 50.  I can't seem to go lower than that, and I fight to keep it there year after year.

 I used to go to the studio and have them professionally done but our schedule has gotten so busy over the years that it had gotten to hard to fit in.  Instead I have hunted through pictures of our own and used on line services to have the cards made up.  Technology at it finest.  These days I try to remember ahead of time.  Like this year I took a picture while we were apple picking and used that.  In years past I've used pictures I've taken while picking out our Christmas tree, or previous Christmas's or family outings at the pond. There is something about it that makes the day a little more special, just knowing that I get to share a small moment of my day with my friends and family.

Everyone has there own way of sending out cards.  Which way works for you?  Studio, or picking one of your own like me?  Do you send pictures or just the card themselves? Share with me while I put on the stamps.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sharing my Award

                                                  Morning World!  Today is a happy day. 

I did have a different post planned for today, but it is going to have to wait, because today is Award Day!

Yesterday Carol Riggs over at Artzicarol Ramblings awarded me The Versatile Blogger award.  See hard work does pay off!  Please click the link to check out her site http://carolriggs.blogspot.com/. I want to publicly thank Carol for the recognition.

As the rules go as far as I understand I will now reveal 7 things about myself and pass on the award to 7 other deserving bloggers

Seven of my favorite Random things:
Ice Cream:  Chocolate (always has always will be)
Color:  Green and Yellow (depending on my mood)
Car:  I love my Saturn and I'm very sad to see them go
Magical Creatures:  Honestly, not really sure, I never put much thought into this one, but please feel free to give my your ideas, I might borrow one of yours
Music:  That's easy-Piano.  (I love listening to the piano in Billy Joel songs or Elton John). Okay that gave away a lot about me right there.
Perfumes: Nantucket by Crabtree & Evenly
Candy:  Peppermint Patty.

Okay now for a list of worthy bloggers: 

Amber Skyze at http://apinchofromance.blogspot.com/

Shellie at http://chapterwriter.blogspot.com/

Suzi McGowen at http://suzimcgowen.blogspot.com/

Jolene Perry at http://jolenesbeenwriting.blogspot.com/

Tracy at http://thelosttwin.blogspot.com/

Tory M at http://torymichaels.blogspot.com/

Roni Loren at http://fictiongroupie.blogspot.com/

Don't forget to hope over to click over and say hello!
Don't forget to tell me your favorites before you go!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Beginning of the End

No this blog has nothing to do with the end of the world.  I'm not that dramatic.  No, this blog is about what everyone is talking about these days, Harry Potter. 

My husband started reading the series by J.K. Rowling when the first Harry Potter book came out.  He loved them right off the bat and encouraged me to read them as well. So as soon as he was done with the first book and started the second, I gave the first book a go. Sorry folks but I just couldn't get into the story.  I wanted to, I knew it was a good story.  I heard the media hype, but I usually don't pay much attention to that too be honest.  I go by my gut, if I want to read something I will, it's as simple as that.  Just by reading the back of the book I knew it was a good story, but I still couldn't get through the first chapter.

Now, don't get me wrong, because I love Harry Potter.  I knew that as soon as I watched the first movie.  I was hooked,  and I couldn't wait for the next movie to come out.  The imagination J.K. Rowling has is amazing.  She has real talent. If she didn't millions of people wouldn't be flocking to buy the books and the movie tickets.  I can't wait to see the last of the Harry Potter movies, and I honestly am sorry to see them end.

What about you? Have you ever had a hard time getting through a book, just to find you love the movie?  Please tell me I'm not the only one out there.  Share your thoughts, what book did you have a hard time getting though, just to love in the end? 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Boy Scouts

I got the pleasure to take my son to a boy scout troop meeting in November.  He is a first year Weblo right now and the cub scout pack leader wanted to introduce the boys to the boys scouts.  It was a very intertesting meeting.  The boys scouts ran the meeting, notice I didn't say the boy scout leader, while the parents went into small room and were introduced to the troop leader and the activities and resposiblitity expected of the scouts when they become boy scouts.

My husband has always told me how important it is that our boys participate in cub scouts/boy scouts, and to be honest. I have always thought it is an awful lot of work for the parents.  In cub scouts the pack graduates togethers, the parents have to keep track of their activities so they can earn the belt loops and patches. Don't get me wrong the trips are wonderful  and are really once in a lifetime events. Most importantly is how much they learn during these events. It's just a committment on the whole family's part, let me restate that, it is a commitment on the whole family's part. 

 Boy scouts is different. The work is on the scout.  It is now their turn to take the ropes in their own hands and learn to be responsible for themselves. The whole idea is to guide these young men, hate to say it but that's what some of them are, young men, and mold them into a leadership role. The parents were informed at the meeting that most of this molding is done throught the requiremtments that occur during the camping trips.  The boys are basically forced to learn survival skills. 

The troop had planned a camp out that weekend and we were told what the scouts were required to do during the camp out. It doesn't matter what the wheather is, they will be camping regardless. The troop is split up into teams, givin a map, and they have to use their compass to find their food.  Every team has a different path so they can't just follow each other to their prized food.  They also learn how to make their own shelter in the woods, cook without pots and pans, or utensils.  Now I am not an outdoorsy person, and even I was intergued.  It honestely sounded like fun.  Not something I would want to do all the time in the cold and rain or snow, but fun just the same.

After watching the boy scouts finish up leading the meeting and guiding the cub scouts I was totally impressed. My feeling of being over whelmed with the amount of a commitment cub scouts is totally changed.  Suddenly it all seemed worth it. Once I saw those boys leading the meeting, and taking on that leadership role, I knew it was the right program for every boy.  If any of you out there have boys and have gone through this, this is old news to you. As for me, this is my first time.

It got me to wonder during the meeting how many of the boys have gone on to leaderships roles in their careers? What careers have they chose, and how many joined the military?  Food for thought.  Share with me your thoughts, do you have a cub scout or boy scout?  How has it helped in their life? Do you know any one who was a scout?  What career path did they chose?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Buster Brown

I am writing this post at the request of my son.  I recently read him my post about Rascal our puppy and he thought that our older dog Buster should get his own page as well. After trying to decided what exactly I wanted to write, I decided to give Buster his share of fame.

My husband and I got Buster when he was a year and half old.  He was a wiry dog who was  full of energy and love.  He is a yellow Labrador retriever, who is afraid of water.  Actually terrified.  He would run around the edge of water but refuse to go in.  Not even his paws. One thing he loved to do in his younger years was chase cars and motorcycles.  We had an electric fence put in so he wouldn't run away and it worked great.  Only instead of running down the street chasing the cars he would run back and forth on my front lawn making a mini run way for himself.  My neighbors used to laugh at the strip of grass missing from Busters runs.  So Buster was moved to the backyard.  That didn't stop Buster from running though, now the run way was in the back yard.

Years have past and now my first baby is 14 years old. Pretty damn good for a dog I'd say. He has slowed down a lot over the years. He no longer jumps like a rabbit or chases cars in the back yard. Although the strip of dirt remains.  Buster is half blind, and he doesn't hear as well as he used to.  He stares into space once in a while like he has forgotten what he was going to do.  A least two times a night he barks to go outside.  Let's face it at 14 years old, you just can't wait until morning some times.  So at least twice a night I take him out and chaperon him in the backyard.  Just recently I noticed him starting to drag his back left leg.  Buster is old, but he still has a lot of life left in him,  you have to do be able to deal with Rascal.  And Rascal loves having his older "brother" around to jump on and learn from.  Puppies and dog are a great combination together I decided. The older dog teaches the younger dog the rules of the house, while the younger dog keep the older dog young at heart. 
Trust me, I've seem Rascal teach Buster a few new tricks as well.  What is your take on puppies and dogs.  How do your dogs get along?  Share with me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catching Up

 There are many different ways to reconnect with people. Linked In,  Facebook, Google Connect, Yahoo Groups and Classmates are only a few of the ways .  Some of you might remember my post about how people come and go in our lives and how instrumental these tools can be in reconnecting with some of them.  I wrote about how many lives we touch in our life time, and how many lives touch ours in small and large ways.

Not to long ago someone used one of those tools to find me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I did hear from this person.  It was someone from my past, obviously, but what really touched me, was that it was someone from my childhood that I had not seen in, oh I don't even want to count the years.  The point is he remembered me and sought me out on this world wide monster of the internet.  I mean lets face it, there is a lot of information out there, and at times it can be hard to find exactly what you are looking for.

Once we reconnected it brought back so many wonderful memories growing up.  Things were so much simpler then and I was nostalgic for those days at least for a little while.  Families lived closer together, we leaned on each other more in times of need, and family dinners were a big deal.  Today families are spread all over the place, they can't lean on each other like before, because chances are you aren't even in the same state.  The only thing that might have stayed the same are the family dinners, and that is only because you live so far away that when you do see each other again it is a big deal.

It feels good to know that we have touched someones life.  It feels even better when they reach out to reconnect.  It's like saying, hey I remember you, and I care about how your life turned out.  I'm glad he reached out and reminded me of happy times of our childhood.  Thank you.

What about you?  Do you still search for the friends from long ago? Have you found any? Tell me.  What has your experiences been with finding old friends?  How did it make you feel?

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Time

Ever feel like all you need is more time in your day?  Lately I have been feeling that way.  I have been so busy lately that I feel I am never home to get much of anything done.  My day starts at 5:30 and after work, homework, sports, and dinner my day usually ends around 8:00/9:00 at night.  That is usually the time when I get some of my writing done if I'm not too tired.

It's a long day, and there are a lot of people out there who have even longer days.  I know, my husband is one of them.  Usually these days people take vacations from work just so they can get things done around the house.  Remember the days of taking a vacation and actually taking a vacation to REST?  What's that word?

Scary as it may seem, but  in today's world we are over booked.  I know I am and I know a lot of my friends are too.  We rush around all week trying to get everything done, but have we ever stopped to think about why we were rushing around in the first place?

The holidays are coming and you know what that means, more rushing.  Everyone will be rushing to the store to buy the latest gifts and to get the best buys.  People will be shopping around to make sure they have everything for all of their holiday parties and we are supposed to do this in between our usually incredibly hectic routine.  Yeah, right.

Ever ask yourself why we rush around all the time, over booking ourselves to exhaustion? Is it time to find ten minutes to remind yourself of why you do it.? If you can't come up with a good reason, then it's time to reevaluate your schedule.  If you can, then savior those ten minutes and enjoy the reason.

My reason, my family. For me there is no better reason then that.  It's that simple.  What's yours?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wood Working

When we buy furniture today we go to store to store and walk the isles of furniture totally overwhelmed with the amount of styles and the amount of patterns available to us. We then sit in as many couches and love seats as we can tolerate. Then once we have finally picked a style we know we can love for more than one year, we pick patterns from rows of swatches and then finally hand over our credit card.  Although these days we are lucky if our furniture lasts more than one year.

What we hardly ever think about though is how or who made this furniture. Was it hand made or factory made?  Was care and time taken to make this piece of furniture?  Or was the job rushed and sloppy?  Most of the time the consumer can tell right off the bat if something is well made.  These days just because it is a name brand does not mean it is well made.  You might be shelling out good money for it, but is it a keeper?  Will it last?

The truth is, the art of wood working is a craft that many young people today no longer appreciate. Back in the day many schools had a wood working class.  It didn't matter if you were male or female, everyone took the class.  In this class we were taught to measure twice or three times and cut once.  We made bird houses and simple projects that when you were done and followed that one simple rule our project came out actually looking like the bird house we planned to build.  It was something to be proud of, and still is.

Many of the schools no longer have these classes, or have them as electives so only a few kids take them.  Or they get dropped from the curriculum.   It's sad because it is a wonderful skill and there is nothing better then building your own furniture.  I have gotten the pleasure though the years to enjoy the benefits of this. Notice I said enjoy the Benefit of this, not that I made the furniture myself.

  My husband used to watch his grandfather work in his shop building furniture for family members.  I have seem many of his works and he is still building wonderful works of art today.  It is because of this man's love for the craft that he shared with my husband tht my husband followed in his footsteps and has taken up wood working as a hobby as well.  He loves it because he gets to create and use his hands,. I love it because I get to design it.  Yes that's right.  I get to design my own furniture. I even get to pick the colors, sometimes.. My husband has built for us book shelves, cabinets,  counter tops, our boys play table and their beds, radiator covers like the one pictured, even their toddler bed which everyone has loved so much it has been used by my friends two kids and now my niece.

My boys are now enjoying the benefit of my husband working in his own work shop as well.  They love to go in the work shop and "work" on their own projects while my husband works on his.  I'm hoping they follow in his foot steps and take up wood working as well.

So where do ideas for furiture come from? Need  inspiration?  Go to that furniture store, don't see something that is exactly what you want?  Bring a camera, or look though Pottery Barn for ideas. That's what I do. I tell my husband what I want and he tells me what he wants, then he draws it on graph paper and we tweak it to our liking.  It's a project we get to do together, only he does the hard work.

Now do you get the finished product within a day or week like promised at the store?  No,  you get the wonderful smell of fresh sawed wood, a happy husband doing what he loves and about a month or more later, usually much later then you expected,  you get the finished product.  Usually much cheaper then the store would have sold it to you, but yours was made out of love and you have memories of a project that was done with the love and care that should be put into it.

He just finished a butcher block cutting board right now.  He just showed me.  I had no idea he was even doing it, and yes we have already christened it. 
It's beautiful.

What do you think?  If you could design your own furniture would you? Would you prefer to have something custom made, or factory?  More importantly, can you stand the wait?  Tell me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

 As baseball season has ended and fall is thick in the air.  My schedule has slowly slowed down.  Sure the kids still have activities to keep up with, but no way near as many.  These days consist of CCD (and since I'm teaching I need time to prepare for the day's lesson), and piano.  Throw in there my allergy shot and these days we are busy two to three times per week instead of four or five.  So why am I still behind on my writing? 

I have to admit I haven't been as diligent with this novel as my first.  Maybe it's because I have a clearer idea of where I want to go so I'm taking my time, maybe it's because I find other things that need to get done, like now I should be spending time writing instead of working on an article for my blog, but this needs to get done too. There always seems something that needs tending to. The point is,  I'm going slower.  I wanted to be done by Christmas, well that is not going to happen. 

While I'm trying to stay afloat and stay on target with my writing many people are gearing up for What I call the greatest feat in writing.  NaNoWriMo.  That's National Novel Writing Month.    This is the ultimate challege for writers, especially for either newbees like me, or people who have a lot on their plate as it is (also me and the rest of the world). Yeah, life might have gotten slower, but not much.

I would love to join this group of people and type away all day on my novel for a strait month, but reality says, who is going to do the laundry, go to work, help the kids with their homework, feed the dog, cook dinner,etc...  I can go on and on.  The biggest for me is work and family.  I squeeze writing in when I can as it is.  To accomplish a whole book in a month when I average six months on one is just asking to much right now.  Don't get me wrong.  I'd love to do it.  In fact I do plan on doing it, just not this year.

I want to shout out to all of you out there who are up to the challenge this year!  Way to To!  Good for you! and Best of Luck! 

I hope to be right there with you next year!  Maybe I'll even have an agent by then! Hey, it could happen!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nostalgic

Fall always seem to be a good time to get some heavy cleaning done. Getting rid of all the dust and cobwebs before the air conditioners and storm door and windows go up always is a good idea. It's best to get it done early because before you know it the holidays will be here and you'll have no time to do it.

After all the house will be closed up from the cold air all winter long. These past few weeks my husband and I have been doing exactly that.  It's never a fun thing to do, but once it is done it feels so nice to sit back and look at what you have accomplished.

For me it's the time of year when I take down all the curtains and wash them.  I hate this job.  It wouldn't be so bad if every room in my house only had one or two windows like many houses today, but my house is a beautiful colonial built in 1946.  I have five windows in just about every room.  When we moved in I bought curtains for one room per year.  Curtains can be expensive and I have expensive taste.

Curtains and windows weren't the only things that got cleaned.  My husband tackled the garage while I tackled the craft draws and the curtains, then  I helped him with the basement.  Now we have two boys and like any kid, kids accumulate toys.  Some things you are convinced you will keep for the grand kids while other toys get thrown away.  The you have the crib, and the changing table, and the rest of the big toys like easels and kitchen sets,etc...  Before you know it your house is over taken by toys and things that you no longer need.

We made piles, and made a trip to the dump or the in-laws who thankfully agreed to take the unneeded stuff for my husbands brother and wife.  They now have a baby boy and can use some the the stuff for him. I have to say it felt good to get rid of so much stuff that the boys will no longer use, and we as parents no longer need. 

By the time we were done, my craft draw now hold table cloths again and my garage and my basement almost looks pre-kids.  Looking around at the basement and the garage part of me felt a relief, a sign of the times that the kids are growing up, and moving on to different actives. Although there is a small part of me that yearns to see the toys back where they were, taking up space in my garage and basement showing signs that they were there.  After all the chaos  means kids and activities.

I'm glad the they are gone though,  I  have no plans to fill the space with something else.  No, I like it clean the way it is. No, just knowing they were there at one point is enough for me.  My family has moved on to a new stage, and that is going to be exciting enough. 

I'm looking forward to what comes next for my kids and my family.  Sure I'm nostalgic for how it was when the kids were young, but I'm ready to move on to new adventures in parenting, and I think my family is too.

Doesn't that turkey look good?  Sorry if you thought this post was about cooking, it was the best fall picture I could find without people in it. Go figure?  What about you?  Do you get a sense of relief when you throw away unneeded things?  Do you long the for way life used be be?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rascal Has a New Trick

I'm sure many of you have read that my family has a new puppy.  He is a tri-color King Charles Cavalier. His name is Rascal, and so far he has lived up to it.  Rascal is and I take this quote from  Melinda Long's children's book How I Became A Pirate, "He's a digger he is."  I love that book!  Anyway  Rascal loves to dig when ever I take him to the ball field to watch the boys practice.  He'll digs like crazy, then pick up his face covered with dirt, sneeze out the dirt and continue to dig.  He can sniff, sneeze and digs for hours, or at least until  he gets tired.  Then he decides to curl up on my lap and take a nap.  It's our usual routine.

Well as the weeks have gone by I have told you that Rascal has gotten bigger.  My baby puppy is now a toddler, and oh what a toddler he is.  The other day Rascal gave my whole family a scare.  We were eating dinner and all of a sudden we heard Rascal cry.  Yes, there is a difference between a dogs' bark, and a dog's  cry.  This was definitely a cry.  We all jumped and ran to see what happened.  Turns out Rascal had climbed onto a folding table that my husband was using to work on and fell off of it.  He hurt his paw when he landed. He's fine now, but oh what a scare.  That's Rascal for you,  he's a digger he is, and turns out a climber too.

Well now Rascal has a new trick.  Yesterday I had the boys put Rascal in his crate before we left for school and work.  Now, Rascal goes into the crate for his SAFETY.  I don't think I need to explain that one.  I came home at lunch for Rascal's lunch time walk, only to be greeted by Rascal at the door.  Of course I asked him what he was doing out of his crate, but he was too busy wagging his tail and licking me to answer. So I put on his leash and gave him his much needed walk.   When I came in I did a quick inventory of the house, after not finding anything that needed to be picked up and cleaned I was very happy.  I put Rascal back into his crate and locked it.  When I came home Rascal was still in his crate.

The following morning the boys put Rascal in the crate again before school and work. Again during lunch I came home to give Rascal his lunch time walk.  Guess what?  Rascal ran into the room so fast to welcome me home that he skidded into me.  Yup, Rascal got out again.  He wagged his tail and jumped at me in excitement.  I just shook my head and put his leash on.  After our walk I put Rascal back into the cage and investigated the house again.  Once again nothing was to be found. Yay!

So, now I'm suspicious.  Is Rascal spending his morning tampering with the cage trying to figure out the locking mechanism so he can run around the house sleeping in all the sunny spots?  Is he really that smart?  Or is he getting help from the boys?  Interesting.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Apple picking

Apple picking is one of  the north east's favorite fall past times.  There is just something about walking through rows of apple trees with a bag and a picker in hand picking your own apples right off the trees.  My family likes to go every year.  We might be late in the season one or two years, but we always seem to fit it in the schedule. This year we tucked in between buying new shoes for my boys and their base ball game. 

It was a quick trip, probably our quickest yet, but that didn't mean it was any less fun.  We went with a friend of ours as usual, a yearly ritual you might say.  To add some fun to it the kids switch cars.  The kids love to change things up, that way they get to spend more time with their friends.  It's nice, and everyone enjoys the change, even for a few minutes drive. 

At the orchard we do our usual.  We never pick the apples in the front of the orchard.  That's too easy, and not worth the trip.  We go to the back of the orchard and pick our apples there.  We walk the rows looking at each tag to see what type of apple is on the trees, and once we find what we like, we pick.

This year I brought my phone and took some pictures of the kids picking apples.  I was especially excited because I never had a phone that had that application.  Okay so I did, but I didn't have it on my plan.  Now I do.

Once our bag was full, we walked back through the rows of apples, trying to stop the kids from picking more apples and putting them in the bag, and made our way back to the front of the orchard.  My husband paid for the apples and then the kids were like vultures going at the bag.  They just had to have one of their apples to eat right away.  It's always fun watching them eat their fresh picked apples walking back to the car.

So now I have all these apples and I'm just hoping they all get eaten or put into a cake or pie, before they go bad. Yeah, like that's going to happen.

What about you do you find you pick to many apples when you go apple picking?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Excerpt of a Novel

I decided to dedicate this post to my new novel that I am writing. Since I have been actively writing and submitting to agents, I thought it would be nice to give everyone a chance to get a preview of my new novel and hopefully get some feed back.

Let me give you the preamble:  This is probably not the kind of writing a lot of you would expect from me. That said, I hope I pleasantly surprise you.  Lightweight (It's a working title),  is a YA novel about a high school boy who is in a gang.  Tony wants a better life, a better future then what he sees around him, and will stop at nothing to get it.  Getting out of the ghetto isn't going to be easy though, and breaking free of the gang can be deadly.  This is a work in progress so this is only a draft. Please pardon any mistakes in this draft. Feel free to add a comment and let me know what you think.

Working title:  Lightweight


Chapter One The Fight#
The punch came before I saw it coming. I saw his fist in front of my face and the next thing I knew I felt was his fist smash against my jaw. I never felt such pain. I swear I saw stars. I didn't have time to focus on the stars dancing around my head because I felt my body smash against the brick wall behind me. I lifted my arms to block my face, I need to ward off his powerful angry blow at my face. I knew I couldn't stand much more. I thought about how I got here. It was stupid really, if you really thought about it. All I did was try to do the right thing.
Flash back#
I saw Jose bothering this poor girl sitting alone outside by the steps at lunch reading a book. I told Jose to leave her alone, she was minding her own business. I saw no need to cause trouble that day. I wasn't in the mood.
You're not needed here Tony, get out of here. I'm busy. Can you see I'm talking to Michelle here?”
I saw Michelle hunch her shoulders trying to ignore Jose and go back to her book.
She doesn't look like she wants to talk to you Jose.” Tony stood between them.
Come on Michelle, put the book down and let's go for a walk. What do you say?” Jose said trying to take the book out of Michelle's hand.
I'd rather not.” Michelle said bravely looking up at Jose.
That's enough Jose.” I said getting upset.
Come on Michelle, let's go to the parking lot.” Jose grabbed Michelle's arm and pulled her along.
Leave her alone.” I pulled Jose's arms off of Michelle.
Stop being such a wimp. You can have some too, I'll share.” Jose smiled.
Don't even think about it Jose.” I glared at him.
Hey, here come's Kevin. Move it.” Jose said before running off.
I'm sorry about that. Are you okay?” I picked up Michelle's book that dropped on the floor.
I'm fine. Thank you.” Michelle smiled shyly.
Hey, Michelle, this low life bothering you?” Kevin stormed over from the cafeteria doors.
No. Kevin. I'm fine.” Michelle started to answer.
Get the hell away from my sister you scumbag.” Kevin spat and stood in front Michelle.
Kevin, you got it all wrong.” I tried to explain.
Oh do I?” Kevin laughed looking at his friends for support.
No body comes near my sister do you understand me?”
You really don't want to do this Kevin. My brothers will back me.”
I'm not afraid of your gang.” Kevin stared at him.
You should be.”
I don't see your gang members here to back you up now?” Kevin laughed.
You're lucky then aren't you? Because if your looking for a fight, you just got one.” I stepped into Kevin's face and glaring at him. If he thought I was scared of him he didn't know who he was dealing with. I've dealt with much worse then him.
I don't a fight with your gang. I want a fight with you.” Kevin said not backing down.
You got it then. Meet me here at five o'clock.”


Present Time#
I staggered at the next blow. I regained my balance and faced Kevin. Now he pissed me off. I charged at him and forced him against the same brick wall he had thrown me into. The guy could fight. I hadn't expected that he would be able to fight back so well. I've had my fair share of fights and I have won every one of them. My opponent usually ran home crying with a bloody nose, broken ribs, or arm. This guy was different though, I couldn't break him. I wailed at his face, and his gut. I tried to get him in a chock hold, but he kept coming back. I knew it wasn't because of his sister he fought, he liked to fight, and he was good at it. I lost the upper hand again and I blocked my face and danced around him as he kept coming at me.
I could hear the crowd around us now cheering us on. Who they were cheering for I couldn't tell and I really didn't care. Kevin and I were locked together, we both fought for the upper hand. There was no tricks here, not now. Right now it was all a matter of who was stronger, who could keep up the endurance. Our eyes locked, our breathing was heavy and labored and as each second passed, I could feel us both weakening. I held on to him, tightening my hold as I felt his tighten his on me.
Then there were arms yelling at us, pulling us apart. Screaming to get off each other and to knock it off. As if it were that easy. Suddenly I was free of Kevin's grasp and he was free from mine. I glared at him as someone pulled my arms behind me pulling me away as I tried to lung at Kevin again. A large blond man was pulling Kevin back off me, pinning his arms behind him as Kevin tried to lung for me.
Knock it off I said damn it.” The blond man yelled as he pulled Kevin further away from me.
Settle down now.” The blond man look at each of us. “The show is over everyone, go home. Go on, get out of here.” The man behind me shouted to the crowd who came to see us fight.
I left my body slump against the man holding me back, but only enough to get my footing before I stood tall and broke free of the man. I turned on him ready to fight.
Go for him Tony.” Jose and George cheered me now. “But I was tired and only wanted to make sure that he wasn't going to lung at me. I stared at the man willing him to attack me, ready to prove that I was still ready to fight if I had to. By this time the blond man had let go of Kevin and Kevin paced in a small area spitting blood out of his mouth.
Get out of here boys.” The man who held me back said to Jose and George.
You don't tell us what to do.” George sauntered up to the man ready to fight.
One fight for tonight is enough.” The blond man said waking up to us.
Get out of here before I call the cops.” The blond man glared at all of us.
we're going, were going.” Jose said pulling my arm and George along with him.
I was tired, but I was still ready to fight, and I walked backward a few feet watching them until I was sure they weren't going to follow and attack. I caught a glimpse of Michelle standing away from the dwindling crowd standing with a few friends. She stared at me as I walked backward our eyes met. I turned then and walked faster trying to catch to Jose and George and the rest of the gang up ahead. 
 Like what you read so far?  If so let me hear from from you.

 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Puppies: We love them

If you have ever had a puppy you know that they require a lot of work and demand a lot of your attention.  You must constantly watch what they are doing and where they are doing it.  They must be feed, walked, and given a safe warm place where they can escape when they need to. There are doctor's visits and vaccines they are required to get. Oh, and let's not forget the yearly license.  All of which cost money, a lot of money.  They must to taught to follow the rules of the house and they need to be told who the alpha is.

Now if you think any of this is easy, you have never had a puppy.  My family got a new puppy in late August.  At the time he was too tiny to do much of anything distructive. We needed to carry him going down the stairs because, well let me put it this way, it was a long way down.  He couldn't jump on the furniture because it was to far up.  He was a baby in every sense of the word.

Guess what.  Just like human babies, puppies grow up. Our puppy is no longer a baby, he is a toddler in every sense of the word.  He can now go down the steps on his own, still a challenge, but he can do it.  He can now jump on my couch. He is teething too, so every shoe he finds in fair game. Oh and on the ball field when I take him with me to the boys games and practices, he loves to eat anything he finds.  I've decided his favorite is chewing gum.  Gross!  I can't tell you how many times I have taken gum out of his mouth despite his protests.  I've decided to buy stock in purell.

Yes, puppies are a lot of work and in many ways they are like babies, but how can you resist those big brown eyes, those big floppy ears, and that inquisitive side tilted stare?  I can't I'll tell you that and neither can my family.  Rascal has lived up to his name, and he is worth all the effort.

What about you?  Do you have a pet who is more family then pet?  Share with me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Waiting Game Continues

So every week or maybe more I check to see how my two partial as doing.  Have they been read yet?  Are they even close to getting read yet?  Where are they in the pile.  Of course I never get an answer to any of these questions.  If I did, I wouldn't checking weekly. 

I knew when I sent them in I'd have to wait for news.  I've convinced myself that no news is good news, but truth be told, that only holds a person together for so long.  It honestly hasn't been all that long in the scheme of  things.  I have been told by well destablished writies that it can take months to even a year to hear back.  It has really only been about a month. 

If a month seems so long, how am I supposed to wait a year?  Oh the agony!  Anyway.  I do enjoy checking the blogs and websites though,  it's fun and keeps me on my toes with writing.  I like to read the industry news and see what agents are working on and what conferences they are attending.

I'm hoping one day it will all pay off.  I think so.  I just have to be persistant.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's For Dinner

How many times have you asked that question?  Or better yet, my favorite, "What should I make for dinner?"  There was a time in my life when I didn't have to ask that question because my mother would always be the one who was asking it.  Now times have changed and it's my turn. 

I remember setting the table as my mother cooked dinner.  Sometimes it was a quick meal so we can run out the door to a sporting even either my sister or I had, other times it was a nice slow cooked meal that you couldn't wait to taste. 

When I was home while my kids were little I'd be the one cooking the slow cooked meals.  I'd put a chicken in the oven turn on the timer and jump on the treadmill, or clean the house and do laundry.  How times have changed.  These days my kids are a little older, and they have all kinds of activities that leave little time for dinner. So the question of  'What is for dinner actually becomes a stressfull one because there is literary no time to make it, never mind eat it.  I didn't realize back then how much I would miss the days of cooking all day long and serving up a nice hot meal to my husband and kids when they came home at the end of the day.  I really miss it.  Not that I want to do that day in and day out. The point is it reminds me of simplier times, and simplier days. 

Ever feel like that?  Ever want to stop the running from activity to activity and just enjoy your family over a nice slow cooked hot meal, and linger over the family for a while?  I do.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Murphy's Law

No matter how well you plan, murphy's law will find a way to put a dent into your plans.  Now don't get me wrong, my weekend plans were by no means ruined.  Actually my weekend way very nice. But that's not to say that murphy's law didn't show up either.

My weekend was all planned.  The hotel reservations were made, the dinner reservations were also made, the kids and the puppy were at the grandparents and my neighbor took care of the dog.  It was all taken care of.  We had a little time before we took off the weekend so my husband decided to cut the grass and change a tire on the trailer for the boat before we left.  If all went well, we be out to the house by 10:30 am.  That was the statement that jinxed us.

I comfirmed out dinner reservtions.  There was none.  Even though I made them a week and a half ago.  I remade them.  Thank God there is still an opening. Murphy's Law number One.

Then it was the trip to the lawn mower shop that set us back.  Murphy's Law number Two.
Okay, so now we are good to go.  We get to our desination, and drop off our luggage, and walk down to town. where my husband need to stop and rest because his back hurts, while I continued to shop without him. Murphy's Law number Three.

The rest of the evening went fine.

The next moring we planned on going to the Vinyard to buy some wine.  It's sunday and they don't open until 12pm.  We need to be back home by then to meet friends for a crab boil at the marina.
Murphy's Law number Four.

Get home and something died in our frigerator while we were away. Clean frigerator. Murphy's Law number Five.
Get a call from a friend of ours.  They are dropping the water on the pond to work on the damn.  We HAVE to get the boat out now. Murphy's Law number Six.

It's lunch time and I have no food in my house. You could open my fridge and yell in there and it will echo. I have nothing to make my friends kids for lunch while he is helping my husband take out the boat.  Murphy's Law number Seven.

Now we are running late to the crab boil, and to meet our friends.  Murphy's Law Eight.

We had a great time at the crab boil. 

Pick up the kids and the puppy just on time.  But ran around to do it, which is exactly what my husband wanted to avoid. 

So you see, in one weekend Murphy's Law showed up eight times.  Did it ruin my weekend?  No. Not even close, it just goes to show that life happens, and when it does, Murphy's Law is never to far behind. Just roll with it and you'll be fine. 

I

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Will Power vs Won't Power

The age of question of dieters.  Why do we call it will power when we fight the urge to eat something that we really want?  Shouldn't we call it won't power?  I mean after all we are fighting the urge not to do something, not do something.  I always thought the term has a bit of irony to it.  What is your take?

I feel that we should change the terminolgy all together. The term will power should be used when referring to positive things like excerising, getting tasks done before deal lines and bettering our lives.  The term won't power should be used when referring to negative things we want to avoid, like taking that last piece of cake, smoking that ciggeratte, or procrastinating on tasks.

Yes,  I think we should change our terminology.  What is your thoughts?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Christmas in July

Here is a question for you.  Ever notice the holiday's sneak up on you faster and faster.  You have just finished dusting off  your suf board and heading out to the ocean when lo and behold people start putting out fall decorations.  Then as soon as you are getting ready for fall, the winter holiday decorations start finding their way to the store shelves.  Then once again you are settling in for a nice winter and you get it with spring and summer decorations.  It seems like you never get a chance to breath and enjoy the season you are in. 

I don't want my seasons to rush by me.  I want to enjoy and savior the season I'm in.  If it's hot, let me enjoy it, with all the sun and fun.  I want to get sand stuck in my toes, I want to smell the sun tan lotion and eat sea food at the local sea shanties on the water. If it's chilly and fall is in the air, let me enjoy the beautiful colors, the apple picking, pumpkin picking and the spices in the air.  I want to see the kids dressed in their costumes and the dog dress up much to their dismay.  No I don't dress up my dogs. If it is winter let my kids enjoy the snow and the skating.  Let me enjoy watching them enjoy it the way we used to.  Don't rush me. 

Today people are so worried about keeping ahead, being the first, and getting the Christmas shopping done before July even comes.  I'm not one of those people.  I go Christmas shopping in late November.  I've tried to shop before that, call it peer pressure.  I hated it.  I didn't enjoy it at all, plus I sent more money that way, because I hid the gifts away and forgot I bought then in the first place. I won't do that again.

How do you feel on the subject?  Do you feel rushed through the holiday seasons?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reason for a Season

Do you every wonder about the people who come and go in your life?  I do. It's interesting really. Think about all people you have met through out your life. How many have you met?  A hundred, maybe more.  The number will surprise you.  Ever stop to wonder why some people stay and some people go?  Look at your Facebook friends. Oh, come on admit it, you know you have an account.  We all do.  How many of those people do you talk to on a daily basis? Maybe a handful or two?  Guaranteed  more then half of those people you barely know anymore.  Don't get me wrong, it'is good, your reconnecting.  I've been trying to get reconnected with old friends for a while, and I love it.  But that isn't my point.

My point is.  Look at all of the lives you have touch, and all the lives that have touched yours. It's really amazing. Why are some of them only Facebook friends? Why do we only check up on them once in a while and they are not closer to the everyday  lives?  Ever wonder?  I have a theory.  I call it reason for a season.  We don't need them like we used to.

I believe that God brings people into our lives as we need them. Think about all of the events in your life.  Did you meet someone you have never met before and became friends only to lose them as life changes?  How long did those people stay in your life before moving on?  How many stayed?  How many came back? Do you see the pattern?  Do you see how some people stay for a long time, some for only a short while, and some if we are lucky stay for good?  I've decided friends are like birds.  Hold on to them gently and they will always find their way back to you.  Some times though it takes a little help from Facebook.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

There is no cold in baseball, or is there?

There is no cold in baseball or is there?  Well in my town there is.  Think about it.  Baseball season starts in the spring.  Now, unless you live in the south, it can still be anywhere from down right cold in April to cool in and that is the month baseball season starts.  So now it is September and although it isn't cold it can still get cool enough at night to want a light jacket or sweat shirt. Especially towards evening.  I know most of you are probably wondering what September has to do with baseball. I'll tell you.  In my town while a lot of kids are gearing up for football and soccer and in some towns lacross, my town has decided to extend baseball season.  That's right Fall Ball.

For a person who has never really got into the whole baseball thing,  I have found fall ball, at least so far to be refreshing.  I like my kids, decided that soccer is not a favorite. Standing in the freezing cold for early morning soccer games while the grass is still wet from dew or as the season wears on frost, is not my idea of fun or theirs apparently. You know I just can't blame them for that.

So instead I sit at the picnic table and watch my kids play on the ball field under the game lights with my little puppy curled on my lap sleeping.  It is cool out tonight and I haven't decided if I am keeping him warm or he is keeping me warm, I should have brought that jacket.  Honestly though I don't mind either way.  I'm enjoying the cool air while I watch my kids enjoying the last of the warm weather while they brush up on their skills for the spring.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Technology

Technology can be our friend and it can be a hinderance.  I am not the most technical of people so setting up an account and linking it to Facebook can take me longer then it probably should.  That is usually when I call my husband over and have him help me, but I'm trying to not do that so it takes me a while longer.  My seven year old can probably figure it out before I can.  Just figuring out the new cells phones today can be frusterating.  I only use mine for emergencies, and I honestly don't know what the use is when the battery keeps dying on m every day anyway.  I love my iPod though.  I listen to it in the kitchen on the charger.  That way I can listen to the music I want without talk or commercials.  Love it!  And my lap top which everyone seems to steel from me.  One thing great about a lap top though, my office is where every I am.  I love taking it to the pond and working on my manuscripts while looking out and watching the kids playing in the water.  How many people get to work that way I ask you?  Yes, you have to love technology with all it's perks, even if it is frusterating getting it all set up. 

How many of you have kids that are more technology inclined then your are? 

How many of you have hard time posting something on the web?  Share with me.