Monday, December 28, 2009

** My Plan For 2010 **

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I know that 99% of the time, people just say what they think others want to hear, or what they know in their hearts they should do; such as quitting smoking, exercising and losing weight. Luckily, I’m not fighting any of those battles. (I quit smoking many years ago; I do exercise, even though it’s quite minimal; and I’ve already lost 10 lbs. and am on my way to my goal of 20 lbs!)

I do have some definite plans, though, as to how I will live my life in the year 2010. I’ll call them Steps 1-2-3.

1) I will not waste so much precious time. I am awake approximately 18 hours every day, and some of those days, I certainly don’t accomplish very much.

2) I will get my home office organized and keep it that way.

3) I’m going to consistently write my memoir and get it completed.

All three steps basically boil down to one thing: More Time for Writing!



"There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing." -- Brian Tracy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

*** LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW! ***

Oh, the weather outside is joyful
And the fire is so delightful.....
And since we've no place to go....
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Ahhh. I couldn't ask for anything more on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. I'm enjoying every task I'm performing....such as laundry, straightening up different rooms, cooking, watching a little NFL football on TV, answering e-mails, helping to keep the fire in the fireplace roaring.....all while watching those beautiful snow flakes falling, swirling, looking like a favorite snowglobe of mine!

I hope everyone is also enjoying their day as much as I am!

Friday, December 25, 2009

*** Christmas Day 2009 ***

** I got my wish! We're having beautiful snow flakes!!! Some are light at times, some really large and heavy at others! (It truly looks like the photo I posted below!)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings....whatever fits your style and mood!

We'll be with all our kids and grand kids later this afternoon. I can only imagine the excitement and noise going on in their homes this morning!

Peace, Joy and Wonder to all of you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

** Christmas Eve 2009 **




"It's December the twenty fourth, and I'm longing to be up North...."

I was feeling the same way the past couple of days, as the temperature kept climbing and we received a deluge of rain instead of the lovely snowflakes which would be so much more appropriate this time of year. But today the temps begin to drop drastically and our forecast is for some light snowfall. Yippee!!

If we just have flurries on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, that is all I ask. I just want to see and feel and be surrounded by the magical quietness, the glorious wonder, the miracle that is ** Snow! **

(The picture above was taken from my back patio in Janurary 2008.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

** A Charles Dickens Christmas **




The movie: A Christmas Carol and the other versions of the wonderful Dickens tale (Scrooge...the musical with the fantastic Albert Finney, and Scrooged...the comedy with hilarious Bill Murray) have been favorites of mine for many years. I love the story of a miserable, greedy man learning how to be loving and giving again, especially at such a late stage in his life.

At this holiday time of year, when giving is stressed....especially to people who are less fortunate than we are, it's always wonderful to see people doing good things for others on the television news, instead of the usual pain and suffering we're constantly subjected to. And many of us ask ourselves, after the cheer and good will is gone and forgotten....WHY is it forgotten? Why do most of us tend to only think of those in need during the holidays? I've heard of a saying that's something like: Need knows no season.

I received a Christmas card today from the wonderful people at the local Habitat for Humanity office. I was immediately struck by the quote on the front of the card, and knew that I must post it on my blog:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." --- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

I will often remind myself of this quote and I request all my friends to do the same. There are millions of people in our world that are so much more worse off than any of us may think we are.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

** Various Thoughts on a Sunday Evening **

This morning I decided to change my comment formatting from Open Comments, to Saving for Publication, and I'll receive an e-mail to review them before they actually appear on my blog. I really don't like doing it that way, but until further notice, that's how it will work. Just wanted to point that out for anyone who leaves a comment and wonders why it didn't post automatically. 

I had a combo-weekend: both productive and lazy! And so, I'm ready for a very productive day tomorrow. No time for laziness the rest of this week. I've got lots to do, in every corner of my life!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

** Incredible Coincidence & Friendships for a Lifetime **

My writer friends and I have similar likes and dislikes, mostly I guess because we are creative, thinking women, who really see the world around us.We have such camaraderie, kindness, generosity, support for each other, and hilarious times together.

Last night, two of my writer friends and I got together for dinner and the exchanging of Christmas gifts. One of the friends and I discovered last week that we both had bought the exact same gift for the third friend. Out of all the millions of "writer related" gifts we could've chosen, how in the world did we buy the exact same day planner??? It's called The Reading Woman and contains gorgeous pictures of various works of art depicting women reading! Plus it contains many inspirational quotes. (Tammy and I are still mystified and shaking our heads about this incredible coincidence! She happened upon hers at a local book store. I bought mine online after browsing for "writer gifts", "women writers gifts", journals and calendars.)


I've never experienced such acquaintances, friendships, or allies, all pertaining to one particular "group" of people. I've even developed immediate friendships online, due to my contacting someone because I loved the way she wrote, and vice versa.

How amazing it is to be a writer.....a published writer.....at this stage of my life!

All I can say is, with the continued support of my wonderful writer friends, "the best is yet to come"!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trouble With Posting My Photos

I haven't posted anything since our big Chicken Soup for the Soul book signing on Saturday, the 12th, because I wanted to include some photos I took, but my computer is not cooperating! The camera worked fine, the pictures look great, but when I try to install them onto my laptop, it says something like it can't find my photo program! And when I tried to download it again, something didn't work properly. Eeeeeekkk!!!

I really dislike computer problems!!!!

Guess I'll have to do a little more investigating tomorrow and hopefully can get it fixed! Until then.....

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas! ♪♫♪♪♫

Friday, December 11, 2009

** CHARLES DICKENS-ESQUE ATMOSPHERE **

* Reminder: Tomorrow, Saturday December 12th,
    Main Street Books in Historic St. Charles:

  Chicken Soup for the Soul --- Canned Soup for the Body

  Please stop by between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, bring one canned good for a local food pantry, save 10% on your total purchase. Buy some of your Christmas gifts: Chicken Soup for the Soul books, autographed by local authors!!  (Photo below is of 4 of the 7 writers attending, myself included.)



  Hope to see many people there!  

  http://www.stcharleschristmas.com/    

   http://www.mainstreetbooks.net/

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

*** Did Somebody Say WIND?? ***

We're not getting the blizzard that many states are suffering from today, BUT....since around midnight or so last night, the wind has been causing some damage, and waking up quite a few people...yours truly included!

It's enough to take breath away (including Tiger's!), scoot around patio furniture, and blow empty, Christmasy-wrapped boxes out of the little, wooden wagon in our front yard! Luckily, when I looked out my door for about the 6th time this morning, and noticed that 2 of them had jumped right out of that wagon, they were still in MY yard. I grabbed a coat, ran out and retrieved them, plus the ones still in the wagon, and brought them inside. (Another fortunate thing was that I was not still in my jammies!)

I think it's definitely a good day to stay inside and do a little baking, work on my Christmas cards, and get some writing accomplished! I think I'll call some of my relatives in Iowa, too, and see how they're doing.

I'm soooo grateful I don't have to go anywhere today!

Monday, December 7, 2009

** Christmas Joy on Main Street **

Those of you that live near me, are very aware of our beautiful and quaint Main Street in St. Charles, Missouri. During the Christmas Season, it is filled with charm, enchantment, & so many activities: http://www.stcharleschristmas.com/

Please stop by Main Street Books this Saturday, December 12th, from 1:00 to 3:00pm for a special event:

Chicken Soup for the Soul….Canned Soup for the Body

Seven St. Charles/St. Louis area Chicken Soup for the Soul writers will participate in a multi-author book-signing on Saturday, December 12th, 2009 from 1-3 p.m. at Main Street Books, 307 S. Main Street, St. Charles, MO 63301. Customers can bring in a canned good to be donated to a St. Charles food pantry and receive 10% off their entire purchase that day. Refreshments will be served at the signing. For more information, please visit: http://www.mainstreetbooks.net/.

I will be part of this with my writer-gal-friends: Tammy Goodsell, Teri Sanders, Linda O'Connell, Pat Wahler, Sherri Stanczak, and Patsy Zettler. Between the 7 of us, I think we must be published in about 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books! Purchase some wonderful, autographed books, enjoy some free refreshments, and help a good cause by bringing at least one canned good!! And, no, they don't have to be canned soup! Any canned good will be greatly appreciated!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

** Various Ponderings on a Sunday Evening **

Parties: Yesterday, two of the writers groups I belong to, held their Christmas Parties. I hated the thought of missing one of them, but it really wasn't that big of a decision when one was about 2 miles from my house, and the other about 30 miles! (Sorry SLWG friends! Too bad we couldn't "tele-commute"(is that the word I want??) both parties!

So.... I attended the Saturday Writers party and had a great time. A few people read some of their work and they were all really good. As I recall, all had funny moments that got laughs and chuckles. I had a chance to chat with friends I don't see very often and also met some new writers, wishing to join our group. Oh, and did I mention lots of yummy food? All in all, a very good time!

Blogs: I've "met" some wonderful people because of my blog, and not too long ago discovered a couple of neat options. Did you know if you click on the "Next Blog" link on your home page, it takes you to a person's blog that shares your interests? Blogspot recently changed this option. It used to just randomly take you to anyone's blog...maybe in a different language and sometimes in a genre you might not want to see! I tried it again yesterday and came across different writer or book lover blogs. I didn't have time then to really read them, but put a couple in my favorites and will go back to them later. Also, if you go to your Profile page, and click on one of your favorite movies or books, etc. it will take you to a page full of others that also has that movie or book in their profile! Sometimes, you won't automatically find anyone who might be of interest to you, but other times it works! That's how I just "met" Daisy, who also loves Erma Bombeck books! We have already become Followers of each other's blogs. Give it a try and see how many fantastic people you can meet!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

** Writer Web Sites **

I discovered two different websites yesterday that are looking for, from what I could tell, writers to post personal essays on their sites. They both looked so intriguing I thought I'd pass the info along!

Catholic Mom:  http://www.catholicmom.com/

Mom's Who Need Wine: http://www.momswhoneedwine.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

**Also, my story "Thoughts On Love & Forgiveness" which is included in Chicken Soup for the Soul; Divorce & Recovery was also published online last month at http://www.beliefnet.com/. It can still be found under: www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul/2009/12/Thoughts-on-Love-and-Forgiveness.aspx. If you get a chance to read it, please feel free to leave a rating   ;-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

** First Snow Flurries Last Night! **

We had our first snow flurries of the season last night, and as always, I ran to the door to look outside. I texted my 22 year old son, Mark, because he too loves winter and snow. He was disappointed, though, because he wasn't seeing any in his part of town.

I think it's so neat that he and I share that child-like wonder when it comes to enjoying snow!


And, I guess it's mostly because of that little tease of what will surely arrive sometime this winter, that I added many more Christmas songs to my Play List today. Please take a few moments to listen as it randomly plays songs that may be some of your favorites, or just click on the ones you would rather hear. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

** Happy December 1st **

Where has this year gone? Isn't that what we've been saying every December for quite a few years?

I haven't posted for a week, which is really unusual for me......Just been busy enjoying the "Thanksgiving Season"! The days of baking in preparation for our family dinner the Saturday before....The day of friends and fun on the actual Thanksgiving at a dear friend's home....My very first shopping adventure on the day after Thanksgiving.....and visiting my wonderful friend who I sometimes lovingly refer to as "Crazy Rita"!

Three weeks ago, Crazy Rita had open heart surgery and came through with flying colors!! When Sherry and I visited her last Friday, we were amazed and thrilled to see her looking so good....looking and acting like her old "crazy" self....looking and acting as if nothing had changed....But, knowing her the way I do, I'm sure that "something" has changed. I can't imagine what, though, because she had already been such a funny, optimistic, faith-filled woman, even in the middle of career issues, family concerns, etc. That will surely help her, too, as she goes through her physical therapy.

I'm so looking forward to taking her to lunch one day soon. I can't wait to hear what funny, crazy things she has to say!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

** Books: Glorious Books! **

Recently I "won" a huge amount of childrens' books at a silent auction. After we got them home and I was able to actually go through all of them, I was excitedly transported back to being a child again.

I remember the first chapter book I ever received as a gift. It came in the mail from my paternal grandma who lived in Colorado. As I opened the box and peeked inside, there lay a beautiful, hardcover edition of "Alice in Wonderland". I had to have been about 7 years old, so I wasn't old enough to read it yet then, but what a prized posession it was!

We moved around quite a bit during my grade school years and the last couple of times were not for happy reasons.....My parents were separating and later divorced. I could forget my sadness or lonliness when I buried myself inside a wonderful book. Sometimes I really loved bittersweet stories the most, like "Member of the Wedding" because I could relate so well. Other times, I loved adventurous tales, such as "Around the World in 80 Days". Later on I became a fan of Nancy Drew books, too.

My favorite grade school was the one I spent the most years at: 4th through 8th grade. It didn't have its own library, so the Bookmobile came at scheduled times, I think on Fridays. Walking up the steps into that small vehicle was like walking into Alice's wonderland! It was packed from floor to ceiling with books of all kinds. I still remember some of the beloved stories I read, borrowed from those marvelous shelves.

I hope that with technology racing along at the speed of light, we won't lose the incredible feeling of holding a book, turning its pages, inhaling its years of mystery, and falling asleep with it next to our pillow.

"When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day." --- Jean Fritz

Sunday, November 22, 2009

** Our Family Thanksgiving -- Yesterday **

We've been having our family Thanksgiving the Saturday or Sunday before the actual Turkey Day for a few years. It works out great and nobody has to leave early to go somewhere else to eat again!

I love the aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven. I provide some of the side dishes, and my three daughters-in-law always bring the rest of the usual goodies. Most years, I bake a pumpkin pie or two the day before, but have been known to just buy them at the last minute because I've run out of time, energy or ambition!

This year I decided to really do some baking and have had a wonderful time. Earlier in the week, I baked 1 apple pie and 2 pumpkin pies, and kept them in the freezer. I also saw a picture in a magazine of an adorable "pumpkin" cake, which I tried to  replicate. (The photo is MY cake, not the one in the magazine, but I must say, I didn't do too bad of a job, considering that cake decorating is definitely not my forte'.)

The day was perfect! Gorgeous weather, great food & our wonderful family! Everyone was here, except for Todd who wasn't home from college this weekend. We do hope to see him when he's home, later this week, though!

* There was one minor food "mishap"......I haven't made homemade mashed potatoes in years, and after yesterday, I can guarantee that someone else will offer to bring them from now on. *

Hey, that's one way to get out of preparing something you don't enjoy doing, nor are any good at! ;-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

** Meet Local Authors at the Library **

REMINDER:  The event sponsored by St. Charles City-County Library District is tomorrow night (Thursday, November 19th, from 4:30 to 8:00 pm)

Local Author Open House
Middendorf Kredell Library
2750 Hwy. K, O’Fallon
(636) 978-7926 or (636) 272-4999
(from looking at the map, it looks like it's close to the intersection of Hwy K and Hwy N.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

** Tiny Lights 15th Annual Essay Contest **

Check out Tiny Lights 15th Annual essay contest.
Minimal entry fees, and look at the prize money!
Prizes will be awarded as follows:

First Place: $350
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $150
Two Honorable Mention Prizes: $100 each.
Three FLASHPOINT prizes of $100 are also offered.
Deadline for submissions is February 19, 2010.

I've mentioned Tiny Lights before.
Essays I've submitted for their "Searchlights & Signal Flares" questions are posted on the website. Plus, my blog has just been added to the Blogs on the Links page!
Good luck to all who enter a submission!
Click on the link below for all the particulars.
http://www.tiny-lights.com/contest.php

Friday, November 13, 2009

** Friday....The End of Quite a Week **

This week, my mind was full of a variety of issues, and some of them, most likely, were subconscious in nature: Thoughts and worries pertaining to a very dear friend's open-heart surgery; thoughts and excitement about a dressy, fund raising event; berating myself for not concentrating on my writing enough; thinking and planning ahead to our family Thanksgiving get-together on Saturday, the 21st; mulling over other family concerns, etc. etc. etc.!!

I did still manage to be aware of my surroundings, though, and noticed things to write about. One in particular.... the Christmas tree set up at my hair salon. ( I'm not mentioning the name, because I'm about to make fun of their tree.) At first glance, it really wasn't bad looking, considering it was probably an inexpensive, artificial tree. It was nicely shaped, decorated with stylists names on ornaments, and a few pretty wrapped boxes with ribbons, placed underneath. Underneath! That's where I noticed IT! The tree could have almost, if you didn't look too closely, pass for a real tree, except for IT. What real tree have you ever seen with pine needles growing thickly, straight out from the trunk? All I could think of was a woman's leg that desperately needed to be shaved..... a very skinny leg, densely covered with a forest of 3 inch hair! Fortunately, no one saw me staring at the trunk, smiling. And thank goodness, I didn't actually laugh out loud. Every time I think of that tree, I get a goofy grin on my face. I know, too, that from now on, whenever I see an artificial tree, my eyes will go directly to its trunk. And I'll probably always feel a grin spreading over my face, whether it's hairy or bare.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veterans' Day is tomorrow, November 11, 2009


This past Sunday, Nov. 8th, while watching the NFL Pre-Game show on my local Fox channel, I was inspired to post a "thank-you" on a website they talked about. The panel of regular guys on that show, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, etc. were all in Afghanistan, doing their broadcast from there.

The website is: http://www.thanksforbeingthere.com/. As I listened to the show, I understood it to be a place to say thanks to our military personnel, past & present, wherever they may be, so that is what I did. (I said a "thank-you" in general to all military personnel, and also one to my son, Scott, who served in the Army a few years ago.) After looking at the site, though, I realized that anybody can post a "thank-you" to just about anyone.

It is sponsored by State Farm Insurance and they will donate $1.00 for every post, up to $50,000 to Fisher House, which helps military families when loved ones are in military or VA hospitals. (No matter how we may feel about our current "war", we can always support the US men and women that are making such huge sacrifices.)

Please go to the website and post a thank-you before Saturday, November 14th, because that's the day the $1.00 per post ends.

* SO FAR THIS MORNING, THERE WERE ONLY 3,641 POSTS ON IT! WE CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT! *

Monday, November 9, 2009

** A Sense of Urgency **

Even though I'm not participating in the NaNoWriMo Event, I felt a sudden sense of urgency this morning regarding the memoir I'm trying to write. I can't even describe the feeling that came over me, but I can say with all honesty, that I have never had that feeling before.....pertaining to anything in my life!

(It must have something to do with the quote I posted on Thursday, the 5th!)

So, it's time to stop sabotaging myself, always coming up with other "more important" things to do, and get writing!

Look out world.......Here I come!

"That Crowbar Changed Everything!
Memories & Observations"
by Becky Povich

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

* A Room With a View *


I wanted to share the beautiful view I have when I look out my laundry room window. Isn't it lovely? And believe it or not, I took this picture with my cell phone! I held it right up to the glass window, and voila'.

Many times in our busy lives, we forget to notice and appreciate the little things that are right in front of our eyes. The fact that I even have a laundry room with a window seems so luxurious. I definitely have not forgotten the days of dreary, gray basement walls and floors, and not wanting to spend a minute longer than necessary loading or unloading the clothes.

I have the entire wonderful world right outside my window, and the ability to enjoy it and watch it change every single day.

** Musical Thoughts **

Since I'm a nut about Christmas music, I've been adding a song or two to my Play List. It's not that I'm rushing the holidays....I just like a lot of the music! Last night I bought the new Christmas CD that the group, "Straight No Chaser" just released. (Yes, strange name for a singing, choral group, but WOW, they are awesome.) This is their 2nd Xmas CD. I bought it solely on the fact that I loved the one song of theirs I heard last year on the radio, "The 12 Days of Christmas", which I normally detest!! I would describe them as 10 guys, who sing wonderful, jazzy harmony. Click on the link below to see them on You Tube.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&source=hp&q=Straight+No+Chaser&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=kuLxSpf7H8LOlAe-77S9Aw&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CCQQqwQwAw#

Monday, November 2, 2009

** Thin Threads Press Release & Interview **

Stacey Battat, owner and publisher of "Thin Threads", has a press release and interview to announce the newly available flagship book, "Thin Threads: Real Life Stories of Life Changing Moments".

How exciting!! Click on the links below for both. 

(my story will be in one of the 2010 books)

http://www.webcastr.com/videos/health-living/thin-threads--life-changing-moments.html

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/kiwi-publishing-launches-thin-threadsr,1023553.shtml

Sunday, November 1, 2009

** Happy November 1st **

It's Sunday evening. It's been a great day.....got that extra hour of sleep, enjoyed a beautiful day of brilliant sun, and the weather forecast only calls for more days of sunshine, and no rain!! Can it possibly be true?? We had something like 9 days of sun in the entire month of October. Acckkk!

Okay...enough about the weather! I have a very busy and fun week planned, plus am still working on my never-ending job of organizing and de-cluttering various rooms and closets......PLUS I hope to get some writing done....and most likely take a nap or two.

Whatever your plans are for this first week of November, I hope you are motivated, inspired and joy-filled!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

** IT'S "RAINING" LEAVES **

When I came downstairs to make coffee this morning, it was actually slightly sunny outside. The wind was blowing just perfectly to make the golden leaves fall and sway from my back-yard neighbor's trees, until they eventually landed in others' yards, including mine! But, did that bother me one bit? Of course not! I just stood at the patio door in awe and wonder.

It is now dark and gray and gloomy...again....and we are in for more rain. This month has set a record (already) for the amount of rain we've had in October, since records were kept, I think in the late 1890's.

If it hadn't been for the glorious fall foliage, I think I would be seriously depressed by now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

** CALLING ALL ST. CHARLES & ST. LOUIS PUBLISHED WRITERS **

The St. Charles County Library District is having a Holiday Open House that will feature local, published authors from the St. Charles/ St. Louis area. (They want writers who have been published in BOOKS, not magazines, newspapers, online, etc. This event is being held to meet our wonderful published writers, and provide a venue for them to sell their books. This is for writers of published books, but also includes writers whose work is featured in anthologies.)

The Holiday Open House will be at the Middendorf-Kredell Branch Library, 2750 Highway K, O'Fallon, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on November 19, 2009.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

** Ponderings On A Sunday Morning **



I woke up around 5:00 am today and knew immediately I was wide awake and wouldn't be going back to sleep....at least anytime soon. This happens fairly often and since I'm a morning person anyway, I've gotten quite a few things accomplished already. One problem may be that I'll be ready for lunch at 9:00 am, dinner around 2:00 pm and then a good nap! (Naps are pretty much a requirement in my life. Fortunately, my husband understands my need for rest, so there wasn't any need to add that to our marriage vows.)

I bought fresh apples yesterday and hope to get an apple pie made today. Yum........I think it'll be baked, and cooling on a wire rack, way before football begins at noon on TV.

This past week was quite eventful, and all in good ways. In chronological order:
My son, Mark, and his girl friend came over for dinner.
Finding out about a publication in 2010.
Mark's birthday.
Calling "T" & "K" about the upcoming publication.
Working on various projects and completing some.
Meeting some parents of Mark's college friends & going out for an evening of food and fun.

Time to end my ponderings for now. I need to get out my apple peeler/corer/slicer thingy and get going on making that pie......mmm...can't you just smell the aroma??

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

** Joy & Happiness Come From Many Places **

First of all.....Happy Birthday to my youngest son, Mark!!! I can't believe you are 22 years old!! You have brought an abundance of joy and happiness into my life!!

I would have to say that the fall foliage has reached its peak today! The colors are absolutely heart-stopping, jaw-dropping, positively scrumptious!! (That reminds me. How many of you have seen the movie," Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (?) The leading lady's character name was Truly Scrumptious! I always thought that was hilarious, but also sweet and so perfect for the film. When the opportunity arises for me to refer to something with those words, I usually must break into song!

Last night when I received the acceptance e-mail for my Thin Threads story, it couldn't have come at a better time. I had been feeling pretty "untalented" as a writer!! I had received a fairly negative critique from a writer/editor on some of my writing, then I read a contest-winning story and I thought it was SO much better than anything I've ever written, at anytime....so my acceptance news couldn't have come at a better time!!

As I was driving around this afternoon, enjoying the beauty of the trees and bushes; and not to mention having the difficult chore of keeping my eyes on the road, a thought came to me. Would I have noticed today's stunning display as much if I hadn't received the acceptance e-mail last night? I really can't say... Probably not. I certainly would have noticed the gorgeous colors, but maybe just a tad less.

Monday, October 19, 2009

** Acceptance By "Thin Threads" Anthology **

This evening I received an e-mail I'd been anticipating for a long time. My story, titled: "God's Grace Is Sufficient" has been accepted by Kiwi Publishing and will be included in one of the Thin Threads anthologies that will be published sometime next year.

I wrote the true story about a young woman who lived through Hurricane Katrina, moved to St. Louis, and eventually was a home recipient from Habitat for Humanity. I met with this lovely woman two or three times to interview and get all the information I needed to write her story. After quite a few edits and drafts, I finally completed and submitted it, with great hopes for its acceptance...naturally for myself, but even more so for Habitat for Humanity and the young woman it's about. She was happy and honored to share her story and hoped it would be published so it would reach many people.

I can't wait to call her tomorrow, and also the Habitat for Humanity office in St. Charles and tell them the wonderful news!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

* One Of Those Psychic Things *

Every once in awhile, things will happen to me that I refer to as my "Twilight Zone" moments, or ESP moments...You know, weird coincidences and other things that are just really strange, weird,  funny, etc. Well, just 5 minutes ago, I had what I would consider one of those moments.

On Monday, October 12th, I posted information about winning a contest called "Dirty Dozen", and since then have e-mailed and spoken to people quite a bit about it.

Just a few minutes ago, I needed to take a break from everything I was working on. I walked into our family room, picked up the remote and turned on the TV without knowing what was on, or even paying attention to what channel it was on. I just wanted to rest a little. I couldn't believe what movie was just beginning on AMC. There was Lee Marvin in his army uniform, and the title in large print, "The Dirty Dozen".

Insert those do-do-do sounds of Twilight Zone music ♪  ♫  ♪   

Monday, October 12, 2009

** Good Food -- Good Friend -- Good News **

*Good News: This afternoon I received an exciting e-mail. A "short" story I entered into an online writing contest, was chosen as one of the three winning entries. The three of them are online right now and they will also be included in the upcoming print edition.

The contest is ongoing monthly. It is called The Dirty Dozen and can be found at: http://vestalreview.net/dirtydozenOctober2009.html

The reason for the name Dirty Dozen is that the story can only have 12 words, plus a one word title!
 Read the rules and submit something! Scroll down and you'll find my entry at the bottom.

This contest was one of those "wow" writing moments for me. The words literally popped into my head....I typed, counted, and realized I only had eleven words, so I added the word "please".  I am not kidding!

*The Good Food -- Good Friend part of my day was meeting writer friend, Lynn, for lunch today. We had a great time talking, discussing writing topics, and sharing some of our own writing.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

** Bye Bye Rain....Hello Sunshine! **

I was so fortunate to look out my front door this past Friday evening and witness a beautiful sunset. The rain had finally ended and the sun was peaking through the clouds just in time to display an array of fantastic colors. (Yesterday, too, was a perfect fall day.....sunny, blue skies and cool temps.)

Speaking of fantastic colors.....many trees in my neighborhood are either beginning to change, or are in a full blown presentation of breathtaking, jaw dropping beauty.

While driving, I can barely keep my eyes on the road, searching for every bit of leafy splendor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

** A Surprise Package **

I received a surprise package in today's mail. There were 2 Certificates of Appreciation from the St. Charles School District....one for speaking at Lincoln Elementary on September 21st, and the other for speaking at Monroe Elementary on September 23rd. But, the best part was 19 thank-you cards that some of the students at Lincoln Elementary made for me! The children took the time to draw and color pictures, plus write their own thank-you messages. Some were sweet, some were funny, and some were illegible, but they all touched my heart and I'll definitely save them in my "school speaking folder"!

My biggest wish is that at least one of them will remember me and be inspired to go for their dreams in life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

** Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative **

I have a small essay in Tiny Lights again this month. Please go to: http://tiny-lights.com/searchlights.php 
There is a monthly question posed to writers. Click on the one for 9/15: How do you keep track of your work? My title is: "Writer; Organize Thyself" ( I'm also in the 8/15: What helps you remember?) Just read the guidelines and send in your essay and voila'....you will be published!! There are other places to check out on their website, too. There is a yearly contest, literary services, links and a printed publication, which I recently subscribed to. Susan Bono, the editor-in-chief, is a really neat woman!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

** Genteel, Lovely, Intelligent, Inspiring **

The four words above is how I would describe Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor last night. They came to town to speak about the memoir they co-wrote: Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story. They read several pasages from the book and answered a few questions. I think I can say that everyone in the audience was completely captivated, myself included! There were also books to purchase and an autograph session.

Sue's book; The Secret Life of Bees, was her first novel and a HUGE success. She had non-fiction books published previously, but this novel was quite an accomplishment and was written when she was approximately 50 years old.

I've been newly inspired, recharged, and filled with confidence! Look out world, here I come!



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

** Food, Fun and Advice **

Today I took Morris Turek to lunch. He's the lawyer I mention on the right hand column of my blog. He's a copyright lawyer and a very nice guy. I've asked for his advice a few times over the past few months and he's always refused to send me a bill. So, I decided the next best thing was to invite him to lunch, my treat. He said he never turns down lunch, so that was a good compromise!

We had a great meal and I'm pretty sure I did most of the talking....In fact, I'm sure I did most of the talking!

Click on the photo of Morris to learn more about him and his agency....Your Trademark Attorney. He's located in Chesterfield. Tell him, "Becky sent me!"

** A NEW BREAD CO. LOCATION **

All you Bread Company lovers in the St. Peters area......Have you heard the great news?! A Bread Company is opening soon in a great location. It's between Pier One and Mid Rivers Mall, in a building that previously housed a carpet store, next to a mattress store. If I read the signs correctly, the mattress store appeared to be empty and for sale.

Even though the Bread Co. on Mid Rivers Mall Drive, near Hwy-94 isn't THAT far away, this new location will be a lot closer to home....AND Barnes & Noble.....another favorite hang-out!!


The new Bread Co. is scheduled to open in about 2 weeks!! Let's all make a date to have a writers meeting and dinner there, what'ya say??

** Another Breathtakingly Beeeee-u-ti-ful Day!! **

One quick thought this morning. I felt I should clarify one of the words I used in last night's blog.......

The small incident in the kitchen yesterday, was NOT part of a "typical" Becky day!!

Pretty much all the rest were, though.  ;-)

** The End of My Perfect Day **

It's almost midnight and I just had to post a note about my perfectly typical Becky kind of day!

Yes, it WAS a gorgeous day!

Yes, I e-mailed my column at the last minute...actually about 10 minutes late, but all is well.

Yes, I mistakenly sent an e-mail to the wrong person! Thank goodness the only end result was lots of laughter!

Yes, I'm very scatter-brained and forgetful and almost started a fire on the kitchen stove!!
   *side note: It's not a good idea to turn on the wrong burner when there's a cork trivet sitting on it.*
    Fortunately, Ron was home and noticed what was happening before the smoke turned into flames!

Yes, I managed to get 4 loads of laundry washed, dried and either folded or on hangers.

Yes, I put my wonderful dog, Tiger, in and outside, in and out, in and out...etc..etc..all day long! (And yes, we put her outside immediately, so she could breath fresh air, until all the smoke inside was gone.)

Yes, I picked up my husband from the car repair shop and let him use my car for a couple of hours. (No Smoking Allowed!)

Yes, I went through piles of junk mail, trying to locate those pesky bills that need to be paid.

And Yes, since I have a terrible memory, that's about all I can think of, plus the fact that it is now after midnight and I'm really getting tired, so I'll just have to say..."Goodnight, Gracie"....zzzzzzzz

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

** A PERFECT DAY **

Is there such a thing as a perfect (weather) day? I think so! It all has to do with your attitude. Some people may think a rainy day or a snowy day is perfect. I, for one, love snowy days....but mostly in the month of December!

I would say that today, here where I live, is an absolutely beautiful, perfect day! The perfect autumn day. Blue skies, some white clouds, a nice breeze, cool to warm temperatures......Ahhhhh. Life is Wonderful!

The sight of my sheer, white curtains gently puffing out and floating back in towards the open windows, leaves me with an almost indescribable feeling of happiness.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

** Sentimental Journey **


This evening is the end of a very busy week. It was very rewarding speaking to grade school and high school students on three separate days. Then today, Ron and I attended the Homecoming Events at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation & Technology. (part of St. Louis University)

Parks Fly-In Pancake Breakfast
St. Louis Downtown Airport, Cahokia IL
*We didn't fly-in...we drove! Met a very nice man, graduate of 1959.

Parks College and Institute of Technology
Alumni Merit Awards Luncheon Ceremony & Reception
Il Monastero
*Very deserving recipients and yummy food.

Parks College and Institute of Technology Open House
McDonnell Douglas Hall
*Everyone should visit here. Wonderful wall of history timeline, sometimes guided tours given by Rob the Robot!
*A new wall just opened with names & photos of past and present faculty and staff. So proud to see my dad's photo in at least 2 different places. He would've been so pleased!

Friday, September 25, 2009

** A NEW & HAPPY DAY **

I got tired, already, of the "Beautiful Music" on my play list. I listen to it a lot so I needed a change again. So, for now, we're back to my first playlist, "Marker's Mom".

As soon as I downloaded it, you'll never believe what song began to play. "Oh Happy Day"! How perfect is that?? Because it definitely IS a happy day!! For various reasons.......it's a Friday, and the sun is shining again, and I just heard the chimes clinking outside the kitchen window.....and I'm alive and well, with wonderful friends and family, and my beautiful dog, Tiger! What else could I possibly need or want?

Enjoy YOUR beautiful and happy day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

* School Days & Shuffling Through Fallen Leaves *

My morning at the high school went well today. After I spoke to the two Creative Writing classes, the teacher and I spoke excitedly about some of the books we love, and why. She showed me one of the books that one of her classes will be reading soon and it looks very interesting......particularly the part about it being set in the 1960's and it mentions the characters in the Andy Griffith Show numerous times! I want to read it, before I mention the title on my blog, so ya'll just have to be curious for awhile, I guess!

I also read out loud the first chapter of my memoir that I've been working on for X number of years. (The students didn't seem to care one way or the other about it, but what do sophomores know?!) The teacher said she really liked it and would love to read more. She even wrote down her thoughts: "Humorous, detailed, descriptive, honest, wonderful indirect characterization."
SO, that was the encouragement and motivation I've been desperately needing. Thank you, Ms. Mc!! Working on my book is my Number 1 priority now.

There's so much more I ought to do tonight, but I'm tired and calling it a night...........zzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

** Odds & Ends **

The last few days, I've either been really busy, or really down-and-out!

I felt as if I was fighting off a cold on Friday, Saturday and Sunday....plus went to Scotty's baseball game, and also kept him overnight on Saturday night. Luckily, he's old enough to entertain himself pretty well.

Thankfully, I felt much better yesterday morning, because I was scheduled to give a talk to grade school students about writing, editing and publishing. I am just amazed at how young these kids are learning about writing, and the entire writing business.....as early as 1st Grade, and sometimes Kindergarten! Another local writer and I, spoke to 4 grade levels, 2 classes of each: 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. It was a lot of fun.

Today was the only day I have nothing else scheduled, which was a good thing, because I had to get my column written and e-mailed before noon, plus I looked into other writing venues, etc. AND had to do some housework, too......Ahhh.....if only I could afford my very own "Hazel". Usually when I say that, I get odd looks from people who obviously never watched the old TV show about a live-in maid named Hazel!

The rest of the week goes like this: Tomorrow (Wednesday): the same local writer and I again speak to grade school students about writing, but at a different school.

Thursday & Friday: I'm speaking to high school students about writing (what else?!) and how I began writing so late in life, and my goals, etc.

Whew!...Then next week, I concentrate much more on my book. I've given myself (another) deadline and intend on keeping it this time! Help!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

** Music to Write By **

Are you familiar with Writing-World.com?  It's full of writing news, helpful hints, contests, etc. I just read a very interesting and helpful article about listening to different types of music while writing. It's called Music to Write By, by Indra Sena. The topics covered are below, but click on the link to read the entire article.
I found the first suggestion the most intriguing.....find a "starting song" and stick with it! Kind of like Pavlov's dog....you'll train yourself to begin writing when you hear that song! I haven't had time to choose "my" song yet....I have a feeling it'll take me awhile to decide which one to select!

1. Anchor Yourself to a Starting Song

2. Play Songs That Reflect the Period You Are Writing About

3. Play Music That Puts You In The Mood

4. Use Music That Increases Brain Functioning

5. If You Prefer Silence While Writing

~ Indra Sena is a writer living in the Catskill Mountains. After 22 years as a consultant, she left the business world a year ago to write fulltime. She is currently completing her first book, a memoir about her life as a young teenager living on her own. You can contact her at indrasena66@gmail.com. ~

I e-mailed Indra & asked her permission to post some of her article. She replied and said she'd be honored!

I hope everyone enjoys learning about writing with (or without) music. Please leave me comments, and feel free to e-mail Indra, too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

** Contest Updates **

I looked over the contests I posted on September 8th, and realized I hadn't included the links properly. I fixed that little problem this morning, plus deleted the one contest that the deadline has passed.

Happy Writing and Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

** What A Day For A Daydream **

What a glorious, perfect day to drive around with the top down on my cute, little convertible. I just can't say enough about the fabulous summer weather we've had.

After running a few errands, it was almost noon and I decided it would be a great day to go to my favorite coffee/lunch place, maybe sit outside to eat, and then do some writing on my laptop. Well.....part of that was a good idea.....the part about eating a scrumptious lunch. I didn't sit outside because those patio tables were full. I also couldn't get any writing done (other than this little blog post) due to the crowd and loud talking. Silly me. I thought if I got away from my house, and all the random objects that call my name to come and take care of them....."Fold me", says the laundry. "Wash me", says the breakfast dishes. "Clean me", says every other room in the house!!... Oh...and yes, "Let me outside, Let me inside, Feed me, etc", says Tiger!....Oh well.....it's a good reason to hang around all afternoon and wait for some quiet to happen here. And I intend to do just that!! Everything else can wait til tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

* Contests and Calls For Submissions *

 While going through some papers in my home office yesterday afternoon, I came across an old one that listed 3 websites to check out for contests and such. I'm not really sure where it came from, and I may have even typed it up for myself, but as usual with websites like these, one just leads to another and another. I was on my laptop for what seemed like hours, searching to find posts that appeard to be good ones to pass along to my writer friends. (*How many of you out there visualize what I do when I read  "....was on my laptop"....and especially "...for hours"??*)

Anyway.....I found a few that seemed interesting! Be sure to read all the rules and guidelines. Listed in no particular order, they are:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Writer’s Digest Your Story Contest
Deadline: Bimonthly on the 10th
Entry Fee: FREE
Guidelines: http://www.writersdigest.com/YourStory/

Here’s an opportunity to get published both in Writer’s Digest magazine and on their website Every other month, they give a prompt for a story. Using that prompt, you can write any type of flash narrative you like, up to 750 words. According to their guidelines, they are looking for inventiveness, creativity, and humor. Look in the current print issue of Writer’s Digest for the latest contest prompt. If you don’t want to buy it, many libraries carry copies at the circulation desk. Contest #19 ended on July 10, 2009, so the next two contest deadlines should be September 10 and November 10, 2009. The online submission form makes entering a simple process. Don’t’ forget to read past winning entries before you submit your story to “Your Story.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The First Line Winter Writing Contest
Entry Fee: FREE
Deadline: November 1, 2009

Guidelines: http://www.thefirstline.com/

“Waiting for change always seems to take longer than you would expect.”

Use this first line, verbatim, create a story between 300 and 3,000 words to enter in the First Line Writing Contest. This is a quarterly contest, so if you miss the deadline for the May contest, there will [...]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writers of comedic essays, articles, short stories, poetry, shopping lists and other forms are invited to submit. Entry Fee: $5.00
Deadline: December 1, 2009  (snail mail, postmark date) no submissions online

Mona founded the Foster City (CA) Writers Contest, taught creative writing for San Mateo County and published humorous articles and essays in newspapers and magazines. Her son Brad founded the Prize in 2000 and judges the submissions.

Works up to 750 words in length should be typed, double-spaced, accompanied by a money order or check for $5 to cover administrative costs, payable to "The Mona Schreiber Prize." No limit to entries but each must have a separate fee. Put contact information directly above the title and text on your first page.

No SASEs, please. Include e-mail address for notification of winners. All entries must be postmarked by December 1 for a December 24 announcement of three winners: 1st: $500. 2nd: $250. 3rd: $100. Entries are not returned and must be unpublished. Winners will have their entries posted on www.brashcyber.com. All other rights belong to the authors. Humor is subjective. Uniqueness is suggested. Weirdness is encouraged.

This contest does not accept e-mail submissions. All entries must be mailed to: The Mona Schreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction and Nonfiction, 15442 Vista Haven Place, Sherman Oaks, California 91403 USA

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Flannery O'Connor Contest
Prize: $1,000.00. Entry fee: $0.00. Deadline: 10-31-2009.

Shenandoah announces a special issue centering on the works of Flannery O'Connor in celebration of the journal's 60th anniversary. The editor seeks essays, poems, short stories, reviews, photographs and other artwork about, related to or in honor of the fiction and life of Ms. O'Connor. Any queries about particular submissions should be directed to rodsmith@wlu.edu. A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the best O'Connor-related work published in the issue, which is planned for Fall, 2010.  http://www.wlu.edu/x33932.xml
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** You've may have noticed that these are all No Entry Fee, or Very Minimal Entry Fee contests. I purposely chose them because of that. **

Sunday, September 6, 2009

** A New Day - A New Week - Beautiful Music **

I felt like changing my play list again this morning. It might be because it's a rainy, cloudy day. It might be because I was being lazy and didn't feel like doing much of anything else....I'm not sure, but I do know, I felt like it was time to put away the summer tunes.

For this play list, I've chosen just a few, but very beautiful songs. I'm sure I'll be adding more, as I remember other ones that I love, too.....

Relax and Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

** The End of Quite a Week **

This past week has been very eventful and memorable......full of highs and lows. The highs were the fun lunches (which I have one more to add), the wonderful writing news I received, seeing grandson Scotty and giving him his 9th birthday presents. Etc...

The other fun lunch for the week was with a wonderful friend, Sharon, at none other than Bread Co......only this time it was in South County, not in St. Peters. Had a great time....some serious discussions and many laughs, too.

The lows of the week were 2 separate days of battling headaches......on Wednesday, the 2nd and again today, although today's wasn't nearly as bad as Wednesday's was. That should definitely take care of my "headache quota" for a long time. I really hate it when one is so bad I have to lay down and hope to sleep until it goes away.

I've been plagued with various types of headaches for years; have tried to analyze why I get certain ones at certain times, have had different prescriptions, etc.....and it really all comes down to "Who knows why I get them when I do?"

I say, "Headaches, be gone! For I have way too many things to accomplish in the next few days, and therefore do not care to be in any pain!"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

** Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative **

I have an essay published on http://www.tiny-lights.com/, in the section called Search Lights and Signal Flares. They pose monthly questions and the one for 8/15/09 was:

"What helps you remember?" Mine is titled: "Unless I Forget"

Writers can click on: http://www.tiny-lights.com/searchlights.php to read questions and answers, past and present, and also view the newest question: "How do you keep track of your work?" The answers are due 9/15/09.

Sign up for their e-mail newsletters and/or subscribe to their printed issue too.

It's a fabulous "tiny" site!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

** September 1st....What a Day It's Been! **

My lunch date today was more fun and interesting than I could've possibly imagined! Thank you so much Dee, Delores and Susan for being so thoughtful and surprising me the way you did!

Plus I listened to one beautiful CD, by Sarah Brightman, all the way to and from, even though I brought 6 CD's with me. Drivers along certain highways probably heard the music and singing blasting from my car as I sped along........some of that singing wasn't from the CD.....it was from me! .....sorry about that...What can I say? I've mentioned that I actually believe I can sing!

And the "piece de resistance" was the e-mail I received, saying a story I wrote for an anthology, is in the top 101 finalists!! Hopefully, I'll know for sure within the next 30 days!!

I'm doing that happy dance again!!

* Happy September 1st *

It's another beautiful day in the neighborhood......as Mr. Rogers always sang!

I have many exciting things going on right now, even though none of them include being published, at the moment anyway! I was contacted by a high school english teacher today about speaking to a few classes on creative writing and newspaper writing, which also includes my motivational speaking about going for your dreams in life.....at any age.

Also, I'm meeting a newly acquired friend for lunch today! I'm looking forward to it, of course, but an extra bonus is that it's probably an hour's drive and I'll have enough time to listen to a favorite CD or two! Most of my driving usually consists of a few minutes here and there, so that calls for the radio, or the sounds of silence.

Other opportunities are hovering, too.....but I can't say anything yet about them. ;-)

Monday, August 31, 2009

* Online Course: Writing for Children *

Online Writing Course:

One of my writer friends, Margo Dill, is teaching Writing for Children: Everything You Wanted to Know About Writing Short Stories, Articles, and Fillers.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class will teach the basics of writing for children’s magazines, crafting short stories, nonfiction articles, poetry, and fillers. The student will come away with a short story and cover letter, nonfiction query letter, and a filler or poem. She will also have a list of potential markets, fitting her manuscripts. The instructor will also share an organizational tool for submissions and information on finding other children’s writers and networking.

STARTS: Wednesday, September 30 (Limit 15 students) COST: $200, which includes access to a Google group, ability to upload work to Google group for discussion with instructor and other class members, a free first-page critique from the instructor and a free query or cover letter critique from instructor, private email discussions with instructor as needed.

To sign up, go to this link: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/WOWclasses.html#MargoDill

To learn more about Margo, check out her blog: http://margodill.com/blog/

Sunday, August 30, 2009

** I'm Feelin' Mellow Yellow **

This morning I decided I should try to find the actual name of the beautiful little yellow birds in my photo at the above right...... I really didn't look very long, though, because I got sidetracked gazing at more and more photos of beautiful little yellow birds on various sites.....

......which then reminded me of an old instrumental song I heard often as a young child: Yellow Bird. Then it all came back to me.....an old vinyl LP, played many times on our Hi-Fi. The album was recorded by, none other than...... Lawrence Welk.

My parents watched his weekly TV show unfailingly on our old black and white set in the 1950's.

My next thought was to see if I could find that song & add it to my End of Summer playlist. Surprised and pleased....I found it (by Arthur Lyman) and it's number 41 on my summer playlist. I may add it to my newest one, Beautiful Music, because it would cerainly fit right in.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

* A Lovely Saturday Afternoon *

It's been a relaxing day so far. I watched an old (1960's) movie on TV this morning.......maybe I should say it's been a lazy day so far......

Ron and I went shopping.....he to one store, I to another. I bought a couple of inexpensive, yet adorable and much needed little accent pieces that I've been searching for, for some time! I'm always thrilled when I find just the right thing, when I really wasn't even looking, and at a bargain price!

But my most treasured purchase of all is a teeny refrigerator magnet I came across and immediately grabbed. It's about a 2" x 2" square that says:

GOALS are DREAMS
with deadlines


Nuff said!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

* End of Summer, continued.......*

Wow! I've already been contacted for 2 speaking engagements next month at local elementary schools. I love talking to students (of all ages) about my writing, and about going for your dreams in life, no matter what your age is.

I'm a pretty good example of starting later in life! I don't have any regret or sadness, either, that I didn't begin writing sooner, because I truly believe I had to live & experience all that I did, to be able to think and feel and write the way I do.

Life's great! No regrets here!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

** End of Summer **

For whatever reason, this summer has been one of the nicest ones in the St. Louis area for many years.....only a few days of very hot temperatures and high humidity. Unbelievably pleasant!

Yesterday I decided it was time to add a new playlist to my blog. Summer is definitely coming to an end, no matter how much we may want to hang onto it.

So, for a little while, my playlist is titled End of Summer and consists of only a few songs. I'm fairly sure you'll see (and hear!) why I chose these particular songs. .....now, as of September 6th, I've changed from summer songs, to just plain Beautiful Music.

Monday, August 24, 2009

** Gorgeous Necklace **










While down at "The Loop" Friday afternoon, I strolled into a jewelry store on Delmar called Jewels In The Loop. I just wanted to browse a little because I'd seen some pretty, dangly earrings in the window display.


While chatting with the owner, AJ, I mentioned that I'd been "sort of" looking for a necklace the past few months. I wanted a choker that I could wear with a variety of shirts and sweaters. I've been having a hard time finding the right necklace, and especially in just the right size. He went directly to a necklace that went perfectly with a short sleeved sweater I was wearing, and it took my breath away. It consists of multi-colored and multi-shaped beads. I put it on, looked in the mirror, and couldn't believe it. It was just right. So, I obviously had to buy it! I don't often splurge on things for myself, and especially when it comes to jewelry, but this necklace was mine!

This picture doesn't do it justice. It is just gorgeous!


Go see AJ and see what jewels he'll have for you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grade School, Girl Scouts & High School

What a trip down memory lane last night........literally!
Friend, Barb and I drove down many familiar roads.


It was great seeing familiar faces (and some, not so familiar) at a high school reunion that almost turned out to be more about our grade school and girl scout friends!


Let's see......how about some Number One songs from 1967:

Groovin' -- by The (Young) Rascals
Happy Together -- by The Turtles
Light My Fire -- by The Doors


And.....Number One songs from 1971:
My Sweet Lord -- by George Harrison (The Beatles had broken up)
Maggie May -- by Rod Stewart
It's Too Late -- by Carole King (Her album, Tapestry, was a huge hit. I almost wore mine out!)

It was too bad more people didn't or couldn't attend, but we're already talking about our next get-together.....probably in 2 years,

which will be our 40th High School Reunion!!!

Acccckkkkk.....that number does not compute! I refuse to believe it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

** Life Is Wonderful **

While driving to meet a friend for lunch today, I listened to a Jason Mraz CD. One of the songs on it is one I really love: Life is Wonderful. I always play it loud and sing along at the top of my lungs. (it's included in one or two of my playlists. maybe I'll add it to the newest one, too....I think it would fit quite nicely!)

It was a beautiful day......
blue skies, white puffy clouds, 76 degrees
Awww.......Life really is wonderful!

And to quote Jason Mraz......

"la la la la la la la life is wonderful
ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
ah la la la la la la life is meaningful"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

* Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest *

Don't you just love the title of this humorous poetry contest?? It sounds like some of those goofy words that I like to make up!

I found this contest on the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop web site. It's from Winning Writers.

There is no fee to enter, the winning prizes are nice chunks of change and there's plenty of time to enter. Good Luck!

http//www.winningwriters.com/contests/wergle/we_guidelines.php

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oops...re: Year of the Piper Cub

I just discovered that I've been saying the wrong year for the Yellow Piper Cub airplane I took a ride in last month. I thought it was a 1949, but fortunately someone at the Iowa Aviation Museum corrected me.

It's a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub.

(I have corrected it on the post for Wednesday, July 22, 2009.)

Thanks, Lee Ann!

Writer Friend Published in New Anthology


Congratulations to Tricia Grissom!
Tricia has a story included in a new anthology:

Dirt is Good for You: True Stories of Surviving Parenthood.
Great title, don't you think?

It is due out on September 9th.

Go to Tricia's blog to find out more about the book and about Tricia herself.




Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Parks Today" Alumni News

I finally received my Parks College of Engineering, Aviation & Technology alumni newsletter today. I had checked my (snail) mail box daily for its arrival. I felt like a kid, waiting for a special present to show up, and was so disappointed every day when it wasn't there.

But it was definitely worth the wait. All I can say is: WOW! They did a fantastic job with my article about my dad's years there as a student and teacher. The layout with the photos I provided is just perfect. I will treasure it always.

As soon as the newsletter is available online, I'll include a link for it.

I've already heard from a couple of alumni, and I hope to hear from many more!

Friday, August 14, 2009

** THIS AND THAT **

I scrolled through my blog posts and photos a few minutes ago and was reminded once again how much my writer-friends mean to me.

Not too many years ago, I lamented that I "had no talent". I always spoke of one sister as "the artistic one". She could paint, draw, sketch, sculpt, etc. My other sister could whip up clothes on her sewing machine that looked as well as, or better than, the ones in the department stores. My brother played the banjo, had a talent for comedy, and could take slabs of wood and make beautiful furniture out of them.....Then there was me. I hadn't discovered anything that I was really good at.....that I could develop a passion for.

That all changed when I realized I was a writer.....that I loved to write....I wanted to write.....I had to write. Writing has brought many new friends into my life. We encourage each other, we cheer for each other, we grumble a little together.

I can't imagine what my life would be like right now, today, August 14, 2009, if I wasn't thinking about writing continually, from the moment I wake up til I finally fall asleep at night......and speaking of falling asleep, I need to close up the laptop for tonight and.....zzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

** MY BEAUTIFUL WIND CHIMES **

Here's a photo of my wind chimes that I've written about. They hang right outside the window over my kitchen sink......Lovely to look at, even lovlier to hear!

** THE LIVING YEARS **

There's a song by Mike & The Mechanics called The Living Years that came out in the mid to late 1980's. It's about a guy who's at odds with his dad all the time. When his dad died, he wasn't with him, nor had he gotten around to telling him all the things he had to say..... (good things)

Every time I heard that song, it spoke volumes to me. It was during that same time that I had conflicted feelings about my dad. I wished things were different between us. I wanted to see him, but when I did, it was uncomfortable...for both of us. We didn't know what to talk about. We were strangers. We never reached the kind of relationship I so desperately wanted, but we at least reconnected the last couple of years he was alive. He knew I loved him and I knew he loved me.

The Living Years is on one or more of my playlists....maybe I'll add it to this newest one..... I think both the music and lyrics are beautiful.

Don't wait until it's too late to tell people how much they mean to you. Do it in the living years.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

** Julie & Julia **

This afternoon my friend Sherry and I went to see Julie & Julia. I loved it! Meryl Streep was superb, as always, and Amy Adams has become one of my favorite actors. I thought she was perfect for the role of Julie.

Usually when I like a movie, it's because of one major theme......a great love story, a hilarious comedy, a tense thriller. I really enjoyed Julie & Julia for various reasons. It was funny, sweet, poignant, and it was thrilling when Julia received the acceptance letter from the publisher for her cookbook!

As well as, when Julie received numerous phone calls from editors and agents who wanted to speak with her about publishing a book......well...... I was right there with her, dreaming of the day when I might hear those fabulous words, myself!

Friday, August 7, 2009

** A BLAST TO THE PAST & BACK **

I drove to Belleville, Illinois today to have lunch with some old friends....old as in how many years we've known each other. We met when I was in the 4th grade. We had a blast, talking about the past!

On the way home, I stopped off in Cahokia, Illinois to do more reminiscing. I drove past the house that had been home to my brother-in-law's parents for many years. I was pleased to see that it still looked nice, even though the neighborhood is deteriorating.

Then it was another mile or two until I turned into the lane that was home for my first seven years of life. What had happened? The street had shrunk and was way too narrow. The front yards were the size of miniature golf greens and the trees eclipsed the tiny bungalows. How in the world did we have so much room to run and play when I was young?

My house and most of the others had been neglected and looked different than the last time I'd taken this sentimental journey. As I slowly inched along, reading the house numbers, I recalled the names of the families I had known so well. The "so and so's" lived at 803, then next door had been the "J" family, and then my house at 807. I came to a complete stop and just stared for awhile, feeling sad. My brain accepts the fact that things change and sometimes in unpleasant ways, but my heart screams NO.

A brief moment did bring a smile to my face. I saw the original aluminum awnings on a house with the big "M" on them. They weren't rusty or aged looking. That warmed my heart, as if those wonderful people still lived there. And if they did, I knew if I parked my car in their driveway, walked up to the door and knocked, they would welcome me in with open arms.

While driving back home, thoughts and memories tumbled in my mind like clothes in a clothes-dryer. Going back to reminisce about those happy times during the 1950's is great fun, but when I'm back in reality, it's wonderful during a hot day like today, to have a/c in my car!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aggie's Tea Room in O'Fallon, Missouri

Aggie's Tea Room has announced the opening of their Wine, Beer & Tapas Garden:
(Owned by my friend, Aggie!!)

We welcome reservations both for lunch, dinner, parties , groups or for any special occasions!
If you have any questions, please feel free to call!
Again, we would like to thank you all for your patronage in the past as well as encouragement in this new venture! Looking forward to seeing you at Aggie's


Aggie AND STAFF Aggie's Closet and Tea Room 9036 Veterans Memorial Parkway O'fallon, MO 63366 mailto:636-379-6878aggiestearoom@aol.com
http://www.aggiestearoom.com/

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Awwww.......a sweet, cute boy from a different decade!
What's that in the little cage he's holding?

Monday, August 3, 2009

** Love My Play List **

I just love the music I've chosen for this blog! I was surprised at how quickly, too, I was able to think of songs I liked and try to find them. Also, I'd hear an old song on the radio, jot it down in one of my many trusty notepads.....this would usually happen while I was driving my car, so it would most likely be scribbled and quite hard to read!...and then when I'd get back home, I'd add it to my play list. I also added songs that I have on CD's or albums. The best part, I think, is the "shuffle" option. I just listened to Celine Dion sing Ave Maria then it went straight to The London Beat singing I've Been Thinking About You, and then to Dion singing The Wanderer.


Right now, you're listening to my newest play list: Beautiful Music. All soft and lovely songs.....

What a great way to start my morning!......Hello Music!.. Coffee...Sunshine...Writing in my blog!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

* Compliments *

Recently, Theresa shared some information with Tammy and me that concerned the presentation we gave at the Kisker Road Library last month. Each of us had spoken about our writing, and then read one of our stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Sometime after that, Theresa met a friend that had been there that evening. She said what impressed her most was our similarities in approach, but also the differences in our stories. She said I was an exceptional speaker, Tammy's story made her cry, and that she loved Theresa's descriptive reference about some "poo-poo towels" in her story!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

~~ Am I Living In The 1950's? ~~

On July 17th, I wrote about my much-hated dishwasher, and the strange turn of events that somehow caused me to decide I'd rather wash our dishes by hand, then buy a new one.

Just this afternoon, my husband said something to me that I would never have expected to hear from him.....nor would I expect to hear it from any of my friends' husbands!

He said, "You know....I really do like getting a dish or glass from the cupboard and not seeing spots all over it." OMG! For that brief moment, I had a husband just like Ward Cleaver!!
I was actually pleased to hear him say that, too, which makes it even weirder....I felt just like June Cleaver!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

~~ Writing Up a Storm ~~

This past weekend and most of Monday was spent writing one story....Just one story, consisting of approximately 920 words for an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book.

Sometimes thoughts become sentences and just flow onto the pages....and other times, it takes hours to get one word that portrays the right feelings. When I finally decided it was the best it could be and I clicked on that "submit" button, I was so overjoyed and exhausted, I flopped on the couch and immediately fell asleep!

I really, really want this one to get accepted.......I worked so hard on it.....

** Speaking of working hard and being exhausted ** I just realized it was past midnight when I posted this. It is now Tuesday, July 28th.....my oldest son Scott's birthday!! MANY years ago, he was born in Ft. Bliss, Texas. It was a difficult delivery, but I was so young and naive, I didn't even think to worry. I just foolishly believed all doctors were god-like and that everything would be just fine. Fortunately, he didn't have any lasting problems.......and eventually I was okay, too. Happy Birthday, Scott! You have always made your mom proud!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

** Flying in a 1946 Piper Cub **


Anyone who knows me very well, knows that the thought of me flying in a tiny, 2-seater 1946 Piper Cub prop plane, would be totally unbelievable! BUT, during my visit to the RAGBRAI Event in Greenfield, Iowa, I thought it sounded like a fun, adventurous thing to do!! As you can see by the photo, the pilot is helping me into my seat, in the front of the plane.....no right side door or window....and he sat directly behind me, somehow controlling the plane!


We flew around the town of Greenfield, population 2100, for about 20 minutes. We saw many of the bicyclists riding into town, plus some of the support crews in their campers, buses, etc. I was also able to pick out the house my grandma and grandpa lived in all those years ago when I visited as a young child!!


It was absolutely amazing and I can't wait to do it again!


(I'm also ready for those hot-air balloon rides and wild roller coasters!!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

** Back Home in Missouri **

We got home this evening from our fabulous trip to Iowa. I'll write more tomorrow, after I have time to reflect and remember.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

** Day Two of Our Iowa Vacation - Sun 7/19/09

The rumbling trains weren't as sleep-depriving as we'd expected. Yay! BUT, every time one did blast its horn and roar by, I immediately smiled and pictured "Vinny" and "Mona Lisa Vito", waking up in panic, and then laughter.

I've lost a day of posting.....It's been verrry interesting so far. Ron and I had a much too close encounter with a deer on a two-lane highway on Saturday night, in the dark. Cousins Nancy and Denny had warned us to keep a watchful eye, because deer were everywhere. We saw one near the side of the highway shortly after we left their house, driving back to our motel. I had JUST said "knock on wood" about the deer situation and was singing Knock on Wood, and acting silly, as I many times do.....when fortunately Ron wasn't paying any attention to me.....because he saw the large deer run right in front of us and was able to apply the brakes!!!!! THAT was the closest either one of us has ever been to hitting ANY kind of animal......Whew!

More later..........

Saturday, July 18, 2009

** Day One of Our Iowa Vacation **

Oh my gosh. Before we even pulled into the parking lot of our motel, I had a feeling about the place. I noticed a railroad train track being quite close and wondered silently if it would be noisy at all hours of the day and night.

I had visions of the movie, "My Cousin Vinny". Vinny and his "fiance" stay at various seedy hotels in the South, while he tries to defend his nephew and a friend, falsely accused of murder. A very loud train goes through town, right next to their hotel, and besides waking them up in the middle of the night, pictures fall off the walls, drinking glasses jiggle right off the night stands, the lamps and lamp shades wobble and almost tip over, etc.

WELL...we hadn't even gotten settled into our room, when the first of many trains roared and clattered along, sounding as if it might just blast through the wall.

I can't wait til bedtime.......

Friday, July 17, 2009

** Various Thoughts **

1) I just looked back at a post I began on July 13th about "getting by on little sleep"....I'd been full of energy that day, after only getting about 4 hours of sleep the night before. I felt so good and proud of myself for getting so many things accomplished. That happens from time to time.....and then ka-boom! A day or two later, I experience one of my "sleep marathon" days. I do nothing BUT sleep. Awww, so much for feeling great and as if I'm Super Energetic Woman!

2) I've been ranting and raving for months....maybe a year or more....about my dishwasher. It has never cleaned properly, I swear, from the day we got it. I should've complained, taken it back, whatever...right away, but didn't. Anyway....I've been wishing and hoping that it would just completely break down, so I could get a new one. Well, a funny thing happened on my trek to a new dishwasher....I decided I don't want one.....YET anyway! I've totally been enjoying washing my dishes the old-fashioned way...by hand! My kitchen sink is in front of a window looking out to my back yard. I see part of our beautiful deck that my husband designed, and built by hand, entirely by himself, just a couple of years ago. I also see our bird feeder which can give hours of pleasure, just watching the birds and squirrels fighting to get at the bird seed....plus the birds, squirrels and bunny rabbits that all take turns eating the seeds that have fallen on the grass below. I also see trees swaying in the breeze, or standing motionless during calm days. Best of all, though, I gaze at my new wind chimes as the pipes gently swing and tap each other, making such glorious sounds, I couldn't feel any emotions other than enchantment and joy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

** A GREAT READ **


Last night I finished a fabulous book!....Blind Submission, by Debra Ginsberg.
I had a feeling I would love it as soon as I read the dedication...it's to writers and book lovers, but I won't quote it exactly....partly because it may not be legal to do that!!...and partly because I want ya'll to read it for yourself. It is very moving.

I'm always doubly excited when I just happon upon a book, whether it's in the library or book store, and I gobble it up because it's just soooo good!! That's how it was with this book. I read and read until my eyes would get too blurry to see!
(I bought this one at Barnes & Noble while just browsing one day.)

I'm sure that all of my writer-friends out there will love this novel. Not only is it wonderfully written, but it's also about the book industry! Writers, Agents, Assistants, Publishers, etc.

Normally, I don't like to compare books, but I had the same thought as some of the "big name" reviewers: it's similar to The Devil Wears Prada....the boss from hell and her overworked, unappreciated assistant!

It's funny and suspenseful and I highly recommend it!!

*This was Debra's first novel. She's also written three memoirs, which I'll definitely be reading next! You can learn more about Debra at www.debraginsberg.com/

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting Back to The Basics

I've recently made the decision that I've been wearing too many hats again. I tend to take on too many projects; thinking I can fit them all into my life, and then realize later that I can't.....something's bound to suffer....and eventually that something is me.

SO......in an attempt to keep my sanity, (yeah, I know...that's pushing it) I've decided to quit working at Barnes & Noble. Even though I was only working very few hours a week, it was becoming harder for me to concentrate on the really important things in my life.....and not only concentrate on them, but to really get them accomplished.

Sunday afternoon will be my last day and I'm leaving on good terms. It really was a difficult decision, because I do enjoy being there. It's a great place to work and I truly have great fondness for the employees. The idea is that I can come back during the Christmas rush, and be a seasonal employee.

Making this decision has really lifted a weight off my shoulders and I hope to get back to a more organized life! In a couple of months, I'll let ya'll know how that's working out for me!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

** Quit Treating Me Like An Old Lady!! **

In my newspaper column this week, I wrote about the good and bad things regarding aging. I have one real pet-peeve and it seems to happen a lot lately. It concerns young (and some not-so-young) waitresses calling me "Hon" or "Dear" when asking for my order. I really do not like that!!! It even happened once when I was the youngest one at the table....not by many years, but still....I was the youngest.....and I was the only one referred to that way!

Yesterday, while Tammy and I were at lunch and chatting about all kinds of subjects, we talked about this same issue. She is about 10 years younger than me, but still is feeling the "age thing" beginning to bother her.

I said we should come up with a response for when we are called "hon" or "dear". Suddenly, out of the blue, the following retort came to my mind:
"Uh, excuse me, but I don't care for that name. Would you please call me hot stuff"?
We both busted out laughing and giggling until we had tears rolling down our cheeks, pain in our stomachs and I was doing my "laughing-snort"! Thank goodness the restaurant was fairly empty and we didn't seem to be getting any strange stares.

If anyone did look our way, they probably thought: "Look at those 2 older ladies acting like teenagers! How embarrassing and weird is that?! Geez!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

** I've Lost Count..... of many things....**

The answer is: 9 or 10: Number of days in a row that we've had 90+ degree temperatures.


The answer is: 7 or 8: Number of days since I've been able to go out for my neighborhood walk. (due to the high temperatures, plus very high humidity.)


The answer is: 3: Number of hours I've been up and I'm so lethargic, I'm still in my jammies.

The answer is: 60: Number of minutes until I'm meeting my friend, Tammy, for lunch at one of our favorite places.....Bread Co. !!

The answer is: ZERO: Number of minutes I have left to waste!

Hello Sunshine! Hello blue skies! Hello friendships! Hello joy and happiness! Hello gift of life!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My 15 Minutes of fame goes on, and on, and..

About 13 years ago, I was listening to a local radio station, when the DJ asked listeners to call in with some of their favorite St. Louis Cardinal baseball memories. My phone call was answered and all of a sudden, I was talking on the radio! I mentioned being a fan since Stan Musial days....yes, I was a mere child back then!.....and how my (then 9 year old) son Mark, and I were the big baseball fans in our house, watching games on TV, etc. The next thing I knew I had won 2 tickets -- for Mark and me --to that night's Play Off game against the Atlanta Braves! They were great seats, too....about the 8th row back, right along the first base line.


Not only was I on the radio, but a local TV station's reporter and camerman showed up at the radio station when I went there to pick up the tickets.....THEN they went to Mark's grade school and did a little piece there! Mark said about 2 words....."yeah" and "yeah"!

In the past couple of weeks, I've had 2 male friends tell me they heard me on the radio again, because that same DJ was celebrating his 25 years on St. Louis FM radio, and played all his favorites bits.

The only unhappy, unfortunate, and heartbreaking thing about the entire day, afternoon and evening was the fact that the Cardinals LOST, with a score of something like 14 - O!!!

Well, you win some and you lose some.....

Thanks for the memories........again...JC!!



Monday, June 22, 2009

~~ We're Having a Heat Wave ~~

We're having a heat wave ~~~~ a tropical heat wave!! ~~~

We've already had a few days of 90+ degrees here in the St. Louis area. I just checked The Weather Channel's website: www.weather.com and the prediction is for about 10 more days of the same.

Well....it IS summertime, isn't it??

* BLOGGER IS DRIVING ME BATTY! *

Are any of you having problems with Blogger?? I keep trying to work on my template, background, etc. and it just keeps freezing up!   I...