"...IF YOU FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, DOORS WILL OPEN FOR YOU THAT WOULDN'T HAVE OPENED FOR ANYONE ELSE." - Joseph Campbell

"SOMETIMES ON THE WAY TO YOUR DREAM, YOU GET LOST AND FIND A BETTER ONE." - Unknown (as seen on River's blog, "Drifting Through Life")

"IT IS POSSIBLE AT ANY AGE TO DISCOVER A LIFELONG DESIRE YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD." - Robert Brault


"IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN." - George Eliot

"WE DID NOT CHANGE AS WE GREW OLDER. WE JUST BECAME MORE CLEARLY OURSELVES." - Lynn Hall

"GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS! LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGED." - Henry David Thoreau



Saturday, January 30, 2010

*Day Two of the Writer/Retreat - Saturday Night*

(Joyce Rupp & Mary Kay Shanley: our presenters, during a break)

This writing workshop....this spiritual retreat, has been an absolutely amazing experience. I hate to think that at noon tomorrow it will be over. It's been a wonderful gathering of 30 marvelous, unique women. We've had writing "assignments" to do each evening, we've listened and learned during the day, we've laughed, we've shared some of our inner thoughts, we've sang, & even learned a beautiful dance....The Elm Dance.

I can't begin to convey all I have learned....especially about myself.....in this short workshop. The first night's assignment was to free-write about three different people who have affected our lives...either positively or negatively. Then we had to break it down into just one person, and then into just one aspect of that person. I found that very difficult. In my second night of free-writing (last night), I found myself writing about some of my own emotions that I had either never thought of in that way, or not thought of, at all.

I've met women I will remember for a long, long time, hopefully forever; although I'm sure I will never see most of them again.

When the opportunity and wherewithal comes again for something this incredible, I will definitely be there!



(Getting some snacks during a break)
All photos courtesy B.P.



"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." --Alan Alda

Friday, January 29, 2010

** Day One of the Writer/Retreat **

Good Morning! Brrrr...it is COLD here in Des Moines. Of course, I knew it would be, but somehow it's still always a shock when you actually FEEL it! Temp last night was below zero-something. Temp right now is 4 degrees, with the ever popular "feels like" -8! High for today a whopping 15 with low tonite -5. We are just so grateful that it's dry, though....no snow, sleet, ice...all that lovely precipitation. There are still piles of snow everywhere, from the blizzard that came through about a week ago and with these temps, they won't be melting any time soon.

I say it's Day One today, but we really began last night from 6:30 to 9:00pm. So far, I'm really glad I came. A couple of things were said in the first few minutes of the presentation that were so "coincidental" that I felt as if I was truly meant to be here. More on that later.......

One not-so-good thing: The Hotel. It's clean and convenient.....right next door to the meeting place (another blog about that later, too) but, not the best service and there aren't enough electrical plugs in our room!! We had to unplug a lamp, to plug in my laptop....And we had to move the microwave onto the bathroom sink for a few seconds while I warmed up something to eat! Ewwww!! Oh well.....we aren't complaining....yet!

Okay...Gotta get going. We had a writing assignment last night that I still need to go over! More later!

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection." - Anais Nin

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

** Tomorrow is the Big Day **

(photo courtesy of transitionsabroad.com)
Tomorrow, Thursday January 28th, I'll be on my way to Des Moines, Iowa. My fabulous husband is taking a couple of days off, to drive me to a women's writer retreat/workshop! He is such a great guy!

I've listed some of the information below. The line that really got me is the sentence below, in blue ink. Doesn't that sound fantastic? I'm sure I'll be blogging about it!

Coming Home: Writing From the Soul

Presented by: Joyce Rupp and Mary Kay Shanley

A Winter Retreat for Women

(Thursday evening through Sunday noon)

Visualize being with a group of vibrant women who are tending their souls in a light-filled, cozy room with a fireplace glowing on a clear winter’s day. Add to this, the development of writing skills that help express what is hidden within the deeper self. All this awaits you on this retreat, plus the joy of relating to others equally intent on greater discovery and celebration of their purpose and direction in life.

Joyce Rupp offers her extensive experience of spiritual growth through creative ritual and reflective conferences. Mary Kay Shanley brings her respected skills of teaching at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival and other national writing workshops to lead the group through inventive processes that develop and hone writing abilities.

Limited to 30 Participants.

"A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing." -- Eugene Ionesco

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

** Various Thoughts on a Cold Tuesday Night **

* I've had some really strange dreams lately. I seem to go through stages of consecutive nights of dreams that just wear me out & I wake up exhausted! And that's not good, considering I only sleep about 5 hours most of the time. These dreams aren't nightmares by any means, they just consist of weird events which semi -pertain to my past or present life; with people that I know or have known, etc. The strangest part about the last two nights' dreams is that they were kind of connected.......a "to be continued" kind of dream. I'm almost afraid to go to sleep tonight! Maybe I'll blog a little longer and then get back to writing my book...and see how long I can stay awake!

* Yesterday in the midst of doing a few errands, I realized I was getting a flat tire. I had to drive to the nearest tire place and get it patched. Although I was slightly aggravated for the time I lost, I was so grateful it didn't go completely flat somewhere in traffic! It was so cold and windy, it would've been quite ghastly, dahhhhling!

* My brother and sister-in-law live in northern Iowa and have been having a brutal winter....worse than usual, which is pretty bad! I received an e-mail from Alice today, saying that she and my brother were both off work today due to the weather. They live in a very small town and many things are within walking distance, but they've had snow, blowing winds, a bit of a thaw, and then refreezing, so many places were closed for the day. She said they read the funniest, most ironic piece of news on their local cable channel: "The Cabin Fever Open House at The Library is Cancelled."

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." -- Herm Albright

** A Day of Weather Potpourri **

Weather Today: A Lovely Medley




Today's weather consisted of quite a variety of conditions. When I first got up, there was a dusting of snow on our deck. It was the odd, tiny pellet, weightless kind. Off and on during the morning, the sun peaked out and then hid behind clouds, all the while, large snow flurries swirled in every direction. The wind was cold and sharp and almost took my breath away a time or two when I let Tiger out the patio door. By afternoon, the snow had melted from the deck, the sun was out in all its brilliance, and Tiger layed outside on the driveway, but for just a little while though, because the temperature was still way too low.

All of this reminded me of the picture I took of her last year, basking in a sun ray. Her body was on the family room carpet, and her nose was on the kitchen floor. Voile' Here is that picture! It was taken almost exactly a year ago, and certainly fits right in with today's blog.


“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it” -- Ninon de Lenclos

Monday, January 25, 2010

(photo taken by Becky from front porch)
What's that I saw in the evening sky yesterday around 5:00pm???
Why, it was a blue sky, with a few little clouds here and there, and the beginnng of a pretty sunset!! The dark and dreary gloom that surrounded us for so many days finally lifted! It may not last, but I joyfully accepted the here-and-now of it, and I sang "Oh Happy Day"! (see song 158 in play list below!)

After going through my copy of "Time to Write" again yesterday, I have another, new burst of writing energy, thus the reason I am up and at my laptop at 1:00 am Monday morning! Now, back to my writing!! I hope everyone has a happy Monday!

Oh Happy Day.....oh happy day.... ♫♪♪♫

"Light tomorrow with today!" -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sunday, January 24, 2010

*The Contest Winner Is...Drum Roll Please...JANEL

Hey Everyone! Thanks so much for all the entries in my First Ever Blog Contest! I've jotted down all the book suggestions on one of my many pieces of scrap paper, and hope to get around to reading them someday! (By the way, I will list the names later!)

Janel is the Big Winner and has chosen to receive "Thinking Write", by Kelly L. Stone. I will contact Kelly and have her autograph a bookplate for Janel, and her book will be shipped asap!!


(Photo of book cover courtesy of Kelly L.Stone)

I really appreciate all of you that took the time to enter and I plan on having different contests fairly often, so please don't forget to stop by often, and tell your friends!


“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” -- Paul Sweeney

Saturday, January 23, 2010

** It's Saturday Jan 23rd -- My Contest Ends Tonight at Midnight **

Hey Everyone!

There's still time to enter my First Blog Contest. Just read the instructions and rules posted last Saturday, January 16th. The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced tomorrow morning sometime!

This has been really fun and interesting for me and I hope for all of you as well.


"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

- Douglas Adams

Friday, January 22, 2010

** It's Friday....and... "There Ain't No Sunshine...♫♪.."

Well.....it was another lovely day of no sunshine here in this part of the country. The forecast was for at least partial sun, but alas the meteorologists were wrong again....Now, we may possibly catch a glimpse of that beautiful golden ball by NEXT TUESDAY. Awww...I said I'd quit complaining about the weather, but it's kind of hard sometimes! If I wanted to live in this kind of climate, I wouldn't be living in the Midwest, I'd be living in the Seattle/Tacoma area! And, I have lived there before.....and it really was depressing. I must've lived there at least a month before I knew Mt. Rainier could be seen right outside my apartment window! It took that long for the clouds to move on, the rain and fog to disappear, and the skies to clear up!

Oh well, the last I heard we'll be getting colder temps and snow flurries later next week.....and I'll be in Iowa for a Women's Writing Retreat, so I could be in the middle of a blizzard there! 

No sense complaining about the weather....It could always be worse.

“There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting” -- George Carlin

Thursday, January 21, 2010

** National Hugging Day **

How many of you knew that today was National Hugging Day? I sure didn't! In fact, I would venture to say that a lot of people didn't. I only found out when I sat down for a few minutes to have a bite of lunch and watch some of the noon news on TV. Besides talking about it, the anchor also showed a few videos of a guy walking up to complete strangers on a city sidewalk and trying to persuade them to give and receive a hug. It was very interesting to watch. You can imagine, you might feel a little weird if a stranger wanted to hug you, too. I also felt sorry for the guy when people shook their heads "no" and walked away. Very cool psychology experiment!

Some people just don't show any physical emotions, even with their own family members, which I can't fathom because everyone in my family is "a hugger". I love to give and receive hugs...to my family and friends...and even people I may have just met. That's just me....So look out, next time you see me, I'll probably want to hug you! (And hey, don't forget to give yourself some "inner" hugs! Love yourself!)



(photo courtesy of CrossDaily.com)

"Sometimes it's better to put love into hugs than to put it into words" -- Author Unknown

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

** Appreciate Life More **

Today while driving home from getting my hair cut (really short and I love it!), I was still silently sulking about the shroud of fog that has engulfed our area the past few days. I was sick of the cloudiness, the damp cold, the absence of sunlight and warmth. I couldn't even find any decent music on my car radio as I scanned the stations. Then I had one of those moments....What is the matter with me? Look how fortunate I am: I'm driving a car, I have a lovely house to go home to, I have all the necessities in life, plus so much more, which many people might consider luxuries.....And so, I snapped out of it! No more whining or complaining! And in honor of how I felt, I searched for just the right quote to end with. Instead of a quote, I discovered a poem, which in reality is eight quotes, but some really good ones.
Do Less
DO LESS THINKING,
and pay more attention to your heart.
DO LESS ACQUIRING,
and pay more attention to what you already have.
DO LESS COMPLAINING,
and pay more attention to giving.
DO LESS CONTROLLING,
and pay more attention to letting go.
DO LESS CRITICIZING,
and pay more attention to complimenting.
DO LESS ARGUING,
and pay more attention to forgiveness.
DO LESS RUNNING AROUND,
and pay more attention to stillness.
DO LESS TALKING,
and pay more attention to silence.

Author -- Unknown

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

** Another Foggy, Dancin' Day in Paradise **

Various thoughts on another foggy morning......

Where's the sun?? I need the sunshine!!! I can only turn on so many lights inside my house, to make it bright and light and sunny-ish.....before the entire neighborhood loses their electricity!

Last night, I changed my Play List (again), because I wanted more..♪ Dancin' Music! ♫....Everybody dance now!! ♫♪  ..I can't be in a blah mood listening to these songs!

There's still plenty of time to enter my Book Give-Away Contest. Just scroll down, read all about it, and submit your comment(s). I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 24th.

Back to my cleaning and organizing. I am making fantastic progress in this office, and fitting in some writing, too!

Have a happy day everyone! Paradise is in the eye of the beholder!


"The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.” – Unknown

Saturday, January 16, 2010

** My First Blog Contest for a Book Give-Away **




Have you ever stumbled across a book in the library, bookstore, or online, when you were actually searching for something else?....And you were curious because of the title, book cover, or first couple of sentences you read? And it turned out to be an amazing book? One that made you remember why you love to read so much? A self-help book that helped you tremendously? A novel that you couldn’t forget? A book you had to tell others about? And try to find more by the same author?

That experience has happened to me quite a few times and I thought it would be fun to know if I'm not alone in this. I'd like to do this every other month or so, depending on the responses I receive! The prize this first time will be one of Kelly L. Stone's wonderful books, either "Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind" or "Time to Write: Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing into Your Busy Life". The winner can choose which one he or she would like, and Kelly will autograph a bookplate, especially to the winner! I'm choosing Kelly as my first author, because I stumbled across her book "Time to Write" in the library while searching for other books about writing. Just the first few sentences made such an impression on me that I borrowed it that evening, and purchased it shortly after, so I would have it forever and could always go back to it for more inspiration! Thanks, Kelly, for being part of my first blog contest!


Just a couple of “Rules.” Addendum: The copyright year (rule 3) is not that important! I'm mostly particular about the author not being famous. (rule 1)

1) It can’t be written by a “famous” author. Someone we’ve all heard of….Those people that are continually pumping out books and winding up on the Best Sellers List. I want to hear about unknowns & semi-unknowns, male or female writers.

2) It can’t be a book that someone recommended to you. You had to have found it all by yourself.

3) Leave a comment telling me the name of the book, the author, the copyright date, approximately when you read it, and a brief description about the affect it had on you.

4) You many enter up to 3 books, but they all must be on separate comments.

I’ve found most of my favorite writers this way and I’m curious about the rest of you! This should be a great way to share some of those hidden gems out there. I’m really looking forward to discovering more great writers! Tell your friends, too, to stop by my blog and enter for a chance to win.

*Don't fret if you don't see your comment immediately, or even really fast! I have the comment moderation on, so it may be awhile before I get around to checking them!*


Deadline will be next Saturday, January 23rd at midnight CST.
The winner’s name will be chosen randomly.
I will not post any comments I believe to be vulgar or in bad taste, etc. If the comment isn't posted, it obviously won't be eligible to win.


Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life." -- Helen Exley

Friday, January 15, 2010

** Cleaning To The Music **

I just love my Play List! I've been listening to it all day and this evening, while I've been working in my office. I have it set on the random shuffle mode and it's so much fun, I just had to take a break, dance a little, and write about it!

The last 3 songs that played were these:

"The Lord's Prayer"; by the awesome Italian tenors, Il Divo.
"An Everlasting Love"; by the fabulous Natalie Cole (from the Soundtrack of "While You Were Sleeping")
"Hey Ya"; by the group, Outkast. This song reminds me of something from the '60s or '70s. When my son informed me it was brand new a couple of years ago, I was really surprised.  Peanuts Dance to Hey Ya 
My writer-friend, Lynn O. sent me this video a few months ago, because she heard "Hey Ya" on my blog and also loves it. It cracks me up every time I see it, and now I can't hardly listen to the song, without seeing the Peanuts gang all dancing to it!

In the few minutes it took for those three songs to play, my mood went from calm & serene, to delighted & joyful, to boisterous & dancing. I just can't stop myself from singing when I know the words; humming when I don't; and dancing no matter what!

“We are fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” - Japanese Proverb

Thursday, January 14, 2010

** Family, Friends, and Love **


(clip art picture)
First of all, Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister-in-law, Alice!! (I thought I better post that, since she's an avid reader of my blog!) We have so much in common, especially our love of books and reading....and of course, being fabulous women!  Have a great weekend, Sis! Wish I was there to celebrate with you!





(My office; photo taken by Becky)
I'm in the midst of:  Being in a writing blitz. Going through my piles of junk; what to save and where; what to throw out or recycle. Doing loads of laundry. Paying bills. Reading friends' blogs. Cleaning up the kitchen. Putting away folded clothes. Letting my dog, Tiger out, letting Tiger back in, letting Tiger back out ....It occurred to me tonight that every one of my days and evenings are almost exactly the same, and yet, I'm not bored. I don't wish I was someone else, or lived somewhere else. I'm enjoying my life so very, very much. I am happy. I sing. I dance. I laugh. I joke. I talk to my husband, family, friends, Tiger......whoever will listen! I know I'm so fortunate to have a happy marriage, a great family, wonderful friends. Of course, my life is not perfect. I've had tremendous worries, I've suffered losses, and some of my younger years were awful, but I got through it all. And I've decided that what helped me get through the tough times was Love. Each time I needed help, each time I needed a solution, each time I needed comfort....it was love that saved me. At times it was the love of a sister, or my husband, or a friend, or that spiritual kind of love I've experienced a few times in my life. It happened either by reading something so comforting, listening to beautiful music, or hearing words that helped me make sense of things. That feeling...a peacefulness, a serenity that calmed me, I believe that is with me always. That is my cloak of comfort. That is my cloak of happiness.



(Plaque hanging on my wall. photo taken by Becky)

My quote for the day is the one on this plaque.
"Live as though Heaven is on earth." -- Alfred Souza

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

*** Do Something to Help Area Kids ***

I first learned about Lift for Life Gym in August 2009. That's when my friend, photographer Jonathan Pollack, posted pictures and comments about the gym on his blog: http://www.jpollackphoto.blogspot.com/.
A little background: These are inner city kids (St.Louis, Mo) and 91% of them are from families living below the federal poverty level. In addition, 70% of the kids who regularly attend the Gym are between 15 and 18 -- at an age when it's usually hardest to get kids to "join" anything. But the kids wait outside the door in the afternoons for the Gym to open.

I was immediately drawn to the kids who were benefiting from this wonderful facility and wanted to help in some way. I contacted Susan Kelter via e-mail and we wrote back and forth a time or two until I realized what I would like to do. When I discovered many of the kids do not receive a birthday gift or even a card, I offered to make homemade birthday cards for each child. My cards are nothing fancy...just plain card stock, some age and gender appropriate stickers, words of encouragement, and my young-at-heart printing. When I heard how much the kids liked the cards, I was so touched. I'll continue to make them as long as they want.

The reason for this post is not to draw attention to myself, but to ask others to help, as well. Please go to the website: http://www.liftforlife.org/ click on "About the Gym" and see what you may be able to do. (There is also a charter school, Lift for Life Academy, but the cards I make are for the kids that hang out at the gym.) A little bit of thought and kindness, goes a long way!

"Nine-tenths of education is encouragement." -- Anatole France

Monday, January 11, 2010

** I Did It....I Did It!! **

Today was the first day I've felt like writing in quite some time. Must have something to do with the weather, dont'cha think? It's actually above freezing today!

Ever since I posted the info about the Erma Bombeck Writing Contest, I've had these thoughts:
1) Gosh, with millions of entries, why should I even bother?
2) I have NO ideas. What can I write about?

Then this morning, I thought:
3) Hey, what about that one essay I started about a year ago? The one with only a few sentences, typed at random?
4) Yeah, I could work on this and maybe it'd be a fairly decent story.

So, that's exactly what I did. I wrote and rewrote and edited, etc....added words, deleted words, etc....Only 450 Word Count Maximum! Thank goodness I'm used to writing "less" because of space allowed in my newspaper column. When I decided it was "as good as it's gonna get".....I filled out all the online info, and hit the "Submit" button! Woo-hoo!! I actually made the deadline on a contest that I really want to win. (Don't we all?!) Good luck and good writing to everyone entering!

"All the great decisions in my life have been made in less than half an hour." -- Carmen Maura

Friday, January 8, 2010

** Another Day In Paradise.....Part 2 **

I decided it was time to change my Play List again. I had Holiday Music for quite some time, then switched to Beautiful Music because I wasn't quite ready to leave the softness ....but this afternoon.......it occurred to me that I need some Dancin' Music!! So, enjoy the variety and I hope if you have the chance....get up and dance!! (Right, Daisy?!)  ♪♪♫♪

"There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them." -- Vicki Baum

** Another Day In Paradise! **

If you're a penguin, polar bear, or lover of the Iditarod....you should feel right at home in the Midwest again today. I'm enjoying it, but it's mostly because I don't have to go outside. I'm so grateful for that.

One problem, though. My Plans for 2010, about being more productive, haven't quite kicked into gear yet. For some reason, the cold and snow outside, makes me want to just stay in my jammies all day, play on the computer, read, or sleep....with a bit of food every now and then! BUT, today, even though I slept in, I'm going to really get going here now....any minute....as soon as I decide what job to tackle first...and after I get one more cup of coffee...and....and.....


"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." -- Bertrand Russell

Thursday, January 7, 2010

** Are We In The Frozen Tundra? **

When it's this cold around here, I think of all the different phrases I've heard that refer to really cold temps!
One is the nickname of Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers: The Frozen Tundra.

Today and this evening, it's been extremely windy, which obviously makes it feel even colder. The wind practically slapped the breath out of me when I slid open the patio door slightly to let Tiger out. Also, the wind keeps whistling through that one window that won't entirely close. Hearing that mournful noise has the opposite effect on me than one might think. I immediately smile to myself and think of my brother, Mike. I can see and hear that line from an old WC Fields movie/short: "It ain't a fit night out for man nor beast". Mike loves WC Fields movies and used to imitate him quite well when we were teenagers. After thinking about that tonight, I looked it up and found the name of the movie/short that line came from. It's called "The Fatal Glass of Beer".

Mike and his wife, Alice, live in an even colder part of the country.....Northern Iowa!
If you're reading this, Mike, I'm thinking of you and smiling!

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark." -- George Carlin

** A New Dawn....A New Day....Tiny Lights **

Although I ended yesterday's message with "more info tomorrow"....I really don't want to write anything else about my headache! I'm so grateful that it's gone and hope to never have one like that again.....or at least for another 5 years!  I did have a wonderful birthday with phone calls, voice mails, e-mails, snail mail cards, texts, and actual "in person" wishes and gifts! I truly felt "special"!

Now, I have some writing news! I've mentioned Tiny Lights in several places the past few months and recently posted their logo on my blog. I'm thrilled to announce that I've been recently hired as a regularly featured columnist for Tiny Lights online and print magazine, as of this month! Please check out their site. It's  wonderful and the Editor-in-Chief, Susan Bono is a fantastic person!

Also, please don't forget their Essay Contest that is going on now! Big Money Prizes....small entry fee!

http://tiny-lights.com/contest.php


"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." -- Les Brown

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

** It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times....**

Today is my birthday!   ♪♫♪

It was the best of times because of family and friends. (See photo below)

It was the worst of times because I got the worst migraine headache in about 5 years.

More info tomorrow.........

photo taken by Becky

"I thought so hard, I got a headache." -- J.D. Cobb

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

** Things To Do When It's Freezing **

1)  Wish you had some womens' Long-Johns.
2)  Wear a pair of your husband's athletic pants over your slacks.
3)  Cut finger tips off an old pair of gloves, have semi-warm hands to type on your keyboard.
4)  Take a picture of the frost on the corners of the kitchen window.
5)  Throw fuzzy slippers into clothes-dryer for a couple of minutes before putting them on.
6)  Go renew driver's license, knowing there won't be a long line on a day like this. (while also not caring one bit how bad license photo will be!)

             Parts 1 through 5 are all indoor activities!

                                          photo taken by Becky 1/5/2010


"Scratch some ice from the windowpane.Tomorrow gonna do it all again." -- Fran Avni




Yesterday was a great day, even if it was another bitterly cold day. For one thing, the sun shone brightly and my car heater worked wonderfully as I drove to meet two writer friends for lunch. We met at a favorite place in old St. Charles, Magpie's, ate delicious homemade soups, salads and quiches. Then we shared a hot apple crepe, topped with vanilla ice cream, and the converation never lagged. We discussed serious topics, and laughed hysterically at others. We marveled at how alike we three are, yet obviously so unique to our own selves.
After lunch, I opened fabulous gifts.....because it's very near to my birthday!

What a wonderful time! I'm so grateful for my friends and wish every one of you could have joined us!
(photo courtesy of restaurant.com)


"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." -- Author Unknown

Sunday, January 3, 2010

** Need Help with Followers Photos **

For the past few days, my Followers photos have not been showing on my blog, nor are they on other blogs I look at. The word "followers" is there, but no photos....just a large blank area.

Does anyone have any ideas as to why this began to happen? I even removed that gadget and reinstalled it, but it was still the same. It's one of those little things that is really aggravating me! I hope there's someone reading this that knows the answer and can tell me how to fix it!! Thanks!

** Erma Bombeck Writing Contest **

Calling all Humor/Human Interest writers! The day we've all been waiting for arrives tomorrow, January 4th. That's the opening day to enter the contest named for the fabulous, uncomparable Erma Bombeck! Gosh, Erma you are sorely missed..... Entries will be accepted until January 31st, so don't hesitate....get those fingers flying!!

Find out all the pertinent info at this link: http://www.wclibrary.info/erma/index.asp



Photo courtesy of goodreads.com

"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint." -- Erma Bombeck 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

** Baby It's Cold Outside **


We're in the midst of an arctic freeze with high temps in the teens and lows in the single digits....with no warm-up in sight.....Brrrrr!!
Fortunately we have a fireplace and we use it, tonight included!
(photo taken last Sunday 12/27/09)

"Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me." -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Friday, January 1, 2010

** Happy Birthday To Our Beloved Dog! **

A few years ago, we got our beloved dog, Tiger, at a local animal shelter. It had only been about a month since we had said good bye to our first and only dog, Rocky. He had lived to be fourteen, I missed him terribly, and said I did not want another dog for at least six months. Well, that all changed when my husband told me about a dog he'd seen at the shelter and that I should come see her, too. You've guessed the outcome: We fell in love with the puppy and took her home. We let our youngest son, Mark, name her, and he chose Tiger. His reasoning was because of the movie: Rocky and something about the name of a song in the movie was "Eye of the Tiger". (although "Tigress" would've been more appropriate!)

Since Tiger's exact age was unknown, the vet estimated her age to be six months. It was summertime and so we chose her birthday to be January 1st. Over the years, none of us have really thought about her birthday or having any kind of celebration for her. I had even lost track of her age, but knew she was getting pretty old, so I looked on one of the past vet bills.....we have plenty of them!....and saw that she was born in 1997!!....And so, Happy 13th Birthday, Tiger!!

I will continue to spoil her, enjoy her, and love her every single day, as I have for the past 12 years.

(P.S. I finally got my photo program to work correctly, and this picture is brand new and current....taken during the evening of Tiger's 13th birthday)

"Happiness is a warm puppy." -- Charles M. Schulz

** Happy New Year! **

How many of us are saying, "I can't believe it's 2010."  It seems like just a year or so ago that the song 1999 by Prince was so appropriate!  ".....so tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999". Wow...that was 10 years ago!

My husband and I "partied" last night with 4 dear friends......snacking, playing cards and listening to "the oldies". I even got up and did a crazy dance a few times.....mostly when we women won the round of cards! The one moment of the evening that wasn't funny or silly was when Rita's husband said something so profound.......that we can all be happy and celebrate that Rita is still with us! (I've mentioned Rita various times on this blog and also in my writings. She recently had open heart surgery, plus a benign tumor removed that was partly collapsing one of her lungs.) She's had an amazing recovery!!....Especially for someone her age!! Sorry, Rita!!

There's nothing better than having friends that are also our family.

"Just thinking about a friend makes you want to do a happy dance, because a friend is someone who loves you in spite of your faults." -- Charles M. Schulz