Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Celebrating our 17th at the Greenbriar in West Virginia.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wow a lot has happened in the last 17 days since I last blogged.  I can't believe I've taken such a long break. But I have accomplished a lot.  Yeah me!

I've been deep in the process of helping my daughter, Jess over at Write Skate Dream, edit the "final" draft of her novel.

My husband whisked our family away to a beautiful resort to celebrate our 17th anniversary.  

I got my first Kindle and promptly read Talli Roland's book, The Hating Game, and loved it so much I quickly got her next book, Watching Willow Watts.  I know I'm late to the whole e-reading party, but I just have to say it is soo cool! (I'm one of those rare people who still enjoys writing on paper, so I thought I wouldn't like e-books!  Yeah for technology!)

I sent all of our Christmas cards out before Christmas, which I think is a first.

Then of course I've been running around like everyone else trying to find those perfect gifts. Well I'm not sure I accomplished that, but it's the thought that counts right?

So with that done, I can relax for a few days, while I dream up all the goals for the year to come!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Kathy :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's that time again.  Time for the first Wednesday of the month, Insecure Writer's Support Group post.  Alex J Cavanaugh started this group for writers to come together and liberate themselves from their fears and encourage one another.

2011 has been a busy year for me.

I decided I wanted to focus on blogging.  I only had around 15 followers and then I found Alex's blog.  I took the plunge and joined his A-Z Blogfest in April.  I couldn't believe how much fun it was and wow, I was actually getting comments and new followers!  I was also finding great new blogs to follow myself.  I started posting more and visiting blogs more regularly.  I entered as many blogfests as I could and loved every one of them.

Then along came Rachael Harrie's Platform Building Campaign over at Rach Writes.  I was totally hooked.  Every challenge was tons of fun!  And now we even have a book of entries to show for it.  Cool!  It rejuvenated my creative spirit and roused my desire to work on a novel again.  (I had been focusing solely on children's picture books and nonfiction articles.)     
With all the great support I received from all of you, I entered Nano for the first time and I have a great start on my new novel.

But now my big worry is, how do I split my time between keeping up with blogging and platform building and finishing my novel?  There are so many important activities (reading, blogging, noveling, visitng other blogs, playing with the kids, eating, sleeping, working...)  that eat up time I'm not sure how to fit them all in.      

I'd love to hear your suggestions on how you delegate your time to accomplish all you do.

And thanks so much to all my followers and supporters!  You guys rock!!!!

Kathy :)

Working Together

Getting ready to roll the dough
It's always a treat when I can get my kids to work on a project together.  Watching them build happy sibling memories brightens my whole day.

Yesterday, Alyssa and Ryan had the urge to make cookies.  I had some gingerbread cookie dough we hadn't used for Thanksgiving, so they got out the cookie cutters and went to work.  They took turns rolling out the dough.  Alyssa taught Ryan how to sprinkle the flour on the dough to prevent sticking.  She showed him how to place the cookie cutter at the edge.  He helped gather all the scraps and make a new ball.  Even Jess took a break from editing and joined the fun.  Of course she had to get fancy and cut a dragon out by hand.

Cutting out cookies is so much fun!
Ryan placed the cookies on the cookie sheet and we put them in the oven.  He sat in front of the oven waiting anxiously for them to puff up into their chewy deliciousness.  The original plan was to decorate them after they had cooled, but the warm gingery scent was too hard to ignore.  The kids decided it was better to eat them right away.  We all enjoyed a cookie, well maybe two, and then everyone went back to doing their own thing.

I was left with a mess of flour but that half hour of blissful sibling cooperation was well worth it! 

Ready to eat:  Gingerbread dragon and penguin

Have a great day!  What are your favorite holiday cookies?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Veggie Tacos

My husband and I have decided we need to infuse our diet with more plants. So every night this week I'm going to attempt to make vegetarian meal.  I feel a twinge of fear that I won't be able to make veggies take the center stage consistently without the help of a big steak.  Spinach salads are yummy but not every night!

Saturday we had great success with Veggie Tacos.  Jesse had the idea to replace the fish in fish tacos with big avocado chunks and garnish it with two different types of salsa.  I made a Mango Jalapeno Salsa and a Black Bean and Corn Salsa. It was fresh, delicious, and even the kids enjoyed it!

Veggie Tacos

2 avocados chopped in large chunks
corn tortillas
Black Bean and Corn Salsa- recipe below
Mango Jalapeno Salsa- recipe below
shredded cheese- optional

Salt the avocado chunks.  Warm tortillas in microwave or in a pan.  Top with avocado chunks, desired salsa and cheese if using.  Enjoy!  :)

Mango Jalapeno Salsa

1 mango diced
1 jalapeno seeded, diced
Juice of one lime
1 Tablespoon sugar (if your mango is very ripe, omit)
Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 scallion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least 20 minutes in fridge.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 tomato diced
1 jalapeno seeded, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
1 1/2 cups fresh corn
1/4 cup red onion diced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 7 ingredients in bowl. Combine vinegar and sugar and whisk until dissolved.  Add salt and pepper and slowly whisk in olive oil.  Pour over bean and corn mix and stir.  Let sit at least 20 minutes in fridge.

The menu for tonight is Acorn Squash stuffed with Wild Rice.  I'll let you know how that one turns out!

I'd love to hear your favorite veggie centered recipes or what you are up to these days!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Winter!

I know December 1st is not officially the start of winter, but as Thanksgiving fades away and we look toward Christmas and New Year's Day, visions of snowy vistas dance in my head.  The quiet cleansing snow blankets Earth and my soul awakens to the playful dance of sunlight upon the bejeweled landscape....

Sorry I don't know where that came from!  That's what happens to me in my favorite season.  I can't help it, I get all poetic when the world is covered in ice.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great and productive November.  For the first time ever I entered NaNoWriMo and though I didn't complete 50,000 words, I am pleased to say I made quite a bit of progress.  I averaged about 1000 words a day.  It doesn't sound like much especially since I took almost 8 days off to prepare for our big Thanksgiving gathering, but I know now what needs to be done to finish it.  Best of all I forced myself to find at least a little time to work on it every day.  I've set a goal of finishing the first draft by Jan1st!  Yeah!

Happy December to you all!



Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  What could be better than a day celebrating a bounty of delicious dishes and people coming together as friends and family?  But this year, Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning for me.

I never imagined when we moved out to Seattle in October that I would ever again be hosting Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by our wonderful family.  But it is funny how things work out and as we we drove across the country for the second time in a month (this time back to Ohio), I was already planning for the only time of year our whole family manages to get together.

When all 17 people arrived at our house Wednesday night, I couldn't have been happier.
I don't know how, but on Thursday everything ran smoothly and we actually got the food on the table an hour before I expected. I  think I simply wanted to enjoy every moment.  When my mother-in-law made a toast, tears of joy filled my eyes and I was truly thankful for so many things.

Some of which are:

Being back in our house that is relatively easy to get to from either Michigan or North Carolina.
The cousins all getting along.
Having great helpers in the kitchen.
Having my 90 year old Grandpa with us!
Having a family including in-laws, who all enjoy being together for 4 days!
My husband and kids!

Not even my kitchen faucet breaking in the middle of the holiday would spoil my weekend!

Cousins watching a movie together.

Silliness with fake mustaches 

More silliness

One of my great helpers!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!


Monday, November 14, 2011

One Blue Kimono

One blue kimono and a teenage girl.

One gyoza lesson for 3.

One orange kimono and a teenage girl.

One Japanese language lesson from great uncle.

Having Great Uncle and Aunt from Japan visit ....priceless.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11

Boy those geysers are smelly!
Happy 11-11-11!

Hope you are all having a great day to remember.  I'm sitting at home waiting for my internet to be upgraded! YEAH!  We are finally joining the future with high-speed internet.  

I'm moving along like the tortoise with my Nano project. Hopefully I will make it to the end slowly but surely.  

I thought I would leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from our journey westward and back.

Skating in Sun Valley Idaho :)

Last night in Seattle

Grand Teton National Park

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Have a great day and enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNo Day 9 and the Earth Really DoesTurn

Jess, my daughter over at Write Skate Dream, convinced me to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I was a little apprehensive about trying to write 50,000 words in a month because my main focus has been writing picture books with around 500 words!  I figured my pacing would be too fast and I would come to the end of the novel by word 2,000.  But Jess really wanted me to join her in the challenge, so I took the plunge.

Today is Day 9 and I'm 5,122 words behind my daily word count but that's ok because I have written 8,211 words and there is still plenty of story to write!  I'm not worried about winning NaNo.  I'm simply enjoying the process.

Along the way I've learned a few things about my writing too, like I'm not so good at crafting interesting dialogue.  I caught myself too many times using short stiff answers like a simple "thank you" which didn't take the plot anywhere.

I've also learned to rely on what Jess calls a skeleton, which is really a glorified outline, to keep the story moving in the right direction.  The more detailed I make the skeleton, the easier it is to do the actual writing.

The most important lesson I'm trying to master by participating in NaNo is to carve out at least an hour each day to work on my writing projects, instead of running around crazy, trying to get everything else on my "to do" list done before I write.      

I'd love to hear how your projects are going whether you're doing NaNo or not.

Wikipedia photo by Luc Viatour at
The Earth Really Does Turn

I know the Earth is always rotating, but other than the slowly setting sun I don't ever have the chance to see the evidence of its motion.  Last night I had that opportunity.

The evening was warm and we gazed through clear skies to look at the moon in our telescope.  It's dimpled face shone brightly through the lenses.  The craters seemed close enough to reach out and touch.  Captivated by it's beauty, I kept my eyes fixed.  Slowly the moon inched it's way across the eyepiece until it was no longer visible from that position.  I don't know how much time had elapsed, it seemed like only about 30seconds, but there it was in front of my eyes.  The rotation of the Earth.  AWESOME!    

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Journey of a Lifetime... and Insecure Writer's Group

Our route to Seattle
Well October was an interesting month for us.

September 29th- said a tearful "goodbye" to our friends and family in Ohio.

September 30th- packed up the minivan and began our 2600 mile drive West to Seattle, our new hometown.

Along the way enjoyed the sights of Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, gorgeous mountains, and lots of corn.

October 8th- arrived in our Seattle apartment.  Great view of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier.

Oct 9th- celebrated daughter Alyssa's 13th birthday by going out to breakfast and dinner at some cool restaurants in the city.

Oct 15th- husband realized that job in Seattle was not working out and house hunting was not going well.

Oct 21st 6:00 am Pacific Time- husband got job back in Ohio, resigned from new job.

Oct 21st 8:00 am Pacific Time- packed up minivan and began our 2600 mile journey back East to Ohio, to stay.

Oct 24th- explored Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Oct 25th- blizzard in Wyoming dropping 12-20 inches of snow on our route forced us to explore Park another day.

Oct 26th- saw a beautiful black bear cross the road right in front of us.  AWESOME!

Oct 27th- visited my 97 year old grandma in Cheyenne, Wyoming who I hadn't seen in 25 years.

Oct 29th- we arrived back at our old house in Ohio, which luckily hadn't sold.

Our route back to Ohio

I know this seems like a crazy journey, but in this case it truly was not the destination that was important.  It was all the life lessons we learned along the way.  We realized that although Ohio is not perfect, what we had there was very special and difficult to find elsewhere.  We realized we can drive 5000 miles together and still enjoy each other! And we saw a bear!

OMG there's a bear!

I hope you had a great October!  I 'd love to hear what you were up to.


p.s. I decided to do Nano this year and yesterday I made it to 1725 words!  Yeah!  My username is kjmckendry.  If you want to be my buddy you can click here.

Ohh with all this going on I almost forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month which means Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Group post.

Over the last few months, with everyone's encouraging words from the Insecure Writer's Group and the Campaign over at Rachael Harrie's blog I feel like I grown as a writer.  I have tried lots of new ideas, not all of them have worked but at least I was writing.  I even got some new inspirations for stories.  Last year I didn't think I had what it took to participate in NaNoWriMo, but yesterday I took the plunge.  So today I just want to say, "Thank you" to all my followers and fellow bloggers who spend time to support their fellow writers.  You're awesome!  Now stop reading my extra long post and get back to writing your novels! :)

Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Spookfesta!  Today I'm celebrating the launch of Elizabeth Mueller's first book Darkspell. Go visit her and give her some bloggy love!

She asked us to answer one question.  What would you do if you had all the magic in the world?

If I had all the magic in the world I would jump back in time and become another person from history for a day.  I would love to live for one day as Queen Elizabeth, Sacagawea, or Thomas Jefferson.  To understand historical events and places from the perspective of the people living it would be priceless.  

To order a copy of Darkspell from Amazon click HERE.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Two Teenage Daughters

Warning: This post contains intense gushing over my children.  :)

Teenage Daughters- those two words can scare even the bravest parent.

When my girls were little I wondered what they would be like as teenagers.  Would they fall under some magical spell on their 13th birthdays transforming them into rebellious drama queens?  Could these adorable little princesses really transform into devils?

The spell was never cast on my girls.  That mystical night came and went and I now have two teenage daughters who remain best of friends and are still a joy to be around. We do everything together, from writing, to skating, to cooking.  I feel lucky that they continue to want me to join the fun. And they are always including their 7 year old brother in their crazy ideas.  Which usually ends in loud bursts of laughter.

I no longer have doubts on the kind of women they will become.  I'm already immensely proud of what they have accomplished and how they think of the world.  They both seem wise beyond their years.  Much more so than I was at that age.

My throat tightens when I think of Jessica leaving for college in 4 years and Alyssa following two years later. But I believe these teenage years which frighten so many, will be the most rewarding.  I am honored to be a part of their journey to becoming independent women.  


p.s. sorry for the mushy post, but I saw that Fox Network is starting a new series, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" and I was appalled.  I had to write about how great my girls are!

NANOWRIMO- I'm excited.  I've decided to participate this year.  I have my outline almost ready.  YEAH!  Are you participating?  and how do you prepare?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Third Campaign Challenge

Ok here is the third challenge of Rachael Harrie's Campaign over at Rach Writes.  

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

Here is my entry hope you like it:

Antarctic Morning

The first rays of pink streak the sky and bleed into the sea.  I bend down to test the frigid water with the Synbatec scope.  The little red needle on the instrument panel pegs the 1000ml mark.  Too much Tacise acid, I think.  That's not good for the Antarctic Krill population and whatever affects the krill affects the penguins.  What can I do though?  I'm supposed to be helping here, but there's nothing to do until the mountains of pack ice that hold the sea hostage break up. Our boats can't navigate the 10 miles to the penguin rookery on Torgersen Island.  
 An eerie sound emanates from the depths of the mile thick blue ice.  It creaks and moans like a living being.  I sit back in frustration on the cold little bucket I use as a stool.  An icy breeze whips at my face forming tiny frozen crystals on my eyelashes, but gazing at this landscape of magnificent desolation somehow warms my soul.    
Dr. Martin catches my attention and motions for me to join him farther down the beach.  He crouches in front of a Brown Skua nest.  The pungent smell of fresh guano fills my nostrils and I almost gag.  Inside the nest a fluffy squawking chick awaits the return of his parents.  I gently lift the chick so Dr. Martin can fasten a radio tag his wing.  There are still tiny bits of wastopaneer, from the egg, stuck to his feathers.  I try to pick them off but something slams hard into my back.  I stumble from the impact.  The mother has returned. She dives at me again.  I see her coming and return the baby bird to his nest. She aborts the attack but voices her displeasure by spraying her stomach contents in my face.  


I'm Entry # 22.  If you like it please vote for me here!  Thanks :)
The campaign has been a blast!  I have enjoyed every challenge and I love reading the other entries.  You can enter until Oct 24th.  So hop on over to her site and sign up! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Early Works

Julie over at Rosewood Pencil Box is hosting a great blogfest called Oh, the  Early Works.  The idea is to hear what other bloggers wrote as their first works and to be able to laugh/rejoice over the memories of them.  It was supposed to go until Oct 14th but it has been extended to Oct 28th.  So hop on over and join in the fun.      

I can't remember when I didn't love to write.  I know I started out with some pretty cheesy poetry, but luckily, I don't remember any of them.  The first story I really remember was one I wrote in 5th grade. It was about this girl who wore big bulky sweaters to school.  Unfortunately, the sweaters always had giant lint balls hanging off them and all the kids made fun of her. (You can probably guess what kind of clothes I must have worn to 5th grade!)  Anyway she ran into the bathroom crying and tried to comb the lint off of her sweater.  She kept combing and combing until a giant lint ball formed that rolled around and ate the whole school!

The next story, my mom and I wrote together and we had a blast.  I still remember sitting at the table laughing so hard we cried as we thought of new scenes.  This one was about a grandma and her granddaughter.  They met up with some strange unfriendly alien creatures that looked like walking pieces of bacon.  The grandma had  an extra special shiny belt buckle that shot out laser beams as the sun hit it and blinded the bacon people.  Somehow they all became friends and had a picnic of bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches!  Yikes I guess I had a crazy imagination....maybe I still do.

What were your earliest works?  Check out Julie's site to see what odd stuff other bloggers wrote about as kids.


P.S. We rode the ferry across Puget Sound today.  It was beautiful!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward

Yeah today is Friday!  Can't wait for the weekend!  Hopefully I will have time to explore our new city a little more with the husband and kids.

Anyway today, I'm participating in Matthew MacNish's blogfest Pay It Forward over at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. The point is to connect people.  So here are three blogs that I've recently found.  Check them out and follow them then hop on over to Matthew's site and check out the linky list for other great bloggers.

Carrie Butler at So Youre a Writer

1000th Monkey

Chris Yankee at Adventures That Score

How's my writing going you ask?  Well with all the great responses from the Insecure Writer's Group over at Alex J Cavanaugh's, I have been reinvigorated.  Yeah!  I'm working on fleshing out my characters and creating a skeleton of the overall story.  It seems to be working so far.  Yesterday I had 113 items for my skeleton, but then I realized it had taken a wrong turn. So I deleted a bunch of them and started from a new spot in the story.  I know it sounds like I went backwards but I'm learning more about my characters and how they would react and therefore I think I am actually getting somewhere.  Yippee!

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My New View

The view of Puget Sound from my window! :)
Well we made it all the way to Seattle!  We had a great trip but I am happy to get back to a more normal schedule.  We got settled in to our new apartment quickly.  I guess I'm finally becoming a city girl, because I've already explored a few places on my own!  Ok I wasn't really on my own, I was with my kids, but I can't really count on them for directional assistance.

20 years ago I was petrified with fear when I had to go out alone on the streets of New York City.  My best friend and I went to New York City together, she had lived there before and was comfortable going anywhere.  But I was from a small rural town in Michigan.  She got sick and didn't want to eat...for a long time.  I skipped a couple meals because I was terrified to go out on my own.  Finally, because hunger forced me, I braved the Big Apple on my own.  Ok I really only walked a block to a deli and got a sandwich and a calzone.  But I didn't get mugged or lost.  YEAH!  That was the beginning of my journey to seeing big cities as more than what I had heard on the news.

Now after having enjoyed visiting cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco and living in downtown Philadelphia for 2 years, I have come to view big cities in a whole new way.  The paralyzing fear has been replaced by excitement.  Excitement to expose my kids and myself to all sorts of new cultural, artistic, and metropolitan experiences. Even walking home from the grocery store was a memorable experience today.  A flash rainstorm appeared and drenched us.  With no car to shelter us, we ran from eaves to eaves laughing all the way...and learning our view of Seattle better include an umbrella!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Almost There

We have made it 2100 miles across the country, through endless fields of corn, golden prairies, desolate mountain passes, and stately pine forests. In Yellowstone National Park I was in awe of the most foreign landscape I had ever scene.  It was like we stepped back into the Jurassic Period with pots of boiling mud, spewing geysers, and gasses leaking from every fissure in the Earth.


I swear a T-Rex was lurking in there somewhere, but all we saw were bison.

But now our cross-country adventure is almost done.  We only have 310 miles left on the journey to our new home.  We've had 8 great days together exploring and it's a little sad to be approaching the last day.  
It's the end of a great chapter of our lives, but the next chapter, with its plethora of blank pages, lies within reach.  I can't wait to see what will be written on those pages.


How are things going with you? I'd love to hear what new chapters have begun in your lives.

I want to thank all the people who left great comments on my Insecure Writer's post.  They helped me quite a bit and I'm excited again to be working on my novel.

And ooohh yeah, I finally hit 100 followers!  Thanks to Sarah Perry over at the The Restless Writer for becoming #100. Check out her great site and give her some love.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure Writer's Group

Today I am participating in Alex Cavanauugh's Insecure Writer's Group.  The purpose is to share and express our trials, tribulations and successes.  The goal is to support one another and boost each other's confidence so that our imaginations can become reality. The first Wednesday of every month we post our insecurities or if we're lucky our successes.

I have a lot of insecurities, but for this month I'm going to stick with my current problem.  I have completed 3 children's picture book manuscripts that I'm quite happy with after numerous revisions.  I've sent them out repeatedly but can't seem to generate any interest.  So I've decided to let them sit for awhile until I can figure out what to do with them.

In the meantime, I've begun to focus my attention on a novel. It's not going too well.   Maybe it's because I'm used to writing books with only 500 words, but I can't seem to get past the first chapter!  I really like my first chapter but I don't know where the story should go from there.  I feel lost.
I've tried to write the second chapter but the supporting characters seem wooden and boring.  Then I wonder if my overall plot is really just a jumble of ideas that don't really fit.  I've tried making a skeleton of the entire story, but I get overwhelmed and then I check my email or blog and I don't come back to it.  So it sits there, like a planted seed just waiting to be watered.

If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.  How do you go about organizing your novels?  Do you have a set "map", or do you just go with the flow?  Do you make a complete character sketch for each character or just the main ones?

I'd also love to hear your successes!

Thanks for all your support!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flash Fiction Alert!

Rachael Harrie over at Rach Writes is at it again.  The second challenge in the campaign is to write a piece of 200 words or less using these words: oscitate, lacuna, synchronicity, and miasma. It should also have the word imago in the title. Referring to a mirror gets you extra good stuff!
I didn't think I would have time for this one with our move West this week, but as we were driving through the endless fields of corn I was transported to a time long ago.  Here is my entry I'm #183.  Hope you enjoy it.

Letters From Imago

Dear Brother,

    Please forgive the lacuna in my writing. These months have passed quickly and I scarcely have time to put quill to paper.  I fear you would not recognize me, for since I lost Robert I have changed considerably. I'm afraid I would not know myself if I glanced in a mirror.  This is what transpired since Robert and I left the city.
   Our covered wagon traverses golden fields that stretch as far as I can see.  Heavy heads of prairie grass sway in the breeze with mesmerizing synchronicity. My head bobs mimicking the monotony. I oscitate. Three more weeks of this scenery.  Dull compared to city life.  It is peaceful though and the air is clear.  I see why Robert wished for us to make this journey.  The putrid miasma that filled the city streets is merely a memory.  Only the light sweet scent of Purple Prairie Clover surrounds us.

In the distance a great cloud approaches.  Maybe it's buffalo. The ground trembles and the air around me roars.  It is no herd. I see the dirt filled wind twisting around itself dancing like an enraged devil.  I am thrown from the wagon and am engulfed in blackness.

I'd love to hear your comments and if you liked it vote for me.  :)   Happy October!


Friday, September 30, 2011

On the Road!

We are somewhere in Indiana surrounded by golden corn fields on either side of the great concrete trail West. We had planned on leaving early this morning, but somehow the final house cleaning took longer than expected. I think it is the cleanest it's been since we moved in! Funny how we put off so many little chores because we didn't have time. We only finally get to those projects as we are about to sell it, but we never get to enjoy it. I hope in Seattle, we mak a priority to take care of those items as soon as they arise. I guess being forced out of my routine will give me the chance to reassess my priorities. For the next few days on our travels West, I will keep you posted on our progress but I'm going to try to concentrate on visiting all of your blogs. Yeah!

Monday, September 26, 2011

On the Move

Five and a half years ago my husband promised we had moved our last time, but I somehow knew we were not finished yet and now we are on the cusp of a great new adventure to the West. I feel like an American pioneer back in the early 1800s.  They packed up all their belongings and traveled across the country in a covered wagon.  They were in search of a better life and the chance to pursue their dreams.  The promise of what lay ahead was worth any perils which might come their way. So they left their families and friends knowing they may never see them again.

On Friday, we will be packing up our covered wagon, a Dodge Grand Caravan, and driving 2400 miles West to Seattle, Washington.  It will be our 8th  home state. Like the pioneer families, I'm excited for the adventures our Westward journey will bring, but the thrill is mellowed by the people I'm leaving behind.
In only 5 years I've become far too attached to the new friends and students who surround me here in Ohio. They made going to work everyday seem more like hanging out with my best buddies.

My students hold a special place in my heart.  In the years I have worked with them, they have grown as skaters but more importantly as people and I hope I influenced them for the better.  I'm honored that I was able to direct them through lessons of dedication, hard work, and overcoming failure which they can use the rest of their lives.  I've watched them grow up and now I must say "good bye".  I realize this sounds a little overly dramatic in a era when everyone is only a Skype call, Facebook notification, or plane flight away but the point is after seeing them almost every day for 5 years, I will miss being in their presence.

I know they will continue to grow and thrive after I leave and I will meet wonderful new friends and students in Seattle who could never replace my Ohio family but only create a new space in my heart.  I dream of the day when my husband wants to stay in one place, but until then I am content meeting more best buddies around the country.

It also makes it easier having all of you blogger best buddies no matter where I live!  Thanks for all the great support and all the new followers!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Happy Monday!

Today I'm participating in Alex J Cavanaugh's the Worst Movies Ever Blogfest!  It was fun to think of all the movies I'd seen.  It was actually hard to come up with 10 though.  I think my brain selectively forgot most of the bad ones I'd seen.  I had to look up our old Netflix ratings to see which movies I had given 1 star to.

Runners Up:

 Cedar Rapids, Dinner for Schmucks, Underdog, X-Men, Road Trip, Marmaduke,  Brother Bear, Mystery Men,

Here are my 10 worst movies:

10.  House of Flying Daggers- I think the writers of this one forgot they were supposed to write a story.  The scenery was beautiful but that's all it had.

9.  Avatar- I'm sorry I know lots of people loved this, but I expected more than fancy graphics.

8.  The Little Shop of Horrors-  A giant human eating plant and  musical?!

7.  Mega Mind- Just because Will Ferrell is in  a movie doesn't mean it will be funny.

6.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Parents have enough troubles, do we really want movies to advocate bad behavior in kids?

5.  2 Fast 2 Furious- I didn't really think the first one was that great, but the sequel crashed and burned.

4.  Knocked Up- Embarrassing to watch, not even funny

3.  Date Night- I love Tina Fey and Steve Carell so I assumed I was going to be crying with laughter. But, instead of being clever it tried to get cheap laughs with far too many sexual references.  It could have been a good movie but it was simply disappointing.

2.  Sweeny Todd- I guess I'm just not a fan of chopping people up and turning them into pies.  I actually had to stop watching because I thought I was going to be sick.

And the  Number 1 worst movie goes to.....

  Johnny Mnemonic- There isn't even anything that needs to be said about this one!

Check out Alex's blog to find all the other entries.

What are the worst movies you've ever seen?  Is there a pattern to movies you don't like?


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Awards Yeah!

Wow, I can't believe I got two awards this week!  Yeah!  Thanks to Mary at Waibel World and Pk-Hrezo for bestowing the Leibster Award on me!

This is awarded to bloggers with less than 200 followers and then passed on to 5 other blogger friends.
Here is the list of my awesome buddies:

Angela from Cheerios and Pearls Stories
Stacy from Stacy S Jensen
Abby from Something to Write About
Laila from Untroubled Kingdom of Laila Knight
Alyssa from Life Is Good

I also was given the Versatile Blogger Award by Carla over at Carla's Writing World.  Woo Hoo!
I'm supposed to tell you 7 facts about me.

1. I love trying to cook new and exotic ethnic dishes (no they don't always work out)
2. I cry in almost every movie I see, even in animated ones
3. I got married on the ice.
4. I've lived in 7 different states of America and we're about to add #8
5. I have an overly aggressive fear of sharks (saw Jaws as a kid and I imagined fins in every body of water even pools!)
6. My son says I'm terrible at video games
7. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day:  oatmeal, blueberries and pecans and a cup of hot tea- sounds boring I know but I love it that way! :)

I'm passing this one to :

M Pax  over at Wistful Nebulae
Shallee at Shallee McArthur
Lynda at W.I. P It


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Jess!

Jess at 3 months
After 26 hours of labor, 15 years ago today, I became a mom for the first time.  I stared at the tiny little bundle in my arms and wondered what our future would hold.  I was instantly in love with her. Her dark almost black eyes stared up at me, trusting my every move. I felt too young to be responsible for this tiny human.  My husband and I still felt like kids. Did we really know enough about life to guide her?
I had no idea how proud I would be of her 15 years later!  I think now I'm learning more from her than she is from me.  She is always helping me with computer stuff and encouraging me to accomplish my goals.  Yesterday she advised me to stop cleaning and just sit down and write.
Lately I have cherished our early morning writing/editing sessions.  We sit with a cup of tea and laugh while we examine the silly sentences we have committed to the page.  I'm still in awe that she has finished her first novel before me!

And then there is two passions other than family are writing and skating.  When she and her sister finally decided they loved it, I was thrilled.  I could now share my love of the sport with them and it has been an incredible journey.

I can't wait to see what the next 15 years bring for her!

Stop by her blog over at Write Skate Dream and give her a big Happy Birthday! She would love to get 2 more followers to bring her to 100 today!

Jess doing a back spiral :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching Willow Watts Launch Party

Today I'm participating in the Watching Willow Watts Launch Party over at Talli Roland's blog.  It's her second novel and I can't wait to read it. In the book, Willow gets thrust into instant fame because of her You-Tube video in which she impersonates Marilyn Monroe.

 It's available on Amazon as an e-book for only 2.99 so head on over and check it out.

Queen Elizabeth's coronation from Wikipedia
If I could be anyone, I'd be... This was a difficult question for me to answer because I honestly am happy just being little old me.  Everyone has their own problems that they have to live with and so far I've been pretty lucky with mine.  That being said, if I had to choose, I would choose someone who lived an extraordinary life and therefore I pick....  Queen Elizabeth I.

Yes, she was locked in the Tower by her sister and her mother was beheaded by her father the King, but this woman was a leader.  She had the guts to believe in her own ideas and to not be swayed by anyone.  Many advised her to marry and produce an heir. But she decided if she couldn't marry the man she desired, she wanted only to be married to England.  Wow that's courage!    

If I had to be a man... I would choose Benjamin Franklin, because he got to travel around the world and I love all his cool experiments!

I also thought if I were to choose a fictional character, I think I would be Princess Leia.  I mean who wouldn't want to marry Han Solo?

So who would you be?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Do Not Remove

First of all I want to thank all my wonderful new followers!  I'm excited to get to know all of you through your blogs as well!

My husband loves to read.  He's read so many books from our local library that he only finds the New Book section interesting. So he decided to order books from different libraries across the state in order to find enough to read.

When his ordered books came in he was like my son at Christmas.  He quickly ripped off the wrapping and threw it away.  He totally ignored the big bold letters that said, "Do Not Remove."  I found it in the trash the next day.

I showed it to him and he admitted tossing it out, he still didn't see why it was bad.  I had to point it out to him.  I thought, "Do you even have eyes?!" (That's my son's favorite line.)  He read the message and finally understood the problem.
He felt a little silly handing the book back in to the librarian telling her he didn't know he wasn't supposed to remove the sleeve.

It makes me wonder what things I have missed that are right in front of my face.

I also want to say how much fun I've had being a part of the Campaign!  I can't believe how many talented writers are out there posting there works.  It's been great to read all the wonderful flash fiction.  It amazes me how those few beginning words can conjure up so many different situations!



Friday, September 9, 2011

Greedy squirrel

Greedy Squirrel eating all the bird seed.

I had a nice lunch with the kids at Panera Bread. They were on their way out the door. My left hand balanced Alyssa's left-over bread and my cup of water. My right hand held keys and Ryan's iced tea.
Everything was going well.

Then, I sensed a free sample of icing drizzeled bread approaching. Must try free bread, my inner animal brain thought.  I rebalanced the items, reached for the bread and put into mouth. Hmmmmmmm. A server moved in front of me and I altered my course.  The water cup shifted.....Ooooooh nooooooooo can ....not...catch
Water spills onto floor. Server gives me evil eye. My mouth, filled with free bread, attempts to say "Sorry". She mutters curses under her breath as she sees me walk out. I call the kids back for assistance and rush back in. I grab napkins and wipe it up but the server never sees.

She sees me only as the greedy squirrel I am.


Have a great weekend!
We're going to competition this weekend.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Campaign Challenge

Okay here is the first challenge for all you Platform Builder Campaigners.  The assignment is to write a piece of flash fiction of 200 words or less.  It must begin with the words "The door swung open" and for an extra challenge end with the words, "the door swung shut" and keep it to 200 words exactly.   Hop on over to Rachael Harrie to get more info.  Here's my entry.  Hope you like it.

The door swung open before I was ready.  I had to calm down, had to focus.  I was shaking not from the cold, from my nerves.  I'd been waiting for this all my life.  Here and now I could prove who I was, show the world what I was made of.  Time slowed.  A million thoughts raced through my head as my coach pushed me to the ice.  All those hours of training came down to these 4 minutes.  My stomach twisted.    
     I glided to my starting pose, inhaled and waited for my music.  It seemed like forever.  Then the silky smooth strains of the violin began.  I was no longer afraid.  I felt strong as I skated over the glass-like surface of the ice.  I felt free.  I loved the feeling of the cool breeze tugging at my hair and the smell of the ice... it's cold and moist... and inexplicable.  It's the smell of freedom.  As I soared into the air my mind was clear and happy.  I didn't care what the world thought of me.  I knew who I was.  That's what mattered.  My music stopped.  I bowed and skated off and the rink door swung shut.  


Check out all the great entries over at Rach Writes and don't forget to vote for your favorites. If you like mine, I'm number 236.  :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Birthday Fun

Gramps with the family
Hope everyone had a fun weekend!

We had a wonderful time celebrating my Grandpa's 90th birthday. He loved having everyone together. Here's how the weekend went:
The 5 cousins swam, ran around and played games together.

The grown-ups spent time sitting on the porch looking out at the water and chatting.

Gramps reflected on his long and full life and entertained us with crazy stories from his past.

Ryan taught him how to use the i-pad.

He took Ryan fishing.          

Jessica and I got some writing done, though I didn't come close to finishing my first 5 chapters.  Oh well I was really there to spend time with people anyway.

Birthday cake, candles, presents and lots of pictures and laughing!

All in all.... great memories made.

Now it's time to get back to work and back to checking all your great blogs.  I'll leave you with some more pictures of our weekend.  :)


My brother, my mom, me and Gramps
Ryan and Gramps fishin

The cousins swimming