January 30, 2007


Well, today I have a funeral to go to. I don't have to go to it, in fact ten or fifteen years ago I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have attended this particular person's funeral at all.

Let me explain. You see it's my step father's funeral. I never liked the man; as a matter of fact in earlier years I detested him. He was abusive and not a very nice person.

So you ask, why are you going? Well, I thought about it and the main reason is for my family. He was the father of my last two siblings and I want to be there for them and my mother. I'm not very close to my family so this will not be an easy day but often we do things we don't find particularly pleasing and usually we grow from it.

I will take mental notes and maybe gain fiction characters from this day. My step father's mother is a hard unfriendly woman and I see where he got his personality from. I have six brothers and sisters and most of them will be there. They each have an average of three kids ranging from a few months old to 24 years old. There will be a lot of people and that's just my immediate family. I have a cousin who has five kids; three of them are grown and have children of their own. I should be able to get some character ideas from that group.

Look at every opportunity as writing material. I think even, and maybe especially, the unpleasant situations can be a plethora of ideas. :0)

January 29, 2007


I am a quilter. I love to make them, look at them, feel of them; anything to do with quilts I love. I've been a quilt enthusiast just about my whole life. I've made them since I was nine years old.

I remember my great-grand mother quilting on her quilt that hung from the ceiling. She lowered the frame when she wanted to work on it and then pulled on ropes attached to a pulley to raise it up out of the way when she was finished for the day. I learned by watching her; at first only allowed to thread the needles but eventually she let me put a few stitches in. I'm sure she removed my large uneven stitches later but I learned the feel of the technique and was infected by the bug.

I still quilt the old fashioned way, with a frame and hand stitching. I'll not succumb to the current trend of machine quilted quilts as long as I can hold a needle.

My stitches are much better now and Granny would be proud if she were still here to see them.

I thought the craft would have died out by now but you can still find a quilter here and there.

My car tag reads QUILTNB. It stands for Quilting Bee but you would be surprised how many people think the letter "B" stands for something entirely different. Somedays they are correct. :0)

January 25, 2007

Bird Feeder

I have a nice elm tree outside my writing room window with a bird house and a feeder hanging from the branches. Squirrels have been stealing all the good seeds and making a mess on the ground below the feeder. I splurged and bought a more expensive metal squirrel proof feeder a few days a go.

Birds are easily freightened and I was worried they wouldn't take to the new restaurant I installed.

The first few days they flew around looking at it but wouldn't land on it. They ate the few seeds that I dropped on the ground when I took down the old wooden feeder that was disintegrating.

I watched everyday and hoped the little boogers would take to the new feeder. Eventually the smaller birds would light on it grab a seed or two and quickly leave still fearful it might be a trap. As the days went by they lingered a little longer getting used to the new food bank.

Well today I saw a squirrel for the first time and it was quite comical. His paws slid on the slippery roof and he twitched his tail and wiggled his bottom for leverage but could not get any food.

I also had a larger bird, a cardinal, visit the feeder and he spent a few minutes eating quite at home on the new feeder.

Okay, I know I have a rather simple life when I'm anxious about a bunch of birds. But there's something calming about watching them. Their songs are joyfull to listen to and they are fun to watch. You haven't lived until you've watched a couple of male robins belly bump. I'm not sure if they're fighting over a female or territory, but it's plum comical to watch.

Now my daughter is making me feel guilty over the poor squirrels so I may have to get them a separate feeder. She's afraid they might starve. I doubt it but I was part of their source of food during this winter.

These critters are getting expensive. :0)

January 23, 2007

Customer Service

I remember the good old days when we could call a store or place of business and talk to a real live human being who spoke fluent English. Someone would answer the phone and ask, "Can I help you?" Now you get a computer or someone in a third world country overseas. They don't understand me and I don't understand them.

I'm just trying to get someone to come out and take a look at my treadmill I purchased at Sears with a high dollar extended warranty I might add. I understand it's hard to get people to work in the customer service field. I know it's one of the most stressful jobs out there. But is it too much to ask to have a real person answer my call.

Apparently it is.

I got a recording telling me to go to their website to get faster service. After 30 minutes of elevator music and sitting on hold I thought I would try it. I filled out a long list of questions; some of which had very little to do with my treadmill. After I hit the submit button I expected to have an instant appointment since the recording on the phone told me I would get faster service. Boy was I confused. It told me that in 1-2 business days I would receive a phone call. Well that was a week ago and let's just say I'm glad my life doesn't depend on my treadmill. I'm going to call first thing in the morning and give that computer a piece of my mind. It'll have to be a small piece because at this point I don't have a lot to spare

Well it's official. I've turned into an old lady :0)

January 22, 2007

Cell Phones

Can anyone tell me why people yell into their cell phones like they're talking into a tin can? I keep looking for the string.

And you can't get away from them either. I'm thinking I'll go to the next aisle over so they can have a private conversation about their mama's gall bladder surgery, but oh no; they follow me to the next aisle and even the next.

I know entirely too much about their sister's divorce from that good-for-nothing _______ or the trouble their having with their teenaged daughter's live-in boy friend or the trials and tribulations of potty training their toddler. It's all I can do to bite my tongue and not give them advice, after all they have invaded my personal sound space.

My husband suffers from this same affliction. It's not just his cell phone. He yells on land line phones too. I give him the signal that his vocal volume needs tuning but this only works for a little while and then he's back up to loud and clear.

When he calls me I have to hold the phone a few inches away from my ear and others sitting nearby can join in the conversation.

We are getting older and don't hear quite as well as we did pre 70's concert era but frankly I don't know what excuse the young people of today are using.

Can you hear me now? :0)

January 20, 2007


I've heard that couples have split over remodeling or building a house. I can see where this could be an issue for some marriages.

We're remodeling our kitchen, master bathroom and hall linen cupboards. Luckily, we have a very stable relationship and it will take more than remodeling a fourth of our house to change this.

Everyone has different taste and we are no exception. I had my vision of the finished product and Mark had his. You can't have more than one person planning a project without a little conflict. I bet if identical twins worked on decorating or remodeling a room they would have disagreements too.

Luckily, we have similiar taste in decorating so things have gone pretty well.

A few things that can arise during a remodel are:

1) The cost is more than expected. (And how!)

2) Your idea isn't going to work as you envisioned.

3) You can't find someone to do the work due to increased home building. (This has been an issue for us but with new construction slowing down things are getting better)

4) Workers don't show up to work when scheduled.

5) Workers move to another state. (Only happened once)

These are just a few of the problems we have experienced so far. I know friends who have had different problems; some worse some not as bad.

The 80's movie "Money Pit" with Tom Hanks comes to mind. By the time we are finished we will have sunk thousands of dollars into this house and we aren't even planning on staying here for the rest of our lives. After spending all of that money and time I thought we would stay here a year or so to enjoy the work and then look for a place in the country away from the noise of suburbia.

Sound proof windows, a cement wall around my backyard as well as a picket fence around my front yard may sound like a better solution but time will tell. The trouble with living in town is that you can't pick your neighbors and we have some lively ones living around us; to say the least.

Oh well, it will all be worth it in the end. :0)

January 18, 2007


For 33 years I have dealt with this horrible disorder.

In the beginning, they said it was growing pains, even though I was at my full height. Then, in the early eighties, my doctor said it was because I was too tense and needed to relax. It wasn't until the early nineties that I got a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. My Family doctor referred me to a Rheumatologist who did a series of tests and gave me the news.

I was relieved and disappointed at the same time. It's always good to know what is causing your symptoms but at the time I felt like my life was over. Eventually, I came to terms with the fact that my life was, in fact, not over.

I did reach a point where I was on some pretty strong medications and walked with a cane. I found that reducing my stress and increasing my movement was the best prescription. Quitting my job as a social worker in 2004 gave me the stress relief I needed.

Tai Chai in a sitting position was all I was able to do in the beginning, but eventually I worked myself up to standing and being a full participant.

Later, I purchased a treadmill. At first I wasn't able to walk very fast or very far but I've worked myself up to 3 miles, 3 times a week and feel really good.

I think with any arthritis, movement is very important even though somedays we don't feel well. :0)

January 17, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Ahh, to be a child again.

As we are covered in inches of ice here in Oklahoma and the schools are closed, neighborhood children slide down steep driveways with reckless abandon. Their vehicles are laundry baskets, vinyl coats and scraps of plywood. We seldom have weather like this so they don't have proper sleds or toboggans but as the old saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention." When left to their own devices children can be very inventive.

Perspective is a large part of life. Many adults see the glass as half empty where children see the glass as half full. Adults are concerned with power outages, not being able to drive to work safely and roofs caving in. Children are happy that school is out and they have a new amusement park to play in. It doesn't even occur to them that they will have to make up these days later on. They live for the here and now.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we had no worries and could just slide down the driveway in an old laundry basket? :0)

January 16, 2007


Many writers keep a notepad on their nightstand for jotting down ideas they have while sleeping. I've gotten some inspiration from my dreams and sometimes find solutions to my writing dilemmas.

Two of the fiction stories I am currently working on are based on a dream I had. Just a snippet of a scene can create an idea for an entire story. Expand or rearrange a dream you've had to write a novel or short story.

"What Dreams May Come" is a novel and movie about the here-after written by Richard Matheson. This story reminds me of some bizarre dreams I've had. Characters change gender and race. Some of the scenes morph from reality to phantasmagoric. If you haven't seen this movie I highly recommend it. I don't know if it's based on a dream the writer had but I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Our dreams can be written for any genre or reading level simply by changing the perception. A monster under the bed can be described as very scary and horrific for an adult novel or cartoony for a children's book. It's your story. You can mold it however and for whomever you chose.

Stephen King has many phobias and that is one of the things that has made him a great writer. He turned his fears into real stories that scare everyone else. Many of his novels are nightmares he wrote into a book.

Maybe you have funny dreams about shopping in the nude; write a comedy. Or dreams about trying to find someone or something; write a mystery.

Anything you can dream you can write about.

May all your dreams become great novels. :0)

January 14, 2007

Affect and Effect

When writing I find that I have a problem keeping these two words straight. I consult the dictionary often to remind myself which is the proper one to use.

According to my Webster's I'm not the only one finding difficulty when using them.

The confusion of the verbs affect and effect is not only quite common but has a long history. Both words came into use in the 1400's and have been a source of confusion from day one.

Here's my observation of the two words:

Affect can have "ed" on the end but effect cannot.

Affect is a form of the word affection and has to do with emotion. Effect has to do with appearance and movable property or goods.

Her tears were purely for effect.
The sight affected her to tears.

I hope that this will have an effect on your writing as well as mine. :0)

January 12, 2007

Once Upon A Time

My children loved to be read to when they were little as most children do. I read a lot of the classic fairy tales as well as told some from memory and often made up stories. When my second child, was around three years old I was reading him a story and he stopped me and said, "Mama, you forgot to say One a pona time." It was so cute and funny I never forgot it. I made a point, after that, even if I was reading a story that didn't start out "Once upon a time", to add it in just for him.

I read that phrase for years without really thinking about the meaning but recently I was writing a story and thought about using that in the beginning. I did some research and the phrase "Once upon a time" simply means "There once was". These stories always end in "and they lived happily everafter". I love the old classic stories and apparently so do many people for they are redone and expanded upon over and over again. Just recently I visited a Barnes and Noble and there are novels based on the story of "Alice in Wonderland", "Cinderella" and "Peter Pan". These stories have stood the test of time and have been with us for generations.

So if you have trouble writing a story, read a classic fairy tale and see if there isn't a new story there waiting to be told. Maybe tell the story of Cinderella from the mice or Fairy God Mother's point of view. You don't have to write children's books to do this. Write an adult love story or tragedy based on one of these ideas and they don't necessarily have to end in "happily everafter" unless you want them to. Look at the book "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" by Gregory Maguire. He took classic children's fairy tales, twisted the story and turned them into adult novels.

There are ideas everywhere; we simply have to look for them. ;0)

January 10, 2007

The Reader Has to Care

When we write a story, I hear this often, the reader must be made to care about the main character and what happens next. We have to make them interesting enough so that the reader will want to continue to invest their time into reading further.

Time is a valuable commodity. We never seem to have enough of it. Our readers are no different than we are; they are busy people who budget their time based upon importance. As writers, we must make our stories so compelling that the reader cannot put the book down and simply reading the first few pages at the book store won't be enough; they will have to buy the book so they can find out what happens next.

I hope and work to achieve the goal of capturing a reader's attention to the point of being a flashlight book author. A flashlight book is a book that is so good a child will stay up with a flashlight under the covers to finish it. I don't remember who first used that analogy but it is a good one.

May you all become flashlight authors. :0)

January 9, 2007

Writer's Block

I was having difficulty with a story I am currently working on and it just wasn't coming easy for me. Instead of becoming frustrated I started working on another project; a non-fiction, that's been at the back of my brain for a few years. I kept finding information and tidbits I could use in this book so I set to work on it.

You might try this next time you find yourself in a rut. Set your current piece aside for a little while and take out one of the others you have started and work on it. Many writers have more than one story or project they are working on at any given time. You could even start a new one all together. Even if you just take notes or do research you will feel productive and will have put your time to good use.

Later, I'll pick the story back up with a new perspective :0)

January 6, 2007


A person with a fondness for words. They read anything and everything; cereal boxes, billboards, bumper stickers, etc. Word games are their passion; Scrabble, Boggle, crossword puzzles, and word search. Logophiles enjoy learning new words and you won't catch one without a dictionary in their home library which they all have because after all books are packed full of words, glorious words.

That would be me and all three of my kids. I've been known to read an entire cereal box during breakfast even the uninteresting parts. I read every sign I pass regardless if I know what it says by heart.

My husband is a budget analyst; a numbers guy and doesn't understand us. We have to beg him to play Scrabble or Boggle with us and he's miserable through the entire game. He would much rather play a card game or something that requires chance and counting. They say opposites attract and that was definately true in our case.

One of my favorite books is the dictionary. A great online dictionary is called the free dictionary. Their website is: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

They have a Quotation of the Day, In the News, This Day in History, Article of the Day, Today's Birthday, Match Up Game, Hangman, Daily Horoscope and your local Five Day Forecast.

I like the hangman game. It's fun and I've learned several new words by playing it. ;0)

January 5, 2007

Necessities We Didn't Know We Needed

It's funny how we get by without an appliance or electronics gadget just fine until we get one. All of a sudden that item is a necessity and we can't live without it; not only that, we don't know how we ever lived without it.

Take microwave ovens for instance; we didn't have one when I was a kid but now we have to have one. If the one we have quits working were out the next day replacing it. When my sons moved out we made sure they had a microwave because they couldn't live without one either.

The same thing with cell phones, computers, remote controls, video games, etc. You get the idea.

I'm sure our grandparents thought the same thing when the telephone came along.

My great-grandmother had a party line in her little town where she lived and she would sit for hours listening in on other peoples conversations. That was her entertainment, well that and her stories which was the same thing.

I never will forget the day the telephone company changed them all to single phone lines. She was madder than an old wet hen. She called my grandmother long distance and ranted and raved about them taking away her party line. It never occured to her that maybe the other ladies might want a private conversation without someone listening in. Just goes to show you that what one person sees as a disadvantage another might see as an asset.

I digressed there a little bit with my granny story but I thought y'all would get a kick out of it.

Cars are another item we didn't need a few decades ago but now we not only have one but everyone over the age of 16 in our homes has one. Teenagers think they're mistreated and neglected if they don't have one and in my town not just any old clunker will do. Many of them drive vehicles better than their parents and they don't even have jobs.

So do yourselves a favour; the next time a new gadget comes out that the media tells you we just have to have, DON'T BUY IT. Save yourself. If we never own one we won't become a slave to it. It's too late for the microwaves, cell phones and remote controls but we can set our foot down to the next do-hickey and thing-a-majig.

January 4, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

When my oldest son was three he was a huge fan of Superman. Actually, he still is but don't tell anyone. Ssshh.

He decided he needed a cape just like his hero, so I pinned a bath towel around his neck with a safety pin and he ran outside to play.

I could see him in the backyard playing and noticed he was jumping off of our air conditioning unit...several times.

After an hour or so he came back inside looking very down trodden. He said, "Dad, it's very hard to fly."

He had the tools, he practised and still he was not able to achieve his goal of flying.

Some authors and teachers of writing believe that you cannot teach a person how to write. They either have the gift or they don't. To some extent I agree, but I think the mechanics of it has to be taught.

I do believe that there is some element of talent envolved in story telling.

Before books and paper were readily available to the average person story tellers were the living books of society. Now whether some had the gift and others didn't, I do not know. But I think there is a little bit of a story teller in all of us.

Look out world; I have my towel pinned on and I'm going to fly. ;0)

January 3, 2007

Offensive Words

It is my purpose to make sure this Blog site is agreeable to all. This won't be as easy as some might think. What one person finds offensive another might find flattering.

For example, I have a friend who didn't want to be called Mrs. Smith (the names have been changed to protect the innocent). She felt that calling her Mrs. made her sound old. "That's my mother-n-law, not me." She said.
I've also known women who were offended by the title "Ma'am" for the same reason. They thought it made them sound old.

Forms of names can be considered unexceptable by some. If you called a person by a form of their name they didn't like it might be offensive to them. Here are a short list of common names and their derivatives:
Randolph- Randy, Rand, Dolph
Richard- Rich, Rick, Ricky, Dick
Charles- Chuck, Charlie, Charley
Patricia- Pat, Patty, Tricia, Trish
Elizabeth- Beth, Liza, Lisa, Eliza

Current definitions of names can make them offensive when a few years previous it was considered acceptable. For example the man's name Dick or the woman's name Gay.

In the south it isn't uncommon for women to call people "Hon", however, I've heard some non-southerners say they didn't approve of being called "Hon" by someone they didn't know.

Here are a list of words that I find offensive but are considered compliments in certain circles:
the "F" word (can't bring myself to print that one)

Hopefully I can successfully post unoffensive entries on my Blog that will be acceptable by all.

Oh, and any variation of my given name is acceptable and you can call me Mrs. if you want to. ;0)

January 2, 2007

Technically Challenged

Well apparently Google bought Blogger which changed my settings and kept me from getting to my dashboard so I couldn't make a new post yesterday. I wouldn't even have this blog site if Blogger didn't make it easy for folks like myself.

I need a book "Computers for dummies" I'm sure there's one out there.

My USB flashdrive started acting up on me before Christmas and sometimes it would open up and sometimes it just didn't feel like working. (I can relate). My husband bought me a new one. So you know right away I'm in trouble. Right? It has a little button that slides the connector thingy in and out instead of a cover like my old one. Okay so far; one less thing for me to lose. It lights up when engaged. That wasn't too complicated. The confusing part was that it didn't show up on my desktop as an USB. It called itself a disc. Sheesh, whose the dummy now. I'm looking and hunting. I do the little Explore short cut my honey showed me and I can't find the cotton picken thing anywhere. So I had to have my husband find it for me. I also learned that I'm supposed to release it from my computer before pulling it out of the port. It gets confused if you just pull it out before dismissing it. Well I can certainly relate to getting confused and far be it from me to cause the little gadget any grief. Luckily it's as easy as clicking on a little icon so I think I can handle that.

Whew, things were so less complicated when we used typewriters. Well, until it came to replacing the typewriter ribbon. ;0)