Blog Stuff, Fun Fridays, Writing

Versatile and irresistibly sweet?

My email inbox is an abyss. If I don’t respond immediately, I’m likely to either think that I did, or forget I ever received the email. Two months ago Kate Cardon Parish awarded this blog the Versatile Blogger Award. Her email arrived during the comment blitz after WordPress Freshly Pressed one of my posts and was promptly buried in all those email notices.

Recently, Hannah Fergesen awarded this blog the Irresistibly Sweet award. Both rules for these awards state that I must share 7 random facts about myself and pass the award on to 15 other blogs. I’ll combine the rules, meaning I’ll reveal only 7 facts, not 14, and share them with only 15 bloggers, not 30. So, read the enthralling tidbits about me and then go visit Kate and Hannah’s excellent blogs. Then, visit the blogs listed below. Or be rebellious and do none of the above.

  1. I don’t like the taste of coffee … in any form.
  2. I get anxious when I sweat.
  3. The first book I ever checked out of a public library was A Mouse in the House. (Not the book currently in print.)
  4. I have seen a ghost.
  5. By the age of 26, I was the mother of four boys.
  6. I can’t swim.
  7. I’ve worn the same shade of nail polish on my toes for 38 years. It’s by Revlon, and they change the color name from time to time.

Now aren’t you glad you stopped by my blog today? I mean, really, how could you have lived the rest of your life not knowing those facts about me?

Okay, I’m supposed to pass these awards on to 15 blogs, but I know some of you already have these awards or don’t do “fun” posts. If so, ignore the rules and just consider this a shout out to your blog. And I’ll add one extra for luck. New and old friends, in no particular order:

  1. Kayla Olson
  2. Michelle Davidson Argyle
  3. Christa Polkinhorn
  4. T.A. Olivia
  5. Natasha Drew
  6. Jennifer Neri
  7. Laura Best
  8. Amanda Hoving
  9. Cathryn Grant
  10. Christi Craig
  11. Trisha Sutton
  12. Kasie West
  13. Candice Kennington
  14. J.C. Hart
  15. Heather Simone
  16. Judy Croome

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Editing, Tips, Words, Writing

Those trippy little things …

I live in an older neighborhood filled with mature trees. Two of those are massive sycamores in my backyard. I love their shade; I hate their allergens. Squirrels adore them. Most of the time, I have no problem with squirrels. I’m not too happy when they eat my tangerines and peaches … especially when they take the last one I left on the tree for maximum sweetness, but what can you do? Naively, I thought that was all the trouble they would cause.


I had noticed a slight dimming of the house lights at times, like when the dryer started up or I used the iron, but recently it got worse. I thought maybe it had something to do with all the rain we’ve had. Then, one evening we nearly had a brown out when I started the microwave. The next morning, we called PG&E and they came right out.

We have above ground electrical service in this neighborhood, and those wires pass right through the sycamores on the way from pole to house. Guess what else squirrels like to eat? Well, maybe not eat, but they like to chew on the covering of electrical wiring. They had exposed parts of the wire, which led to our problem.

Yep, sometimes it’s the little things that trip us up. Even in our writing.

I recently emailed a draft of the short synopsis I’d written to my friend Tricia for her feedback. In her reply she advised me to revise the opening hook because I had used the words of and to three times each—in one sentence! Little words, big problem.

What are the trippy little things in your life?


Mind Puke

Here I sit, speechless … or would that be textless? My mind is blank. Or rather, not blank, but stuffed so full, I can’t sort out a thought without pulling a dozen more with it. I think I’m going to just settle for one of those stream-of-consciousness posts that Judy and Tricia tried, but I’ll be a rebel and not time mine. Warning: this could go on for days.

As I write this, the Super Bowl is on TV and my husband is watching it, but I’m not. Does that make me un-American? I got into watching Australian football once, and rugby another time, but except when one of my family members played, I’ve never watched football. I don’t like that you can’t see the players’ faces. It’s too impersonal. And even though one of these teams is from my home town, I couldn’t care less who wins. (Kasie would be proud that I didn’t say I could care less. :-)) So, until I started writing this, I was reading my first novel by Abigail Thomas and I think she’s going to be one of my favorite “new” authors. The book I have now is “An Actual Life” and is written in such a pure and true character voice that I’m just amazed. I thank Cynthia for introducing me to her with this interview.  I think a lot about character voice because I tried writing my novel in three different voices. Whether it worked or not is yet to be seen. Boy, Pizza Hut bought a boatload of ad time on the Super Bowl. I’m low-carbing, trying to take off the weight I gained writing the aforementioned novel, so pizza for me would just be the toppings. I’m weaning myself off Coke by drinking Coke Zero. I hate diet drinks, which means I’ll end up dropping soda altogether. Eating healthy is not necessarily fun. And at my age, fun is paramount, so dieting is torture.Torture is something I cannot abide to see, hear, or read about. I think this stems from a past life experience—I hope as the tortured, not as the torturer, but then, if I’ve learned anything from Lost it’s that we’re all capable of being the torturer. And speaking of … who is Sayid now, anyway? If you have no idea what that means, you’re not a Lost fan and I feel sorry for you. You do watch Mad Men, at least, right? All writers should.

Okay, that’s enough of my mind puke. Oh, that reminds me; I caught a few minutes of Dirty Jobs yesterday and watched snakes being “puked.” A biology researcher’s life is … um … interesting. And that’s it, I’m gone. Go on back to your lives now.

Fun Fridays

Seven true things … more or less

I have to admit it was weird not checking in daily on Virtualworld. But with my two “away” sons home, and all the preparations for and celebrating of Christmas, I really had no choice. Today, I almost feel like a stranger on my own blog. So I guess it’s appropriate that I had to think about myself for this post.

When Tricia first presented me this award, she called it Seven Secrets and I thought, No way am I going to reveal any secrets. Then, I saw that another friend, Candice, called it simply Seven Things on her blog. Recipients are supposed to reveal seven things others may not know about them. I realized that only a few of the readers of this blog know me in Realworld, and even they know me only in a “professional” way. So … really … I could say anything and how would you know if I told the truth? Actually, all but one of the following are true. And, like my friend Kasie, I decided to go with eight things … just because I could.

1.  I can’t swim. I learned to swim when I was three, but at eight, I nearly drowned and ever since, I panic in water above my waist.

2.  I have only one lung. Due to illness, when I was thirteen, I had a pneumonectomy.

3.  I’ve seen a ghost. I had smelled the flowery perfume of this entity for some time, but on this particular day I was working on a portrait when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something on the stairs. I turned my head slightly, without raising it, and on the bottom step, I could see the shoes and dress bottom of a woman (c.1910 vintage.) Too afraid to view the ghost directly, I turned my head back to the portrait and, for a moment, sat frozen before I bolted for the front door. I never told my neighbor the reason for my impromptu visit.

4.  I tend to read magazines from back to front. I’ve always done this, but I don’t know why. It’s somewhat confusing. I never do this with books.

5.  I inherited nearly half a million dollars. However, due to a personal vow, I gave it all away … to responsible charities, I assure you.

6.  I’ve come this close to choking to death two times. The first time, I was about six and was sitting at the table with my father and grandfather. I choked on a piece of bacon. I remember being surprised that I couldn’t breathe, then scared, but I didn’t alert either of them. My world started going black around the edges. The next thing I knew, the room was bright again, the bacon was gone, and my father and grandfather were still carrying on their conversation.

The second time, I was in my late twenties and was eating pizza with my husband and another couple. I realized I couldn’t breathe. They all looked at me when I jumped out of my chair, and I remember seeing the moment they realized I was choking, but I also saw their panic and knew they had no idea what to do. I had one clear thought, I’m going to die. Then, acting purely on mother’s instinct, my friend Karen jumped up and jerked my arm straight up. The force ejected the bit of pizza crust and I could breathe again.

7.  I gave my very important final report for sixth grade social studies on Atlantis. I apparently had a tolerant teacher; she gave me an A.

8.  Lukewarm food disgusts me. Hot food should be served hot. I even pre-heat the plates at my house. (Btw, I have no idea who Luke is, or why he’s so wishy-washy.)

Now, the award rules say you’re supposed to nominate other people, but I hate to put anyone on the spot. So, please copy the graphic and blog a list of seven unknown facts about yourself or, at least, share one here in a comment. I’m oh so very curious, but I just hate to pry.

And which of my facts do you suppose is not true?

Fun Fridays, Humor, Writing

No lurkers at the party, please!

party-formalWhew! I’ve had a busy week, and I’m not caught up, but It’s Friday so I’m throwing a party. Looks like it’s a Mad Men theme—but no smoking! All you sociable people, please circulate and encourage the wallflowers to join in.

The buffet table is in the corner; help yourselves. It’s a magical thing, whatever you want is there. Same for the bar. Don’t hold me responsible for the after effects.

Let’s talk … comments, comments, people! Don’t be shy. Introduce yourselves—name, rank, serial number. If you’re a writer, what are you working on? If you’re not a writer, but you come here often, I’m curious why you do. And if you just stumbled in here because Google erroneously thought you’d be interested, have a bite to eat, fill your glass, or at least grab a cookie on your way out.

Feel free to open all my closets, cupboards and doors; you never know what you might find here.

Some of the most witty, intelligent, talented and beautiful people stop by here. Hopefully, you’ll meet them at the party, but if you get caught up in Nekkid Charades, or stuck in the line to have your palm read and missed them, go visit them at their places:

(In alphabetical order, because I’m just so darn diplomatic.)
Christine Ashby
Danielle Cross
Cathryn Grant
Joseph Grinton
Lisa Katzenberger
Candice Kennington
Jennifer Neri
Cynthia Newberry Martin
Mireille Noël
Karen Schindler
Tricia Sutton
Cristina Trapani-Scott
Pamela Villars
Judy Clement Wall
Kasie West