Friday, May 3, 2013

without yardwork!

Yesterday I did it!  I tackled an over grown and neglected ornamental grass "clump." 

Several years ago, a neighbor with whom we share a mutual plot of yard with asked if they could plant this ornamental grass at the one end.  We didn't think there would be harm, as it was small plant in a six inch pot.  Boy were we wrong!

I tried last weekend to cut back the dead and decaying sections.  Soon, though I lost the battle and my determination to purge the mess.  Over the next few days I sought a solution to helping win the war.  Then it came to me, all I needed was a spool of simple white string.

You'd think this would be an easy item to find at your local "we-have-everything-store."  No.  I went directly to the garden center and asked where I could find white string.  The helpful store attendant promptly said, "Follow me."  Pointed at a peg board and said it should be hanging there.   Then continued on, pointing in two more locations.  I timidly said, "Umm, I don't see it.  Where is the white string?"  She replied, "We don't carry white, but here is green." 

I walked away bemused.  I clearly stated, when I first asked the attendant, where is the white (NOT GREEN) string.  I know some of you must be shaking your head going white green what's the difference.  Big I would reply.  I ended up finding the white string (ON MY OWN!).  The spool was twice the length of the green for around the same price.  I did let management know it would be a good idea *IF* an employee doesn't know the answer to a customer's question that they simply say I don't know OR help the customer find someone who does. 

In this day and age of technology certainly there should be some way to check inventory.  Wouldn't you think?

Okay, so with string in hand I was able to tie up several bundles of the unruly dead reeds.  It took me a while but in the end I feel I made a difference to the new growth. 

The war isn't over, because there is still decaying material around the base that needs to be raked up and bagged.  But that will have to wait until this weekend.  Other chores (laundry, laundry, laundry) must be tackled today!

What task have you put off for a week, month or years?  Have you tried and didn't succeed to win the battle?  Try again.  I know you can do it.  Just like I did!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

but apparently not this week.

Every day in our home there are challenges we must overcome... I have three sons, two golden retrievers and a husband.

But Monday became another one of those days I won't forget.  Nor will my family.  It was my eldest who told me about it though I had spent the day working for home.  He was watching a sports update.

Our hearts go out to those affected.  We pray for them to have the ability to heal both mentally and physically.

Bless each and every person who rose up and became heroes that day in the hour of need. 

Thank you for putting your life on the line.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

without the butts!

As I was leaving a store yesterday, the breeze increased causing me to turn my face.  A movement caught my eye.  I stopped and realized rolling across the parking lot were a couple dozen cigarette butts.  An idea popped into my head for a project.

I want to start a project entitled, "See a Butt, Pick it Up!"

Years ago, while on a Cub Scout field trip I learned from our guide at Palmyra Nature Cove that cigarette butts were becoming a problem for them.  Why?  Birders would come, perch to watch their feather friends in a quiet and serene locations only to litter the area with their butts!!!  The guide said he was doing all he could to "educate" the masses.

Here is a few websites where you can learn more of damage these butts make:

Cigarette Butt Litter -- IMPACTS!

Cigarette Butts: Tiny Trash That Piles Up

The Facts About Cigarette Butts and Litter

Litter Fact Sheet -- Cigarette Butts

Who is going to help me?  Show of hands!!!  See a Butt, Pick it Up!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

without a new start, it is Springtime right?!?

Hello world!

Ok, I fell off the band wagon.  I stopped composing blog entries when I became extremely overwhelmed and stressed.  One day led to two days behind.  And seven led to fourteen.  Three weeks led to a month.  Next thing I knew it was April 1st.

Yesterday, I contemplated writing a blog entry at many times during the day and but then realized it was 10:00 pm.  Another day gone. Zip... BANG!

Today I decided before it's 10:00 am I was going to post an entry!  Friends I'm back!  I'm going to write, not daily but at least once a week.  Probably Tuesday mornings, because Mondays are just so dang hard to get through with a normal list of "to-do's" I'm not going to stress myself out.  But another writer-friend did suggest doing "it" same day, same time and then it will become habit... what is it, after five times, or is it five weeks.

I have other "to-do's" now on a regular basis.  I've picked up a new client... wish it was six or ten more, but I guess I need to less FBing and surfing and more promoting of my "services" if I want more clients!  Right?!?!!!  RIGHT!!!

Off to work I go! Hi-ho Hi-ho!

Smile... it makes people wonder what you've been up to!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

without commercials!

I'm fed up!!!

Anymore I don't watch TV shows.  I usually listen to them while I am doing the dishes.  Folding laundry.  Or typing my blog entries.  But then a commercial comes along.  And I snatch the remote up and urgently push the button to mute the sound.

So why am I fed up with commercials?  They are annoying and LOUD!  I recall there was a TV being advertised that would lower the volume during commercials.  Bummer we didn't purchase one.  So, for now I will continue to reach for the remote and mute it.

Do commercial annoy you too?

without learning about wine making!

My husband and I learned a lot while we were in Napa.  Why the grape vines are trained to grow the way they are.  This is so the vines can have the maximum amount of sunlight.  It was amazing to see almost every single plant-able area containing rows and rows of vines.  Whether the land was flat or hilly.

Considering the hilly block of vines, the next question was how does one maintain the grass and other ground growth from over coming the vines.  Animals!  Yes, animals.  One winery said they invested in goats.  They not only eat the vegetation, but offer a great fertilization.  All natural.

Our next stop, was the extremely large machine that squeeze the grapes.  If you are as old as I am then you'll remember a scene from an entertaining red-headed-comedian stomping grapes in a barrel with her dear friend.  The senior wine educator shared that people really didn't what to drink wine that tasted of feet any longer.  Of course we all had a good chuckle after that.

He went on to explain that just the juice of white grapes is collected, while with red grapes the juice and skins are collected.  From there, the collections are taken to large tanks to be mixed with various yeasts.  And then after a specified number of days to weeks, the contents are then filtered and placed in barrels.

That's it, it does seem simple... and wine making has been going on for centuries upon centuries.  Would you attempt this?  You don't need much land.  But I would imagine you do need to learn a bit more about planting and the time one must put in to growing the grapes.  Then again, you can buy the grapes from someone else and start there.  Would you stomp them or would you find another way to squeeze the juice of the grapes.  Would you make white or red?  Sweet or dry?  The questions are endless...

without trying something new!

My husband gifted me with a trip to Napa, California.  I've mentioned this in a couple of previous blog entries.

It was wondrous.  I learned that California weather is an odd duck.  The two days while I was there with him, the day time temps were between 65-70; and the nights dipped into the 30s!  I could handle the 30s.  I'm from the East Coast.

Our time was short, due to work and family responsibilities, so he had a plan.  He researched for almost two months before we went out.  So in two days we visited ten wineries.  Yes, I tried wines I never had dreamed of tasting and some that were not to my liking.

I learned how the taste of a wine can change after eating certain foods.  Then made an observation to my husband after a wine tasting along with a specially prepared luncheon, "One should not just sit down and order a bottle of wine.  One should order their meal, then chose a wine that will be enhanced by the food ordered."

For instance, the butter flavors of a Chardonnay mellowed after eating seared tuna.  I had always refused to even taste tuna prepared this way.  Why?  Would you eat raw fish?  I did, but because I felt obligated to try it.  I found I liked it.  But keep in mind it was served with greens and light dressing.   

Will I try it again, perhaps.  Perhaps not.  Have you tried something new as of late?

without preparing for a trip!

Okay, I go away for for a few days... and now I owe myself eleven blog posts!  It would have been twelve, but in the middle of the getting back into the routine I was able to write one post.

Without further ado... The saga of the last day before my trip to Napa, California.  It started like any other day of the week.  I got the kids up and off to school, walked the dogs and fed them too... then I began to prepare for the arrival of my brother-n-law who was going to stay out our kids. 

In one of my many trips up and down the stairs to check on the status of the laundry, I began to smell dog food.  That's when I notice the small pile of dog food beside our girl Maeve.  She had thrown up.  I was not phased, I just went ahead and cleaned it up.  She seemed okay, she began to play with her sister Red.  So, I went back to running up and down the stairs doing what I needed to be done.

In about an hour though, I realized something was wrong.  On yet another trip through the kitchen, I was hit with that bad smell again.  She had tossed her cookies again, but it this time it was more like her entire breakfast.  It took me longer to clean up, but I persevered.  Maeve though, curled up and went to sleep under the kitchen table--I knew then she wasn't feeling good.  

Figuring she was wore out, I left her be.  It wasn't the end.   At the same moment I received a call from school nurse requesting I come pick up my youngest son because he was sick, Maeve threw up again.  This time she was so wore out, she laid still and didn't move.  I called the school back, asked them to keep my son comfortable while I had to handle the situation at home.  At this point, I was seriously feeling like fate wasn't going to let me go on my trip. 

Thanking Old Man Winter for giving me a 60 (yep, 60) degree day... I took Maeve outside and hosed her off.  Shampooing her and then rinsed her again.  Grabbing a towel, I dried her off; then I went back inside to tackle the mess again.  Once I was done, I hauled butt to the school to get my son.

Although, my day didn't end there.  Yes, Maeve was sick a fourth time.  But it was the text message telling me my brother-n-law's GPS had routed him through major city near us, that upset me.  I couldn't help him.  I began to feel truly at my wits-end.  But I plodded on, repeating a silent mantra... I am going on this trip!

The rest of that day is a blur... I survived and did make my flight the next day!  Have you ever gone through challenges similar to this, wondering why me?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

without taking a little trip now and then!

So, some may be wondering where my daily blog posts were over the past week... others probably didn't notice my absence.  That's okay.  Those that matter know where I disappeared too.

I was given one of the rare moments to share some quiet quality time with my spouse.  In the 22 years we've been married, there have been only a few times, where we have been able to get away without our children.

Last week, I joined my husband at the conclusion of a business meeting in Napa Valley.  I flew for the first time by myself and learned I can do it!  I was able to tolerate my flight being delayed for over an hour... reminding myself what awaited at the end of the six hour flight.  Peace and quiet.

When was the last time you traveled?  Do you like to fly or do you prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on the Earth?

Stay tuned for more entries this week to make up for last week's lack of... 
You don't want to miss out on the number of challenges thrown my way the day before my departure!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

without a wounded pride now and again!

Every once in a while I feel as if some invisible force feels I don’t have enough to deal with.  Perhaps, I look bored and this force decides it’s time to shake things up a bit.

Just this week while trying to get all my ducks in a row, and assist my husband in preparation for a business trip, the force tried to detour my progression. 

Minding my own business and going about my routine, I slipped and fell off my back steps—landing not so gracefully on my left hip.  I wasn’t alone, but my companion went about her business and came back to wait entrance back into the house.  She acted as if I usually lay under the bush by the back door every time I walk her.  Knowing my husband was on the other end of the house and wouldn’t hear me I hauled my sorry-butt—or should I say sore butt—off the soaking wet ground and went back inside. 

Do you know how absorbent denim is?  I do now.  Somehow, I managed to escape external bruises.  Internal bruising is another story.  I realized rolling over to get out of bed this morning.  Today is only the first day.  The second is the day they say will be worse.  I had some trouble getting in and out of my truck too.  I'm not looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

Have you ever suffered a wound pride?  How did you deal with it?  Did you haul yourself up and continue on as if nothing happened?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

without critics!

Where would some books, plays, movies, songs be without the critics?

Think about it.  Many of us turn to that page in the paper to see what the critics say out the latest book or movie.  Is it worth our hard earned money?  Does the "critics" say it is worth it?  Or did they give it an "F-" or a single star?  Who are these so-called "critics?"  Should we trust them?

Where do these questions come from?  I occasionally get the opportunities to watch the CBS Sunday Morning Show.  Imagine my surprise to learn a play write looked at it as a positive, to have a play of his that was nominated for a Pulitzer, rejected. Then to see a singer and songwriter, who has five (yes, five) million fans have his performances called melodramatic by critics over the decades.

Apparently, they survive these external critics... perhaps, then I could survive my internal critics and leave my mark, after all, before I draw my last breath.  Because in the end, it is not the critics buying our stories, albums, and tickets... it is our fans... our families... and our friends.

Friday, January 25, 2013

without snow! Wait what snow!?!

Well we've got about a half of an inch of the frozen white stuff.  The down side, it's fluffy and removable with a broom... or a really deep breath.  This was proven by a "roving reporter" showing the viewers how easy it was to remove snow by blowing on it.  Sorry I couldn't find the clip *snicker*!

All evening activities for the kids have been canceled.  They are ecstatic and gearing up for a frenzy of video games.  Sleeping in won't be an option... snow play will rouse them from their slumber early.  Unlike me dragging them from bed at the same hour for school.

I hope one and all have a good night... I shall snuggled with a hot bev and a good book.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

without Red!

She has been full of herself today... so much so she is the reason this will be short!

Did you know that Golden Retrievers can remove electrical outlet covers?  No neither did I!!!  But this very evening Red walked up and removed one right in front of my youngest.  He was yelling at her to "leave it" and she disregarded him. 

So as soon as I could find a replacement outlet cover I put a new on it.  Hopefully she won't yank this one off too!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

without Snow Geese!

Last week, I was ducking (no pun intended) into the house because of massive flocks of birds.  I believe it was made up of mostly European Starlings, although I saw Robins and Blackbirds too.  There numbers were probably in the thousands.

Vincentown Lake, Vincentown, NJ
This week, I was gifted with the chance to take a quick picture of a flock of Snow Geese.  It was so beautiful.  What do you think?

In case you want to learn more about Snow Geese ... Check out Snow Goose, Life History, All About Birds website. 

If you'd like to learn more about European Starlings ... A bird species that is consider to be invasive; as it doesn't have any natural predators like those birds who were already established in the United States.  Check out European Starling, Identification, All About Birds website.

I found myself chuckling after reading WHY this specie was introduced to the United States... "Introduced as part of a plan to introduce to the U.S. all birds mentioned in the works of Shakespeare."  Quote from National Invasive Species Information Center page on European Starling

Amazing, somehow I managed to segue back to a writer!!!  Who knew taking a picture of Snow Geese would lead to Shakespeare?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

without Castle!

Ok, I have a weakness... crime shows.  But what draws me in like a moth to a flame... Castle and he's a writer!  He is a sharp dresser, a charmer and... did I mention a writer?

I remember some time ago I was trying to track down movies that involved a writer as one of the characters.  One of my favorites is Romancing the Stone.  Then came Jewel of the Nile... it was good, but not as much as Romancing the Stone.  Another one I've watched repeatedly is Under the Tuscan Sun.  Most recently, Eat, Love, Pray.

So after a quick internet search I found these articles ...,,20177571_20406883,00.html

...My thoughts after reading all of them most of the movies were dark and gloomy. *sigh*  Although some I'm going to track down are The MuseFinding Forrester, and Miss Potter. I know I've missed others... please share them in a comment below!

Monday, January 21, 2013

without ice cream!

This one's for you Jacki! :)  I asked for topic suggestions and I think Jacki's suggestion of "ice cream" is MUCH BETTER than "dentist."

When I was pregnant with my first child, I fell in love with Chocolate Chip Mint made by a specific company.  I found it in these cute little pint size containers.  I would sit and eat the entire container; being *so* disappointed when I would scrap the bottom.

Soon though, I found that this ice cream company carried my favorite flavor in half gallon size.  I was in trouble then! :)

As soon as our oldest child began to order ice cream I started to see a pattern... he LOVES Chocolate Chip Mint just like his mother.  Now, could that be that he has similar tastes like his mother?  Or could it be because I ate SO much while being pregnant with him?  What do you think?

with a gallbladder!

If you have been following my blog, you might notice something about this entry's title that differs from others.  I used the word "with" instead of "without."

I had my gallbladder removed after giving birth to our second child.  During that pregnancy I had a gallbladder attack that I thought was a heart attack.  I was so scared.  Seven months pregnant and I couldn't think why I couldn't breathe.  (Side note:  Always seek medical attention if you have ANY complications at ANY point in your pregnancy... as NO two women or pregnancies are every the SAME!)

Over the years I have had to change my eating habits.  Fast food I soon discovered was never to pass my lips without a gallbladder.  Did you know that this little organ helps you digest the "grease/oil/fat" found in various foods?  I didn't then but sure do now; since I haven't had mine for 14 years.

I love bacon and sausage but have to be careful how much I eat and what type.  Same goes with beef.  Chicken and fish are much kinder to me.

Then there is condiments... Mayo I can use, but limited.  Same with some salad dressings.  Others don't seem to upset my delicate system.

But too much of the wrong ingredients, and well, I've found myself down-and-out-for-the-count for at most a day or two.  Then there have been times when I wished I could stay in bed, and had to re-group in a matter of an hour and drag my sorry butt out of bed.  Why?  Because I am a mom and Moms don't get a "sick day."  Only when/if dad is working from home do I get a "sick day."

So, why am I writing about my gallbladder... Because Sunday evening I made the "wrong food choice" and thankfully dad was home!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

without internet searches!

Or perhaps perusing the shelves of your local library.  Either, you may not end up finding what you started out looking for!

For instance, I have been debating on how I want to paint our front door.  I remember when my husband and I traveled to Ireland some fifteen years ago--these amazing front doors painted in various detailed designs.  Yet, when I do an internet search of "Irish front doors" I usually end up finding images of boldly painted front doors in solid colors or images that "are NOT Irish front doors."  So I can't seem to find any doors that resemble the ones we saw.

Sometimes, though other searches may have started out for one topic and have led me to another.  One that is helpful, and results, I'm pleasantly surprised by.  This is why an internet search could be compared to a trip to the local library.

How often have you gone to pick up a book, and discovered a new author or book?  Or a solution to how to help your overly-energetic pup redirect that excessive energy? Perhaps you find a new flowering bush to fill that empty spot in your garden!  Then again, you might just find a book with pictures of intricately painted Celtic patterns.

What have you discovered on the internet or in your local library?

without so many books to read!

Ok, I have figured out why I'm not blogging daily... it's my feverish desire to finish all the books on my TBR list/pile.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it! *Grin*

Last night instead of blogging, I chose to finish reading When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James.

Truthfully, I think my blogging is suffering because I've been on a non-stop reading spree.  I think it started when my family gifted me with a eReader on Mother's Day.  Fifty percent of the books I've been reading have been on that very eReader.  The other fifty, paperbacks from my local library.

Just some of the authors I've been reading are ... Amelia Grey, Caridad Pineiro, Irene Peterson, Elisabeth Naughton, Chris Redding, Jenn Nixon, Lynn Kurland, and Susan Wiggs.

Who are you reading?  What genre?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

without blogging!

I did it.... I managed to sit (somehow while being pawed) and type up three blog entries tonight.  This is the fourth.

And these are the two reasons I won't be blogging any longer tonight... as it's time to walk them and tuck them in.

Do you have a pet that keeps you from doing your freelancing? Or interest?  Or writing?

without books with swear words or perhaps not!

I received an e-reader for Mother's Day ... and enjoy immensely the chance to preview books

Well, a few authors recently posted new releases... so I went on a frenzy to download samples.  I figured I could read them when I had 5 to 15 minute periods of time free, and then buy the ones I found that piqued my interest.

I was *EXTREMELY* grateful I had the opportunity to read a sample of one book, because I won't be buying it.  I was turned off by the use of profanity to the point I disappointed in the author.  The storyline drew me in, but I refuse to spend my hard-earned-money to buy it. 

I feel there are times when it is appropriate, however as I stated the author over did it. 

Do you feel the same?  Or, do you take a different stance?

without acronyms!

When I was fresh out of college, I went to work in a Quality Assurance Department for a vendor of an aerospace company.  I learned all sorts of acronyms.  Most of which I can't remember what they stood for now if you asked me.

With need to shorten text messages and relay a complete message, new acronyms were created.  Many of us use LOL daily, for example.

Some of those ones I'm familiar with; but might now be known are ...

SOB - Son of a Beachball

GOAT - Greatest of all time 
(This one we learned thanks to my husband's friend Scott *G*)

PITA - Pain in the adenoid

OMW - On my way or OH MY WORD
 ... discovered second meaning accidentally 

OMWH - On my way home
OMWHF - Oh my word, How funny!?!

I know the list is endless... Share with me your favorite or funniest one!

without pet peeves!

I have had it...!  As I've mentioned previously before I have children.  They are precious to me.  I'll do anything to protect them.  I've pulled over to do so.  Why you ask?

Years ago, when I learned to drive I seem to recall one of my instructors (parents, boyfriend-now-husband, paid-driving instructor) telling me to always keep a safe distant between the vehicle I was driving and the one in front of you.  But it was my friend Donna who told me she like to keep the crazy drivers in front of her... and I have to agree.

My pet peeve... if you are behind me and I can't see your license plate nor your headlights--because you are too d*mn close to my vehicle; I'm going to pull over and let you pass.  Why?  Because my greatest fear is I'm going to have to stop for something or someone and the vehicle behind me is going to rear-end my vehicle.  Then me, or worse, one of my children is going to get hurt and pay the price for someone's inability to judge the distance between two vehicles.

Do you have a pet peeve like mine?  

Monday, January 14, 2013

without dogs!

*BLEEP* not just one day slipped by me ... two!!! Two whole days gone.  And now I owe myself three blogs!

Ok, so for my first owed entry ... I'm going to blog about my furry children.  I know, I know some people consider pets, just pets or animals.  But ever since I was a little girl my family has had dogs.   Hound dogs, hunting dogs, wiener dogs, police dogs, and finally family dogs.  And every single one of them was unique. 

I remember Molly, Sokie, and Spike.  Molly was a Basset Hound, Sokie was a hunting dog, and Spike was our first and only wiener dog!  Since we lived in a mobile home, the dogs were kept in a large dog coop.  Each had there own run outside.  But inside, my dad had built large rooms for each.  Big enough I could walk in to get their dishes at feeding time.  I sure miss them.

Then there was Rusty, our first German Shepard.  He, well, didn't last long in our home.  He never seemed to like people in uniforms.  My stepfather worked for the water department and wore a uniform.  Enough said.

After Rusty, we had Lady Lord Sheba.  She too was a German Shepard.  She we had much longer than Rusty, but it was me she despised not uniformed strangers or stepfathers.  Sheba didn't like being told she couldn't eat out of the garbage.  Nor shake the throw rug if someone knocked on the front door.  I went to college before she left this world.

During college, I met my husband.  His family had dogs too.  Sandy a Golden Retriever and Shasta a Sheep-herding Mix.  Those two were inseparable.  Sandy was a gentle, loving and ready to chase ball pup.  Shasta too, loved to chase balls, but he barked for attention.  Shasta doted on Sandy, most of the time cleaning her ears and snuggling up to her.  But he would always scarf down Sandy's food if she ever left any.  Perhaps, it was fair trade... I clean your ears, you give me your supper.

When I turned 26 my husband surprised me.  He drove me an hour south of our home to a Golden Retriever breeder's kennel.  And there, I fell in love with truly my first furry child.  I didn't pick her, she picked me.  At six weeks, Hope, came to me and sat down between my feet.  Her siblings could care less.  They ran about the play yard chasing one another.  But not Hope.  She came to me.

Fourteen years she was a part of my life.  Fourteen.  That's a long time.  I miss her dearly still, as do my children and my husband.

Now, tonight I sit in my kitchen writing this blog... I've been interrupted a dozen times by my present furry children--Red and her sister, Maeve.  Red bops my elbows as I type, while Maeve brings me ball after ball.  Red didn't pick me.  Nor anyone else in my household.  She was picked by us because she wasn't timid and she's a deep red color.  Maeve on the other hand was timid and climbed into my youngest son's lap.  So we couldn't leave with just Red from the breeder, we had to take Maeve too.

Hard to believe they are three years old.  They both think they are lap dogs--although they weigh over 80 lbs each.  Red steals any thing she can reach on a counter and runs with it.  She *loves* socks and stuff animals too.  Maeve as I said before is a "ball girl."  She would run after balls all day if we would throw them.

Well, it's time to walk the furry children...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

without posting daily!

Ugh... I just realized even though I was off yesterday, I *never* posted.  I swear I am going to post daily or ... or ... hmmm or what?  I'm going to feel disappointed in myself for not keeping a goal I set a couple of days before the new year.  Yes, that's it.  I feel let down by myself for not writing.  

I have no one to blame but myself.  I need to truly prioritize my days.  Geeze at 40+ years you would think I would have my routine down pat.  But I don't.  I guess that's because I'm one of those creative free spirited types.  Who makes lists, get through half of to-do's and then... something catches my attention and I forgo finishing the to-do's.

Please don't misunderstand... I do get most of the important stuff done.  Like, getting Kid 1 from point A to B; picking up Kid 2 at point B and shuttling over to point C and finally grabbing Kid 3 from point C as well as Kid 2; back to point B to get Kid 1 ... all in a window of three hours.

So, new to-do list for Fridays... Two things are getting added:  1) write blog post and 2) check Nook FB page for Free-book-Fridays!

Off to contemplate my Saturday post, because it is Saturday and I need to keep my writing goal!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

without running out of time!

Deadlines!  We have all had them in some fashion or another.

Spelling, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Reading homework assignments with next day deadlines--pretty much everyone had them in grade school.  As we got older, the course names may have changed but we still had deadlines.

Then off to the real world... there isn't a job around that doesn't have some sort of deadline for each and every work tasks.

As a writer, "looming deadlines," is similar to a character making it through the "darkest moment" of a storyline.  If you succeed, there is a happy ending.  If you don't, then you have to deal with trying to make sure you and your editor/publisher/agent have a happy ending by the revised deadline.

My deadline for writing my blog entries is midnight daily.  Some days I make it, others... I don't.  Today, because I'm doing laundry...  Yeah everyone wore their last pair of underwear, socks and pants!   Of course, they waited until 930pm to tell me.  ...I have time to write my blog.

I think it was a conspiracy to make sure I sat down to write my blog.  What do you think?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

without a fork in the path of life.

I'm sure at one point in time we've all been there...  wondering do I go left or right.

The path to the left looks easy, there are no pot holes.  You buckle up for what seems like a quiet ride and suddenly there are three companions with you.  The one in front with you, Misery, begins to fiddle with the heating and cooling.  Then opens the windows.  You weren't prepared for this.  First the sweat is pouring off you and it makes it difficult to see the road.  Then a blast of cold air hits you like a slap to the face. You begin to wonder why me?

It doesn't end there.  The two in the back seat, Doubt and Despair, start a fight over who can look out the others' window.  The verbal taunts roll off their tongues without remorse.  When you think you can't take anymore, it escalates into a physical confrontation.  You've reached your limit.  You can no longer focus on traveling any further so you pull over.  You wonder can I really go on.

Your three companions turn their attention to you.  Under siege now you bow your head you make a silent request... "Help me see a solution to this situation."

Hearing no answer to your plea, you look up and see a sign showing you another fork in the road.  This time you chose the pathway to the right.  It's rough and unpaved.  Looking over your shoulder and preparing to proceed you realize your three companions have decided they no longer wish to travel with you.  But you are not alone.  Three new companions have joined you Faith, Hope and Charity.

Have you ever been there?  How was your ride?  Which set of companions traveled with you?

Monday, January 7, 2013

without the wonderment of discovery!

Have you ever seen the look on a child's face when he/she discovers something new?  If not, it is absolutely amazing.

Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to join a local scouting unit on a field trip.  We visited a Master Blacksmith in Trenton, New Jersey.

Journeyman Blacksmith
"Sasha" as he called himself, welcomed each and every from our unit.  From the smallest tike to oldest--a grandparent--he shook hands with all of us.  He gathered us around the two work stations in his shop.  We were guests of one of Sasha's blacksmith students.  The other young man working in the shop that day turned out to be the same age as my youngest son.  This is when the look of wonderment appeared on my son's face.

Sasha, Master Blacksmith

My son realized a kid could make amazing creations and just like an adult.  I knew the moment he heard he would be asking me for lessons.  The young blacksmith before us has been working with Sasha two and half years.  He is considered a journeyman blacksmith at the age of 11 years.  He has enough knowledge and experience, that Sasha has him instruct new students.  This helps the young man hone his own talents and skills, while he is educating others.

To set the scene of our surroundings--it was like stepping back in time, literally.  The building was built in 1823.  One hundred and ninety years, simply amazing.  Overhead were large beams of aged wood about every two feet.  Everywhere you looked there was metal in all shapes and sizes.  The walls and pits were made of brick.  Tools hung from the walls surrounding the pits.  Most of these tools were forged by Sasha.

Forge pit
While we waited for the student's fire to be the right temperature.  He taught us about how to make a fire.  What to look for to know it was ready to be used.  The difference in the pieces of coal and coke.  Coke is what coal turns into after it has burned off all the impurities.  The color of the smoke helps tell a blacksmith when coal has begun this change.  Coke helps a blacksmith maintain the heat needs (between 3500-4000 degrees) to heat metal to a state it can then be forged.

The student blacksmith turned off the light and began to explain why they worked in the dark.  Sasha interrupted him briskly and stated it was because his grandmother didn't want to have the electric bill over $30-some-dollars a month.  Then he chuckled.  Sasha walked over to the windows and said they were on the East side of the building and explained why they, along with a sky light window, were located as such.  To allow blacksmiths the longest work day possible.  Overhead lighting is not used, as unnatural light has a tendency to trick the eye of the blacksmith.  In other words, the color of heated metal appears different in sunlight verses an overhead light.

Then the blacksmith student went on to explain what the varying colors of the heated metal meant.  He pulled out a sample and showed us how it was not glowing all the way through.  He placed it back in the fire. 

When the metal was finally glowing red he approached his anvil.  However, he told us he always wipe off the anvil and brush off the rust from the metal he was about to forge.  If you leave the small bits on the anvil or the rust on the surface of the metal to be worked upon, a blacksmith could forge an end product with imperfections.

Sasha's student blacksmith dropped the piece of metal he was working on to the floor.  The student blacksmith asked if we noticed how uneven the floor was.  It was made that way on purpose.  It is much easier to pick up a metal from a surface that is uneven, than a perfectly flat one.

All were giving strict instructions not to pick up anything metal from the floor.  Why?  Because even if it appeared to be dark in color; it could very well still be extreme hot and might burn you.  We were taught to check if a piece was cool enough to pick up with the back of your hand.  A burnt palm would mean days or weeks of being unable to pick up a hammer.  A blacksmith could not afford that.

Sasha grabbed one of the heavy hammers and handed it one of the scouts.  Instructing him how to grip the hammer, placing his thumb on top and wrapping his fingers around the handle.  Sasha said lift the hammer up and swing it down.  The young scout did as he was told, and we all could see it was a struggle to lift and repeat the motion.  Sasha then walked about the room, giving the youngest to oldest a try at the hammer.

The blacksmith student then led our group to the back workroom, where we gathered around a work table.  He showed us various blades, swords, knives and even a spear... all forged by blacksmiths from around the word.  He told us how some were used for harvesting and butcher tools; while others were weapons.

Sasha then ushered us back around the pits, where the journeyman blacksmith had started to bend a quarter inch thick bar into a spiral.  While he worked the piece of metal Sasha spoke of other past students and told the girls present some of his most talented students were three women.  He continued and stated those three women seem to have a way to visualize a finished piece as they worked.  Then he shared with us different jobs he recently been commissioned to create.  A large silhouette piece lay ready for a client--a town in New Jersey--to be placed on a street to bring a bit of the old world into this fast-paced-culture that surrounds us.

Our time to depart soon arrived to the disappointment of many.  Sasha said goodbyes as he greeted us.  To each and all he shook hands, saying we were welcome to return.  Of course, my son now wants to be a blacksmith, as well as, an inventor and professional soccer player.  Who am I to tell him no...?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

without weather!

I guess I missed the forecast where we were to get snow!  Yes, I awoke at 330am this morning to it snowing.  I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn't dreaming or my eye sight was blurry. 

Sure enough, when I got up and around later this morning I heard snow showers were forecasted.  Too bad there is only about half an inch of snow.  And it doesn't seem to be the packing kind needed for snow balls or snowmen.  Bummer!

My youngest loves to build and create things out of snow.  If he could, he would stay outside most of the day playing in it.  Back in November, when we had a few inches, he got dressed and went out to build a snowman before school!

His snowman was all that was left though of the snowfall by the time he arrived home from school.

I was glad he was persistent in his pleas to play in the snow before school.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to show you his masterpiece.

Hoping you have a pleasant weather day where ever you may be today!

without learning "all the rules" to a basketball.

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to see a couple of my sons' basketball games.  Just when I thought I knew all the rules of the game, a violation was called that I hadn't heard before.

The players from both teams were setting up for a foul shot.  The player who was fouled shot his basket.  Then the ref blew his whistle and gave the team shooting the foul shots another two.  Apparently, a player from the opposing team made a violation.  But I didn't see anyone move out of their spot or reach for the ball.

After the game was over, I asked the coach to explain the violation.  One of his new players had not been in his "specified spot" before the foul shot was taken.  When the ref realized this he called a violation on the player. 

Do you want to know the violation?  The player's foot was on a line, instead of behind it.  When this player got into position he did not realize his foot was on the line.  The ref saw his foot on the line after the foul shot took place.  Whether the ref assumed the player moved or not, I do not know.

I wonder how many more rules I do not know for basketball...  I guess I'll have to research that subject, however, that will have to wait until after I finished reading my TBR pile.

without sick children and homework.

After three days of being out sick, my son has what seems like a week's worth of paperwork to go through.  He has to read several newspaper articles.  When he's finished reading, he has to write a summary for social studies on a current event article and then he has to analyze another one for writing class.  He has a few algebra assignments, at least a dozen worksheets for advanced spanish and review a chapter from the novel they are reading in his reading class.  Science and gym class were the only subjects he didn't receive assignments.

He's not looking forward his weekend ... *frown* ...or returning to school on Monday.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

without mountains of wash!

How is it that you put two socks in the hamper, and only one comes through unscathed.  Weeks later, when you least expected a co-worker plucks something off your back of your outfit.  The missing sock!  Of course this after you've gone to your child's school, gone to the bank, then the post office and finally spent half the day at the office.  That's when you realize your fabric softener and dryer sheets are not working.

Another laundry mystery... how is it you can put two hangers in a "hanger coral" and BAM! suddenly you have a dozen.  Worse yet they a tangled and it takes hours, if you have time, to separate them.

And now for your entertainment . . .

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

without the end of a vacation and maternal moments!

You know them.  The ones where you get up and really wish today was the day you could snuggle under the covers and forget the world!  Yep, that's what today was for me.  The first day back to "reality." *GROAN*

If it could happen it did. 

So, I'm giving myself off the rest of what is left of tonight and I'm going to read.  I returned the majority of the books I borrowed and didn't get to read.  I kept four from an author I consider on my top "10" list.  I realize I haven't read another author from that list in a while.  Then when I couldn't recall her name... it happened, I realized I was having a  Maternal Moment!   Couldn't be a Senior Moment I'm not "Over the Hill" yet! *LOL*

I've achieved my goal, I wrote another entry....!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Without kids, dogs and minions!

Today whizzed by at warp speed.  But I made a goal of writing a blog post daily and plan to stick to it!

The early part of today was lost due to everyone (including me) sleeping in because we stayed up late to ring in the New Year.  Another reason, was because son #2 is sick with a bad cough and high fever.  So checking on him every hour or so kept me running up stairs to make sure he was okay... preventing me from sitting, plugging into my muse and actually writing.

Now while I try to type this our two golden retrieverswho are 3 years old and may be around 80 to 85 lbs … but act like they are 3 months old and only weigh 8 to 8 ½ poundsboth feel the need to jump into my lap while I am typing.  Yes, even now.   

Sometimes Red, the trouble maker, tries a new trickwhen nudging me with her nose doesn’t prevent me from typingshe nips the underside of my biceps.  Maeve, the good girl, likes to play with balls all-the-time.  She likes to drop a ball in your lap... especially after she takes a big drink water.  Even better, Maeve has learned she is tall enough to drop them on the table top or worse … my laptop keyboard.  Thankfully, the ball has been pretty dry tonightonly covered slightly with her saliva (Ewwweeeee).

Well, it’s time to crash but I wish to leave you all with another chuckle... because tomorrow it's back to the daily grind.  Here are a few video clips of a movie my youngest son loves . . .