Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day 2009

One month after I took possession, my mother’s twenty year old cactus died. I swear I didn’t over-water it, didn’t freeze it, didn’t treat it any differently than she did. That wasn’t my first clue, but rather a confirmation of what I had long suspected: I am afflicted with brown-thumb-it is. So who do I marry? An urban farmer. And what daughters do we produce? Little Demeter and Ceres Junior.

I envy people with green thumbs. You know --- the folks whose gaze makes flowers bloom and whose touch brings bountiful harvests. I swear blossoms wither as I walk past.

But I digress…

For weeks my middle daughter begged to plant flowers at our new home. Last Friday, with its sunny 70 degrees, I conceded. We bought gloves, spades, and one of those little claw things at the dollar store and purchased seeds at a gardening center.

Our first task entailed removing the debris and weeding the area where the previous residents had planted hyacinths, tulips, and unidentifiable (to me) plants. We freed a rosebush from the clutches of an out-of-control vine, then we lined the perimeter with brinks that had littered the backyard.




Impressed by the results but unsatisfied because she had yet to actually plant anything, my daughter pushed for another project. I suggested creating a flowerbed along the walk that leads to the front porch. Little Demeter pounced on the idea.

My hubby didn’t trust me with the shovel, so he dug the plot. After we shook the soil from the grass and lined the bed with more bricks and a concrete post, we decided seeds alone wouldn’t be enough. I swore not to touch a thing while they picked out a flat of flowers at the gardening center.

By the time they returned, Ceres Junior had finished track practice. Gardening must bring out the best in my darling daughters. They worked well together, transplanting the flowers and sowing the seeds.


I can hardly wait for the cosmos and wildflowers to bloom. With both daughters’ attention, I’m certain they will---as long as I keep using the backdoor. ;-)

Gloves and implements: $5.00
Seeds and sweet peas: $15.00
Family project beautifying the environment: PRICELESS

Anyone---even those who share my brown-thumb-it is---can celebrate Earth Day. Pick up litter, ride a bike or carpool to work, or replace even one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb. For more ideas, visit .

Mother Earth treats us pretty well. Let’s reciprocate!


For an awesome blog on gardening and South Africa, visit Jo Hedges’ Memorable Meanderings.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tempted to Vacuum

I'm not referring to pulling out the Hoover. My work in progress would have to hit a brick wall before housework could entice me from my keyboard. That's not to say I don't clean, but I view my Swiffer WetJet and Maytag as evil albeit convenient necessities.

I'm referring to vacuuming the cat. I have no idea who originated the phrase, but IMHO it's the perfect description for wasting time on unproductive activities such as...

YouTube sucks me in, especially when I pull up Bon Jovi videos.

Pogo is magnetic. The daily trivia quiz jumpstarts my brain, but if I open other games, Neakers needs Rogaine.

Research has Electrolux potential. For one of my WIPs, I wanted the meanings associated with gemstones. Well that led to trees and flowers and myriad subjects that had no bearing on the current project.

As if the Internet didn't already strain my nearly non-existent willpower, yesterday I joined Facebook. My intention to network went down the tubes after my not-so-little cherubs introduced me to Hatchlings---find eggs, hatch them, feed them. No intellectual challenge, but highly competitve when four of us simultaneously search the same baskets.

Now that all four cats are bald, Baron better watch out!

Leave a comment and tell me how you vacuum the cat. Better yet, tell me how you resist the temptation. ;-)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008



The mere mention of the holiday often lightens one's heart. Cheery decorations brighten winter's gloom. Friends and family gather to feast (cookies!) and bestow presents.

I don't mean to blow the fuse on your Christmas light strings, but there's another side. I thought this letter a worthy reminder that Yuletide is the season for giving:

Dear Santa,

My family is one of the thousands who have lost their homes this year. A declining job market, soaring prices... We didnt live beyond our means unless hot dogs are now considered a luxury. I'm trying hard to count my blessings as my family is luckier than some. We're together, living under a decent roof---for now.

Our Christmas club funds paid for rent and heating oil. If we decorate a tree, there won't be many presents underneath, but we'll share the greatest gift of all---love.

They say Christmas is a time for miracles, Santa, and we really need some...

Faith---It's so very hard to believe that an Almighty exists, much less that He knows what He's doing. War. Hunger. Homelessness. How can a loving God let so many suffer?

Charity---Greed and fear have deterred many "haves" from sharing even a little with the "have-nots." Part of me can't blame them. Rather than asking them to open their wallets, couldn't they open their hearts? (Or better yet, squeeze one more onto the payroll?)

Hope---Without faith and charity, it's nearly impossible to expect circumstances to improve.Yet my greatest hope is that people will look over their fences and put themselves in their neighbors' shoes. Misfortune isn't contagious, but it might be a breath away.

Wishing you a joyful holiday filled with love,

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WIN Every Heart Has Its Day

To celebrate the e-release of my historical novel as well as my new website, I'm giving away one digital copy of Every Heart Has Its Day in an easy---and I think unique---contest:

When I told my family that The Wild Rose Press contracted my novel, one of my daughters' friends designed a book cover.

Visit to see the creation, then email your guess of the designer's age to . I'll throw all correct answers into a hat and draw a winner on October 10, 2008.

Good luck!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Ain't Life Grand?!

(Get comfortable. Grab your favorite beverage. This is gonna be a long one.)

Have you ever had one of those days when you just didn’t want to get out of bed?

Yesterday, like every other morning, my husband slipped his arm under my neck and snuggled against my back. (Sure beats a blaring alarm clock, huh?) The kids hadn’t yet woken. The sun hadn’t yet risen. I begged, “Can we stay here all day? Please?” Since it was too late for him to call off work, I dragged my butt down the stairs.

My blood pressure shot through the roof. Baron, my cinnamon Siberian husky, apparently didn’t appreciate my lethargy. I stumbled through his puddle after I cleaned up the garbage he had ripped from the kitchen can. When my husband tied him out, the furry brat didn’t look one bit contrite.

Within moments, the stench of burning sneakers permeated the house. I flung open the door to a noxious cloud. (Okay, maybe my vision blurred.) The fog followed Baron as he zipped into the living room and rubbed his snout all over the couch. One son ran gagging into the playroom. My daughter flew back upstairs and slammed her door. My hubby grabbed the dog’s collar and dragged him to the back door while my youngest son retrieved the dog’s leash from the porch. (I still wonder if the skunk unclasped him.)

I spent the rest of the day de-skunking the dog and house.

For those who find themselves in similar circumstances, I found the perfect home remedy: Mix one quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and a dash of Dawn dishwashing detergent. Apply, avoiding eyes. Let stand 3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. WARNING: This solution bleaches hair. (However, if your dog is as dumb as the proverbial blond, too---as in plays with black and white kitties with big, fluffy tails TWICE in the same year---you might be willing to risk it.) Woolite Pet Oxygen Stain and Odor Remover followed by Febreze Air Effects Pet Odor Eliminator cleaned and deodorized my couch.

So today…

…other than overusing ellipses…

…I celebrate fresh air…

…and---drum roll, please…

…the e-release of Every Heart Has Its Day!

cover medium

Please visit my author page and/or The Wild Rose Press to buy your copy!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hibernating in August

Q: What do you get when two sons receive concussions in just under a week?

A: Three head cases.

My 16-year-old son's injury concerned, but didn't upset me too much. He plays football, and we both accept the game's inherent risks. Maybe next time he gets chop blocked---undoubtedly there will be a next time since he has healed and returned to the field---he won't land on his helmet.

My 14-year-old son, who visited the ER a week before his brother, is still sidelined. The circumstances surrounding his injuries, which include a broken nose that required surgery, differ vastly. Mama Bear (that's me) might have hidden her fangs if the boy who assaulted her son from behind had accepted responsibility and sincerely apologized. However, I'm not yet able to forgive Mr. Macho Wannabe or the coach who failed to show up for or cancel practice.

In the past month, I've seen more hospitals, doctors, and medical personnel than a Grey's Anatomy-aholic. Something other than my sanity had to give, so writing hibernated.

Anyway, if my cross country freshman doesn't strain her ankle, my collegians don't develop hernias from their books, and my gridiron giants continue recovery, I'll sheathe my claws and my fingers will once again lumber over the keyboard.

Should you wish to read my latest finished piece, please visit and click on the "Free Short Story" button. Marriage on the Menu is currently the featured short, and will be available in the archives for the next six months (or so). I'd love to hear your comments!


Saturday, July 12, 2008


Many writers refer to their current project as a WIP – Work In Progress. I don’t know about you, but a homophone for an instrument of torture motivates me to run, not walk, away from the keyboard. On the other hand, WHIP – Wreaking Havoc In Progress – is appropriate on productive days.

However, neither WIP nor WHIP specifies the stage or type of work. I suggest writers utilize more accurate acronyms:

PIP – Planning In Progress – covers that vital stage before one writes. (Can also refer to Plotting or Protagonist In Progress.)

RIP – Research In Progress – refers to that other prerequisite stage.

NIP – Novel In Progress. (A nip or two of your favorite beverage might help the words flow, too.)

SSIP – Short Story In Progress. (I tend to hiss at word limitations. How about you?)

BLIP – BLog In Progress. After all, blogs are barely blips on cyberspace’s sonar.

AIP – Article In Progress. Accurately mimic the noise evoked by futile searches and/or word-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue-itis.

EIP – Essay In Progress – See above.

TRIP – Title Rendering In Progress (For those authors who, like me, invest days in creating a superior sobriquet.)

DRIP – Document Ripping In Progress (The perfect acronym for editing.)

QUIP – QUery In Progress (Clever is the goal, but a query rarely results on the spur of the moment.)

SHIP – Summarizing Handiwork In Progress (For the synopsis stage.)

I could SLIP (Silly Linguistics In Progress) on and on, but I think I’ve VIPped (Vacuum In Progress) enough.

Can you add to the list? Which acronym describes your current project? Feel free to leave a comment.

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