Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013 New Year!


Dear Mom,

Amazing how fast time flies… just finished a book The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom on that very subject. Interesting. In the weeks leading up to Christmas until now, I also read Margo Dill’s, Finding My Place, as well as The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan, Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. And don't forget Fifty Shades of Santa edited by Patrica Smith. I really loved all the books, page turners until the end. I couldn’t wait until I was at the end, and yet, I didn’t want them to end. Hhmmm. All different writers with their unique voices, which helped clear up some self-badgering I do… thinking I wish I could write like that. But how boring if all writing were the same. We all have different tastes… you know the saying, different strokes for different folks.

I love to write, always will and whether or not it measures up to others doesn’t need to be a concern. It’s about putting my heart and soul into it and to just be. Just be… a writer. My own kind.

And with that, I’d like to invite you all to check out The Writers' Lens as there’s a little ole interview with me. Thanks Teresa for inviting me.

May you all have a safe, healthy, prosperous and creative New Year… whether you write, paint, sculpt, play music, do photography, crafts, film, sew, cook, whatever you create… get a move on and do your thing!

Writers, here’s something you can submit to: Cupid’s Quiver. Don’t waste any time as the deadline is January 15th. Click on the poster for submission details.

 

And if you’re looking for a challenge to get you in the habit of writing every day, maybe try this—I’m going to... try. I heard about it from my friend Estrella from Life's a Stage. Check out: Mindful Writing Challenge


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yes, Yes, Yes! I'm Pretty Sure... Success!


Dear Mom,

Yes, socializing is exhausting. Do you feel that way? As an introvert, it wipes me out. I had three days in a row of it… Saturday and Sunday, I helped my daughter Rita with her two craft fairs. Yesterday (Monday) was the event Rita created for me to do a reading of my story, Mistletoe, published in Fifty Shades of Santa, by Welkin Press. Fifty Shades of Santa is 12 (Nice, Not Naughty) Humorous Holiday Romances.

I worked through my nerves all day long… researched mistletoe, bagged the prizes for the drawing, tried on what I was going to wear. Had I filled my mouth with any more of Sioux’s fudge, my pants may have split… I practiced reading. I made numbers for the drawing, and a sign-in sheet. I piddled around all day getting prepared for the event.

Then the time arrived for me to leave. I couldn’t find my phone before I went down to hubby’s work to get the sign he made for me. He had been waiting… what can I say? However, I did give up looking or he might still be waiting. I stopped for gas and when I got back in my car, I could hear my phone vibrating. It was in my purse. Nerves will do that, right? Hubby was calling to see if he could hear it in the house some where.

Rita and Terry (her beau) met me a The Gelateria to set up for the event.

All set and ready to go

Ho Ho Ho!

We’re a pair, aren’t we?

 
Rita and Lynn

Then people started trickling in… Kristine and her mom, Karen. My sister, Sue. My WWWP gals, Sioux and Tammy. Sioux drove some other writing friends, who are also published in Fifty Shades of SantaDonna Volkennannt and Marcia Gaye. Marcia’s husband, Jim came along too! Other friends of Rita’s, John and Krista joined us. The gelato maker, Carrie stepped on in. My other sister, Ruth and her hubby, Bud and son, Josh arrived. It was past the starting time, and I wasn’t sure if anyone else was going to make it. My BFF, Susan said she was coming, but you never know about these things, so I got the show on the road… err… the stool and began to read.

To the left where that door opening is, 
there's a little cubby hole, Bud and Josh were in there!
That's my favorite spot to sit and write at The Gelateria.

Nearly half way, three more of Rita’s friends popped in, Bryan, Kristin, and another young lady, but I didn’t get her name. If you read this, tell me who you are!

I finished reading without my tongue getting too twisted. Yes, a success. And I’m so grateful to all who ventured out as I know it’s a pretty good trek for some. Let me say, I really appreciated it from the bottom of my heart. You made me feel comfortable and I hope you all had a jolly good time… that was my intent… fun and silliness... and let's not forget the love... or the chocolate. Rita made the container holding the chocolate that looks like Santa’s sack.

Terry and the Santa Sack

I had to get some pics with the other authors from Fifty Shades of Santa.
Donna Volkenannt (left), me, Marcia Gaye (right)

 
Here we are, just the three of us (pretend you're singing that one song),
but here we are with the sign.

If it weren't for my WWWP peeps, chances are my story might not have made it... those gals are wonderful. 
 Tammy (left), me, Sioux (right)
Missing in action are Linda and Beth.

After it was over, I hung out with Rita, Terry, John and Krista to settle myself down. Gelato will do that, don’t you know? 
 
 John, Krista, Terry chilling

Rita chilling

When I was in my car on my way home, I checked my phone and had a voice mail from my BFF. "Hey Lynn, it's Susan. Give me a call." It was late and I didn’t want to wake her. By the sound of her voice, I didn't think anything was wrong, so I chalked it up that she’s like me and just plum forgot.

I called her this morning and found out that she was on her way to the reading with her mom Elsie, her aunt Audi and her other BFF Cindy when they were rear-ended. Smacked hard! Eye glasses, soda, hair barrettes flew through the air. Elsie felt the worst of the impact. Paramedics were called and they checked her over. Having a pace-maker raised concern. She refused to go to the hospital. Susan took her home and called her sister, Katie who’s a nurse and she came over and took care of everything.

Nothing serious, thank God. The paramedics made Elsie promise she’d see a doctor today and she plans on going. I sure hope everything is fine.

And Yes again, I’m incredibly grateful the accident wasn’t any more serious. They were all sad they missed it, so I promised them a private reading of their own!

P.S. A special thank you to Chris, the owner of The Gelateria! And those who worked that evening… a big thank you.

And now for some more pictures…

 Santa's little helper, Rita

They look like they're having fun. 
In the hand of Kristin is a little hand-made by me ornament,
something all attendees received. Purchase a copy of Fifty Shades of Santa
and I'll send you one... while they last.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

UhOh, Mistletoe! UPDATE!

Dear Mom,

You know that my story, Mistletoe, was one of 12 stories that was accepted and published in the anthology, Fifty Shades of Santa, by Welkin Press. Fifty Shades of Santa is 12 (Nice, Not Naughty) Humorous Holiday Romances.

Don’t you just love the cover?


Your granddaughter, Rita thought it would be a good idea for me to read my story at the Italian dessert café/coffeehouse where she works as the baker… all homemade pastries, breads, etc. In addition to coffee, they make their own gelato, hence, The Gelateria. Never had gelato? Well you may want to make the trip just for that experience. Did I mention the owner and all the people who work there are super-dooper nice? And it’s such a cool place. They’ve recently renovated the upstairs—where I’ll be located…

On Monday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m.
3197 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 63110
314-776-3500

… and where I hope to entertain you with my story… and if you’re coming straight from work, The Gelateria has food-food too... you know, not just desserts and sugary items. Check out the menu.

I suggested that Rita, the brains behind this shing-dig, bring some of her hand-made egabrag crafts to sell for anyone who has some last minute holiday shopping to do.

The fun doesn’t stop there… I’ll be doing a drawing for some silly prizes.  And there will be free chocolate…

Not only that, but I have a special item for the first 25 people who stop by.

AND, we might have another special guest (or two) also doing a reading from Fifty Shades of Santa!

Now if that doesn’t entice you to come with bells on, maybe you’ll want to purchase Fifty Shades of Santa when it’s available. UPDATE: Now available on Amazon - Kindle only - for just $3.99!

If I don’t see you, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ho Ho Ho on the Go Go Go and Mistletoe!

Dear Mom,

Last Friday I told you about the packed day I was going to have on Saturday. Thought you might like to see a few shots from that non-stop, action-filled whirlwind.

The craft fair -

My daughter, Rita and my sister, Ruth

Book signing one at All on the Same Page Book Store in Creve Coeur -

Left to Right: Nina Miller, Patt Pickett, Tammy Goodsell, Theresa Sanders

Book signing two at Main Street Books in St. Charles -

Linda O'Connell, Lynn Cahoon, Cathi LaMarche, Pat Wahler

Book signing three at The Book House on Manchester -

Donna Volkenannt, Sioux Roslawski, Beth Wood

I must add that I had a blast at each one. I'm so proud and grateful for all my friends. After the last book signing, I went home, showered and then hubby and I went to a Christmas party. No pictures for that.

Oh and what about Mistletoe? I'll get back with you tomorrow for all those details.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Don't Forget...

Dear Mom,

Tomorrow I have a packed day. I'll start off helping my daughter, Rita and little sister, Ruth set up for a craft fair at the Hazelwood Community Center.

Check out Rita's blog for details, if interested.

After setting up, I'll shop around and see if I can snag a few more presents. Then I'll hop in my car and head to the first of three Chicken Soup for the Soul book signings and canned food drive. YAY for all my fabulous friends!

Check out Tammy's blog for the first book signing in Creve Coeur. I've never been to this book store before, so I'm looking forward to this new adventure. What writer doesn't love a book store? Then I'll zoom over to old St. Charles.

Check out Linda's blog or Pat's blog for the second book signing. I'll be in that area tonight celebrating my best friend's birthday. It's her birthday today... HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN! I've been to this book store and it's charming. The owner is as sweet as she can be.

Next I'll travel closer to home to one of my other favorite book stores to see more friends.

Check out Beth's blog, or Sioux's blog, or Donna's blog. They'll all be there. This book store is an old house and I just learned it's haunted. I can't wait!

When I get home with my pile of signed books, I hope to get a nap in before hubby and I venture out to a Christmas party. I'll be recouping Sunday, don't ya know?

Stay tuned, there's more fun to come... ho, ho, ho.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Next Big Thing


Tag! I'm it! Sioux from Sioux’s Page, tagged me. She answered these same questions on her blog. Because Sioux was so kind as to say that I inspired her to write her book in progress that she wrote during this year’s NaNoWriMo, well… I wanted to oblige her.

And like Sioux said, after you read my answers, hopefully Pat Wahler will accept being "it" and will post next Tuesday. I know Pat has also participated in NaNoWriMo more than once. Also as Sioux says, “Inquiring minds want to know...”

You’re tagged Pat: http://critteralley.blogspot.com/

And here are my answers:

What is your working title of your book? The Locked Heart. I haven’t changed the title since I wrote it last year as a NaNoWriMo project.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Originally it was to be the thread in a previous book that I had written which was an accumulation of one-sided letters written to an aunt in a nursing home (who was unable to write back)… but I needed something to tie all the letters together and thought this idea would do it. However, it turned out to be a story in itself.

What genre does your book fall under? I wanted it to fall under epistolary, guess that would be fictional epistolary, as that’s the structure of all five drafts of my books – in some form of letter writing/journal writing/diary type form. But about half way through the book, the story just took over – so the first half is in journal form while the second half is in regular (?) form. Now I have to decide which way I’m going to go…

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Ellen DeGeneres comes to mind to play one particular character. I’d love for Viggo Mortensen (that one is for you, Sioux) to play a role, and gee, I have no idea about the main character. Any thoughts WWWPs?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A niece and aunt resolve their estranged relationship over preconceived issues and the magic of a locket opens the door to truth neither wanted to accept.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I’ll consider either when that time comes… who knows what the publishing world will be like then. But if there’s an agent out there interested, bring it on.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Less than 30 days. Like I said before, it was a NaNoWriMo project that I wrote in 2011. I’m still working on it – that’s the hard part: rewriting, revision, rewriting, editing, rewriting. Did I mention rewriting?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I have no idea. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every epistolary type book that is out there and I haven’t read anything like this.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? I’ve been inspired by so many people. One leads to the other that leads to the other… over the years I’ve been blessed by so many writer and non-writer friends/family that have been supportive. You all know who you are… and a huge thank you to all of you.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I think there are a lot of different layers of universal themes running throughout… or that’s my hope anyway. Love, intimacy/non-intimacy, prejudices, misunderstandings, misconceptions. People are most important regardless of their beliefs concerning anything. It’s all about the love, no matter what kind of love.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chicken Soup and Santa


For you Chicken Soup for the Soul lovers, you better head on over to my pal, Sioux’s blog and get the scoop of the various book signings going on. All of my WWWP gals will be signing books that have their stories in them. Some other friends of mine will be there too! At least one of us WWWPs will run around cheering them on. I’m just grateful that they’re all at different times since they’re at different locations. I’m excited for them.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I may not be a Chicken Soup writer, even though I’m told I write better non-fiction than fiction.

One genre in fiction that I didn't think I could write was romance… humorous romance, and go figure, I’ve received a contract for my story to appear in Fifty Shades of Santa anthology. When I told my youngest daughter, Rita, she said, “That makes sense.”
“How?”
“Well…you’ve been married four times.”
Gee, thanks Rita. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t qualify me to write humorous romance, but…

This is the same daughter who came home from kindergarten or first grade with a little booklet—a fill in the blank—I believe it was for Mother’s Day. My mom is good at _____________. My mom helps me with _______________. My mom says that I’m _________________. I can’t recall the exact wording, but they were filled in with sweet words written like a beginner, misspellings and all. 

The last fill-in sentence threw me for a loop in two ways. One, because it was on the negative side. It said, My mom isn’t very good at _______________. Two, was Rita’s answer. In all her innocence and honesty she fills in “finding a husband or boyfriend.” ACK. This was shortly after my third divorce.

We learn from our mistakes, eh? Maybe Rita’s right. She was right in first grade! When the book is out, you can decide for yourself. I still wonder…

Don’t forget, head over to Sioux’s page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do You Share Recipes?

Dear Mom,

I’ve had a hard time writing anything worthwhile—even to blog. I’ve written every day—mostly journaling, and well, who really cares how much time I spend writing on any given day? I know I write. Some days more than others. I also know I can’t NOT write… otherwise they’ll haul me away and throw away the key.

While cooking for Thanksgiving I’m reminded of how I tell this story at the feast I prepare each year… the one where I’m trying to perfect sweet potatoes—the sweet potatoes that I had one year at a friend’s house. Not really sure if he was my friend because he wouldn’t give me the recipe. He stated, “Oh, I just add a little of this, and a little of that.” I can still picture him waving his arms, prancing, all giddy. He knew these sweet potatoes were, well, sweeeeeet. He wouldn’t even say what was “this” and “that” but since I’m not the dumbest rock in the box, I figured butter and brown sugar were key.

These sweet potatoes haunt me every year, and this was BC – Before Children. I was dating the soon-to-be dad of my three children. He was living with this friend—the same friend who made the yummiest sweet potatoes I’ve ever tasted. The same friend who wanted to date me after I got divorced. Had I been thinking… maybe had I dated him I’d have that sweet potato recipe.

However, 30 years later and I’m still at it. Still trying to make the sweet potatoes the way he did. Who says I’m a quitter?

At my own Thanksgiving dinner, I hear, “These are the best sweet potatoes.” or “I don’t really like sweet potatoes, but these are good!” That’s when I step on my soapbox and rant about my saga of the sweet potatoes. I look up and curse Billy Bob (made up name) because bless his soul, he’s deceased and he took the recipe to his grave. Think of the pleasure he could have given many and the honors he’d receive in his name. When I’ve mastered it, I will share it with the entire world! But it will be my recipe, not Billy Bob’s.

That got me thinking about recipes… do you share recipes? I mean, I get how certain businesses can’t share, but what about just an ordinary person? Take for instance when my niece was married—her husband's grandmother was Italian whom supposedly had the best tiramisu. I wanted an authentic recipe to enter a work-related dessert contest. I had to swear on my life that I wouldn’t share the recipe with anyone. Not a soul. I’m sure my niece did lots of begging just in order for me to have it. Seriously, he almost did not share it. And no, his grandmother didn’t own some sort of bakery.

I don’t know what all the fuss was about because the recipe wasn’t all that great. (Sorry Grandma Whatsyourname.) I lost out to a cheesecake, and I haven’t made tiramisu since. And no, I won’t share the recipe because I promised I wouldn’t. I will share any of my recipes, but mostly they’re from someone else or a cookbook.

Oh, but you can bet I’ll share the candied sweet potatoes once it’s mastered. Hopefully that’ll be some time in the next 30 years.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and may you walk away with recipes that you love!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Update on WiWoDoNaNo

Dear Mom,

It's clear I'm not as disciplined by being a WiWoDoNaNo versus an official NaNoWriMo participant, but I am writing every day. I write every day anyway, it's just I'm more aware of how much I'm writing.

I was out of town this weekend, but I scribbled a few words. I'm using amounts of time versus word count this November.

November 1: One hour, 35 minutes
November 2: One hour, 45 minutes
November 3: One hour, 10 minutes
November 4: 15 minutes
November 5: 15 minutes

I think I can add a little time to a few of these days, if I include some writing that wasn't personal. On November 4 and 5, I could add an additional two hours and 30 minutes--and that's for each day.

Hey, it's writing, right?


Oh, and here is a picture of my sweet niece, Victoria and me. We were in front of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, MN. The photo was taken by Victoria's partner, Kate--photographer extraordinaire!

Photo by Kate Lockhart


Thursday, November 1, 2012

WiWoDoNaNo

Dear Mom,


Every year on November 1st, writers from all over--at least those that choose to do so--participate in NaNoWriMo.  I've told you about it before... like, last November.  I participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years and was on the fence about it this year.

So... I'm unofficially going to do NaNo, with my critique group (WWWPs - that stands for Wild Women Wielding Pens - that name came from the clever Sioux), and the other clever one, Tammy created our little unofficial official shield for Wi(ld)Wo(men)DoNaNo. Yes, the other two (Linda and Beth) are clever too. Yeah, me too. I guess that's why we all gel so well.

We'll be writing/rewriting whatever we feel like versus strictly fiction. This way we can ride the wave of NaNoWriMo! Woot! Woot! I learned about Woot! Woot! my first year doing NaNo. I'm not sure if it still exists, but I'm Woot! Wooting! anyway.

Good luck to everyone participating or not... just keep writing.

Stay tuned here for reports of my November daily writing... or in my case, rewriting.

And if you want to see a few photos of where I spent a day in MN, Kate at A Curious Endeavor shows it quite well.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kitty Kitty

Dear Mom,

I know you were never much of a cat fan, but how can you resist these little stinkers? Which kitty do you think is the most adorable?















Monday, October 22, 2012

Myrtle the Turtle


Dear Mom,

Not only does watermelon remind me of you, it is my favorite fruit. I just bought one at Trader Joe’s and I was a little worried it might not be very good since it’s towards the end of the watermelon season. But oh, was it delicious. I think that’s the last one I’ll purchase for the year so as not to ruin the watermelon season for myself.

What does this have to do with Myrtle the Turtle? Hang on, I’m getting to it.

I cut up the watermelon and put the rinds in a bag to carry out to the woods—hoping some critter would find it a tasty treat. And surprise, here’s what I saw…

 Can you see him in the lower left corner?


Here he is!
As soon as I spotted it, it reminded me of my younger years when we’d go to Uncle Harold and Aunt Mary’s farm. Once we got there, you’d let Ruthie roam wherever we wanted and off into the woods we’d go… seemed like we’d always find a turtle. Sometimes you’d let us take the turtle home.

Remember when we found a three-legged turtle that we named Myrtle the Turtle? And Myrtle the Turtle lived in our basement… that is until the day Myrtle was in the wrong spot—where Dad pulled the car in and….

I guess you cleaned up the mashed Myrtle before Ruthie and I got come from school. You never told us what really happened, but that Myrtle must have gotten away. We found out from Dad many, many years later that he ran over Mrytle. I never held it against Dad, after all, it was an accident. But as an immature kid, would I have seen it that way?

Do you think that was the right decision looking back? To protect children from knowing the truth—fearing it’d be too traumatic or that we would’ve resented Dad for not being more careful?

I did the same thing to my daughter, Rita. She was in Kindergarten when I broke the news that her black cat, Spaz ran away. In reality, I drove Spaz to the Humane Society. Trust me, I had a good reason why, and I didn’t feel Rita was mature enough to understand. I too, had protected her from seeing the truth about someone.

I wonder whether I would have acted differently if you had told us the truth about Myrtle?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Courage


Dear Mom,

I had a 40th grade school reunion about a week ago. A few traveled from out of state: all the way from California and two from Texas. Several drove hours from Illinois and the outskirts of Missouri. It was nice that those who came made the effort.

I personally was impressed with one classmate. One who was bullied—it wasn’t called that back then, but that’s what it was… I feel shame for not being brave enough to have put an end to it. Or for not truly being her friend. I was kind of dumb.

I think about my own kids and how they were brave enough to help the underdog. I thank God that I at least taught them better. I found out years later that my own baby had been picked on in high school… she never told me then. But talk about a heart breaker.

I’m not a poet, so my critique friends gave me a few tips. Thank you.

This poem could be for my daughter too, but I wrote it for my classmate.


Courage

I could never be that brave.
Day after day after day
teased, tormented,
Ugly words slapping her face.

Nearly everyone participated
in some shape or form.
I don’t know how
she held her head high.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me.”
They hurt me just watching.
I wasn’t brave.

I didn’t stand up and
say, “Stop it. Leave her alone.”
Darkness settled near me, I feared I’d be next.
No, I wasn’t brave.

I wondered when she got home
from school whether she dreamed
of a better life. Did she write in her diary
who she hated, anger filling page after page?

Or were the pages soaked
from tears spilling out, endlessly?
Because sticks and stones…
words do hurt.

There are choices
wallow in self-pity, or pick up
all the pieces and put yourself back together again.
Make a difference in the world.

To be so brave.

I’ve always admired
and will always admire
her beauty, her strength
her courage.

With love,
Lynn

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kale


Dear Mom,
 


You cooked and served a lot of odd things before, but I don’t ever remember kale being one of them. I read somewhere that kale is good for my body type, but I’ve never eaten it. Until…

At one of our critique meetings, Sioux brought us each a little bag with some kale chips that she had made. I devoured the entire bag of the little curly crisp leaves. Then I craved them.

My daughter, Rita and I went to Tower Grove Farmer’s Market one Saturday. Rita thought it opened at 7AM and wanted to get there on time in the event a vendor had fresh milk and butter—since she heard it disappeared fast.

The market didn’t open until 8AM, so we sat on the steps and watched the farmers set out their produce. There was honey, coffee, tea, breads, pastry, poultry, beef, gelato, soap, flowers, crafts, and of course, fruits and vegetables—whatever was in season. The Holy Crepe (love that name) served crepes out of this converted short bus that is now a traveling crepe feast. Ten Lives had cats for adoption (another cat-chy name - oh, I couldn't resist). I can’t forget Praise the Lard (who sold pork). Rather clever names for a farmer’s market.

I was on a mission to find kale and had no idea if it was in season or not. I spotted two vendors selling kale. The first bunch of kale I purchased was an oval shaped, flat leaf. It didn’t look anything like Sioux’s kale. The next batch had some weird looking shapes in the bag, but I bought it anyway. Part of me wondered if they were passing off some greenery as kale. As we were leaving, I spotted a craft vender that had some herbs and the curly kind of kale, but I was out of money…

After I got home, I washed, dried and prepped the leaves in olive oil and sea salt, then baked the kale in the oven. I searched in the Internet for kale and found there are different varieties. The following came from Wikipedia.

Kales can be classified by leaf type:
·       Curly leaved (Scots Kale)
·       Plain leaved
·       Rape Kale
·       Leaf and spear (a cross between curly leaved and plain leaved Kale)
·       Cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato, and dinosaur Kale)

I’m not sure which variety one particular leaf I bought falls under, but it reminded me of a pin oak leaf (see top photo, middle leaf). Kind of tasted like one too—or at least how I imagined a brown, crunchy fallen pin oak leaf might taste. Forget about eating the stem. You’d need to be a horse or a cow that had plenty of experience chewing hay. The curly leaf was light and crisp and nearly melted in your mouth.

I’m a curly leaf kind of gal, what about you?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Grand Dogs


Dear Mom,

Guess you didn’t know you are a great grandmother… to dogs. Sorry, you never were much of a dog person, at least from what I can remember.

I visited Rita one day at her house on The Hill and she pulled out different crafts that she was working on for her business, EgabragCrafts. She left the room and came back with one of her babies—a pug named Gramma.

  Gramma, "Oh for the love of..."

 Doc looks up, "Where's mine?" 
Gramma: "You'll be sorry..."

She left with Gramma and came back with Computer. I have no idea what kind of dog he is, but if you put Computer in a Star Wars ewok costume, he passes for an ewok hands down. I’m pretty sure he was less than thrilled to be dressed like a skeleton.

"Please, don't ever do that again."

 Their beagle, Goddie cried out...

 "Whoooooo.... stop the madness.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Casey!

Dear Mom,

Your grandson is 29 today. Can’t believe it’s been that long since I gave birth to my first born.

Carrying Casey was easy. I loved being pregnant. In one month I had gained nine pounds. Dr. Muschaney said, “Whoa, you can’t be gaining weight like that.” I felt depressed when I had to go on a diet while pregnant. I still ate a lot, but all good, healthy stuff. The next month I didn’t gain anything. Then I was back on track.

I was due September 1st. Since it was my first pregnancy, Dr. Muschaney didn’t have real concerns when September 1st came and went. I realized the little stinker inside of me had inherited his father’s genes of being late. I joked to my husband, “Maybe I’ll have the baby on your birthday!”

One week went by, then another. By the start of the third week Dr. Muschaney said, “If you don’t have this baby by the 21st, we’ll induce labor." And so it was, they induced. I thought labor was a breeze when I saw the little meter reaching full capacity. What was all the fuss about labor pain? But the inducing wasn’t working and when they took me off it, that little meter went down to 2 (on a scale of 1 to 10). That 2 was ten times as painful as the original 10. Now I knew what the fuss was about and I also knew that I wouldn’t be giving birth “el-natural” as originally intended. I wished for a gun so I could be shot and put out of my misery before I was allowed to have an epidural.

After 42 ½ hours of labor, I gave birth to Casey on his father’s birthday… I felt like I couldn’t have given him a better gift. All the pain, sweat and tears were worth it. Casey was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. Yeah, I guess all mothers say that, but I still think so.

 Casey's looking a little stressed in this picture--he didn't want to come out, remember? And Dr. Muschaney said there was no way I could birth a baby over 7 pounds. Casey was 8 lbs 4 oz, so the little stinker had a rough go of it.

Casey grew up to be an artist. He inherited that gene from his father too. Recently I decided to take a beginner drawing class to see if I was capable of drawing more than stick figures. Casey asked me to post my sketches on my blog… so for his birthday, here they are:

 First class, very first drawing (we were practicing seeing simple shapes)

 First class

First class, close up of hammer

 
First class, final (a bone)

 Practice at home

 Second class, warming up with simple shapes 

 Second class, blind contour (pad of paper under the table and we followed the outline of the shape - then we did the same thing looking at it - as you can see the one on the top I had my eyes open, but it almost looks just like when I had my eyes closed)

 
Second class, my (frustrated) drawings

Second class, final
 

When the artist, Adam Long sketches examples in class, he makes it look so easy… just like my son makes it look easy when I watch him draw.

I remember the first picture Casey drew when he was being evaluated to go into kindergarten. It was a person… a stick figure that five-year-old's draw, only the teacher pointed out all the detail that most kids that age do not include: fingers on the hands, toes on the feet, ears, hair (crazy hair). The drawing was so funny I wanted to bust out laughing, but I stifled it. I remembered sitting across from the teacher with a huge smile on my face. I never dreamed Casey would be an artist based on that drawing, but I do recall the teacher being impressed. It showed what I knew about art.

My memory is a bit foggy, but I’d bet money (and I’m not a gambler) that you’d always find Casey drawing something throughout the years. I couldn’t tell you whether he always knew, or whether he decided when he entered high school that art was his calling. I think he always knew.

I received a call from the high school principal one day that Casey was being evaluated… but not in a good way. He had drawn a picture with blood, guns, and head’s being blown off. Casey’s attention to detail made the drawing rather graphic. A random teacher saw it and had concerns that something was wrong with him—worried that he may be a troubled, psycho kid. They assured me I had nothing to worry about. They told me all of this after the fact. I could have saved them a lot of time had they talked to me first, but I’m sure they figured any mother would defend their child. The art teachers that encouraged Casey thought the whole ordeal was ridiculous. They knew Casey’s inner essence.

Casey went on to earn “Artist of the Year” in his graduating class. Naturally, I was proud and wondered what the teacher, who turned him in that day, thought about this psycho kid. I guess you couldn’t blame the teacher really. Better safe than sorry.

Psycho, Casey is not. A talented creative artist, he is and one who is using his abilities to follow his dream.

Happy Birthday Casey! I love you.