Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 One Little Word Wrap-Up

For the last two years, I've chosen One Little Word to guide me for the year.  As a fan of Ali Edwards, her thoughts on the effects of choosing just one word, resonated with me.  And so I began the process in the last days of 2009, choosing 'Live' for 2010 and 'Grow' for 2011.

As I began reflecting on this last year, I pleasantly discovered that I had accomplished several of my goals and did indeed, Grow in many ways.  Sharing some of the ways I've grown on here at Time Crafted, seems only appropriate since so many of you have given me both inspiration and support.

I began the year taking Ali Edwards' year long One Little Word workshop at Big Picture Classes.  And while it was great to see Andi, Siri, and other familiar, friendly faces, I mostly worked on this offline.

She's repeating the workshop for 2012 and I'm leaning towards signing up again.  It definitely helped me keep 'Grow' close at heart throughout the year.

One night on Twitter, @thienkim urged me to check out The Sketchbook Challenge.  Her enthusiasm was infectious and I was excited to create along.

Creating an art journal always seemed intimidating to me.  It might sound silly, but many creative bloggers and artists I visit, have mad crazy talent and I fretted about not measuring up...until I realized that the goal isn't to 'measure up', but rather to grow, try new things, learn new skills, and improve on what I already do.  So, I did.

After reading the creative writing goodness that Mandy weaves with her words, I wanted to get back into my own creative writing.  I missed it and knew that it had been far too long since I swam with crazy colored words.

I decided to start small and began with a microfiction meme.  It's the shortest of short fiction, written in 140 characters or less, including spaces & punctuation.  Turns out, microfiction is a whole mess o' fun!

Looking at where Mandy was sharing her fiction with, I headed over to The Red Dress Club, which is now Write on Edge, a virtual writing community.

I began writing and sharing my fiction with their Red Writing Hood prompts, as well as some memoir with their RemembeRED prompts.

And then I got brave.  In November, a group of writers within the Write on Edge community participated in NaNoWriMo and I joined in.

I didn't hit the word count, but I'm okay with my results.  If you want to know what I thought was so cool about the whole process, check out my really short post: NaNoWriMo in 8 Sentences.

When Bruna, @beeswithhoney, said she wanted to feature me on her Let's BEE Friends series, I was tickled pink.  And when Sarah, @MamaRiceCake, asked me to write a positive guest post for her, I went Dancing with Rainbows.  Mandy asked me to guest post on Makes Fun and I wrote the low down on The Little Red Bear.

And speaking of writing, one more area I wanted to grow was right here on the blog.  In this case, I wanted to literally grow...more posts, that is.  I didn't set a goal or a specific number to hit; simply that I wanted to post more than I had last year.  And with this post, I'm coming in with 51 more posts than in 2010.  Grow Goal, accomplished.

I spent most of 2010 knowing that I needed wanted needed to upgrade my Point & Shoot camera.  I had squeezed out every ounce I could from it and was itching for a DSLR.  In February last year, it was time to take the leap.  I bought a Nikon D3100 and while I'm still learning how the heck to use it in manual, photography is something I've grown to love since beginning this blogging journey.

2011 became the year of the virtual Book Clubs, starting with Andrea (a sweet Book Fairy) leading one on the SITS Girls site, which is now over on her site Great Thoughts. She selects great books and we wrap our reads up with fun monthly Twitter parties, tweeting with the books' authors, using the hashtag #Gr8Books.  You should join us!

This fall, @thienkim asked me to be a From Left to Write Contributor.  What's wonderfully unique about this book club is that we write posts inspired by the books we read.  As a result I was able to share Who Will Tell Your Story?, as well as a favorite artist of ours, Michel LeRoux.  Another unique bit is that the book selection here really varies, widening my viewpoints, and hopefully, others' too.

This was a looong post, I know.  If you're still here, give yourself a pat on the back, a taste of Nutella, a cuppa java, or an ice cold martini.  Thanks for hanging in there!

The One Little Word, Grow, has taken me on quite a journey this year!  How about you?  Do you chose just one little word to hold near your heart, to guide you, to focus you in your year ahead? 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Favorites

Here we are, wrapping up the remaining days of 2011.  Can you believe it?  I barely can.  And yet, when I was writing a wrap up post on my journey with my One Little Word for this year, I came across quite a few paths travelled.
Mama’s Losin’ It

But, that post is Friday, so do come back!  Today, thanks to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, I'm sharing a favorite (or simply special) post for each month of 2011.  Grab a cuppa and join me down memory lane.

Just before Christmas 2010, I got the uber brilliant idea that it was time to organize my son's crazy huge collection of Lego bricks.  Actually, it was indeed a brilliant idea.  My timing, though?  Not so much. 

And in January, I shared our results and what has become my most frequently visited post of 2011, From Lego Landslide to Organized!

In case you are wondering how well this organization system has worked, I can tell you that a year later, thousands and thousands of Lego bricks are still in their appropriate drawers after hundreds of building sessions!

My daughter's sweet face in the morning sunlight had me clicking my camera, capturing one of my favorite photos of the year:  Sweet Lashes.

Good friends can make a person tick and I'm lucky enough to have a close friendship with three gals for well over twenty years now, who are like sisters, who keep my heart tick tocking in time.

In Gravity or Instinct, I Just Knew, I shared how I met one of these women, all those years ago.

In Even the Easter Bunny Gets Creative, you'll see how that Bunny likes to have fun in our house!

I took a stroll down Memory Lane to share this experience:  Sushi Gone Wrong.

In R.S.V.P., the first of four fictional characters emerged, Cassie. If you like her, the next installment is Kick Ass Shoes!

Taking a day trip to the coast is a favorite activity for all of us; we Love the Ocean, Dig the Beach!

When listing 10 Places I Love to Be, I found that not all can be found on any kind of map.  What about you?  Can you look up your favorite places?

One of those favorite places in August's list led to For the love of bound paper... - obnoxious signage, promised treasures, and the sad reality that sank in.

If you're coming in from Mama Kat's (or one of the millions who read Pioneer Woman), you might remember the prompt that led to the post that showed me I have done more than I realize over the years.  22 things I { have } done

After an Unexpected adventure, I felt the impact that someone you don't even know can have.

My last piece of fiction shared here this year brings new characters and the beginning to a brand new story, The Doorbell Rang.

What about you?  Where have you journeyed to in 2011?  I hope you'll make one more stop back here this year, on Friday, looking where just One Little Word can take a person.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa's Smiling Treat

Just a li'l Christmas share today, before wrapping up the holidays here.

Santa's Smiling Treat

The kidlets dutifully left Santa and his reindeer a thoughtful GFCF snack. They said they want Santa to be healthy. But, the kicker was the smiley face they left the Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies, mug of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and carrots in the shape of.  (Yes, the carrots got a li'l wonky in transit from the kitchen to the living room. Nope, didn't fix it - it's their effort, I'm just documenting it!)

Guess they thought Santa deserved to be greeted by a smile upon arrival. They knew he had been traveling for quite a long time by the time he hit our house. Did you know he even visited the International Space Station this year? He did. That Santa Tracker that the kidlets had me refreshing on my computer all night said so!

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I regularly purchase Pamela's mini cookies (the ginger ones are my fav, the chocolate cookies are the kids' fav variety) and the Silk almond milk (it's delish in my coffee, when my son doesn't drink it all...the almond milk, not the coffee!) with my own money.  Affiliate links are used in this post.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's been a whirlwind of Christmas activities in this li'l dot on the globe.  And as exhausting as it all has been, every last bit has been worth it.

Our days have been filled with lights, tree hunting & decorating, school field trips, singing, bell ringing, Christmas crafts, shopping, wrapping, Advent Calendar ornament hanging, gingerbread house candying, card making, GFCF Christmas menu planning, more shopping, more wrapping, more singing, and a whole lotta family smiles and laughter.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!  May the holidays that you celebrate be filled with loved ones, giggles, hugs, and fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#iPPP ~ Bird Ribbons

We see these small birds every year, sometime in November or December, scavenging the remains of the harvested vineyards.  The way they fly together and abruptly change directions make it look like there are ribbons dancing across the skies.

 Bird Wave Ribbons

Last year, my brother snapped a couple pics on his iPhone to show me.....because he thought they were bats.  Nope.  Tiny little birds, flocking together.

Birds Flock Together

I'm usually behind the wheel, driving when I see them and have never been able to take a photo, so I was stoked that he did.  Aren't they cool?  Their movement drops my jaw in awe, every year, every time.

Taming Insanity

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From The Good Life, a la The Actor's Studio

Stasha, at The Good Life, has a great list of ten inspired by Bridget, inspired by James Lipton from Inside The Actor's Studio, inspired by the Proust Questionnaire.  And since I somehow, quite mysteriously and rather accidentally, took a week off from blogging, dipping my toes back in via a list makes the water, as it usually is, mighty fine.

1. What is your favorite word?
You might think the words 'actually' and 'just' are favorites, since I actually use them just far too often.  But, they're not.  I am rather fond of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, though.

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?
Contagious laughter, creative thinking, creativity manifested.

4. What turns you off?
Intentional rudeness.

5. What sound do you love?
Water rushing, lapping, trickling.  In the ocean, on a lake's shore.  Through a stream.

6. What sound do you hate?
Extreme whining.  Car alarms.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
Frak and all derivative states of it.  Yes, I'm a scifi geek.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Plumber.  Spelunker.  Deep sea diver.  Can you see the theme here?

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

And yes, I just now realized that today is Tuesday, not Monday.  Rather silly, considering I spent all day yesterday at my daughter's school - which is obviously not open & active on a Sunday.  Going to go pour myself some java now and hit my reset button.
{ Shaking head, rolling eyes, facepalm. }

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Music

It's been awhile since I last updated my Christmas music - awhile, as in everything was on CDs.  Now, while I do love some of those CDs - Il Divo: The Christmas Collection, Sarah McLachlan: Wintersong, and Josh Groban: Noel - they're a few years old and it's time to update!

And these are the directions I headed in:

Admittedly, I came to the Glee party nearly a season late (gasp!). But oh my, I haven't been able to get enough since climbing on board Glee Train.  Naturally, I had to check out their first Glee Christmas album from last year!

And while I was getting my holiday Glee on, I had to go shopping for the Glee Christmas Album Volume 2 - of course!  Mercedes' (Amber Riley) All I Want for Christmas is so lively it's perfect for when the To Do list starts to get overwhelming. :>

I adore listening to this guy!  Michel Bublé sings his snazzy Christmas album as only he can and we love it.  My girl's favorite on there right now, is his Jingle Bells with The Puppini Sisters - so fun!

What are you listening to this holiday season?  I've been updating my whole music library, so if Christmas music isn't a holiday you celebrate or simply isn't singing it's notes to you, what are you listening to?  Any new favorites?

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I purchased the music myself, this post is not sponsored, and there are affiliate links included.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Red Writing Hood: The Doorbell Rang

The doorbell rang, barely audible above clanging pots in the kitchen, “Jingle Bell Rock” humming from the living room stereo, and the family’s chatter.  Nevertheless, Aunt Suz heard it chime and hurried to answer it.

Still wiping her hands on the Christmas red kitchen towel, she opened her front door.

“Craig!  Merry Chr…” Her voice dissipated when the look on her husband’s friend’s face reached her.  Dressed in uniform with another officer, he motioned for her to step outside.  The kitchen towel slid through her still damp hands, drifting to the ground.

“Suzanne.  Are your parents inside?”

“Of course, it’s Christmas.  Almost everyone is already here.”

Everyone was already at the house, everyone except Aunt Suz’s sister and her family – everyone except my parents and me.

“We need you to come with us.”

“I can’t leave.  I have a ham in the oven, potatoes on the stove…I…”

“Suz.  We need to go.  We need you to come.”

In a daze, Aunt Suz quietly passed off Christmas dinner instructions to her sister-in-law; slinging on her ivory wool coat, she slipped out door and into the night.

Watching out the window as the officers drove her to the hospital in the next town over, she jerked in the frigid air that refused to fill her lungs with anything but dread.  She dug her nails into the icy vinyl backseat of the patrol car, deeper with every mile traveled.

The other officer swung the car to the curb at the entrance and Craig helped her climb out of from back.  She focused on putting one foot in front of the other with her husband’s friend guiding her by the arm.  The Emergency Room’s automatic doors whirred open, catching the soft white reflection drift down, they looked back; it had begun to snow.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodIt's fiction day at  Write on Edge!  And I'm writing with a new story and characters today.  We were prompted to:  use the holiday season to inspire you to write a piece beginning with “The doorbell rang” and ending with “snow began to fall.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RemembeRED: Crash

Crash.  The impact changed more bits and pieces than I can count.  Crash.  The tiny car I drove collided with an eighteen wheeler big rig, or so I’m told; I have no memory of it. 

Crash.    Waking in the ICU, only flickers and images of those three days remain.  Crash.  A week in acute care and a few realities set in.  People only kissing me on my upper left forehead – something was wrong with my face.  A cast had made a home on my leg.  Every part of my upper body cried out, if I tried to move.  A phone call from the CHP officer asking me if I remembered what happened – I didn’t.  Filling out his report, he told me I was not at fault.  Visitors, lots of visitors came in and out – family, friends, coworkers from my new job, and my new boss popping wheelies in my wheelchair at my bedside.  It hurt to laugh, but I smiled.

Crash.  Two weeks on the rehabilitation floor.  The mini gym on the lower level found me twice a day for Physical Therapy.  Once a day, I navigated through Occupational Therapy for simple tasks that weren’t quite as simple anymore.  While washing my thick curly hair without getting that cast wet was a necessity to learn, I argued with my therapist that burning my lacerated face to bake chocolate chip cookies to prove I could feed myself upon release was rather ridiculous as there was such a concept as a sandwich – simple and without the need for a hot oven scorching my face.  Crash.

Released from the hospital, still in a wheel chair and using crutches for stairs.  Crash.  Feeling years older than my young friends in college, even though we had celebrated the same number of birthdays, I took advantage of every physical therapy appointment over the next four months.

Crash.  I was twenty-one years old and almost every aspect of my life changed.  People always told me that I was lucky to be alive.  I always responded that I was lucky it wasn’t worse.

From a single crash came a completely new world.  While there’s some stuff I’d hand back in a heartbeat if I could, I’ve learned quite a hefty volume about myself and the world I live in.  I was looking forward to the future then and fifteen years later, I still am.

Write on Edge: RemembeREDThis week's RemembeRED prompt from Write on Edge is a tad different.  They gave us the word "Crash" to write on for ten minutes, polish, and publish.  It's flash memoir!

Do you have ten minutes?  Come write with us!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Infusing some December Daily into my days with Her Lost Tooth

Turning on her light, she barely stirred more than a deep breath inhaled.  Other than her hair streaming out, I could see nothing beyond her two colorful quilts, made with love by a grandmother and an auntie, covering her small body.

“I wonder if the Tooth Fairy came?” I mused.

Fast as a cork released, she popped up from her cherry red framed twin bed.  Taking no more than a second to steady herself, she ran down the hall to the blanket folded into a pillow left on the table next to the front door.  The tradition began with her big brother and his first lost tooth.  It was only logical to leave the pillow near the door to make the exchange easy for the welcomed Tooth Fairy.

Not my first rodeo, I had my camera already in hand, turned on, ready to capture her expression as she saw the lump in the blanket pillow.  Already smiling, she rapidly progressed to squealing with delight as she pulled out a present from the fairy who had taken her first lost tooth and left behind a small toy.  In the low light she saw the small Lemon Meringue figure from the Strawberry Shortcake bunch, a tiny comb, itty bitty hair clip, and a long hot pink hair extension.

I might have held a piece of technology in my hand, meant to capture moments in a flash, but the best moment captured was her pure joy burning a place in my heart.  The pictures will record the gap in her mouth, the jammies she wore, her hair pulled back, but my heart will hold her bubbling delight in its treasures.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
I've already shared my excitement for the creative bonanza that is Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas, but the other creative infusion I get at this time of year is from Ali Edwards' December Daily album.

I've always wanted to create one, in real time, throughout the month of December.  Without a photo printer at home, I've never been able to make the project function for me (same reason I've struggled with Project Life, but I'm toying with some ideas for next year and will get back to you on that! :>).

But, no more excuses!  Whether I jump in and get a December Daily album put together or not, I'm not going to let 2011's December memories fall into the blurred oblivion of one Christmas season fading into the next.  To ensure that, I've been writing a single story (or journaling it, if you're coming from a scrapbooking perspective) to etch the day into our family's preserved memories.

And I thought I'd share today's with you!

How do you preserve your memories?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 Wrap Up

A whole month has passed since NaNoWriMo began!  The excitement was a brewin' and I shared NaNoWriMo in 8 Sentences.

How about eight more (with lots of run-on sentences to squeeze it all in)?

The picture above says, "Participant" and not NaNoWriMo Winner for a reason:  while NaNoWriMo continued to be an incredible experience, I did not reach 50,000 words - not even close - and surprisingly, I'm okay with that.

I have an unhealthy relationship with the backspace key, hitting it nearly as often as I tap the letter keys to craft words together - that does serious damage to NaNo word counts!

Word counts quite obviously die when you don't write least when you don't write words for your NaNo project (I missed Maggie, Cassie, Adrianna, and Lauren too much to leave them alone for so long).

I learned what inhibits me creatively, which I think is probably the most invaluable lesson I will take from this experience.

I learned that even if I don't go the outline in advance route, I need to have my story idea more established in my head before taking on my next NaNo (yes, I hope to write along again, sometime) - this year, I was beyond what wrimos call a "Pantser"!

And as a Pantser (someone who starts NaNoWriMo without any outlines or characters sketches or pre-writing work done and flies by the seat of their pants), thank goodness for the writing software, Scrivener - I'm using the free trial right now, but participants get a discount to purchase it - to help me get my proverbial ducks in a row and be able to easily skip around when writing and still keep my story organized.

I learned that yes, I can write while the kids are in the same room with me;  we turn on my writing music, they do their homework and their reading and I click clack across my keyboard and we're all happy.

I have a brand new main character, supported by more than a dozen other characters, quite well established now;  which means, I'm not done with this story and plan to stick with it in the coming months;  it's like my own Christmas present to myself, from myself,, peeps at Write on Edge, Cameron Garriepy for organizing us, my tweeps on twitter, and a rip roarin', rockin' awesome NaNoWriMo community across the interwebs - Thank You!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Worth the Click: Holiday Inspiration & Freebies

Hopping around the interwebs, I've found a few fantastic holiday freebies to make your season just a bit more festive.

Becky Higgins has free templates with instructions for your Holiday Cards in three different sizes, including the one you can use to have Costco print your photo cards.  They even provide the matching envelopes!

Jessica of vol.25 has free unique holiday tags that you can print, including wood grain to cut into strips for paper ribbon.  How cool is that?!

What about fonts?  Fonts, especially free ones make me shake with glee! has a handful of free holiday fonts with alphas and images.

And if you're simply looking for Christmas ideas?  It's Pinterest to the rescue.  I'm having an all out love affair with that scrumptious online rendezvous.

Feel free to check out my Christmas Pinterest Board for some ideas!

Are you starting to feel a festive spirit?  If you don't celebrate Christmas, I'd love to know what holidays or traditions are special to you in the coming month.  I love to hear what makes people smile!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Celebrating { Creative Traditions } Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas

I may not be sharing a whole lot of papercrafting as of late, but it is something that has made me smile for the last seventeen years, since I first visited a rubber stamping store that I later worked at.

One of my favorite December traditions is coming up very soon...

Come December 1st is Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas!

Papercrafting, stamping, mixed media, inky joy is sprinkled all around during those twelve days.  Quite literally, I find myself on a high every night I can stay up 'til 12:01 a.m., when he posts the next day's tag or first thing in the morning if sleep found me before the clock ticked past midnight.

But, that joy isn't just for me!  In addition to all of Tim's great fans around the globe, I happen to have one little one right here with me.  My wee girl (she's probably officially not 'wee' anymore, but I still think of her that way!) adores Tim and all his creative creations.

She begs to watch "Mr. Tim's" videos on YouTube and to see what inky, painty, stampy tag he has created for her today (okay, okay, so maybe not for her...but, don't tell her that! ;>).  Her eyes widen and glisten with sheer delight.

"Mom!  He has paint!  Ink!  Look at his hands!"  That last bit would be in reference to his stamper's manicure which she knows I always love to see on my own hands...because it means I found time to create - hands on.

Sometimes creativity is simply something I enjoy for myself or with my girl.  Sometimes creativity is put to use for others.  One round of Tim's tags inspired me to make sets of Christmas tags for my son's teachers' gifts.  Practical and creative!

Whether paper or stamps or paint or ink or altered items or the holidays bring you delight, I do hope you find the time to bring a little creativity to your days in this busy, chaotic, fun, joyful month that will arrive on our doorsteps in just a few short days.

I know where I'll be heading to recharge my creative batteries for at least twelve of those days.

What about you?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

If you are celebrating today...

Happy Thanksgiving


We have a turkey roasting in the oven and a kitchen full of food to make a delicious GFCF Thanksgiving meal today.

We have a special guest arriving tomorrow for her annual after Thanksgiving visit that we're all excited for.

We're spending the day together, enjoying each other - a perfect kind of Family Day.

If you are celebrating today and even if you're not, may your day be filled with both greatness and simplicity.

I hope your day is full of rainbows to be thankful for!

Let's BEE Friends

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh Internet...

After spending most of yesterday without a splash of the Net to play around in, I realized just how much my love affair with the interwebs has grown over the last few years.

Oh, Internet.  How I love you...let me count the ways:

1)  A sudden unfulfilled urge to blog slips by without you, Internet.

2)  Without you at my fingertips, I'm forced to download, install, and figure out apps on my phone - fun, but I prefer you in full interactive form with all your bells and whistles.

3)  Without you, I'm almost driven to the brink of madness as I try to cope with Auto-fill on my phone....who, quite clearly, has a very different vocabulary.

4)  You bring me music to groove/sing/write to, Firefly, Dancing With the Stars, beautifully blogged posts to read, gorgeous bits to look upon - a la Pinterest, sunshine, rainbows, glitter, oh my!

5)  You have Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, NaNoWriMo, Amazon, Etsy, Write on Edge (my son is the one who pointed 'that writing prompt thing' out! :>), Flickr, and more email accounts than I care to count.

6)  You have the essential parenting resource:  Google.

7)  And most important, Internet, you have my friends tucked in, around, and about your interwebs.

While I may turn you off at times, please don't ever leave my demanding fingertips again.

Thank you, ever so much!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Road Trip: Aunt Julie & Sara

Leaving the Bay and San Francisco’s June Gloom behind us, Sara fussed with the rented Prius’ radio, before finding my favorite station that I was wise enough to preset.

“You’ve got good taste in music, kid.”

It didn’t seem to matter whether we listened to music from my youth or what’s current now, we enjoyed both. Thank goodness. Nothing kills a road trip faster than different tastes in music in the same small car.

“So, we’ve got our requisite tourist stops: Disneyland, Venice, and the Chinese Theater. Oh, and the beach. Anything else you want to make sure we hit this week?”

“The County Museum of Art?  And I know we’re doing Disney, but can we also spend a day at Universal Studios? I’ve never been.”

“Now that is why you are so much fun to hang with, Sara. A local art museum and a theme park. Gotta hand it to you for enjoying opposite ends of the spectrum.”

“Ah, Aunt Julie, you know I aim to please!”  Her sarcasm nearly lost stifling a snicker.

Though she technically was one now, she’d always been like a little adult.  I was happy to play the role of ‘cool aunt’, but Sara was more like a little sister to me. I wanted to protect her as much as I wanted to ride a roller coaster with her - our arms high in the air, screaming the whole way ‘round.

Florence + The Machine began pumping out music with the voice that could sing an insurance claim and still wrap notes around us. Our hands collided reaching out to crank the volume up as we sang along with Florence while the pavement rolled under us.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodIt's time for Write on Edge's Red Writing Hood prompt!  This week we're taking our fictional characters out for a spin, or more specifically, a road trip.

I've grabbed my main character, Julianne, from my #NaNoWriMo writing and her niece for this trip!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#iPPP - Who's Tower Is It?

Give my brother a couple of free airline tickets and he's off...most recently, to Chicago.  He emailed me a pic that he took with his iPhone of the Water Tower.

Actually, he emailed his niece, my daughter, the picture because it reminded him of Rapunzel's tower from the movie Tangled.

Water Tower Chicago copy

She looked at it. Turned her head to the side a bit. And I asked her if it looked her current favorite princess' tower.

She shook her head.

She's an incredibly specific child.

Water Tower in Chicago

I turned it upside down, so it would be fat at the top, skinny on the bottom - like Rapunzel's tower - to see if that helped.

Still shaking her head. She disappeared for a minute and came back carrying the movie cover to school her ol' Mom on what Rapunzel's tower really looks like. When school was over, she told me it's not the tower, but she still liked it.

Truthfully, I think she'd like anything from her favorite uncle!

Taming Insanity
Though I finally have my own fancy schmancy smartphone, I couldn't resist sharing the imaginations of a fun loving uncle and his niece...and it was actually taken with an iPhone making it a perfect chance to finally link up with #iPPP for the first time! :>

Also linking up with some rockin' awesome Wordful/ish Wednesday peeps!  Seven Clown Circus, Parenting by Dummies, Project Alicia, Live and Love...Out Loud, Angry Julie Monday

Let's BEE Friends

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Infuse a little phone fun into a fall day!

On Tuesday, the Unexpected happened to me.  And it was determined that I needed a new phone...stat!  So, after purchasing all new tires (my wallet is still protesting), I promptly got a new phone.

And while some peeps suggested an iPhone, I ended up walking out the door with a Samsung Infuse 4G.  So far, I'm lovin' it!  My cell & cell use was very old school and admittedly, I still refuse to pay for a texting plan.  So, I still don't text.  But, having the net at my fingertips, anytime?  Now, that I dig.

And this morning, I'm hopping on the Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop train, in the Autumn in Your Neck of the Woods car.  It was the perfect excuse to check out my new phone's camera!  Come aboard now, won't you?

Changing Ivy 

Grape Leaf Drive By

Drive By Fall 


I had a lovely trip playing with my new phone and in Flickr's Picnik when I got home.

And yes, I did stay in my car, er, um, train car for this trip.  39 degrees out while wearing a tshirt and Hub's hoodie meant you couldn't pry me away from the heater that I had blowing as the windows were down!

Hope your day is just as colorful!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yesterday was unexpected.

I unexpectedly blew a tire on my way to drop a carload of li'l kidlet stuff at a donation drop off.

I unexpectedly blew a tire on a country road.

I unexpectedly could not call for help when the number I needed to dial contained a 3.  Yes, my #3 button had not been working on my old phone for quite awhile.  Did I mention it was old?

I unexpectedly found an old(er) man, who did not have a phone.  Then, found a mean lady who said she didn't have a phone.

Then, unexpectedly, from the mean ladies place came a gal with her cell phone and offered it to me.

I was relieved.

Unexpectedly, she offered to change my tire.  I was ecstatic.

Unexpectedly, her little chihuahua came running across the street.  He was adorable and I held him while she changed my tire with my very slow to rise jack and minimal tools from my trunk.

I thanked her repeatedly, though I don't know that my words conveyed how grateful I was.

The rest of the day remained unexpected.  But, that unexpected act of kindness carried me through.

And what did I learn from having a flat tire on a country road?

A)  I need to learn how to change my own tire.


B)  Have a cell where all the buttons work!

Many thank yous to everyone who stops to help a stranger.  You make a greater impact than you know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Little Red Bear across the Interwebs!

Guess who's guest posting over at Makes Fun today?  Yup, c'est moi!

Head on over to see if that Little Red Bear warranted my trepidation!

I'll see ya there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Eight O'clock Hour

Time seemed to tick faster each night.  I could see my reflection staring back at me in the wet window pane.  She looked confused, frightened.  Of course she did.  It had been happening for a whole week now and last night’s episode was just as terrifying as the first.  Glancing at the clock, I knew someone else would soon be haunting me.

When the first one came, a week ago, I blacked out.  I found myself wandering in the street, but have no idea how I got there.  Instead of fear, I felt curiosity surge through my veins, pulsating at every turn.  It didn’t make sense to me to be curious about the ground beneath me, the air flowing around me, or even more strange, my skin and teeth and toes.

For four hours, seven strange nights in a row, I became someone, something else.  Each night left me understanding only slightly more.

As darkness descends, the eight o’clock hour will soon arrive.  I’ll be locked inside, allowed to see, hear, smell, touch, but never speak as someone or something takes me.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
It's all about 8:00, am or pm, at Write on Edge this week; 200 words or less.  And I'm bringing the hour to you with a new fictional character.  While I love watching scifi, I've never written any...until now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo in 8 sentences

NaNoWriMo is uber fun instead of freaky scary.

NaNoWriMo has me writing...a lot.

NaNoWriMo makes me accidentally ask my son how many words he's read for homework, rather than pages.

NaNoWriMo has me on such a roll, I wrote this post and Friday's Write on Edge fiction early - something that never happens.

NaNoWriMo, surprisingly, makes my husband smile.

NaNoWriMo makes me a rock star in the eyes of my kids.

NaNoWriMo introduced me to a new-to-me writing software, Scrivener, that I'm taking for a test drive as I write my 50,000 words this month.

NaNoWriMo peeps, tweeps, and writers are fantastically friendly and a rockin' awesome community.

Mama’s Losin’ It
Writing with Mama Kat and she says, write a post in 8 lines...or as Mommy Nani Boo Boo, who inspired the prompt says, 8 lines or 8 sentences, which is clearly the route I went (minus the prompt, of course! ;>).

Farm Animals & Jack-o-Lanterns, Oh My!

On Monday's Pumpkins, Guts & Gloves, I promised a few more pictures, so I'm back with a handful.

 Farm Animals Piglets & their Pumpkin Moo Cow

This cow kept moo'ing at me every time I walked up to her (?him? I didn't check! lol) and just cracked me up.  There were chickens, roosters, pigs, piglets, cows, ponies, oh my!  And we had a blast visiting with them on our trip to the pumpkin patch!

And on Sunday, it was time to get busy carving those pumpkins we brought home with us.

After seeing the kids drawing complicated faces with a million cuts (too many for their small hands), Dad drew a sample face on a piece of paper for them.

And then proceeded to use his sample for his own pumpkin.

His Pumpkin 

My boy used the sample for the mouth on his, adjusting the teeth.  Apparently, pointy is scarier than square.

This was the first Halloween that he wanted a 'scary or horror' costume rather than a superhero.  Though he ended up being a cool alien, he greeted every door he trick or treated at saying, "Braaaiiinnnsss" and looked a bit more like a scary zombie alien rather than the little green man it started out as.  He loved it.

Her Pumpkin

And my girl's sweet pumpkin. She had me making the turns at each corner, while she cut the straight lines of the eyes and nose, but by the time she reached the mouth, she was a Jack-o-lantern cutting pro and doing it on her own!

Linus and the Great Pumpkin 
(Clearly I need to learn to shoot better in low light, but I'll get there!)

I went with Linus and the Great Pumpkin this year. A little simpler than years past, but when I saw the image on Creative Type Dad's pumpkin stencils, I was blind to all others.

We had a fun Halloween!  How was yours?  What does November hold for you?

Me?  I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year and though only on to the second day, loving the writing and community surrounding the word frenzy!

Linking up with some rockin' awesome Wordful/ish Wednesday peeps!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Diving In - Yikes!

Not quite sure if I've crossed the line to insanity, but if I haven't already, I'm sure I'll dance with it at some point this month!

Do you know about NaNoWriMo?  Are you participating this year?  Have you participated in the writing frenzy before?

I've seen the NaNoWriMo badges on blogs since before I began blogging myself.  And with a name like that you get to clickin' and your nearest friendly Google page to see what the heck it is.

So, what is it?  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It's run from Berkeley, California, though people participate around the globe.  And people write a 50,000 word fictional novel in one month.

I had told myself that there was no way I was going to dive in this year.  Maybe next year.  This year?  No.

Um, yea, that went over real well when the NaNo bug started whispering in my ear last week.  And when it had become a deafening roar by the end of the week - you know, just days before the event was set to start - I caved.

I quickly began jotting down story ideas in the car while waiting to pick my daughter up from school and found one that resonated enough, keeping me from running, screaming at the top of my lungs.

And then, I hopped online to figure out what the heck I was getting into.  Yes, I realize I might have approached this a little backwards.  Eh, just keeping life interesting!

While there are over 200,000 participants worldwide, there are a good sized handful of us from Write on Edge getting our novel writing on together.  We have a few veterans, including Cameron D. Garriepy, who is helping us all get our ducks in a row.  And there's quite a few of us NaNoWriMo newbies, like myself.

If you're participating this year, give me a holler & we can be writing buddies.  I'm timecrafted over there.  And if you're not, then please, by all means, send patience, inspiration, nimble fingers, and caffeine!!!

See you in the word pool!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkins, Guts, & Gloves

Pulp oozes around our hands, slipping, sliding through fingers.  Wearing the pumpkins’ guts proudly, like a new fashion statement, we reach inside for more.  Seeds go in one bowl, innards in another.

Checking out what's next at the pumpkin patch, hand in hand...melt my heart.
At the pumpkin patch, we surveyed our options.  It wasn’t long before I noticed the enormous orange ball in the green wagon.  One down, three to go.

“This one’s perfect!” Our boy is waving us down.  As my husband pulls up with the four wheeling wagon, he inspects the find.  “Nope, looks like there’s a hole in the bottom kiddo.  You’ve got to look all around it.  We don’t want a rotten one, right?”

Two kids, bubbling with giggles run for another possibility.  On their way, they get distracted by a black cow.  Giggles give way to whispers before they call us over to show us what they think are baby cows sleeping under a piece of siding lying across the ground.  When the baby critters awaken, emerging to chow on a small broken pumpkin, it’s easy to see that they’re cute baby piglets.

And we’re all smiling as the kids run off to climb the hay bale pyramid, drive the old tractors, and try to feed the ponies some hay.

“Come on kids, let’s pick our pumpkins!”

“This one?”  She lifts a little pumpkin high in the air.

“That’s too small to carve.”

She picks out three more tiny pumpkins that nestle perfectly in her sweet little hands as we continue to tell her they’re too small to get seeds from.

I remembered the one she had brought home from school.  “Actually, go ahead and get a small one.  You can carve the one from your field trip and paint the little one you get today, okay?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!”

Adding a pumpkin with a smooth front, perfect for a cool carving, for me and one without any holes for our boy and we lugged the heavy wagon to the front to pay.
A few dozen more camera clicks and we climb into the truck to head home, thinking about all the seeds we’ll have to roast, after we wear our fashionable pumpkin gut gloves.

I'm linking up with JDaniel4's Mom's Halloween Traditions.  We finished carving our pumpkins last night and I'll be sharing those pics on Wednesday.  In the meantime, you can see some of past years' pumpkin carvings here and here!


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