Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TWW - Karma

Karma Waits

you get what you deserve, mama warns,
karma hides under the bed, counting

to ten, to a million, waits, for tables to turn,
then delighted, jumps out, gotcha!

it will shout, deliver a finger-wagging lecture,
never, ever forget, I am always right behind you,

I see what you do, I hear what you think,
don’t cover your ears, there is no escape,

no, go away, I reply, you are not welcome,
but karma does not obey, our eyes lock,

a stare-down, within minutes I sag, guilt-
withered as always, I am first to look away

Sunday, November 1, 2009

MYM November 2

Mural on the side of the Human Rights Education Center building in Boise.  The mural was apparently conceived and executed by a group of junior high students in 2008.   It is located next to a 'garden of quotes' called the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.  I spent a very interesting and contemplative hour there recently.  It was really very nicely done.  I am not sure what Boise's connection to Anne Frank is, maybe she is just a symbol for their cause. 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween - Boise

Was invited to a party with a 'murder' theme.  I went as 'the swine flu'.  Here is my picture, taken by Ryanne. I got the bizarre 'suit' in the robe department at the St. Vincent's.  You stick your feet out through 'cuffs' on the bottom.  It was warm though, and that was my main criteria.

Amanda's house was nice and spooky.

And this is Amanda and her mom.  Amanda was the host of the party, and Tracy is kindly sharing her home with me. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TWW - Nightmare


sweet becomes sour
in the nightmare hour
thoughts incubate
fear, worry, hate
dreams twist and curl
hopes billow and whirl
much creative vanity
converts to insanity
‘til deep in the dark
a spark lights the way
a return from sleep's madness
to dawn of new day

Sunday, October 25, 2009

MYM October 26th

One of my favorite fall color pictures, taken when I was walking on the NW path alongside the Boise river.  This part of the path is paved, and closer to downtown.  It was a gorgeous day, and the air was so crisp and clear.  Now it has started to get colder, and they are even predicting snow one night this week, although I'm hoping they are wrong.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boise - Wildlife

This cute little guy was playing between the path and the river... we had a stare down.  I won.  There are lots of squirrels here.  Today the car in front of me on 13th, on the way into Hyde Park, slammed on its brakes THREE times to avoid squirrels running across the street.  I slammed on my brakes three times to avoid running into the car in front of me!

Pretty mallard swimming in the Boise River all by himself.

Tracy's dog Mabel, a complete sweetheart, posed nicely.  All in focus but the tail.  That's Mabel, happy girl, can't stop the tail.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Boise - a river runs through it

This is a damn over the Boise River.  There is a man, standing on the rocks and fly-fishing, to the left-center of the photo.

This flock of seagulls seemed a long way from home.

Looking west down the Boise river.  I took these while walking the paths/trail system along the river.  It's a really nice system.  You have to give real points to Idaho for maintaining their citizens access to their riverfront. So many places let the waterfront become private property and hardly anyone can enjoy them.

Boise - Little Bits of Odd

These birdhouses decorate a dead tree in a 'stone' yard on State Street.  I think it is extremely cool, and it looks like the birds do too.

Well, I wasn't expecting a yard full of flamingoes, but that's what I saw in front of a nursery on State St. in Boise.  The blue and orange are not doubt Bronco's fans.   Apparently you can rent the flamingoes... Tracy tells me her kids had 47 of them set on her lawn for her 47th birthday! Now that's different...

This big, ugly guy was spotted outside Tracy's kitchen window at dusk.  We 'misted' the web so that it would show up in the pictures.  Didn't faze the spider one bit.  Can't tell what kind he is, I only hope he's not poisonous to humans, and that none of his relatives live in the house!

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Boise Color

It was so pretty driving around today.  The reds and golds are spectacular... then you have some maroons and greens mixed in.  Tomorrow I plan to drive around and take pictures all day... here's one from today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boise Color

I learned something about Boise the other day.... it's name comes from Les Bois, which means, 'The Trees'. 

Right now Boise trees are showing some amazing colors.  I went for a little ride today to see what I could find... this is my favorite, from a yard off Linder and Artesian.  I practically slammed on my brakes in the middle of the road when I saw these reds!  This weekend is supposed to be beautiful, so I plan to do some more exploring.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Joyce Sweeney Workshop #2

Monday I went to the workshop on 'voice', skill number two.  Two people and I 'read'.  I read chapter 2 of Lucky Tuesday after a 'literary' voice read from her short story, and a commercial voice read from his adult crime novel.  It was kind of embarassing, because the chapter book genre requires shorter sentences.  It sounds juvenile (which it is) compared to the other readers.  I sort of wanted to yell 'these aren't the best sentences I can write', it's the genre.  But it went over well anyway, so it wasn't too bad. 
I got my critique back on The Ghost of Old Man Watson - it has a plot problem that is not really defined, and some stilted dialogue at the beginning.  I'm not sure, I know Joyce hated th title, and may have been put off by that at the beginning, her comments were much more positive at the end... I rewrote for the small stuff, but haven't done a major rewrite - need more time and distance.
My in person critique group is finally meeting again tomorrow.  I won't see them again for months and months since I'm going to ID, which is okay.  I don't think they are regular enough to do me any good.  The good news is we finally have an online critique group coming together and hopefully that will be more often and regular. 
I'm thinking that while I'm in ID, I may take the Anastasia Suen class on non-fiction.  It would be a good way to pass the time...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Again

Things will change, and then change again.  My daughter (only child) is pregnant in Idaho, and I sit her 2800 miles away, worried and useless. So, after some discussion, I am leaving my husband here and heading out for several months in Boise.  What will I find? Will I be useful or is she self-sufficient, not needing me at all? Will I be able to adapt to the winter that I was so happy to leave behind when I moved to FL?  I just know it's something I have to do.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joyce Sweeney Workshop #1

Monday I went over to fort Lauderdale to the first of a 4 session writing workshop put on by Joyce Sweeney.   It is being structured as 4 things you need to get published:  a good idea, good voice, a good plot and good structure.  We talked about how it's important not to just have 'an' idea, it has to be a good idea.    How do you know? If it's a being written as a memorial to someone, if it's been done too often, chasing a trend, TOO wierd, too quiet -pulling punches... a good idea has a good sound bite.
Joyce's theory is nobody knows that they are bad at ideas (I do) I'm still such an novice that I'm thrilled to have any idea at all.
Okay - other signs you have a bed idea - if you send your stuff out and your editor or agent says no, but requests something else by you.

The picture is one of a pair of eagles that live in our neighborhood. This morning the two of them were up in a tree that Harley and I passed by on our way home from getting Dale coffee.  Dale has been sick for three days, sleeping almost all the time, but just now we think he has turned a corner.  I guess we'll see in the morinng.  I wonder how many days until we find out if I'm going to get sick too.  We tried hard to make sure I wouldn't get it.  Elbow kisses... funny memory.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday - rewrite

Today was devoted to finalizing Old Man Watson for a workshop Monday. I also did my final draft of the Dog Biscuit rewrite based on Joyce's comments.  Mary Ann had already done one draft, so my work should have been easier, but I find you can rewrite forever, and as long as it's still getting better, that's a good thing.  At the end of the day I did a final read-aloud. 
Reading aloud really helps me hear what other people, who aren't familiar with the story, will hear.   It helps you find the rough spots.  I think we have about two of those left right now, and then we'll have the story back where it was before we sent it out for review, only missing an unnecessary character, and with a whole new ending that is more 'right'.   I'm pretty happy with it.  I wasn't sure we'd make it through another review/rewrite... it can seem like too much work.  But it was really worth it. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Letting Go

So the next phase after wavering is Letting Go.  So far that is easy for me.  I think I perfected it when I committed to my poetry group 10 years ago.  I guess I figured there was no point in writing if you were going to stand in your own way.  I'm sure I'll come up with new ways to have to let go as I wander down this writing path, but so far so good. 
I finished the rewrite of the ending of Old Man Watson and sent it to a friend for review (after it got my husband's blessing, that is)  Hopefully she will have a chance to look at it before I take it to Joyce's class in Fort Lauderdale next Monday.   I'd like to have it finished and sent out.  Old Man Watson has a Halloween-ish theme as well as boy characters.  I'm hoping both of those things add to it's appeal. 
I looked again at World's Best Dog Walker.  I still like it, it's a quick read, and it's fun.  There's not really any tension though... I guess I need to figure out how to up the stakes, Shelly is supposed to be earning money for a trip, but she ... Oh! I just had an idea! I wonder if I can make it work...bye.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seven Steps

Today I read about half of a book called Seven Steps on the Writer's Path.  I didn't really know what it was when I picked it up, but it turned out to be very timely for me.   The book claims there are seven steps:
1. Unhappiness - what I would call dissatisfaction with your path, your life, been there, had that
2. Wanting - this would probably be my longest phase, as I think back I have been 'yearning' for a writing life since I was a child, since reading the titles off the back of Golden Books, and trying to thing what I would write for that title, through song-writing, poetry, NaNoWriMo, and now children's writing
3. Commitment - well, that happened right here, a couple of months ago
4. Wavering - and this is where I am, or where I was,  stuck with three manuscripts, all with problems and wondering if I could do this after all,.... but reading it in the book was really helpful.  It was comforting to know it was a common phase, that everyone questions and it's just a stage,   That got me off my butt to try a rewrite on the first manuscript and think up a direction for another...
5. Letting Go -
6. Immersion -
7. Fulfillment
Haven't read about 5,6,7 yet, and probably haven't been there yet either... more later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Save the Cat

Today I read quite a bit of the 'Save the Cat' book recommended by Anastasia Suen.  It was basically an analysis of the movies, and said that all movies followed 10 basic plots.  Maybe so, it's hard to see, even when it's explained in detail.  I know books are basically plotted the same way, but can't say I understand how to use this.  Do I just come up with an idea and follow the plot steps?

Monday, September 14, 2009

or Maybe Not

Today I don't feel like a writer at all.  I have three books finished, in various stages of rewrite and no confidence at all that any of them can be fixed, or will ever be any good.  I think maybe I'm a good writer, but not a good story teller.  That probably can't be fixed.


One of the things I'm doing is writing with a partner - like everything else, it has an upside and  a down side.  There's a lot of waiting for the othr person to get around to doing their part.  On the other hand, the story is definitely better for being created by more than one mind!  I'm not sure if I have it in me to do a story by myself.
Anyway, today was a partnership challenge.  We did NOT agree on where the story needed to got. I'm fighting to remove a character and my partner fighting to keep her.   It takes a really open mind to work together.  You have to be willing to give up sections you've put it place, ideas you had, to at least see it another idea can work better. 
In the end we worked it out, the solution was my partners idea, which puts the whole story back in play.  It means we're going to have to polich and re-send to the editor - more expense, but probably worth it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Finishing Up

Today I finished a next to final rewrite of Lucky Tuesday.  I sent it to two people because I think there might be something wrong with it.  I don't know what it is, maybe the main character spends too much time being grumpy... anyway, hopefully I'll get a couple of opinions and be able to figure it out.

I also finished the first draft of The Ghost of Old Man Watson.  It has a good ending.  Hopefully I can get a really good first draft next week.

And that was all I got done.  Up next is the follow up to the Lucky Dog Biscuits book. I need to plot that out next week too.  And when that one's done I'm going to try non-fiction I think.. take another Anastasia Suen class...

I have job interview at Beall's Monday.  I hope I get it.  We really need some more money to come in.  Writing may or may not ever pay off...  Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Manuscript Feedback

Well, today we got our manuscript back from Joyce Sweeney.  It included handwritten notes on the hard copy, plus almost two pages of suggestions.  In general, the comments were positive, and I was pretty thrilled. 
Biggest problem was POV - we said things we couldn't know, like how Emma felt, when the book was supposed to be from only Abby's point of view.  This is pretty hard.  We were aware of POV before we sent the manuscript, but we thought we'd only left one bad piece.  Wrong!  there were several places that need correcting. 
We also had an unneeded character and need to add some more delineation between Abby and Emma.  That means strengthening, and making consistent, the examples of their strengths and weaknesses. 
There needs to be a minor change at the end, and a pretty big rewrite in the beginning.  After this and after my critique group, I'm seeing that the first chapter is a big weakness of mine.  I'm doing to much telling of the backstory, not getting POV set early enough, etc...
So - aside from that, I worked on Lucky Tuesday today, finished a whole rewrite - changed chapter 8, where my biggest problem is trying to explain how Tuesday comes to deal with the problem of Aunt Lydia. It's better than it was, but I don't know if it will hold up in the long run - I'll take another look at it tomorrow.  Then I think I'll send it to Joyce!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bad news/Good news

Well, my great idea for a biography is apparently not so great after all. The world only wants more bio's of the same famous people (George Washington, Martin Luther King, Paul Revere) as always.  But I'm still going to try and work on mine, make it a picture book.  If I was a teacher, I would LOVE the book I had planned. Aaaaargh.  On the other hand, our manuscript is on it's way back and got fairly good reviews.  I understand there are many suggestions, but that it is fixable. So that's very good.  I got an email back re: an online critique group.  That could help me a lot, now it will be three weeks before my face-to-face group meets again. Mary Ann and I are going to move forward on the second Abby/Emma Harris book.  So things are still moving along. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Critique Group

Yesterday I went to my new critique group and let them critique the first chapter of Lucky Tuesday. I got very valuable feedback - basically, if the story's about Booger increase Booger's part in chapt one (it's not, I'm not) and if the story is about chapter is about bad luck, increase the amount of bad luck Tuesday has in Chapt one (it is, I will). There was some tell/not show comments, which kind of become irrelevant if I rewrite the chapter based on luck.
Now the really exciting part - I came out of the library and got two story ideas from NPR within 5 minutes of leaving. One is non-fiction and one is fiction. Since I have never done non-fiction before, and I totally don't miss this incredible opportunity, so I am trying to find a non-fiction expert to be my writing partner. I asked Joyce and she forwarded my info to another writer she knows. I am crossing my fingers. If you want a clue about the new project, just look at the picture on todays post!

Friday, September 4, 2009

In Praise of Failing

I just came from another blog, where someone had written a poetry book called 'In Praise of Falling', but I didn't read it that way, I read it as 'In Praise of Failing'. I think it makes an excellent title for a poetry book, perhaps I'll get to that someday.  In any case, I used to spend most of my time trying to avoid the 'humiliation' of failing.  What a waste.  Finally I figured out you can't get good at anything without failing, it's not so bad, it's just normal.  And so I write and write, hoping the next thing will be the good one, the great one, and knowing it's pretty much average. Still they say even a monkey could hit the right keys given enough tries.  Guess I'm the monkey in this metaphor... hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo


to update yesterday.  Sent the Looking for Lucky manuscript to Joyce Sweeney.  We are very curious to see what comes back.  Will she jus tell us to put a comma here, or take one out there? or will she say, this story has flaws here and here and you need to correct them before you send it out.  Who knows - I go back and forth on the story anyway.  Some days I hate it and somedays it think it's very good.  I thnk you just get sick of your work. 
Worked a little on my PB concept and read an Australian chapter book, which was funny because of the language... 'biscuits' = cookies, and going on holiday... there were lots more, but they escape me now. The book was called Being Bee by Catherine Bateson.  It was good... one of the adults had a mental illness which I hadn't seen in a book before.  I wonder if I should right about a child where the mother is depressed.  Wouldn't need much research for that!! haha..
Gotta Write.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Rockstar Element

Today, while doing a bunch of research on how to publish, I suddenly realized that it is not going to be good enough to be good.  Like the rest of the arts, musician, actress, (I don't know about art) a lot depends on who you know, luck, right place/right time.  For some reason I hadn't thought of that. I just thought if I was good I would make it. 
Dale says, the thing to do is get to be my best and then we'll worry about the who you know element.  I guess there's nothing else I can do. So be it.
I wrote about a chapter and a half on 'Ghost'.  Mary Ann and I worked on the end of 'Lucky'.  I'm going to send that to Joyce instead of 'Lucky Tuesday'.  I'll take 'Lucky Tuesday' to critique group.  I'm trying to get hooked up with an online critique group as well, since every two weeks is not going to be enough for me... at that rate it would take 3 months just to get through one chapter book.
I started looking at PB ideas, because there is so much more out there as far as support and also publishers.  I don't love PB's but, I do love to rhyme, so maybe I can make something work out with that.  I also need to get back to plotting 'GUN'. 
I got a book called Save the Cat today, that analyzes movie plots.  It was recommended by Anastasia Suen.  I keep learning...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I can't believe it's September

Time flies when you're having fun, and I am.  Today I read several children's books, since our internet connection was very iffy.   I got a response back from Joyce Sweeney.  She is willing to take a look at my chapter book manuscript.  So I will send it off as soon as I decide if I'm taking it to critique group on Saturday, or if I'm taking something else. 
I wrote two chapters of my next solo chapter book.  It's called 'The Ghost of Old Man Watson'.  I did write a brief plot for it, since 100% freewriting doesn't always work.  And I think that because I had plot, I had a much harder time getting started.  Maybe I shouldn't do the outline until I've gotten one or two chapters written. I can already see that it will need more rewriting than 'Lucky Tuesday'.  Anyway, Old Man Watson has a boy protagonist, so we'll see how well that works.  I feel more affinity with girls...
No response from Jill Corcoran, but I found out I should have written 'Query' in the subject line.  That wasn't in the submission instructions, but I found it in an old blog post of hers. So, who knows where it is, did it make it to her email or get directed to Spam?
Tomorrow I'm going to the library for a new load of books, and at 5PM Mary Ann and I are going to do a (hopefully) final rewrite of the last 4 chapters of Looking for Lucky or whatever we wind up calling it... Also need to write at least 3 more chapter of Ghost.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The big No-No

Today I did a very bad thing.... I submitted my latest chapter book, Lucky Tuesday to an agent - Jill Corcoran at the Herman Agency.  She takes email submissions and I just love this book, even though it is very new and has only been through two revisions.  I haven't even taken it to my critique group yet!  I am so bad. 
And still I think - 'this is the one'  she will love it, she will call me immediately and want to represent me.  Hope is Crazy.   Whoa... that would make a good title.  Gotta go write!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jacket Blurb and Synopsis

Thinking ahead about submiting, I looked at the requirements for submitting to Chronicle books, publisher of Ivy & Bean.  They request the usual query letter, synopsis and first three chapters.  I've never written a synopsis before, but I took a stab at it.  One paragraph for each of the nine chapters.  I will take the synopsis to the critique group next Saturday and see if it's 'right'.  Also wrote the 'elevator pitch', a very short summary that can be pitched in a few seconds if I find myself in the presence of anyone who cares... People says it's hard to do and it is.  I spent a couple of hours writing 93 words, and I think it's twice as long as it's supposed to be.  My book only has 7,000 words.  How do people do it when their book is 100,000 words?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day Three

Today I finished the first draft of the chapter book I started three days ago.  The name of the book is 'Lucky Tuesday'.  It's about a young girl named Tuesday who has some bad luck on the first day of school.  When her Aunt Lydia brings her a lucky stone, her life turns around, until the stone gets lost.  Tuesday works to try and regain her luck.  When she finds that Aunt Lydia and her lucky stone may not be quite what she thought they were... well, I hope that someday you can find out what happens when you see Lucky Tuesday on the bookshelves of your local bookstore!
Meanwhile, it is time to put a few days between myself and this story.  Then I'll take it to my critique group next Saturday... and then, on to the next one.  Write, write, write.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 2 of Writerizing

Today I put a piece of blue tape up on the wall in my 'office'.  It is my 'situation normal' emotional line for my main character.  Then I put up sticky notes for each scene, above or below each other showing the emotional roller coaster my MC (main character) was on.  Where it was not up and down enough, I added scenes to add interest.  This worked great for me!
Then I sat down and wrote 5 first draft chapters of my new and best so far chapter book.  Tomorrow I will finish the first draft.   Next week - rewrite!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plot and Structure

How did I spend my first day as a writer? studying the first 100 pages of the Plot and Structure book, trying to understand the LOCK concept - Lead, Objective, Confrontation, and Knockout...
Working my way through a class on Writing for Children, Reading 3 chapter books and analyzing them against various plot systems, working my own idea through various systems...
The most valuable idea I came across was in the Suite 101 class and had to do with plotting the MC (main characters) emotional state against that characters norm and seeing if the plot took her up and down in a manner that moved toward a good rise/fall of action and a knockout ending. I discovered that my 'new' idea, the one I haven't actually written on yet, did not rise and fall as I would have liked, so I get to move my scenes around or add/delete based on that before I write. Hmmm, that's probably a good idea!

I Am A Writer

"Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep going and never stop, to learn everything I can and make my living as a writer."

Thisis almost word-for-word from a book called Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I have been playing on the edges of writing for years and now my life demands that I jump in completely and either starve or swim.

My upcoming grandbaby, and the fact that my daughter is likely to remain settled far away in Boise, will require me to travel so much that I won't be able to hold down an office job.

I have now written enough to see that I can do it. I have some sort of residual 'gift' for it, no doubt from all the reading I've done over the years. Now what I need is craft.

So, I give myself two years. Two years of sponging off my husband (or less, God willing) and taking my writing seriously. To write and practice everyday. To work with my fantastic new critique group. To attend as many seminars and workshops as I can, and in the end to have my new, flexibly located career.

It starts now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MYM - Mellow Yellow Monday

This is a picture of Dale watching the dolphins play at our trip to Seaworld recently - I love yellow and blue - my living room walls are yellow and my furniture is blue... hmmmm, maybe I need to put out a picrue of my own living room one of these days.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TWW - glamour, accentuate, pitch


here’s the pitch

act one
small town
glamour girl
in the big city

act two
dreams bloom
then die
a tease of love
bubble of hope

act three
her decline
suicidal ending
zoom in
on dead eyes

roll credits

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday Aug. 3rd

Here is my picture for today... my father took it in the summer of 1959 (?) That's me in the purple tutu, and my once adorable little brother Mark (even then his legs were unnaturally white). We lived in Monona, Wisconsin, which is a suburb of Madison. My father loved to take slides and would put on family slide shows, complete with popcorn. Love that yellow baby pool. Not sure it was really meant for two!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Creatively Speaking & Anastasia Suen

So what happened to all the poetry and art projects you used to see here?

Unfortunately, the lady who was prompting the art projects disappeared, so Inch x Inch bit the dust. However, not before prompting me to get going on my writing projects...

My friend Mary Ann and I are working madly on a couple of chapter books for young readers based on the idea of 'gutsy girls'.

We have invented Emma and Abby Harris. Abby is in a wheelchair due to a bike accident a couple of years ago, however, it doesn't slow her down much. Abby is still the braver of the two. Abby is interested in cooking, and Emma would rather live on peanut butter sandwiches. Emma loves drama and plans on being a famous actress.

Mary Ann and I are refining our writing skills by taking an online class given by
Anastasia Suen. So far so good... wish us luck!

Kids Against Hunger

This morning I went to a Kids Against Hunger event and packaged meals with a bunch of teenagers from the New Apostolic Church. It was a last minute thing, and I didn't know what to expect, but it was fun. A team effort. Everybody has a job, either opening the bag, pouring in vegetables, vitamins, beans, soy or rice, then weighing and sealing the bag. In two hours some 150 or so people packaged more than 50,000 meals. The meals supposedly contain 6 servings (probably anywhere but America, where we seem to have completely lost track of the size of a serving) and the cost of the ingredients of the bag is about 14 cents. I know that two local curches picked up 3000 bags each while we were still there. Many others were going to the Harry Chapin Food Bank and some go overseas if needed for disaster relief programs.

Anyway, it was a much better use of two hours than I originally had planned. If you go, take a donation. I didn't realize they expected that, but if you have a little cash, it's certainly a good cause.

Monday, July 27, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish

For Mellow Yellow Monday, I offer this fish picture that I took at Seaworld on Saturday. Seaworld was my Valentine's present, which we finally were able to get around to this weekend. I also went to Aquatica, which I totally loved. I told Dale that my perfect vacation in Orlando would be going to a different water park every day. I'm pretty sure he hopes that I'm never in charge of our whole vacation!

Ziplining in Idaho

So, during my Idaho vacation I went ziplining outside of Horshoe Bend. Of course, this was purely research for the current book Mary Ann and I were writing (Zip!) for the 3rd-4th grade market - but it was still pretty fun. These guys were our 'guides'. I think their names were Mike and Kip. 100% safety conscious, fun guys.

There were two kinds of ziplining. One was from tower-in-a-tree to tower-in-a-tree. these runs were short and for me, not that much fun. But at the end, there were the long-distance pole-to-pole runs. This run (Wild Turkey?) was 1700 yards long. The landing area is a brown patch in the middle of the photo. You can barely see it.

Here I am in front of 'Double Trouble' where two zipliners could go at once. I understand that depending on weather you go up to 45 miles per hour. It was a lot of fun, but needed a chair lift so you could go back and do it again and again. 4 short tree runs and 2 long rides wasn't all that much for $75, at least not for me. You can spend all day at Disney for less....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer in Idaho

Just got back from a visit to my daughter in Boise, Idaho. Mostly hot days and cool nights, perfect walking weather. There were flowers everywhere - northerners going crazy with color during there short growing season. It was a great trip!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

TWW - kneel, transparent, gloom

You know the drill - make a poem using the 3 words from the Three Word Wednesday prompt... transparent was hard for me to fit in...


don’t kneel in the shadow
praying for sunshine

where there is darkness
there must also be light

gloom begets gloom,
get up, choose a direction,

any road will take you
somewhere else

don’t kneel at the window
peering through,

the way is transparent,
just move

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blue Ribbons

My friend Yvonne (the one with the 10 chihuahuas) has another unusual habit, she enters things in the county fairs around her area. During her last visit we came up with the idea of dressing several of her dogs in 'Harley' outfits so they could masquerade as a 'biker gang' (barker gang?) for a Halloween costume contest she enters. Well, Yvonne took the costumes and entered them in the Marin County fair and tada! they won a blue ribbon!
She also enter my 'alchemy' poem and it won a blue ribbon too! This was a Three Word Wednesday prompt - this is a fun prompt to try if you like to play with words. I have quite a collection of these fair ribbons now, and I'm planning to use them in a 'craft' soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Duck Walk

Today we were supposed to write in the style of another poet. I'm not very familiar with the style of other poets, but Billy Collins is my favorite poet. If you would like to hear him read one of his poems (and be blown away) try this link: Meanwhile, here is my poem of the day. Enjoy....

Duck Walk

as we strolled before sunrise,
chattering in three-quarter time,
a Mallard couple waltzed across our path,

we stood, silenced by our desire
to avoid trespassing on their moment,
when, behind us, the rising sun

cast it’s light over us, like some
enormous flashlight wielded
by God’s security guard, creating

cold shadows over the dancing ducks,
and the one I took for mister, lost
his footing, stumbled into miss.

Did you see the look he threw me
before he ran across the grass
to plop into the pond, leaving

his date suddenly alone,
of course she squawked about it,
but she followed his lead, taking

her time, tail-feathers flouncing
in her best “I’m not afraid of you” walk,
wading gently into the water,

paddling away from him, and he,
forced to follow instead of lead,
dipped his beak beneath the water

tipping ass-end-up, a fowl gesture
we soon forgot in the yellow wash
of dawn’s early light

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

inch by inch - Bloom

This is my entry for bloom - it was an accident - I took the picture below at the Naples Zoo on Saturday and was playing with it when I got (almost) this when I kaleidoscoped it. It looked like a whole circle of flowers! I just had to make a couple of prints and put them together to make a full circle - a mandala? Added stems and letters, voila!

Original image...

Monday, June 29, 2009

'What if ... "

Today's prompt was to write a 'What if...' poem, repeating the 'what if ' line as you begin each new thought...


what if this is not my real life

what if I am an embryo inside
a shell, consuming yolk and albumen,
growing eyes, ears, feathers,

what if I never realized it is my job
to break the shell,

what if the wall has gotten so thick
I can’t get out,

what if I find a tiny crack I can use
to shatter the shell and escape

what if I let myself out into the world
only to find I can’t fly

what if I open my wings
and discover I can

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

I would never have heard of Shadow Shot Sunday except that I've been watching Julie King post her photos for a while now. Then one day last week I looked up at the ceiling and saw something I'd never noticed before - a really cool shadow! so here it is. Enjoy, Kristy
PS: while exploring the Hey, Harriet site (apparently the inventor of Shadow Shot Sunday) - I found a link to the coolest, most bizarre shadow art ever - you won't believe it - take a minute to look here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Naples Zoo

Well, in all the time we've lived here, we've never been to the Naples Zoo. Since Dale can't golf this weekend, and we wanted to take some pictures with the new camera, we decided today was the day. Dale said his expectations were zero, so he wasn't disappointed. I was kind of disappointed, it's no fun to go to the zoo and not see the animals - some were behind so much fence you could't get a picture. It was hot and many were sleeping - so it was kind of expensive for what you got.. ($20 each). But...

I did catch these two guys in a very friendly, grooming moment - can't you just here the red one saying "a little more to the left, lower, lower!! Ah, that feels good!"

And then there were the twins... this was just before the wind changed, blowing the mister-water onto the bird on the right, who moved left until it was shoving the left bird practically off the perch... this resulted in a bird fight. They were still going at it when we walked on.

Friday, June 26, 2009


This is my baby-boy, Harley, he's a Sheltie. He loves to play frisbee. Every night at the same time he let's us know it is time to go out, and the longing in his eyes is more convincing than any words could be. I hate to let him down!
Then later at night (now) he brings a variety of toys over for a game of tug. He's really smart about his toys. If you tell him to get the monkey, he'll bring you the monkey, not the dolphin.
He likes fruit and carrots. If you have an apple, grapes, even raspberries, he wants you to share. It's pretty funny to watch him eat a grape. It's round and slippery and doesn't feel right, but he's got experience and knows it will be good on the inside, so he plays with it and finally bites.