Saturday, March 30, 2013

Six Word Saturday ~*~ Figured it out

Want to stay young ~*~ stay active 
Want to stay healthy ~*~ treat yourself 
Want to be happy ~*~ Do it 
Dogs are the greatest companions ever 
Kids are my life's greatest joy 
Being a Grandmother changes absolutely everything!







Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pondering with a Purpose - Bill

Welcome to Pondering with a Purpose -
 This is my weekly hop where I post a prompt and you get to write to it on your - come back here and add it to my linky and then we all get to go read what you wrote!
I started Pondering with a Purpose because -- simply put -- I am a writer - - that is what I do (I just can't help myself)! And although I love following all the hops, I wanted to see if I could bring out some creativity in not only myself, but some of my blogger friends as well.

The rules are really easy:


1. Grab the Pondering with a Purpose Badge (in my sidebar)
2. Look at the week's prompt
3. Post something on your blog that relates to the prompt - it can be a story, a poem, a picture -- anything you want it to be.
4. Come back here and add the URL from your post to the linky list below.
5. Go check out the other bloggers who have added their links to the list.
6. AND most of all.... Have fun!



Today's prompt is: Bill

This word popped into my head and I almost laughed out loud when I began to think about it and how many different meanings it has.
For my friend McGuffy Ann -  it is her husband!


Now honestly the first thing I thought about after I started really thinking about it was the bill on a duck or duck-billed platypus.  How can you not think this is the cutest animal ever?


And then of course there are those brightly colored bills on birds!


Then I realized how many bills I have laying on my desk in need of payment....seriously who came up with due bills and then decided we should call our currency 'bills'? Does anyone else see the irony in that?

And I know this is a stretch.... but what about a bill board?? That is just a large area to post advertisements... how can bill mean ad?

So I would love to read your comments or your linked up posts... or better yet....both!

Happy Pondering


Monday, March 25, 2013

Author Series - Epic Mom by Marianne Walsh and Julie Harrison


This week I have the extreme pleasure of talking to Marianne Walsh - co author of Epic Mom....
I'm not even sure who referred me to her (I think it was Betty!) and after waiting a while I got the book.  Now, I don't normally review a book prior to introducing the person but I have to say this..... The synopsis for Epic Mom is: 

Epic Mom is the preeminent book on flawed motherhood. Award-winning humorists Julie R. Harrison and Marianne Walsh offer an honest glimpse into life behind the minivan doors. In a series of anecdotes about the colossal blunders of parenting, this book celebrates those who choose laughter first. And liquor second. And third.

I really had no idea what to expect...but I could not put this book down once I picked it up! I found myself nodding my head, laughing out loud, wondering how I missed some of this important information and coming up with a list in my head of all the people this book needs to be shared with.

These authors take such an honest and humorous approach to motherhood, parenting, sex, alcohol.... (well pretty much everything!) and the truth of the matter is that everything they are writing is true!!

I cannot express enough how much you need to get this book if you are a mother, know a mother, want to be a mother, or just want to get a good laugh.

After reading the book I asked Marianne a few questions....as you can see by her answers she is humorous even in an interview!

Thanks Marianne!

How long have you been writing?

In high school, I wrote awesomely bad teen-angst poetry. It was quite possibly the worst stuff ever put to paper. In college, I was a MACHINE: papers on symbolism, feminism, alcoholism, realism, deism, etc. Isms are a lot of fun if you just give them a chance. After landing a job in insurance, I spent 10 years writing mission statements, press releases, D&O brochures, and super-cool memosGood times, good times. But now? I write about trying to steal my neighbor’s sprinkler or forgetting to pick up the really quiet kid in carpool. I’ve never stopped writing, but the topics have definitely changed over the years.

WHY do you write?

It keeps me from watching too much reality television.  
  
What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing?  Turning off the reality television shows.

What do you find to be the most rewarding part of writing?  I cannot believe all the fantastic people I have met through writing and the new experiences afforded to me.  As part of the 2013 Chicago cast of "Listen to Your Mother" (link to: http://www.listentoyourmothershow.com/chicago/show-information/), I will actually be getting on a stage this May 5th.  A stage!!  The key is going to be not to trip.  Or burp into the microphone.  Maybe I ought to have given this a little more thought....

Do you edit as you write?
I spell check, does that count?  I also read things to friends and family on occasion.  Hearing your writing spoken aloud is perhaps the most helpful way to edit your work.  You actually notice any repetitive words and awkward phrases.   

Do you ever get writer’s block?
Yes.  And this is where liquor helps.

If so, what do you do about it?
See above. 
  
Who are your favorite authors? Why? 
There are so many favorites!  Graham Greene, George Eliot, Toni Morison, both of the Bronte sisters, John Milton, and Ernest Hemingway to name a few.  I like writers who can keep my attention for longer than 45 seconds - a virtual miracle for someone with adult ADHD.      

What’s the one thing you’ve learned about yourself since you’ve been writing?
I never knew I was funny.  Everything I had written up until the last few years was either academic or business-related.  I am a total riot.  Who knew? 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

First, writers have to write.  A lot.  They don’t need to share every last word, but the only way to improve on one’s craft is to practice.  There are many phenomenal writers out there (far superior to me) who hold desperately to the notion that the universe will somehow discover their enormous talent.  It is the biggest mistake a writer can make.  Networking, talking to other writers, and submitting articles are the building blocks to publishing.  School newsletters, local newspapers, etc. - they all count!     
  
Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Brenda.  I apologize for getting my answers back to you at the 11th hour.  Did I mention the adult ADHD?  Those damn Girl Scout cookies also distracted me quite a bit this week.  I think they're running a cult over there at Girl Scout Headquarters, and luring everyone in via Thin Mints.   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Six Word Saturday

Going to enjoy a quiet weekend

I deserve it after crazy week

Perhaps Sunday should be  movie day

Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pondering with a Purpose - Watch

Welcome to Pondering with a Purpose -
 This is my weekly hop where I post a prompt and you get to write to it on your - come back here and add it to my linky and then we all get to go read what you wrote!
I started Pondering with a Purpose because -- simply put -- I am a writer - - that is what I do (I just can't help myself)! And although I love following all the hops, I wanted to see if I could bring out some creativity in not only myself, but some of my blogger friends as well.

The rules are really easy:


1. Grab the Pondering with a Purpose Badge (in my sidebar)
2. Look at the week's prompt
3. Post something on your blog that relates to the prompt - it can be a story, a poem, a picture -- anything you want it to be.
4. Come back here and add the URL from your post to the linky list below.
5. Go check out the other bloggers who have added their links to the list.
6. AND most of all.... Have fun!



Today's prompt is: Watch

I have to tell you this working with words with double meanings has become quite interesting to me.... the way different people think about a word tells a lot about a person!

So..when you read watch....what do you think about?

The first thing that pops into my mind is the engraved watch I have from my grandparents that I received for my college graduation... I no longer wear it...and am not even sure there is anyone around who could fix it... I also have a Mickey Mouse watch... one of the originals with manual movements that does not work either... it is more of a keepsake now and less of a functioning tool.  Do you still wear a watch? I use my phone.... (I think that is what most people do now adays!)

And of course there is people watching.... where you just sit and watch.... or watch television or a movie.... or how about when you watch your weight? In reality you cannot watch your weight but it is a common phrase.

I'd love to read your comment, or read your linked up post... or better yet Both!

Happy Pondering

Wordless Wednesday - Daffodils

How can something so pretty smell so bad???

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Coffee Chat - I Spy Green

I have switched it up to coffee this week in order to really get things going with coffee chat!  This is one of my favorites spots of the week..... 
Really easy.... Hop on over to my sister from another mother over at  Time out for Mom for her weekly coffee chat....this week's topic: 


Let's Play I Spy.   I Spy with my little eye....something that is GREEN.
Some say Spring is just around the corner, so off you go to see what you can find.

As long as this is an "I Spy".... I decided to do a pictoral post today.....

First... I cannot help but post a picture of my lawn.... so which shade do you prefer???

 
 and then there is the arrangement that has not begun to bloom where you see a LOT of green and then the arrangement where all you see if YELLOW

Thought I'd mix it up a bit with my newest addition to the yard... how long will this take to get full and bushy?

I was in the yard anyway and just had to snap this!!!
 AND my favorite green thing to spy every morning..... this is my bedroom wall!!
Hope you decide to grab a cup of coffee and chat along with us!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Author Series - T.L. Higley

I am not interviewing or having any guest post this week as I am trying to do that every other week...but rather than leave a huge hole on a Monday I have decided that I am going to repost old reviews of some of my favorite books....or talk about new books.  If you have a book that you would like me to feature...please let me know!

I am not sure how I ended up getting to a specific site that enabled me to purchase four of the "Seven Wonders Novels" by T. L Higley. But I did and I have to tell you this about the series:


The author writes about the seven wonders as if she had really been there... the first one I read was Shadow of Colossus and it tells an incredible story about a young woman who had been sold into slavery and how the period (227 B.C.) engulfed her... I was mesmerized from the first chapter.










The second one I read:  City of the Dead is all about the building of the pyramids and what life was like back then... of course there is a love story in the middle of it!
But more amazing than that is the way this author enables the reader to really understand what it took to build a pyramid as well as the religious significance that went along with it.





I have just finished Guardian of the Flame .... it is also extraordinary....


I highly recommend you check out this author!
 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patricks Day!




As a child I remember this 'holiday' with both trepidation and fear. One year I told my father he was not wearing green to which he replied his suit was a shade of green and he proceeded to pinch me ... hard. (I did mention my father was 6'4" and always seemed like a very large person!)

But more than that I had always heard that St. Patrick was responsible for driving all of the snakes out of Ireland and I was sure that they were all in my back yard!!! (Why this only occurred to me once a year is beyond me...especially since I had never seen a snake in my yard).

Alas.... this morning I decided it was time to put my fears to rest and let you all know the REAL reason St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Irish Catholics.... (and everyone else who wants to partake in the revelry).



St. Patrick and the First St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick's death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.    

Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched throughNew York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Six Word Saturday - It's About Time

Decided I deserved some special treats:
I mean....who doesn't love flowers?            



And was it only my Grandmother?

But Windmill cookies were always there.....




What's funny is I did not Remember they are really ginger cookies!!







 And shortbread cookies were an afterthought....



Looks like I really know how
To spoil a girl... hee hee


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pondering with a Purpose - Green


Welcome to Pondering with a Purpose -
 This is my weekly hop where I post a prompt and you get to write to it on your - come back here and add it to my linky and then we all get to go read what you wrote!
I started Pondering with a Purpose because -- simply put -- I am a writer - - that is what I do (I just can't help myself)! And although I love following all the hops, I wanted to see if I could bring out some creativity in not only myself, but some of my blogger friends as well.

The rules are really easy:


1. Grab the Pondering with a Purpose Badge (in my sidebar)
2. Look at the week's prompt
3. Post something on your blog that relates to the prompt - it can be a story, a poem, a picture -- anything you want it to be.
4. Come back here and add the URL from your post to the linky list below.
5. Go check out the other bloggers who have added their links to the list.
6. AND most of all.... Have fun!



Today's prompt is: Green


With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner I had the word 'green' pop into my head and then I realized this is also a word with multiple meanings....

Was the first thing you thought about when you read the word the color green? Well if so, which shade would that be...after all I have a lawn with at least five different shades of green in it...

But then I starting thinking about going green.... seriously? How did recycling and taking care of our environment turn into a fad?

Then of course there is that saying "Green with Envy" or the "Green Eyed Monster" --- but what I want to know is if you've ever seen someone you love actually turn green? You know...right before they are about to lose all the contents of their stomach? Or when they are on a boat and are sea sick?? I have.... and let me tell you green is NOT a good thing to be!

Or how about our constant striving for more green in our pockets?  I am sure you all realize that other countries do not have currency that is green.... in fact the US Dollar isn't even green anymore.......

So how about you? What do you think about when you say green?
I'd love for you to link up your post.... or read your comment...or better yet... both!

Happy Pondering.


WW- I've been busy!



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coffee Chat - what would you do?

got the hot tea in my new favorite mug and am joining my sis over at Time out for Mom for her weekly coffee chat....this week's topic:  Keep it, toss it, burn it, sell it
This week she is giving us a list to answer.... 

1.  old high school/alma mater tshirt
2.  love letter from old flame who broke your heart
3.  engagement ring -- from when you said "no"
4.  vinyl edition of what was "your song" - you can dowload from iTunes anyway

The only thing on this list I would even consider keeping would be my old high school/alma mater t-shirt... Actually I really wish I still had one from college...my favorite shirt was UCBS  (I went to UCSB)

Burn the love letters....who needs to see something that didn't work out???

I would have returned the engagement ring....so nothing to toss

And unfortunately I don't own a record player and could really use the extra cash.... sell the vinyl!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Old School Blog Hop

I have been tagged by my friend Susi over at Boca Frau for a Good Old School Blog Hop.... it is really quite simple...

Answer the questions and pass it on...


1. What were you doing 10 years ago?


Ten years ago I was trying to figure out what to do with an 11,12, and 13 year old who were always complaining about something. I worked 30 miles from home and in order to get home in time for dinner I had to make sure they got to school. My youngest two would get dropped off, but my oldest had to find his own way (seems like some things never change!)
2. What 5 things are on your to-do list?
Go see my new granddaughter
Work on the baby samplers
Clean the house
Figure out how to juggle two project simultaneously for work
Get a hold of my daughter in Germany!
3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
  1. Kettle Chips
  2. Vanilla Yogurt
  3. Trail Mix
  4. Pickles
  5. Pineapple
4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire:
This is really not such a hard question for me..... I would pay off everything I owe and move into a home closer to my kids. I would then spend as much time as possible with my grandchildren and spend more time working with the homeless and abused.
5. Name some places you have lived:
I have lived in:
  • Downey, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Carpinteria, CA
  • San Pedro, CA

6. Name some bad habits you have:
ME??? I don't have any bad habits! 
7. Name some jobs you have had:
  1. Typist
  2. Assistant for Real Estate Company
  3. Executive Assistant for Rehabilitation hospital
  4. Business Analyst
  5. Consultant/Project Manager
8. Name those you are tagging for #OSBlog:

Bad Juju by Dina Rae - a Book review

I had mentioned Dina Rae on my old blog and even posted some of her article on the New World Order....
Well... her latest book does not have anything to do with conspiracy theories, rather it concentrates on the world of Voodoo.  Here is what she has to say about the subject:


Does Haiti Have Demonic Roots or Just an Undeserved Bad Reputation?
Haiti and her people have been called Satanists, devil worshipers, demons, and other disparaging names since its independence.  The impoverished country’s history has unfortunately kept the politically incorrect reputation alive.  Why?  What could have happened over two hundred years ago that is still the subject of real life horror stories?
To begin with, Haiti has one of the most intriguing independence stories that I ever read about.  Yes, the U.S. had a bloody, gory revolution, but nothing as colorful as Haiti’s legendary pact with the devil.  It all started with Dutty Boukman, a Jamaican born houngan (Voodoo priest) in 1791.  Back then Haiti was called St. Domingue.  One fateful night in August, Boukman performed a ceremony that changed the course of history in Haiti forever.  He sacrificed a pig, drank its blood, and then all of the loas (spirits) supposedly descended from the Cosmos and possessed all who was in attendance.  Legend states a pact was made with the dark side to end slavery and free them from their oppressors.  Pat Robertson, a leading evangelist, went even further stating it was a pact made with Satan.  Boukman was decapitated a few months later by the French who ran the country.  By the way, Boukman means dirty or man of the book. 
The rest of the story has quite an apocalyptic ending.  Other uprisings occurred years later, but things got really weird once Napoleon got involved.  Fifty thousand French troops mysteriously died of yellow fever.  With France out of the way, Haiti was born in 1804.  Voodoo never went away, but disguised itself under the Catholic religion.

How to Make a Zombie: Voodoo Secrets Exposed By Dina Rae
There are several ways to make a zombie.  Drugs, disease, and hypnosis are the most believable, but dead corpses coming back to life are another possibility according to Voodoo religion.  While researching Voodoo for my third novel, Bad Juju, I read reams of articles and books including Wade Davis’s The Serpent and the Rainbow.  Davis wrote about his experience with Voodoo while in Haiti searching for an anesthesia for a pharmaceutical company.  The book later became a movie that exaggerated Davis’s retelling of Voodoo.  Davis was outspoken about it, feeling the movie discredited his observations.
Davis and many others point to the bokors or priests who practice black magic when it comes to zombification.  Bokors are trained in resurrecting the dead.  But how is that possible?
Skeptics believe the phenomenon can occur because the deceased was never really dead.  Supposedly, a poison consisting of toxic plants, bouga toad, millipedes, tarantulas, puffer fish, human remains, and/or tree frog skin puts the victim in a coma deep enough to fool a coroner.  Sometimes the victim is still conscious and witnesses his/her own funeral.  The bokor digs up the body and gives it Zombie’s Cucumber or datura, a wild flower native to Haiti.  A few chants later, some prayers to the loas, and maybe a ceremony with blood exchange, voila-the body wakes up disorientated, in a state of mass confusion.  The zombie is manipulated as the bokor’s private instrument for evil doings and slavery.
Wade Davis met a real zombie while in Haiti.  He is not the only one to confirm zombification as part of the Voodoo religion.

Do You Know Your Zombies?
With the so-called zombie apocalypse approaching, one must be educated about the different kinds of zombies before prepping for defense.  First, there is the most common and believable-the human that turns into a zombie because of mental collapse, disease, infection, and/or radiation.  They stagger around dazed and confused and cause panic to others.  Then there is the man-made monster kind or the kind Hollywood and horror authors like me tend to capitalize on.
Zombie interest continues to fascinate the world.  Jeffrey Dahmer drilled holes then poured acid down his victim’s heads in hopes of creating his own zombie.  His madness didn’t work.  Can man make his own zombie?  Are these monsters real?
According to Wade Davis, author of The Serpent of the Rainbow, zombies are real.  They are a product of the Voodoo religion.  He was originally hired by a pharmaceutical company to find out about the drugs Voduists used in their death rituals.  He believed that datura also known as zombie’s cucumber was a plant that could medically make one who ingested it appear to be dead for a certain length of time.  Sounds like the stuff Juliet used to fake her death.  Could Shakespeare known about the magical zombie-making plant?
Datura or sometimes Cimora, a close relative of Datura’s, eventually wears off but leaves the victim in a state of confusion, highly susceptible to the art of persuasion.  Presto!  A zombie slave is at the captor’s disposal.  Mr. Davis didn’t just find his datura flower, but witnessed zombie phenomena as he immersed himself within the Haitian culture.
Bad Juju is a unique blend of horror, romance, and fantasy.  Besides The Serpent and the Rainbow, I read volumes of other Voodoo material and watched hours of TV specials.  Some of the terms I learned can be found below:
Bokor: A wizard who practices black magic, a zombie maker.
Loa: deity/spirit
Ghede Family: A family of loas known as the spirits of the dead.  Three barons rule the family.  Baron Samedi is the loa of resurrection.  Baron Kriminel is the most feared loa associated with cannibalism and souls.  He’s honored on The Day of the Dead.  Baron LaCroix is the loa of the dead and sexuality.
Poppet: Voodoo doll
Ti-bon-ange: “little good angel”  The part of the soul that represents a person’s individuality.
Gros-bon-ange: “great good angel”  Part of the soul that is collected into a reservoir of the Cosmos or spirit world.
Baka: Voodoo spirits in animal form.
Loup Garou: werewolf
Djab: a devil
Dessounin: Death ritual that separates the gros-bon-ange from the body.
Bizango Society: Secret society of Vodouists.  They have Freemason-like qualities such as aprons, secret handshakes, oaths, hierarchy, and symbols.  Legend states they change into animals at will.  They are known for stealing black cats and boiling them to death for Voodoo services.  They drink each other’s blood from a human skull chalice.

Bad Juju is available on Amazon for 1.99

I read Bad Juju and I have to tell you that once again Dina manages to bring her characters to life and teach something at the same time. This book brings to light the human spirit... that there is good and evil and that at the end of the day there is always hope. It is a tremendous read and one that I enjoyed thoroughly. Dina Rae introduces Aspergers and the characterization of this disease is right on!!

I highly recommend getting a copy of this wonderful book and adding it to your collection.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Summary of the Haps!

I thought I would bring you all up to date on what's taking all my time.... even though a lot of you have not found me yet :)

First and foremost this blog issue has taken a toll on me... do I switch over to a professional blog? Wordpress? I don't know... I think the charm of me is that this site is home grown and it still feels that way... I just hate that I've lost the history of the old one :(

OK... enough of the pity party...... time for visual aids:

 First: my grandson Ryan! I try to see him as often as I can and he is only getting cuter by the day!

 Then... there is my new granddaughter Annabelle who is also such a cutie!
Did I happen to mention that both live over 100 miles away from me?

And of course we can NEVER forget the cutie that lives with me.... Trixy!!!





then there are the projects that have occupied my time:



        Michelle's
Ryan's



Annabelle's

 At some point I anticipate getting back to writing and finish Cracked Cocoon....but for now.... there is just not enough time in the day!