Dumbest Thing I’ve Done by Cher’ley

 

This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Fashion woman portrait

Over on the SDL Facebook wall, Dan Pearce asked: what was the most hilariously stupid thing you’ve ever done?

He got 24 favorite answers. Here are 3:

  1. I stopped at Hollister and inspected one of the sweaters on their mannequins. Only it wasn’t a mannequin. It was a guy waiting for his girlfriend to finish trying on clothes.
  2. When I was pregnant with our oldest I once waited for more than an hour for my husband to pick me up from work. I called him, madder than blazes that he hadn’t come to get me. After listening to my upset he very calmly informed me that I had the car.
  3. My mother, not wanting to lose my dad in the crowd at Disneyland, stuck her fingers down the back of my dad’s pants. She gave him several affectionate bare skin pats. Of course, my dad saw what she was doing, and walked behind her laughing. She was tagging behind the wrong man all the time. I remember this polite fellow did not mind in the least!

Dumbest Thing I’ve Done

I was displaying my art in a local festival when someone told me this fairly famous artist was also displaying his art at the festival. I went to school with the person and I wondered if he remembered me. I found his display and his father was filling in for him. I started a conversation.  “I went to school with your son.” He answered, “I don’t think so.” “Yes, it was from the 8th grade on.” He looked at me and without blinking an eye or cracking a smile he said, “My son is 16.” I looked a little harder at this old man and realized I was talking to the artist instead of his father. “Sorry, I thought you were someone else,” I whispered as I slunk off.

I blurt out things sometimes like, “Congratulations on your pregnancy!” Answer: “I’m not pregnant.” That’s a hard one to get out of.

Or when I fall down I don’t first check to see if I’m hurt, I first check to see if anyone saw me.

There are stories from several authors about the escapades of boys. Some of them are so funny you will nearly bust a gut laughing. Del wrote about being a 5-year-old who ran away from home with his best friend. You can only imagine the trouble he got in. Our own Mike Staton has a few stories in it, as well as 11 other authors.

Boys Will Be Boys   

 

What’s the funniest thing you’ve done? 

 

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE
Posted in 10% Happier, activities, Adolescence, books, Cher'ley Grogg, tweens, unique | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

New airts and pairts!

ccnancyjardine

This post is by Nancy Jardine. 

“You’re going to where?” Silence ensues…. Some people like holidaying in familiar places with no intentions of trying out anything new. Others prefer to seek out new destinations and try out new foods and experience unfamiliar customs.

Vienna 2 own photo Dscf0034

Vienna

My family tend to fall into the latter category. For four decades my husband travelled the world for business reasons and my daughters and I joined him at some of the locations during our school vacations (them being pupils; me a teacher). Other family holidays were to locations just because none of us had ever been there.

As my daughters became adults a friendly family rivalry evolved by the time they were choosing their own holiday destinations. The high point was when both daughters decided to experience more of what the world had to offer during a ‘gap’ year after they finished their university degrees.

D 1: “Dad, have you ever been to Ushuaia?” Knowing quite well he hadn’t D 1 awaited some cheeky quip.

Dad: “Ha! Nope, but I’ll see if I can wangle a trip to Tierra Del Fuego before you get there. At least I know where it is!”

South America DSC00191

South America- 

So off went D1 on her world trip. Her first landing point out of the UK was Rio De Janeiro after which she spent a few months investigating pretty well the whole of South America. Then it was off to New Zealand and navigating the globe in a westerly direction for the rest of that ‘year out’ before the world of work beckoned. During it she went to a good number of places Dad had never been to. Many drool moments from Dad.

That same year D2 decided to spend time on the northern North American continent. Dad had been to many US states, and some places in Canada but…

Yukon

Yukon territory

D2: “Dad, I’ve got it all planned! Have you ever been to Alaska?”  Again, knowing full well he had not been to that part of the US. There were some lovely grunts in the background and some evil leers behind her back.

Dad: “No, I haven’t but I have been to Newfoundland.”

D2: “Well, I’ll be spending 5 months working in Vancouver, Canada, then I’m moving north to the Yukon for a while and I’ll be sure to pop across into Alaska. You’ve not been there?” Massive teasing going on now. “After that I’m going to head east in a VW Camper Van to Hudson Bay, Nova Scotia, and fly home from Toronto.”  Dad had been to only a few of the  places on her trip. D2’s road trip right across Canada had plenty of diversions to include all provinces/territories. Excessive drool moments from Dad even though he was journeying to new locations like India and Indonesia that year.

Me? I was teaching 11-12 year olds by day and living vicariously via scary emails at night as I plotted everyone else’s locations on a world map and prayed that they survived sky diving, and walks across glaciers, and visits to volcanoes and mudflats and …swamps full of alligators and crocodiles and big grizzly bear encounters. I did, however, get some lovely photos of partially labelled locations to whet my appetite. 

The years went by, the destinations varied and the friendly family ‘one-up-manship’ continued. But change is inevitable…or is it?

A few months ago my husband celebrated his 70th birthday but the strangest thing is that he now doesn’t want to fly anywhere. When the subject of a special birthday vacation came up he totally surprised me by declaring he wanted to experience a cruise ship holiday. This type of event would have been anathema to him decades ago but hey! we’re both a lot older. Warming up to the idea of a cruise I thought of the lovely possibilities. A cruise on the River Nile was something I yearned for years ago, or one on the Rhine, or maybe to Barbados, or the far east… Warm places, exotic food, blue skies and red gold sunsets – Exciting!

Hubby: “I’ve found the perfect cruise.”

Me: “Fabulous! Where does it go?”

Hubby: “I’ve chosen one which leaves from Rosyth.” (near Edinburgh, Scotland)

Well, that took flights right out of the itinerary. To embark the ship all we need to do is take a coach trip of about three hours to Edinburgh to reach the cruise liner.

Me: “Okay! So where are we cruising to?”

Hubby: (huge smile on his face) “Greenland!”

Tasilaq Greenland summer sunset

Tasiilaq Greenland – Wikimedia Commons

Nobody in the family has ever been to Greenland.

The above photo is from Wikimedia because I don’t yet have any photos. It is labelled as “Night shot of Tasiilaq, eastern Greenland in the summer.” Note that it’s still a wee bitty icy. I confess to being somewhat surprised by his declaration but once over the initial ‘cold’ shock I warmed to the idea. A flight we’d taken this time last year from London to Las Vegas flew over Greenland and northern Canada and the sights below my cabin window were breathtaking. (I blogged about that trip last year, one of the super highlights being a short meet-up with fellow Wranglers blogger Mike Staton! I can hardly believe it was almost a year since that happened.)

We’re also visiting three locations in  Iceland – new to hubby and me but not to D1.

And then we’ll be stopping at two places in Norway.  We’ve all been to Stavanger and Bergen,  but Olden and Alesund will be new to me and I know I’ll love them. (D2’s visited them during her time on the Tall Ships sailing competitions and even went further north to Trondheim but Hubby and I have decided to conveniently forget about that! 😉 )

I won’t be taking copious amounts of sun dresses for the trip but I will be packing my thick ski jacket.

If you’ve read any of my contemporary mysteries you’ll already know that I’ve written in lots of destinations that I’ve visited with hubby – locations in the US, European cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Heidelberg, Barcelona and then there’s the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Where do you think I might be writing about later this autumn? That’s if my trip proves to be inspirational! (Look forward to me sharing lots of photos on another blog post, even though I’m a lousy photographer.)

We leave in three days so I’d best start packing the evening wear for the fine dining and my winter woollies for exploring the destinations! I’m not sure about hubby yet, but I’m now very excited about this new type of holiday to virgin ‘airts and pairts’.

3 mysteries new TENancy Jardine writes contemporary mysteries in fabulous worldwide locations. Get a taster of new horizons as you solve the mysteries.

 

She also writes Romano/ British historical fiction and time travel adventures, set in the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D.

CFS words

The_Taexali_Game_Cover_for_Kindle

She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Federation of Writers Scotland. She’s published by Crooked Cat Books and has delved into self publishing.

You can find her at these places:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  Website: www.nancyjardineauthor.com/   Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

email: nan_jar@btinternet.com  Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

 

Posted in activities, competition, Cruise holidays, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, unique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Will You, Shall You, Will You, Shall You Save a Bear?*

 

 

 

 


Posted by M. K. Waller

Giant HEB grocery cart @ the Texas Book Festival, October 2014

One of my Sisters in Crime invited me yesterday–online–to help staff the Heart of Texas’ chapter’s booth at the Texas Book Festival in November. The online invitation invited me to schedule the event on my online calendar. And how glad I am that I did, because in so doing I discovered that my WWW post is due today.

As you might have guessed. I rarely look at my calendar. I rarely remember I have one. It comes to mind when my husband remarks he’s putting something on his calendar. That’s the way we operate–he remembers everything, so uses a calendar; I don’t, so I don’t.

Anyway, my (perpetual) pledge to write all posts in advance of need went kablooie. But it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d looked at the calendar every day. I have been too distracted to write.

“shelf with stuff” by Lynn Kelley Author licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I’ve discovered Candy Crush.

For months, perhaps years, I’ve wondered about Candy Crush. I’ve seen ads for it on Facebook, and FB friends have invited me to play. I’ve even seen ads on television. But with characteristic self-discipline, I restrained myself.

“Candy Crush is a time waster, the work of the devil,” I said, “and I shall not partake.”

To reinforce my resolve, I added, “I will not partake.” One gem I retain from grammar class is the proper use of shall and will:

Shall is used to denote simple futurity: I shall write my post for Writing Wranglers and Warriors early so I don’t have to stay up half the night wondering what to say and the other half saying it. (i.e., I’m gonna get this over with early.)

Will, on the other hand, denotes both futurity and determination: I will write my post for Writing Wranglers and Warriors early so I don’t have to stay up half the night wondering what to say and the other half saying it. (It’s gotta happen, so it’s gonna happen, so help me Hannah.)

Some people claim  the shall/will rule is archaic and unnecessary. It isn’t generally observed now, especially in the United States. But I learned it, and I remember it, and I follow it.

Except for this time. If I’d said, “I will write my post early,” it would have been all tucked away in the queue several days ago, waiting for automatic posting at 12:01 a.m. (four minutes ago).

But again I lie: It wouldn’t have been ready. Because curiosity got the better of me. I took the click bait, added it to my Facebook page, and got hooked. I am a sucker for games in which three pastel or neon-hued thingies smash together and disappear in a burst of color.

With every burst of color, my brain releases a burst of dopamine. Dopamine is better than candy.

In my haste to play, I skipped the rules, so I can offer only a fuzzy description of the past week’s activities:

Bears. I’ve been saving bears, uncovering bears, and getting bears in little bubbles to float from the bottom of a container of liquid to a point above a string of tiny pink and blue candies that look like mints.

Candy Crush box. © MKWaller

Jellies. I’ve been dissolving jellies. They look like Chiclets individually encased in little plastic sleeves. For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be smashing and gathered monochrome threesomes randomly. That’s not the most efficient way to dissolve jellies.

Ingredients. I’ve been gathering ingredients. I don’t know what recipe they’re using, but cherries and acorns are the only ingredients available for gathering.

There are a lot of three-smash games online. Most require no thought. That’s why I play them. The hand moves, the mind drifts. If you lose, you lose, and then you begin again.

Candy Crush, on the other hand, is sneaky. I’ve been stuck on the same level for hours at a time. As soon as I learned how to clear all the jellies, CC stuck a mountain of divinity on the board and later added chocolate. When I reached a certain level, squares of chocolate already cleared started to reappear, just in time to plop down onto a candy I was targeting. Keeping chocolates from retaking the board requires speed and skill. I have the skill, but I can’t muster enough speed to use it.

To make things interesting–and to keep players playing–there are ways to smash more than three candies at a time. Smash four or five at once and the board goes crazy, zapping candies all over the place and piling up points. But I’ve noticed that the higher I go, the fewer zaps I get. Sneaky.

Bear in bubble (saved) © MKWaller

The game has an attitude, too, a snarky one. Some levels mark a loss by sliding out a sign saying, You’re so close, only three more bears to uncover. Sometimes it’s manipulative and plays on guilt: You didn’t save all the bears. Then it says you can buy more plays. No way. I click Give up. Then another sign appears to say, You failed. And again I click Give up. That transaction strikes me as rude. I’m not paying anyone who says, “You failed.”

Candy Crush has another tactic designed to rake in cash: Each day when you start the game, it lets you retry and retry and retry to pass a level. If you pass, you move up to the next. But if you fail, the game gets stingy. You click Retry, and here comes a little box telling you to either ask friends to give you more plays or buy them from the company.

I’ve already said what I think about paying for dopamine.

And I’m not about to tell friends I’m wasting my time on a mindless computer game. They can see that I’m playing–I’ve been ranked on the leader board among former students and former colleagues and other people who (maybe) thought I knew better.

Then, when you close that box, up pops a little clock that counts down the minutes until you get another life–in other words, until you can resume play. The first time, you’re paused for only four minutes, or eight, but soon you find yourself stalled for a good thirty minutes.

Ball-and-stick model of the dopamine molecule is licensed by Jynto under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

It’s like they’re withholding my dopamine until I pay the ransom.

If Candy Crush played nicely with others, I would be ashamed to admit this, but it doesn’t, so I’m not–I have found a way to reduce my time in limbo without touching my pocketbook. After playing Candy Crush Saga for several days, I discovered Candy Crush Soda Saga. I added it to my FB page and opened it and played it, and got all kinds of dopamine . . . and when it told me to pay up or get out, I reopened Candy Crush Saga, whose clock had by that time run down, and I played that until I failed too many times, and then I went back to Candy Crush Soda Saga and …

The system isn’t perfect. Because wait times vary, I can’t play continuously. To take the edge off my dopamine deficit, I find other things to do in the interim: work the crossword puzzle, eat organic toaster pastries, think about working on a short story I started fifteen months ago, writing a blog post…

It’s amazing how much you can get done in those little bits of time if you use them wisely. I’ve written this entire post while waiting for alternating Candy Crush games to finish their countdowns.

And I haven’t lost any more sleep than I normally do composing the traditional way. Plus,  my brain is simply awash in dopamine.

And between finishing the preceding paragraph and beginning this one, I saved one bear (from drowning, I guess), cleared all the jellies off a board, amassed 240,600 points, declined to share news of my achievements on Facebook, and received an offer to play again in 15 minutes.

And it’s not even 2:30 a.m. yet.

Who says Candy Crush is a time waster?

 *****

*****

*****

I’m a retired librarian living in Austin, Texas, and amusing myself by writing fiction and herding cats. My stories have been published in Mysterical-E and in Austin Mystery Writers’ crime fiction anthology, Murder on Wheels. My latest publication is “I’ll be a Sunbeam” in DAY OF THE DARK: Stories of Eclipse, edited by Kaye George and published by Wildside Press on July 21, 2017, in celebration of the total solar eclipse that will be visible from parts of the United States on August 21.

Posted in unique | 19 Comments

Those spin-the-bottle days…

Mike Staton

I’m Mike Staton and I wrote this post.

How did I miss out on all this teenage hijinks?

Oh yea, I was shy. And way too much moving between five years old and sixteen years old. Two states, Ohio and California. Six times total.

Sure looks like kids were having fun back in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, though.

Spin-the-bottle games, makeout sessions on couches and in the backseat of cars, sock hops, county fair kissing booths, and something called the Temptation Game, which looks like an excuse for making out.

Teenage life

If you look at old Life Magazine stories, you learn the modern teenager roared into existence about 1920 — emerging from a Model T womb.

I perused Google and Pinterest looking for old teenage photos of boys and girls doing what they loved to do back then – and today. Thought you’d enjoy having your memories nudged back into consciousness.

I do recall a game of spin-the-bottle. The year was 1961 or thereabouts. One of the girls who lived across the street, Betty Barnes, took me into her house one day. Her 13-year-old sister Sandy was playing the kissing game with other young teens. I’m not sure if the teen couples kissed in a closet or smooched sitting on the floor. My guess? Sitting on the floor, since that garners more giggles from the others.

I figured I’d be playing spin-the-bottle in a few years, but it didn’t happen. We moved from Rialto to Corona, leaving behind the nucleus of friends who would have made up a spin-the-bottle game. Thinking back, one in particular would probably have been my first going-steady girlfriend – Laura Wagner, who lived two houses down from my house on St. Elmo Drive.

Spin Botttle

A rite of passage… playing Spin the Bottle, or so we’re told.

During the elementary-school years, Laura and I were inseparable friends. When her mother told eight-year-old Laura that girls her age couldn’t spend the night with nine-year-old boys, she couldn’t keep back the tears. Laura was a tomboy. We played catch, wrestled, rode our bikes together and swam in each other’s pools. As we wrestled one time, Laura started singing a mushy love song and kissed me. I acted like she gave me cooties. Her family moved away to Anaheim. We soon followed – to Norco.

Had we been living close together in our teenage years, would our friendship have bloomed into a romance? Who knows? We did like each other. I saw Laura one more time before we moved back to Ohio.

Teenage makeout party

Gosh… I must have gone to a dozen makeout parties when I was a teenager. NOT! Poor me… I missed out on lip-numbing experience.

We visited the Wagner family in their home in Anaheim in early October 1965. I was a little over a month from turning 14 and in the eighth grade. Laura was in the seventh grade. She wasn’t home, so I bummed around with her brother Mark, also in the eighth grade. When she did make an appearance, Laura and a friend appeared in tennis dresses and were soon back out the front door. I didn’t see her again. I do recall thinking Laura no longer looked like that tomboy runt I wrestled with in my side yard. She’d bloomed into a beautiful young girl who fit flawlessly into that tennis dress. I will admit… I was taken aback when she hardly acknowledged me. She did ask me if I liked tennis. I backhanded a crappy answer to her, told her I wasn’t interested in sissy sport. Not surprising, she didn’t ask me to go to the tennis court with her and her friend. I often made tactical mistakes when talking to girls. Want to hear some irony? Later when I became an adult, I became a tennis aficionado.

Car makeout

I did make out a time or two in a car. One memory springs to life… a girl named Phyllis who was quite adventurous.

Cynthia lived a block from me in our neighborhood tract in Corona/Norco. At the bus stop, she’d sit beside me on a retaining wall and shoot the breeze. That was in sixth grade in 1964 shortly after our families moved into the new housing development. In the seventh grade, she was the first girl I danced with at my first sock hop at Norco Junior High. We were coasting along quite nicely toward some hand-holding and a kiss or two until I decided to act like Mr. Cool. Remember my earlier comment about tactical mistakes?

One day the mist was so heavy the school bus couldn’t pick us up until around ten after the sun had burned away the fog. When I reached the bus stop, Cynthia ran up to me like she meant to give me a hug. I stupidly pushed her away. She shot back an angry retort.

Sock hop

I went to my first sock hop in 1964 in 7th grade. Cynthia was my first slow-dance girl. She lived a street away.

I was trying to show the other guys at the bus stop I wasn’t a henpecked guy. Our friendship was never quite the same. In eighth grade, Cynthia went steady with someone else, holding hands and sneaking kisses. Then just before we moved back to Ohio, Cynthia’s family moved to Las Vegas.

At that first sock hop, I slow-danced with another girl, an amply endowed seventh grader who looked a sophomore in high school. When I danced with Cynthia, we didn’t snuggle-dance. Tonya would have none of that keep-at-arms-length Victorian balderdash. She pressed me against her and we truly danced cheek to cheek. In one class, she sat in the back row and I sat one row in front of her. One time I turned and found her adjusting a nylon. With her dress pulled up to her thighs, Tonya was tossing coy smiles my way. Had my family stayed in the Corona/Norco neighborhood and not moved across the country, maybe Tonya would have been my first teenage romance.

Mike Circa 1964

Yep, that’s Mike during the sock hop era, playing my first guitar. Yep, Mike at 13, cool California Mike.

Turning shy and awkward in Ohio, I gave up playing sports and retreated into science fiction and fantasy novels. I made no effort to date until college and later during my twenties at my first newspaper job. For folks who stayed in one town through elementary school, junior high and high school, you’re fortunate. No moving incessantly to new schools. No struggling to make new friends.

# # #

I’m an author with three published fantasy novels – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The books make up a trilogy titled Larenia’s Shadow. A fourth novel, this one a historical romance set during the Civil War, is scheduled for publication in October. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased via the website of my publisher, Wings ePress, as well as the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Posted in unique | 14 Comments

Signs

Cabin is my Happy Place signThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

I spent the weekend at our cabin. Inside the little wooden abode are many signs, these days called ‘wall art,’ as I understand. “Home Sweet Cabin” and “Cabin Livin’ is the Life I Love” are two such placards hanging on walls inside our woodland dwelling. These signs depict the feelings my husband Greg and I have about our little forest hideaway – in fact, “Cabin Livin’ is the Life I Love” is wall art I purchased for Greg as a Christmas gift a few years ago. Shaped like a ski, it also reflects my husband’s enjoyment of the winter activities of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the only two modes of transport into our cabin during the winter months.

Cabin Living sign

Wall art is also part of home décor at our house in town. Many of these sayings are about pets, such as “The Road to My Heart is Paved in Pawprints” and “My Kids Have Paws.” My latest acquisition states “I Work Hard So My Dog Can Have a Better Life.”

Signs such as these I’ve noted reflect my thoughts and values.

Last year I purchased a piece of wall art at a craft show that simply says “FAITH.” The “T” is shaped like a cross and the shape is outlined in green. The primary color of the inside of both my house and my cabin is green, therefore, that little bit of color fits at either place. So does the saying. Greg and I share a deep faith in God, a faith that has often been tested. I saw this piece of art at the show and knew it was meant for us, whether stationed on a wall at the cabin or at our main house. For now, it resides at the cabin.

Faith sign

Signs are everywhere. Stop signs. Yield signs. Garage sale signs. House for sale signs. These are physical “see with your eyes” signs. Then, there are the “gut signs,” whispers in one’s heart and soul and the premonitions we are given if only we listen, feel, and pay attention. My favorite TV character is LeRoy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS – often mentioned on the show is “Gibbs’ gut,” the feeling he has regarding a case or a suspect; he listens to his gut, his team listens to his gut, and, of course by television magic, Gibbs’ gut is usually right. And, when the team, or Gibbs himself, ignores the gut feeling, bad things happen. Even though it’s a TV show, I find a good lesson from Gibbs’ character: be in-tune, listen to that whisper, that still small voice, that gut, but don’t be rash, be thought-filled, pondering, exploring, investigating, and you will find the answer.

To me, that’s also where faith comes in. We can’t see the future, we can’t know the outcome, we simply step out in faith after we’ve pondered and explored. I’ve been rash and rushed into things during times past and been regretful of the outcome. But, when I’ve contemplated, meditated, prayed, and sought guidance, usually it’s been time well-spent and produced a better result.

WREN  MagThis month two positives are taking place. I’m serving as guest editor for WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric News) while the primary editor takes a several-week leave of absence. I never expected this opportunity to come my way. I’ve persisted in writing for this publication nearly five years and I’ve explored many other writing opportunities, some to good results, some to rejections. Several other opportunities I had fizzled due to project ending (i.e., Vietnam veterans) or publication folding (i.e., Our Town Casper magazine). The income from both was very helpful, so when they went away, I went back to queries and full article submissions with little positive results. Then, this new opportunity, which could turn into a permanent part-time position as another WREN staffer is leaving in two weeks. My gut tells me temporary and/or permanent provides an excellent opportunity and the pondering, discussing, and prayer has led me to this juncture.

Chicken Soup book_Dog Really Did That_2017The second positive is that Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Really Did That? released this week, featuring my story “Jazmine’s Journey.” This is my seventh short story in a Chicken Soup book, and later this month and into next, I have events scheduled. I’m also hopeful to be on a Chicken Soup podcast this fall. Being part of this “family” is a true blessing and it takes pondering and persistence not only to start, but also to continue, submitting.

Signs – they are all around. What signs do you watch for and listen to? What pieces of wall art or other types of art surrounds you that serve as sources of inspiration or reflections of your values? Do you listen to your gut?

 

Gayle_CHS booktable34Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning Wyoming author and freelance writer. Her inspirational pet books for children and adults teach valuable life lessons, such as courage, perseverance, and friendship. She is a contributing writer to magazines and newspapers, including pet stories in the Colorado-based Prairie Times. Her short story about a rescue dog, titled Jasmine’s Journey, appears in the August Chicken Soup for the Soul release called The Dog Really Did That? This will be her seventh contribution to the Chicken Soup series. Learn more about Gayle and her work at www.gaylemirwin.com.

Posted in Dreams, faith, Goals, ideas, intuition, unique | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Time is on My Side, Yes it Is by Cher’ley

This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Q: What did the second hand say to the hour hand as it passed by?
A:  See you again in a minute.

Q: What do you call a story that one clock tells to another?
A: Second-hand information.

Time is on My Side, Yes it Is:

Time is on my side, yes it is.
Time is on my side, yes it is.
Now you all were saying that you want to be free
But you’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would baby),…

Time is on my side. Or is it? Is time on my side or your side, while on the truck, it seems that I am constantly fighting against time. It’s time to drive (11 hours), then it’s time to sleep (5-8 hours), then it’s time to eat (2 hours).  That’s 21 hours, so I have 3 hours to shower, clean the truck, relax, exercise, dance, or create.  Time is not on my side.

Related imageWhen I’m at home I have a little more time to do what I want, but that is usually going to my various classes or clubs, and swimming. I am still sorting out my collections or hoardings that we talked about in a previous blog. Also, I have family and friends there that I really must visit with before heading back to work.

 

My shortest book, Four Moons and Fair Maidens still took a lot of timeFour Moons and Fair Maidens to get the rhythm just right. Westerns more than other books have a rhythm of their own, and it is historical so that means a lot of research.  All the facts have to be exact because if they are not someone will notice.

Research, the fun and time-consuming part of the book. Time is on my Side, yes it is—right!                      Four Moons and Fair Ladies

***How is your time?*** And speaking of time, 2 anthologies that are listed below are getting ready to go out of print so if you’d like to have a copy now is the time to get them. Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico–Pawprints on my Heart.  

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE
Posted in research, researching books, Rolling Stones, Time, Time management, unique | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

The Fair

IMG_1659aby Neva Bodin

Last week I had the privilege of staying with my youngest daughter and her family while the county fair sapped much strength from all of us. The two grandchildren showed 3 pigs, 3 goats and 3 sheep. As usual, they came away with purple, blue, and another color or two on ribbons. Next week they go to state fair with goats and sheep.

We sat 3 ½ hours at a pig show one evening, and the same at the goat and sheep shows which ran concurrently one morning. They were sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, and of course we were proud at the ribbons they won: grand champion showmanship, grand champion breeding ewe, grand champion in archery, and more.

It was sad when some of the younger kids had animals that didn’t cooperate and stand right, or ran away from them in front of the judge. The judge was very understanding and had something positive to say about every participant. The peewee show was of course cute and brought smiles to everyone’s face—very small kids led very big animals out to show, usually with help of the regular owner. It’s a neat thing, and gives future 4-H members a taste of the ring.

We were very proud of the kids for their diligence over many months of caring for and grooming and exercising these animals to get them ready. They have to keep track of expenses, birth records, weight, growth, nutrition etc. They get up early each morning to feed and water and exercise, no sleeping in during the summer. And they sell the market animals at the end, earning money for college and other dreams.

Very generous people buy these animals for big bucks to help these kids. Yet, letting go is sometimes heart-wrenching for both the animals and kids. Please share these memories of the fair with me.

 

DSCN4678

Being judged. They have to answer questions about the animal or the industry. Our granddaughter showed three sheep, getting grand champion breeding ewe for one.

DSCN4671

Brother and sister competed against each other sometimes.

DSCN4620

My grandson guides his pig for the judge.

DSCN4662

Walking away with a blue ribbon. The goat is relieved it’s over.

DSCN4640

In the show ring with her pig. By the end of 3 hours, all the pigs are pretty crabby! They want their pen. And they are quite verbal at times.

DSCN4591

My Granddaughter looks great in her FFA (Future Farmers of America) uniform. This is her first year in that and she is placing high and winning awards in cattle judging and other projects. Here she’s ready for the pig show.

DSCN4713

The air in our state is quite smoky from forest fires, making for beautiful sunsets.

 

Posted in unique | 12 Comments

The Power of Poetry

Post (c) Doris McCraw

Doris

What is it about poetry that touches the soul? What makes certain combinations of words haunting, happy or beautiful? This poem by Helen (Hunt) Jackson may help us understand the power of words.

Glimpses

As when on some great mountain-peak we stand,

In breathless awe beneath its dome of sky,

Whose multiplied horizons seem to lie

Beyond the bounds of earthly sea and land,

We find the circles space to vast, too grand,

And soothe our thoughts with restful memory

Of sudden sunlit glimpses we passed by

Too quickly, in our feverish demand

To reach the height,–

So darling, when the brink

Of highest heaven we reach at last, I think

Even that great gladness will grow yet more glad,

As we, with eyes that are no longer sad,

Look back, while Life’s horizons slowly sink,

To some swift moments which on earth we had.

From the book “Poems” by Helen Jackson

Little Brown and Company 1908

First appearance in publication September 19, 1872, New York Independent

One thing I love about the poetry of Helen Hunt Jackson is the musicality it has when read aloud. Not read as one usually reads poetry, with the breaks and breaths at the end of the line, but read as prose. If you read this poem aloud, reading through the complete thought, its true beauty comes through. Try reading it through more than once. Try different combinations of breathes and thought combining. The beauty of this poem; each time you read it something different blossoms into being. I believe that true poetry never has the same story, same meaning twice. Each it will touch a different chord.

As you read this or any poem, keep an open mind and heart. Helen was favorably compared to many of the poets of her time. For some she was actually considered the best; male or female. It is interesting that Helen was so popular during her lifetime. With her poetry, essays, and novels she able to make a living as a writer. Emily Dickinson, a childhood friend who lived down the street from Helen in Amherst, did not become popular until her death. Now the tables have turned, Emily is now the more well know of the two. Each had their own style, and each wrote beautiful pieces of work.

The next time you are looking for something do to, search online for some of Helen’s poetry, or better yet, find a book of her poems, and start reading. To me the gift of the poet, and for me that is Helen, is the joy of finding something new every time I read their work. Give poetry, especially Helen’s, a try.  For me, poetry, especially Helen’s will never grow old.

 

Doris Gardner-McCraw –

also writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here
Posted in Helen Hunt Jackson, poems, poetry, poets, unique, women poets, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Once in Love with Amy

This post is by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

 

As most of you know, I have a visual impairment. On my PC and tablet, I use software that reads everything to me and repeats what I type. With such software, there is a variety of text to speech voices you can either purchase or download for free. Some sound like robots, while others have a lot of human qualities.

I occasionally like to buy new voices. Recently, I sampled one with a British accent. She said, “Hello, I’m Amy. Shall we read something fun together?” I immediately purchased her, and we’ve been having fun reading and writing ever since.

This reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago and posted here. It appears in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Julie was the voice I used when I wrote it. Here’s the poem, and you can click below to hear Amy read it. I think Amy’s a keeper, don’t you?

 

 

Dear Julie

 

I wonder what you think, as you read me my e-mail,

the Web pages I browse, other documents.

Is there something you’d rather not read to me,

something I don’t want read that interests you?

When you repeat what I type,

how do the words strike you?

When I shut down, are you relieved or disappointed?

When I boot up, do you sigh with resignation

or jump at the chance of helping me again?

Now, I’ll ask you to read this back to me.

Knowing it’s about you, will you blush?

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Posted in Creativity, Memories, unique, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Once in Love with Amy

This post is by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

 

As most of you know, I have a visual impairment. On my PC and tablet, I use software that reads everything to me and repeats what I type. With such software, there is a variety of text to speech voices you can either purchase or download for free. Some sound like robots, while others have a lot of human qualities.

I occasionally like to buy new voices. Recently, I sampled one with a British accent. She said, “Hello, I’m Amy. Shall we read something fun together?” I immediately purchased her, and we’ve been having fun reading and writing ever since.

This reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago and posted here. It appears in How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Julie was the voice I used when I wrote it. Here’s the poem, and you can click below to hear Amy read it. I think Amy’s a keeper, don’t you?

 

Dear Julie

 

I wonder what you think, as you read me my e-mail,

the Web pages I browse, other documents.

Is there something you’d rather not read to me,

something I don’t want read that interests you?

When you repeat what I type,

how do the words strike you?

When I shut down, are you relieved or disappointed?

When I boot up, do you sigh with resignation

or jump at the chance of helping me again?

Now, I’ll ask you to read this back to me.

Knowing it’s about you, will you blush?

 

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Posted in Blog, Creativity, Memories, poetry, unique, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments