Saturday, November 3, 2012

My poor blog only gets the dust knocked off of it every so often because there is SO much going on in my life right now. Time for it always seems to be scant. So I save it for really important things I want everybody to know about.
Check out this book cover! This week I had the privilege to dive into this baby of A.G. Howard's and learn all about the real Wonderland. I've heard about this story for what seems like a few years, but it probably hasn't been that long. Now, finally being able to read it has been way cool. To hold a finished book in my hands that one of my friends has written and gone through the publishing process with is amazing.
This is a YA fantasy, but even if you're not a teen, you'll love it. The story she has crafted is both imaginative and beautiful. I loved it and asked her if she was conjuring up a sequel.

The book's premise centers around the 'Alice in Wonderland' story, where the main character, Alyssa, is supposedly the great-great grandchild of Alice. She's a teenager who, of course, is crushing on a hot guy that she's been friends with for ages. Jeb, named, 'hot guy', is a good friend, but is currently unavailable, but sparks fly between them more than once. Morpheus, who is a dark, mysterious being guides Alyssa to find the path she must take to not only travel to Wonderland, but to fix the mistakes Alice made while she was there. Alyssa has to decode her tasks to ultimately save her mother's sanity. I don't want to give too much away, but all of it is beautifully connected. You'll have to read it to find out. :D
The Wonderland A.G. has created is much darker than the fairy tale you would be used to from Alice. The plot twists and turns just like Alice's adventure in Wonderland does, so just when you think things are one way, she surprises you with another revelation, changing everything again. A. G. does a fantastic job keeping the pages turning, so if fantasy books are your thing, you need to check this one out.
The release date for 'Splintered' is January 1st, 2013.

It's on Amazon right now for pre-order and on Goodreads.
A.G. Howard's blog is at and you can follow her on Twitter at @aghowardwrites


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blogvel Chapter

Well, I took the summer off from my blog without actually meaning to. Busy summer. Almost finished painting my daughter's bedroom the black and pink of that picture I put on here in May. Wrote the equivalent of a 11 chapters, but I have to figure out where to put it all and if I'm going to use all of it. Various other things as well kept us going. Vacation, daughter's last cheer camp. Dealt with all of that too.

So before I 'left', I told you about a blogvel I was involved with. This is a book that is written by several different writers on their blogs. Everybody gets assigned a chapter. Michelle Simkins at Greenwoman was the master mind of all this. Here is the table of contents for Bloom and everything everybody else has written up to this point. Some of the chapters may be hidden down in their blogs if they post a lot, so you may have to scroll down quite a way before you find some of them, but they're all marked as "Bloom chapter-whatever" so you'll know.
    So, here's my contribution.

                                                                 Bloom-Chapter 12

     The shrubs standing in the way of Jessica and Wanda’s progress shook and ruffled as if readying themselves for a fight. Thorny branches swatted at Jessica and Wanda as the spray coated the healthy leaves crinkling them to a dead, ugly brown. Jessica dropped the hose of the                                                                                                     canister and held her hands on her ears.
    “What’s wrong?” Wanda yelled. This wasn’t a one person job.
     “They’re—they’re screaming at me to stop!” Jessica’s eyes squeezed shut and she hunched over in a ball.
     “What?” Wanda couldn’t believe what Jessica had just admitted to. She could hear them? This didn’t happen a minute ago. Wanda couldn’t hear anything except the sizzle of the leaves as the chemicals fried the greenery. “Jessica—come on—there’s too many of them! I can’t do this by myself!”  Wanda backed away from the approaching shrubs to pump the canister again. “Come on, Jess—I need you!” Wanda surprised herself at how desperate she sounded. Desperation wasn’t normally her style. For some unknown reason, this group of shrubs seemed to be more resilient.
     Wanda continued trying to hold the shrubs back as Jessica fought to regain her composure.  Her hands pressed against her ears as she continued to scream. The will to live bashed Wanda in the head and she screamed at the shrubs, “Stop it! Leave her alone—you bastards!” The stream of chemicals flowing out of the canister seemed to be lessening. Wanda’s chemical supply was low. She ran back to the Jeep. They’d tossed in two more canisters out of Jane’s Hummer before they left. Wanda raced back and stood next to Jessica with a fresh supply. “Come on, Jess. Kill the suckers!” Wanda yelled hoping to refocus Jessica’s brain.
     Jessica shook off the mental attack and picked up the hose again. When she pointed her canister hose toward the shrubs, they shrank back before withering and dying in the middle of the street. The trees seemed to be less intimidated by the spray. Jessica stood up straight and began pumping her own canister again. One of the trees thin green branches twirled through the air and swirled its way around Wanda’s middle causing her canister to fall out of her hands. A scream ripped out of her and echoed off the nearby hills. As Wanda struggled trying to fight against the thin, green rope-branch twining its way around her, Jessica pumped her canister with fierce commitment.
     “Come on, Jess—you can do it!” Wanda choked out encouragement. The branch lifted Wanda off her feet and traveled toward the middle of the tree where Wanda was destined to be an afternoon snack. Panic set into her bones as she attempted to fight against the tightening grasp. Like any apex predator, once its prey was caught, the hold simply tightened until the prey gave up.
     I don’t want to die. The thought assaulted Wanda out of nowhere. As sour as she could be, down deep she wanted to live a little longer. Jessica flashed a purposeful look at her before she commanded.
     “Let her go!”  She sprayed the trunk of the trees and their roots causing them to cower away. Blood seeped from underneath Wanda’s arms where the bendy green branch dug into the flesh. Jessica sprayed the trunk of the tree gripping Wanda, but its grip loosened only a little.  “They’re dying—just a little more should do it.” Jessica attempted to reassure her.
     “Can’t breathe,” Wanda whispered. Her head swam with the lack of oxygen to her brain and her consciousness drifted.
     Spraying the contents of the canister for another minute stopped the tree and Wanda tumbled to the ground like a ragdoll. Adrenalin pounded through Jessica’s body. She grabbed Wanda’s arms and dragged her back to the side of the Jeep. Lungs fighting for air, Wanda heaved in and out, trying to breathe normally again. They had to get into town ASAP. Wanda wasn’t in any shape to drive at this point. She could have broken ribs or something.
     Jessica wasn’t sure if she was strong enough to lift Wanda into the Jeep, but she needed to try. She needed help.
     “Wanda.” Jessica patted Wanda’s cheek a little less than a slap. “Hey, wake up. I need you to get in the jeep. We’ve gotta get to town.” Wanda’s under layers of red curls stuck to her face from the intensity of their recent battle. “Can you stand? I can’t get you in here by myself, come on.” Jessica heard a rustle behind her. Another two trees lumbered their way toward her, threatening another onslaught. Jessica yanked Wanda under her arms and lifted as far as she could. Wanda yelped at the pain from several broken ribs and found her feet again.
     “Kill ‘em, Jess! We can’t leave any of them alive!” Wanda’s hoarse words stung through Jessica as she pumped the canister. Her arms dangled off her shoulders like wet noodles and tears streamed down her face wondering if she would have the strength to finish off these two predators.  Jessica sprayed the last two trees until the threat ceased.
     When Jessica stopped spraying, they shared a silent glance and she helped Wanda into the jeep. Wanda hissed through her teeth when she raised her leg and used the ‘oh crap’ handle to pull her weight onto the bucket seat, but said nothing else. Jessica would have to drive now. Once inside and back on the road, Jessica spoke.
     “They told me they’d kill you for me.” Jessica said, staring straight ahead, her voice shaky.
     “You want me dead?” Wanda smirked.
     “After you sliced me up…yeah. I considered it.” For several minutes, the only sounds in the jeep were the engine and the tires rolling over the road. “They said you were evil and you just wanted me dead.”
     Instead of reacting in defense of her personality flaws, Wanda’s scientific curiosity rose at the new circumstance. “You mean you’ve got some kind of mental connection with them? That doesn’t make sense. We bled all of the plant material out of you.” Keeping her body straight and stiff against the seat, Wanda only turned her head toward Jessica while Jessica drove.
     “But it was a part of my body. They were a part of me. I was…one of them.” Jessica said, shuddering. “But…”
She white-knuckled the steering wheel and squirmed around in her seat uncomfortable, with being so open and honest with Wanda.
     “But—?” Wanda led her to finish.  
     “When you sorta came to my rescue…it changed my mind. For a split second you were like a ….”
     “Spit it out, kid.”
     “Like a sister!” Jessica spat the words at Wanda and then and turned her eyes back toward the road. “I thought maybe there might still be some good in you after all. That’s why I picked up the canister and killed them.”
     “I’m not sure I’m sister material.” Wanda said, staring at the road. Silence settled between them as Jessica drove toward town.

     Coming down the hill toward the first red light, a car was sitting at an awkward angle in the road. The open car door turned Jessica’s stomach and she slowed the Jeep approaching with caution. Wanda turned her head a little and scanned out the window while Jessica kept the Jeep on the road, but more in the middle to maneuver around the awkward angle the car sat in blocking the road. A wide shiny spot in the road registered as a large puddle of blood once the Jeep rolled closer to the scene. Shivers overwhelmed Jessica’s body when she realized the Jeep’s tires would have to roll through the blood to move past the abandoned car.
     Looking past two more cars whose drivers had shared the same fate, the street pulsated with groups of people screaming and running as a tree picked up a man trying to fight back with a shotgun. The tree lowered the man into the top of its trunk and bit him in half throwing the bloody stump of his torso and legs to the ground. Jessica slammed on her brakes taking in the scene. She’d never seen anything like it, except in a horror movie. All that stuff was fake. This was real.
     Another three men came at the tree with chainsaws and began slicing the branches away, but the tree’s other branches could be used as well. The odds stood overwhelmingly against them.  The tree took bites of each of the men as if tasting three different flavors of ice cream and trying to decide which flavor to eat first. The crowd screamed as they watched helplessly. The brave men were soon consumed by the tree leaving the chainsaws lying on the ground with their motors spinning, abandoned on the pavement of Main Street.
     Jessica stared at the scene and threw the Jeep into park. She knew between them, they only had a canister and a half of weed killer left. Would it be enough?
     “What are we gonna do?” Jessica asked Wanda.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Just a quick Thanks!

I wanted to let you know that Chapter one of 'Bloom' is up on Greenwoman's blog now. It's been up since Monday morning, but I've been busy and haven't been on here, so I'm telling you now. Go and read it. Michelle's done an excellent job of setting up a really interesting plot. Can't wait to see what comes next. She's got pictures up from a weekend getaway on there first, I think if you scroll down, you'll be able to find it.

Also, I check my audience to see who's been looking at my blog and I just want to thank you.

When I started this little blog, I never dreamed I'd have people reading my blog from Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil...the list goes on and on. I can't believe it. I'm wondering if they just happened on it and it was a mistake. That's a lot of mistakes though. So I'll just say
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I think you people are really nice to take the time to stop and read a few of my words.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Round Robin Blogvel

It's been a while since I've posted anything on here. Tried to get done with school and then got a spark of an idea with my manuscript, so I've been working on that.

I wanted to let you know that I'm going to be in a 'Round Robin Blogvel'. This is a title my friend Michelle at Greenwoman made up last year when she came up with the idea of having blogging/writer friends to all write a chapter for a story. She wrote the first chapter and each week somebody else took over and wrote the next one. It sounded like a lot of fun, but at the time I was a little too shy to participate in it. I wrote a short story for a blog contest she had. I ended up writing three for three different blog buddies last summer. They turned out better than I ever thought they would.

So this year, when she said that was so much fun, she wanted to do it again, I said I would. I think there are 14 of us, and she'll write the first and last chapter. The chapters will go up every Monday. I'm not scheduled until July, so the story will be well on it's way by the time I get to it. She'll post it  on her blog sometime today. As I type this, it's still WAY early in the morning in Oregon, so it will be a little while. I can't wait to see what she's come up with. Her imagination rocks!

I'll make sure to have a link to each chapter on the other writer's blogs, so stay tuned. If you decide to read this remember, there are a lot of different writers with all different styles. It's not a contest to see who can write the best chapter. So don't judge I'm sure as far as experience and quality of writing, I'm pretty low on the  totem pole. This is to challenge us to start a story and twist and turn it and hopefully keep it interesting. I'll be in and out today running errands, so when her post goes up, I'll let you know. :D

Hope your week is a great one


Thursday, May 10, 2012

20 something years of doing this.... and the Blue Angels!

So it's been a little while since the A-Z challenge. Since then, I've been trying to get through a birthday...I on the downhill slide toward 50 now, which is a little scary...
Our 22nd anniversary was May 5th. When you reach the 'twenties' in an anniversaries, you start to feel old. Like REALLY old.

I can remember when I first started teaching and veteran teachers would say..."This is my 20-something year to teach" and I'd think....'Wow...they've been at this a long time. They really know what they're doing and they're good at it.' I was in awe of them.

And now, here I am. A member of the elite. I always thought that if anybody made it past twenty years, that they were meant to do the teaching thing. I do know quite a bit about teaching music to elementary kiddos, but you never know everything. There's always a new way to present something. I try to teach different activities to keep my brain fresh. I don't usually teach from a detailed lesson plan because I never teach the same lesson the same way. My brain is creative enough to come up with new ways to do things. Keeps me from getting bored--unless there is a 'best way'...then I go with that.

I've also been married the same number of years I've been teaching. Got married and got a job in the same year. I was lucky. You'd think I'd feel like I really knew what I was doing after teaching  AND being married that long. I have come to learn that the teachers I idolized and thought they were so cool, probably felt just like I do now. I know what I'm doing, but you never stop trying to get better and learning something new. I'm naturally curious, so my curiosity has become my ally in my teaching and in my

On another note...we had some excitement today.

The Blue Angels flew over our school this afternoon, which was a perfect day weather-wise. It's really hard to teach when they go 'booming' by. They zoomed past us and over us all afternoon.  It's so cool to watch them. They flew so low, it felt like the air was being pierced as they cut through it. My partner teacher and I decided to take our 3rd graders outside for a few minutes to watch them. The pitch was so high when they flew by us, some of the kids had to cover their ears. I think they did it on purpose because a ton of kids were outside waving at them. It was pretty cool for everybody. There's an air show in Smyrna this weekend so they're in town practicing.  One of the perks to teaching this close to the Smyrna Airport. 
This was them flying over school today. SO COOL! One of our teachers took this...We were as excited as the kids were. ;)

So that's been my excitement these past few weeks. Hope you guys have had great weeks since the challenge.
I need to make a schedule so I can remember to blog. I really liked the challenge of doing the A-Z blog posts. I may come up with something else to keep me motivated to blog more.   :)

For now...have a good one. :D

Sunday, April 29, 2012

X...Y...and Z...

Well...I got a little sidetracked the past two days. I turned one year older yesterday and barely had time to go out to eat with my husband. We did make it though and it was a lovely meal, but my poor little blog got neglected in all the hullaballoo...
So here we are at the end of the A-Z challenge.
I needed an alarm to help me remember to post something. My life is pretty busy, like everyone else. I've enjoyed meeting some new blogger buddies and will enjoy reading their blogs from now on. I need to be more diligent about blogging, but right now, it's just hard to remember to squeeze it in. So here are my last three posts for A-Z. :)

X is for Xylophones. I had to do this one because I share a music room with a whole table stacked with xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels. I'm a elementary music teacher and these are the tools of my trade. THis is a set from the West Music catalog. That's usually where we buy our instruments from. In this pic is a Bass Xylophone (largest), an Alto Xylophone(xylos have wood bars), an Alto Metallophone, a Soprano Xylophone an Alto Glockenspiel  and a Soprano Glockenspiel(smallest). This is a basic Orff set that music teachers use. We have a ton more of each of these, except for the bass. We have one bass Xylophone and one Bass Metalllophone because they cost so much.

Y....Yawn....I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. I probably don't get enough sleep, but such is the life of a mom. :)

Z...Zebra print
      I have a teenager who wants her room to be painted pink with zebra print accents Like comforter, sheets, pillows...zebra.....
She'll be eighteen in May so I have a feeling most of what she gets for her birthday will have some sort of zebra print on it. She's already zebra-ed up her car. She got a steering wheel cover, floor mats  seat covers and seat belt covers for Christmas. And her phone case is would think that would be it's spreading to her So what to do...I've already bought the paint so she can paint her room this summer. It's been the same red, white and blue stars and stripes since she was eight, so I guess she was due. ;)
I'll post some pictures at the end of the summer or when we get it finished..which ever comes first. :)

I found this pictures and I think this is what she has in mind, except I'm not putting black paint on the walls because it'll get on EVERYTHING else in the process. The pink will be I might cave in and paint the blue stripes on her wall black, but that will be a very small can of black paint...This does look cute though.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Writing and Witches

I think I just figured out a new story line...hahaha

So first ...I'm doing two W's because I'm kinda behind. My schedule has gotten thrown off this past week, so I've been trying to double up to keep up. So I figured since I've been not exactly following the schedule, I owed you an extra post. Even if they aren't very long. new favorite thing. LOVE it. Love to make up things for these imaginary people running a muck in my head. I make up new things for them to say and do. Then I put them in places around the world that I love or want to learn about. So as they walk the streets of London, I can look at maps on Google Earth and see what they see. I think I've written some of my favorite characters so many different times, that I know them just like I know my friends. I know their personalities and I know what they like and don't like. I think that's so cool. They're like my good friends. My imaginary friends. I made up stuff all the time when I was little. Scenarios full of danger and going after the 'bad guys' while I climbed rusty fences or trees. I guess this is the same thing.

Witches....another thing I used to do was pretend to be Samantha on "Bewitched".
I loved her. I thought she was so cool. I practiced the nose twitching thing in the mirror until I got so good at it, I expected things to start levitating.  I always wondered what it would be like to have magical powers like Samantha.

I think I know why she didn't always want to use magic. I think it would be boring to be able to snap your fingers and get anything you wanted. But using it to heal others would be great. But if you could fix everything with magic Then there would never be any conflict..ever. Would that be a good thing? Possibly..but once again...boring.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for .....Ummm and V is for Vampire

I don't know about you, but I catch myself saying 'Ummm', way more than I should. It's such a bad habit. A lot of times my brain will go completely blank and I'll search for the word that has suddenly hidden itself behind a bush in my frontal lobe.
Sometimes I can find the word. It'll come popping out from behind the bush, "Here I am" and sometimes I can't. It seems like my old pal, 'Umm' is there to help me locate whatever thought I've lost.
Still, if over used, Ummm can be really annoying.

V is for Vampire

This is almost too easy.
I have a confession to make. I used to be SO afraid of vampires. I had a fear of fangs. Can you believe that? So I didn't really get over my 'Fang-fear' until I was drug into Dracula, with Gary Oldman. Finally, I faced my fear head on. When I was little, I'd seen flashes of Christopher Lee in movie clips and things like that and let me tell you. He was FREAKIN' scary looking.

It's his fault. Look at him. He's the originator of my Fang Fear....see????

So then, after we got married, Dracula, with Gary Oldman came out in the theater. Already an improvement...

Yeah, he had fangs, but he was much better looking...and then...there came....

Edward...Dang. Hot vamps are all the rage now. You can close your eyes and throw a rock at the YA section in any bookstore and hit a vamp book without even trying. He's my favorite. Can't help it. After reading all the books and seeing the first movie, Rob inspired me to want to write another story using him as the actor, but in a different character. But I'll always be grateful to Edward. And I'll always be grateful to Stephenie Meyer for being able to come up with a believable set of vamps that didn't have over-sized canines to mess up their beautiful faces.
If I'm doing this in chronological order, first came Edward and then came Eric. Rob is still my favorite. Just clarifying that.

Yes...I'm a True Blood fan from the first episode. Me and my husband are both addicted. It's one of the few shows we both agree that we don't want to miss. He has his reason (Sookie) and I have mine ....Eric.

Monday, April 23, 2012

S is for....Shannon and T is for Think I'm doubling up again because of the Prom, which by the way, went off without a hitch. I was very proud and excited. I got her zipper zipped without breaking, his boutonniere on without any blood (mine or his) got make up/hair/shoes/purse/clothes for both of them for the after party/ and took quite a few really good pictures. Everybody had a lot of fun. Next year I'm taking off the whole day instead of just half a day, so we're not quite so rushed. That will be the only thing I tweak for next year. So, my oldest baby, Shannon....she's a junior and this was her first Prom. Needless to say, she looked beautiful and completely happy next to her boyfriend, Austin. They were so cute. Both of them were  a bundle of nerves until we started taking pictures. After that, they relaxed and enjoyed it, which was my goal all along.
So now that you've heard all about it, here are two pictures from their special night.
Yeah...I know...they're so freakin' cute. I'm so proud of her. She's growing into a fine young lady.

So that's what I did on Friday, tried to recover from staying up so late on Friday night, so I paid for it the next day...all day...

Now for T.....
The first thing I thought of was Think....

Think, think think.....think Pooh, think.....
All that comes up is how my brain wants to go in so many different directions. Sometimes, it's a creative thing and I can use it to my advantage, but distracted brain has  a hard time remembering things. Sucks. This is not a new thing. Hasn't gotten worse with age. It's always been this bad. My grandmother used to say I was living too fast. She was probably right.

So then, my brain goes in a different direction....told you it would.

Stinkin' thinkin'.
That's the perfectionism part of my personality that keeps me from doing something, like cleaning my house, or writing my book, because I think it has to be perfect. This term comes from 'The Flylady'. If you've never heard of her, I'm going to do you a huge favor and give you her free website. It's SO cute and so helpful. She's always so encouraging because she's been there. I need to get back on some of her routines. When I did them and got rid of my Stinkin' Thinkin', my house was cleaner and I felt like I could do more. I've fallen off the Flylady bandwagon. I need to get back on it so I can finish this dang book....yes. I said dang. I'm from the country--don't judge me. ;)
Here's the flylady's website. She's wonderful!  If you have trouble cleaning your house or finishing projects, she can help.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time to catch up..Q and R

So since my house is full of 'pre-Prom anxiety', I've gotten behind on my posts. So I'm going to attempt to double up today so I won't get left behind.
I guess since I'm an elementary school teacher, most of the things that pop in my head are 'little kid' words. Like
Q....Queen....But then my imagination takes over and I can't keep it it check. Kinda like a runaway horse.
I can't imagine what it would be like to be the Queen of England. Her lineage dates back so far, its almost scary. I'm not sure I'd want everybody to know every single one of my relatives and all of the good and bad things they did through the centuries. And I think it's also ironic that the people who started this country wanted to get away from the king and queen thing and yet today, we're still enamored with the royal family. That's just a little funny to me. I have the utmost respect for the Queen and I wish I could walk through the hallways of Buckingham palace, but I'll have to be content with getting to see it from the outside, back in 1985. for Rob....My brother and Rob Pattinson. No, Rob Pattinson is not my brother...heehee
 We have a lot of Rob's and Roberts in our family on my dad's side. My dad's first name is Robert, but that's not the name he goes by. That's where my brother's name originated. I love my little brother, who grew taller than me when he was in high school. I'm 5'4", he's 6'1".
If it weren't for falling in love with Rob/Edward, I wouldn't have ever considered writing as another way to express myself. I thought if Stephenie Meyer, who had three small kids at the time, could write a book, maybe I could too. I wanted Rob in another story, so I started typing....years later, I have the equivalent of about 4 books. Who knew?? Now the task is going through all of it and finding something worthy of keeping...I know....good luck with that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for .....hmm...

I thought it would be a huge cop out to use Payne...since that's my last name. That would be way too easy.
And then I thought about how my kids at school call me Mrs. Payne. They bring me pictures that they've drawn for me and the way they spell Payne is so funny.
Here are just a few examples:  Pain, Pan, Pae, Payn...the list goes on and on. So cute.

Pony--I didn't actually have a pony growing up. My next door neighbor and a pony named Trixie. How I can remember that pony's name and not remember where I put my keys on a daily basis, I have no idea. I had another neighbor down the road from me that allowed me to ride their pony, Copper. That pony was the prettiest reddish brown color. He was the color of a copper penny. He and I matched pretty well except for the summer when my hair had more blonde in it.

Pity--Why is it that every time I hear this word, it's used by some British villain ? I don't know anyone that uses this word in regular conversation...maybe because I live in the south. I don't have anything against the word. It just feels a little too proper for me. Instead of saying 'pity' we say 'feel sorry for' ...I guess....It's an interesting observation to me.

Penguin--One of my kids came through here this morning with a sparkly Penguin shirt on. I think it was a 'Happy Feet' shirt. From a distance, penguins are cute. Flat out cute. Ellen mentioned on her show yesterday (yes, I love Ellen--who doesn't?) penguins smell really fishy. That makes sense since they eat fish all the time and swim in 'fishy' water. Jason Mraz was on her show talking about going to Antarctica and doing shows for the people up there and seeing all the penguins. He said something like, you just don't think about what that many penguins smell like'. I didn't either until he mentioned it. The experience would be surprising if you weren't prepared for it for sure. And stinky...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for....Oscar the Grouch

Being from the 'Sesame Street' generation, when that was one of the very few kid shows on TV, one of my favorite muppets was Oscar the Grouch. I loved his voice and I always thought he was funny. I even had an Oscar puppet that I played with until his eyes came off. I loved Ernie too, by the way...
It makes me a little sad that Sesame Street has survived this long, but my own kids never would watch it.
It wasn't like I didn't try, but by the time my kiddos came along, there were so many more channels and kids programming to choose from. Much to my chagrin, they both gravitated to Barney. Some cosmic cruel joke, since me and my husband swore we'd never allow the obnoxious purple dinosaur into our home, after seeing the show in one of our friend's houses. Later on, we ended up spending quite a bit of money on a live show to go see Barney for a then three year old. The sacrifices we make for our kids.

However, my youngest, whose mental age is around 6 or 7 still loves to watch Blues Clues. Steve and Blue are still a part of our family,  which is okay with me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N...This is getting harder and harder

N stands for....a bunch of stuff....

I don't know if it's my ADD brain or what, but I have trouble talking about just one thing on these posts, so I'm going to come up with some random N words. :)

Nice-This is a word that describes me the majority of the time. I use it quite a bit since I teach elementary school. 'Be nice to people and they'll be nice to you'. I have to be nice to my co-workers because I have to be able to get a long with every body in the whole school. Lucky for me, I'm a basically positive person, so most of the time, it's not a stretch for my personality.

No-Since I work in an elementary school, I use this word too. A lot. 'No, you may not sit in that chair on two legs when it needs four, unless you want to fall.' No, we're not playing 'Freeze Dance' today-stop asking me. ;)

Nickleback-I love their edgy sound. Since I'm a music teacher, I should be doing something musical with every letter...why am I just now thinking of this??? 'Their song 'If Today was your last day' is on my playlist for my novel(s) that I'm writing. Some of the songs hold specific scenes in my mind and others on the playlist hold just how characters are feeling. I'm not sure in the final outcome if that song will stay, but I still like it even if it doesn't . It has a great message.

And last but not least...don't ask me why I'm just now thinking of this one ..."Never Alone". This is a collaboration song by Jim Brickman with Lady Antebellum singing the lyrics. This song spoke to me on so many levels that I not only use it in my playlist for a specific scene in my book, but also for the novel's title. When I say that, I mean, when I play that song, I can see and hear everything going on in the scene. Every emotion, every word that comes out of my characters' mouths...all of it. It's as clear as if I watching it on TV.
Love. That. Song.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Letter M ...This is tough one...

This A-Z challenge has been pretty easy for me until now. For some reason, 'M' is giving me a run for My Money! So I'm going to write down some random 'M' words because I'm tired and pressed for time this morning....

Massachusetts--A state I've never been to, but would like to travel there one day. There are so many historical things I want to see there, so it's on my bucket list.

Melbourne--Another place on my bucket list I want to visit. At some point in my life, when I have more money than I do now, I want to take a trip to Australia and Melbourne is on my list of places to see. After Oprah went there on her last season, I really thought the town was beautiful, so that's on my list.

Melissa--I have several friends named Melissa. One who's the art teacher at my school and works with me and my partner teacher every day and one who I've known since she was about 14. She's now grown, married and a new mommy. Which I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to watch her grow into a fine woman and a great special ed. teacher. Here's my art teacher friend Melissa.
 Here's new mommy Melissa at her rehearsal dinner with her family, which I also adore. :)

Mickey--Well, the obvious is Mickey Mouse, but I also have a cousin named Mickey. I was three when he was born and I've felt like I should be his protector ever since. We used to see each other more, but we live in different towns and so our meetings have become few and far between. But I love him just the same.

And now it's off to baseball with my youngest. Hopefully it'll be warm! :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blog Award

I wanted to take a time out from the A-Z challenge and say a quick thank you to my new blog buddy, Lori Degman. She sent me a  Sunshine Blog award, which I thought was very sweet of her. I'm going to wait until all the A-Z posts are over before I spread the Sunshine further.
I just LOVE this A-Z challenge. I've met so many new writer people. Love making new friends.

So Thanks for thinking of me Lori! If you've never hopped over to Lori's blog, you need to check it out at Habitual Rhymer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

L is for.....LOVE

I know...lame. Don't judge me.

I'm a sucker for a good love story. There ...I said it.
Some of my favorite movies have a 'love theme'. (And I'm not talking about a hit song)
"Sleepless in Seattle' and 'You've got Mail'--I love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks together. Both of these are sweet romantic comedies.
'While you were Sleeping,' (maybe I'm just tired...) Funny and sweet love story
'Twister'--that one mixes love with tornado chasing--two of my favorite things.

'Australia' is one of my favorite 'sweeping' love stories. I think because of the way it's shot.I love the story, the scenery...all of it..

I love to write. I love to write stories about love. Even though my technique and sentence structure still needs work and I'm sure a hundred other issues with my writing, the foundation of all of it is the story. This is where my strength lies. I've been blessed with a great imagination. Ideas about where stories could go never cease to flow out of my brain.  Maybe it's from growing up watching Days of Our Lives when I was little.

Where ever this blessing came from, I want to use it to tell stories. When I write a story, there's a lot of emotion going on. Probably, because I'm an emotional person. That's what I've been able to do with my own words. I have scenes I just LOVE because no matter how many times I read them, they make me cry.

That must be pretty good...right?

Not that everything I write is full of sob-i-licious scenes, but I tend to write with a ton of emotion. Although, I can't stand it when one of the main characters dies. That just freakin' kills me.
So I promise you...unless it just CAN'T be helped, I vow never to kill off one of my 'top tier' main characters. Friends of characters are fair game though..;)

I can also promise you that I will try to create the best love stories my brain will allow.
And hopefully, they'll be good enough for you to want to spend your hard earned money on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

K is for Karen

K is for Karen, Karan and Karyn

I have to admit, this post stumped me for a minute. Usually, I have an idea pop in my head almost immediately after I think of the letter. ‘K’ was different. It was a little tougher, but I think this post will be okay. 

I have a ton of friends named Karen. They spell it every way possible. 

I have two Karen’s that I grew up with at church. Both of them are excellent cooks. One is so talented, she enters the state fair with her cooking and quilting. The other is so talented she catered my wedding. She made a giant three layer cheesecake for our groom's cake and was in shock when she told me it took 99 eggs to make the thing.We still talk about that cheesecake monstrosity and the giant strawberry that sat on the top that was as big as my fist.

I've also taught a Karen or two as students in the 21 years I've been teaching. I have a 4-year-old Karen right now and another in 4th grade. I think it's interesting they're both Hispanic.
I know a Karen that is a fellow music teacher and also won TN teacher of the year. She got to go to Washington and get her picture made with the President. That’s a freakin’ big deal, people. For a lil’ole music teacher in the south any way..

I have another friend, Karan, who cuts my hair and my two girls’ hair. She is FABULOUS because she’s so sweet, does a good job and she’s patient with my youngest daughter who has Autism. It took a long time before my daughter allowed Karan to cut her hair at all. Sometimes, it’s still a bit of a struggle and she’s 13 now. We LOVE to go see Karan! 

Last but not least, is one of my best friends, Karyn. She teaches with me and I just love her. She was raised in the country like I was and is as loyal as they come. She’ll back you up in a heartbeat, but if you screw her over, she doesn’t forget it. She’s full of life and energy and always brightens my day. I feel lucky to be able to call her a friend.

I'm sure there are some I've forgotten about. It's late and my memory is waning. So, how many Karens, Karans, Karins, or Karyns do you know?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

J is for Jamie Fraser

This is Diana Gabaldon’s character, who I think is my cousin from way back. I feel like I’m related to him because we’re so much alike except he’s like a mountainous 6’4” and I’m a shrimpy 5’4”. I can’t imagine standing next to him. I wish he were real, like so many other people who’ve read her books. As far as we’re concerned, he is real. 

He’s a Scot from the 1700’s. Who knew I’d care anything about Scotland that far back in its history, but reading her books taught me a lot about historical events like the battle of Culloden. I knew nothing of this battle before cracking ‘Outlander’ open. This series and Jamie, turned me on to historical fiction….

I’ve never been attracted to a guy with red hair before because I have red hair…but …um…yeah. I’m not sure if it’s his bright blue cat eyes or not. I had a hard time picturing what they would look like until it hit me while watching Executive Order with Halle Berry and Kurt Russell. I said, "Kurt Russell has bright blue cat eyes like Jamie!"  out loud and my husband thought I’d lost my mind. Maybe it’s Jamie’s sense of humor or his love of his wife Claire. All I know is he’s the total package. This is a picture of an actor that several people think should play Jamie. I think he'd be a good Jamie...his description matches this guy pretty well.

You need to read these books. They’re really great. Jaime is really great. He’s a hero through and through.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I is for Ireland

This is a place I feel close to even though I’ve never set foot on the ground there.  I’m not really sure how to explain it. Maybe it’s because I have red hair, green eyes and fair skin. Maybe it’s because I’m ‘as stubborn as the day is long’.  That’s a quote from my mother.
Whatever the reason, I feel drawn to the whole U.K. When I was in college, I traveled to London for a choir trip. I felt the connection there too. Like I belonged there or something.
Just browsing through pictures of Ireland for this post makes me want to hop on a plane and go stand on the cliffs and feel the wind off the ocean. It’s probably a cold biting wind, but I’d still like to feel it.
I’ve taught several songs that have an Irish or Scottish origin for all different age groups, which I love.
At some point, I want to set a story there. Maybe when I’m making money as a writer (not holding my breath there) I’ll be able to travel to all the places I write about ….you know…for research.

H is for Horses

I LOVE horses and love to ride. I rode a lot growing up, but my husband was a ‘city boy’, so no horses or land for me. Besides the fact that neither of us really knew how to take care of a lot of land. When we first got married, we did good to keep our grass mowed. We also didn’t have the money to pay the property taxes, so we ended up in a house across the street from a pasture with cows.
That works for me. I can stand on my porch and pretend to see myself riding from one end of that at least 50 acre lot to the other.  
But I miss it.
I miss sitting up on top of an animal that is allowing me to tag along as he/she runs full blast through a field or taking a leisurely stroll down a wooded trail.
I love them. I love the way they smell--not the poop smell, the way their fur smells. I’m not sure how to decsribe it, but horses smell different from any other animal I’ve ever been around.  I love the leather smell of their bridles and saddles and how the softness of their noses feel like velvet. I love their big eyes and the low sounds they make in their throat when they’re ‘talking’ to you.
I have a story I’m working on where the girl rides horses. I loved writing what all that feels like. It was not quite as good as being on the back of a horse, but it was awfully close.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Goodwill

I have a friend who has introduced me to Goodwill shopping.
I LOVE it!
I knew it was out there, but I guess I was under the impression that most of the stuff from Goodwill wasn't very good stuff. BOY, was I wrong.
I went on a "half-price" Saturday that they have once a month and bought my daughter $26.00 worth of clothes that would've cost around $45-50 if I'd gone on a different day AND it would've cost even more if I'd gone to JCPenney or Kohl's. I like those stores and sometimes you can get great deals there...not knocking them at all...
But if you've got time and are looking for kids clothes or other clothes go give Goodwill a try. I think about what I give to Goodwill...usually it's stuff that still looks ok, it's just gotten too small. That's the way everybody else does too.
So that's where I'm headed this next week. :) My daughter needs some shorts and pants and so do I, so I'm going to go check it out. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Friday

It's so funny how during the school year, Friday is a magic day...

At our school, it's jean day for the teachers, which we can't wait for. I'd wear jeans and a t-shirt (a nice one) every day if they'd let me.

It's usually the day they have parties.
It's always a Pajama/reward day for somebody's class somewhere. Usually if they meet a reading goal or something like that, the little kid teachers will have a pajama day.
The Friday before  a holiday is usually nothing short of madness. The kids are vibrating with excitement ALL day and it's a battle to keep them in some kind of order so we can teach them something before they leave us for a vacation.

And then summer comes....and Friday is just another day.....

Can't wait for summer.....:) but I miss Fridays being special. I'm torn for school to end in May.

But not that torn....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

E is for Easter Eggs

How many of you remember the completely sugar eggs we used to hide and find when we were little? I'm talking about pretty pastel colors and totally white sugar on the inside. I can't believe I used to eat those.....ew.

They were wrapped in clear plastic and were the only Easter eggs I got for several years. Then came Cadbury's and my life was changed

Followed by Reese's eggs, which I think are my favorite. Now they have Snickers eggs and Nestle's crunch eggs too. They're all so good ...and fattening. 

I'll take a hollow chocolate bunny to stick in my fridge if somebody wants to give me one. Other than that, I don't need to go and buy one, but the memories of eating their ears off first and then coming back every day for a little more of the bunny still stand out in my mind as being one of the joys of my childhood. 

Alright....that's it. 

I'm going to Wal-green's to buy some chocolate!

A-Z Challenge

D is for …….Dang, it’s hot

I live in the south and it’s usually hot here. In July and August. This is April and it was 91 degrees on Monday. Yep, 91—that’s not a misprint.
We had a record breaking March and now we’re on track for April to go down the same road. It’s a little weird seeing all the dogwood trees blooming along with everything else and it be this hot. I’m a professed weather nerd, so this stuff interests me, but it’s also a little scary. 

At any given time, if it’s this hot and a cold front decides to trek this direction from Canada…we usually get screwed…as in tornadoes-forming-on-top-of-our-heads-screwed. Like Texas.

Hopefully, all the cold air will just hang out in the north and we won’t have to worry about it…