New and Updated Website at DWHirsch.com

May 17, 2016

Hello everyone!

You may have noticed a lack of posts–or you haven’t because I haven’t written anything here to notify you of. The reason? I have moved my WolfHowlings blog over to a self-hosted site:

DWHirsch.com

At this time, this blog will stay open as a static history of me and all of you. I am posting new content at my other blog, and I will get in touch with all of you, my dedicated subscribers, to let you personally know of this change. This was a decision a long time in the making–and a difficult task in the transition. More on that there. The new site is still under construction, and sporatic updates will be posted here.

Come join the fun: all this site had to offer and MORE!!

I look forward to seeing you there.

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The F-Word, in haiku

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“Desire if the key to motivation”~Mario Andretti, American sportscar driver
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Today’s Alphabet Haiku is brought to you by the letter F.

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Today’s Thursday Throwback link is also brought to you by the letter F.  Hop back in time to revisit the A to Z Challenge from 2015, which is all about writing, procrastination and fish.

A fishy Easter #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

Wasn’t that coffee tasting fun?

I know, you may not be such a Starbucks supporter, but these monthly events are now something my husband and I look forward to. So far, I’ve learned that I do not like Latin American coffees, and African ones are hit-or-miss. You heard me ask Barista Dean about the types of coffees I like, and it’s the Asia-Pacific ones that seem to offer the mouth feel that I like. The roundness, was that what he called it? You’d think me a coffee drinker fresh out of the womb, but it was an acquired taste, born from the sleepiness of 5:00am film crew calls. That’s a story for another time. I want to tell you about last night.

My husband and I went to a Lenten fish fry.

This was my first fish fry since my Pittsburgh childhood. Oh, memories.

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Our current Peeps haul is larger than this…

Tomorrow is Easter. We’re already overflowing with Marshmallow Peeps, a childhood tradition and a joke between me and my husband from my 2009 article about the History of Marshmallow Peeps. I’m saving my one Cadbury Creme Egg for tomorrow, another family tradition.

And maybe I’m being extra-reflective because of the blogs I’ve been reading lately. Yes, I actually made time this week to read blogs, a lot of goal-setting between the ROW80 Round 1 wrap ups and A to Z Challenge Theme Reveals (you can currently find me at #493).  It’s the Throwback Thursday historic posts that have focused on family and memories in addition to goals. I’ve commented on these with my own family memories, which brings me back to fish frys.

Catholics typically don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, the weeks that lead up to Easter. Regardless of my parents’ health, what state I lived in or current religious activity, my family always observed meatless Fridays during Lent. It’s ingrained in me, so when I found this fish fry back in February, I so wanted to go.

There are so many pleasant memories about that. Riding the PAT bus through the neighborhood to St. Benedict’s, a school and a monastery. As we walked up the hill, what felt like a mountain, I always wondered what made a nun want to be a nun. Neither Mom nor Dad could tell me, but Dad would regale stories of his schooldays that every year involved nuns and wooden rulers on finger knuckles. The brick building with the ramp I had to go up instead of the steps. The stark hall, dull with tan walls yet screamingly bright from industrial overhead lights. The hum of chatter, voices laughing, saying hellos. The fast-food smell of cooking oil. A buffet line, find your seats first. White cardboard plates heavy and soggy from the river of coleslaw juice running under fish pieces. Sitting with Mom, Dad and my aunt. It was a party, and since we didn’t eat dinner out often, this was an event.

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Military rather than religious, it could almost be Pittsburgh

It took us until Good Friday to finally make it. We drove past a fish fry on the way to this fish fry. Who knew? At the VFW in Plymouth, we had the choice to sit in the Hall, which could’ve been my Pittsburgh memory plopped down in Michigan, or in the VFW Bar. 

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Baked and fried fish options at the modern-day fish fry

My husband chose the Bar. For the ambiance, he said.

We sat at a table across the room from the pool tables, next to the jukebox. It was the 4th Friday so live music started at 7pm and the pitchers of beer came out.

This was not my childhood fish fry.  It was still a good one.

Marshmallow Peeps, ghosts and friendship: a #ThrowbackThursday post

I’m happy I stumbled upon the Throwback Thursday Link Party.

There’s a lot of #tbt flopping out there on social media, but a lot of it is selfish. Look at me! Me me me!! It’s all about me!! People post their photo or whatever and then go away until next week.

If you don’t connect with the person directly, a lot of that stuff is “so what?” Blog hops are places that encourage people to visit and perhaps connect with other bloggers–you know, people…the interacting part of “social” media. Bloggers travel through their treasure trove of historic posts and share something written 30+ days ago. In doing this, I’m rediscovering myself in the process.

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Trying to keep with the Easter holiday theme, I discovered that I’ve written NO posts specifically about Marshmallow Peeps. If you know my history with them, my gosh, you will find this unbelievable.

My Throwback Thursday contribution is my Halloween story about marshmallow ghosts and friendship.

This holiday tale was originally told during A Fanciful Twist’s 2011 Halloween Party. Vanessa’s site was my first experience with a blog hop, and my Halloween Party post is awaited by all my friends. How cool is that?! One of my scrapbooking friends bought me a tripod for my digital camera/smartphone so that I could take steady pictures in low-light settings.

Stop on over and take your own trip through history on this site.

Party On! the first weekly #ThrowbackThursday bloghop

Who wants to PARTY…!?!?!

The newest blog party has hit the Internetosphere: #ThrowbackThursday Link Party. You can read all the fine print here on the Official Link Page, but I’ve summarized it below.

The three co-hosts of this adventure are:
Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy, a woman who writes “about my life. I enjoy reading, cooking, and drinking way too much caffeine; basically anything I need to do to survive motherhood.”
Part-Time Monster, a blogger who is “a reader, writer, and observer, a lover of strange and impossible things, a feminist, and a pop culture nerd.”
The Qwiet Muse, a newish blogger self-described as someone who writes “about about life and love, the good and the bad, the serious and the silly to retain what is left of my sanity.”

What makes this bloghop so different from the rest?
This party is about sharing blog posts from our past…30 days or older. “You can shine it up so it sparkles again or just leave it as it is. You might want to include an update at the end or not. It’s all up to you.”

There is only One Rule:
1–The post you add must be at least 30 days old. The older, the better.

The party starts on…you guessed it!…Thursdays every week. Revisit a favorite post from your past and post your link here, anytime between each Wednesday through Sunday night.

Don’t forget to read and share some love to the other posts in the link up. 
My inaugural post is yet another example of what The Universe tells me is my February theme: revisit the little things.

The beginning of a writer’s journey through a #tbt

“Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as far as meaningless experiences go, it’s pretty damn good.”~Woody Allen, American actor

I’m feeling very throwback today.  And writerly.

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My monthly pub date is the 18th


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Here’s how it started in my writers group: my first Deadwood Writers Voices blogpost from February 2014 titled “The Writer’s Life.”
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Story Cubes = my published story

That first post was more an introduction to my background and how a yellow highlighter began my writing frustrations. My second post is really what I consider my first post, published one year ago yesterday: A Cracker Jack prize: story ideas.  My post involves this picture, which subsequently led to my first published fiction story, Jimmy the Burglar, available now on Amazon for less than price of a cup of coffee. Jimmy is a burglar who must pass his final exam to follow his parents’ soft footsteps into the Burglars Union Guild. Jimmy’s plan, however is an ambitious one, perhaps too ambitious for a guy who can’t pick locks. It was fun to write fiction after doing memoirs for so long.  
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The Timehop app reminds me of things…


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Here’s what Timehop has to say about my previous March 19th. That Tweet from 2014 is also about writing and books, and it was also a Throwback Thursday.
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Relating to the WoW quote at the beginning, if you want a throwback to my first sexual experience… well… you may find a tasteful rendition in my upcoming memoir My Father, My Friend due to be released June 2015.

Thursday THON #tbt

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”~Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian leader

This was almost the ideal Throwback Thursday. Five years ago, on a Thursday as well, I was in State College getting ready to dance in THON. I met my personal Moraler, Kristen, that (this) night. She would be there for me throughout THON 46-hour-awake-and-no-sitting marathon.

I hoped to dance this year. Breaks my heart that I’m not.

I danced back in 2010 as an Alumni Dancer. It was the first time on a THON floor since my college junior/senior year. I was older as an alum, certainly the oldest of all four Alumni Dancers….and I was proud of it. Just like people stare at a 73-year-old Boston Marathon runner, students could stare at me all they wanted.

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Spoiler alert: I made it! My dance partner, Candace, made it. My husband made it, with a special all-access pass for those final two hours. My Moraler, and Candace’s Moraler, made it, sitting in the stands with “We {heart} Alumni” signs.

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My dance partner, Candace, agreed to dance every ten years. I’m holding her to that! But I had so much fun that I planned to dance every five years. Finding a partner and fundraising didn’t work out this year.

“There’s a reason things happen” is a common saying. I guess there’s a reason for this, too. Maybe it’s just for me to reflect on.

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Why you should not start over in the New Year

“My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.”~Aristotle, Greek Philosopher

I have failed my New Year’s Resolution every year. It’s not even a specific task that can be quantified, like “I will lose 10 pounds” or “I will read a book every week” or “I will not drink caffeine.”

My resolution has been: Keep Up.

That always works through January, and then somewhere…**poof**

I believe it is a noble resolution, one that I intend to…well…keep up on my list. This year, however, I am adding two more elements that should help me keep that first one.

Diana’s 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

1–Keep Up

Let’s review that one. The plan here is to keep current with emails, voice mails, sympathy cards, emails, social media, organizing workspaces, birthday cards, emails, phone calls, membership renewals, blog sites, blog posts, emails….

You see the real theme here.

This two-word goal can be hard to maintain, and once you fall behind, it’s almost impossible to catch up. So no catch up. No starting over. That’s where the next resolution comes in:

2–Start from where you are

When I finally owned enough variety of scrapbook material, I wanted to scrapbook everything: my college days; my childhood trips; my pet parakeets; my dating experiences; my film project career; my wedding; my friends and everything else. No way I could do that because it’s too overwhelming. So I chose to start documenting from the place that made sense to me. My first official archival-safe scrapbook page was of me and my husband opening our wedding presents when we returned from our honeymoon. I can always go back and memorialize the other stuff later, but as any scrapbooker will say, you are “always behind” in the pictures you want to scrapbook.

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Encouraging idea at the theater where we saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1 today

This one may sound like starting over, but I’m not reinventing anything. I’m fine-tuning what I already have in place. I don’t need to start over with a new website; I need to flash it up moving forward. I don’t need to start writing something new; I have ideas and drafts to work on. This resolution element is an exercise in letting go. Do not focus on the past or on the past failures.

I have an aggressive posting schedule on my blog, one I can maintain, but some 2014 blog post drafts have not been published due to computer problems, WordPress app issues and human neglect. Bloggers suggest planning posts ahead of time when you are traveling. Sometimes I want that structure. Sometimes I want spontaneity. However, not keeping up has sabotaged best plans. I have perhaps 10 mostly-completed posts that were never finished for one reason or another. Those I will wrap up and publish. I will not create new past posts from scratch just to fill up the missed dates. Nope. I’m starting the new year where I am: today.

For me, emails are not something I can just wipe out. While I am quite certain that an unread email from 7 months ago may no longer be relevant, I need to confirm that. That’s where the third part of my resolution comes in:

3–Deal with it

This does not refer to the current TV show, although it is the only “reality” show I will watch. This aspect is about taking all those elements that I have started from and making sure I keep current.

See how they all relate to each other?

So…if I have three emails that I can’t instantly delete and require some attention, make the time to deal with them at that moment with a reply, research, whatever.

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High five: it’s a Yahtzee!

Conventional wisdom states that you will be more productive when you focus on only one thing at a time. I recall a few months ago that I opened my Facebook app every time a notification popped up on my phone. I found that this instant action was relaxing because the post was usually nothing important and I didn’t play catchup later. That was a good feeling. I want to feel that way again.

I realize that I will not always have time to immediately take care of everything. Some things can slip by, get missed, are purposefully ignored and just plain become annoying. As such, this also means that it’s okay to let go. If I don’t do everything–or sometimes even anything–perfect, just accept that, deal with it and move on. Whatever it takes to keep up and not catch up.

Perhaps if I keep repeating these mantras, I’ll be successful beyond the month of January. What are you doing for 2015?

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Today ends with a glorious southeastern Pennsylvania sunset

Thanksgiving #tbt memories of Mom

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman statesman

I’ve been a Weight Watchers Lifetime member for more than 11 years, and the meeting topic for the fourth week in November is always the same: holiday food.

Why do we, as a society, associate food with holidays, especially Thanksgiving?

The real meaning of Thanksgiving is–or should be–to celebrate friends and family, but often food is the focus. I never felt that pull until today.

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Mom made turkey stuffing by hand, starting with real bread the night before. Bread cubes were browned in a pan on the stove, but this not yo” mama’s Stove Top. After sitting overnight, she added the seasonings and that’s it. Done. She made 3-4 loaves of bread so there was enough to eat raw and stuff the turkey. That turkey-stuffed stuffing…wowwwww…was that juicy and flavor-full smooshed pile of tastiness!

Since it’s just me and my husband in Michigan, our meal is smaller. Regardless, I can’t not make the stuffing because the food is sharing the holiday with Mom. She’s no longer alive, so this is how I share the meal with her. This is me inviting her to dinner.

Have I gone against the Weight Watchers creed and equated food with a holiday? Maybe. I have equated this one food with that one person, someone I miss dearly at this time because making stuffing was an activity we did together. I get it; food is part of the celebration of family.

And I make a mean, kick-butt stuffing that I like to think would make Mom proud.

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