Celebrating THON on this #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

Thanks for meeting us here at Miracle Coffee. It’s our annual tradition to watch the Penn State THON Total Reveal in a coffeeshop, and he chose here this time. He’s a fan of the blended Miracle Mocha. I’m trying that as a hot drink. *sip, sip* Mmmmm, if you like sweet, this is good hot or cold.


Check out the window reflection: perfect for THON

How was your week? We kinda celebrated my husband’s birthday on Monday. He flew out of town for a business meeting the next day–*”in New Jersey and the weather was terrible” he says*–yeah, his Tuesday flight was cancelled and his Friday flight was delayed. This weekend is more of his Birthday Week. Everyone should have one of those, or a Birthday Month. I highly recommend that!

I got some writing done, but my ROW80 goals, geez, those are a struggle. I’m not making an effort, I guess. You know how that is, the laundry takes over the cooking takes over the writing time takes over the TV time takes over the email time takes over…you get it. So here’s my embarrassing goal work:

1 & 6–I still haven’t published Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks. I haven’t touched it in awhile, really, because I got lost in the timeline and names and such. I need to make time to review that Scrivener email and stuff. Why haven’t I? You know, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a great form of procrastination: if I don’t know how to fix it, I can ignore it. The same goes for my memoir; I’m so focused on the messy rewrites that I can’t move forward. I’m stuck.

Do you ever feel that way? Yeah? Can you offer any suggestions?

2–I keep moving my search for a blog hosting site day-to-day, week-to-week, no matter how small I break down the tasks. It’s probably not hard–in fact, I’m probably spending more time shuffling it than the review will actually be–but I don’t know why I’m not making the time.

3 & 4–I am having fun with my planner, and that at least is keeping me on track with blog posts and to-dos. Unless I ignore them and move them to another week. *Smiles and sips coffee drink self-consciously*

Everything else–playing and reading and writing just for the thrill of it–I’m successful to moderate degrees.

Wait! It’s 3:15pm, and we missed Family Hour. Just as well; hearing the cancer stories of survival and watching the slideshow of those who will never see another THON always makes me cry. See? Hand me a napkin, please. *sniffle sniffle, wipes eyes*

Have I told you about THON? Maybe we talked about it when I briefly mentioned my alumni experience or back when I reminisced about my undergrad experience. It’s a group of Penn State students and alumni who raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that pays the doctor bills and traveling expenses for families of kids with cancer. It’s part of the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Yes, Hershey, the chocolate town, and after 43 years, we’ve raised:

$137.6 Million dollars.

Yes, million with a capital M. It’s the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Yes, World.

THON is in the last hour. Go Go Gadget is playing. Back when I danced, Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band was the go-to group, but they broke up and then the lead singer died about 15 years ago.

It’s 3:50. Almost time for the last Line Dance. I still sing some of the verses from dancing in my THON as an alumni 6 years ago. Yes, I danced as an undergrad and as a something-something-year-old woman. My partner and I will do it again in four years from now, every 10 years. Some people run marathons; I stand and stay awake for 46 hours.


What a magical countdown.


“Dancers, you may sit down.”

What magical words after 46 hours on your feet.

This year…hold on, the cards are being raised and flipped…I have 9.77 Million more reasons to be a proud Penn State alum.

Wow. *sniffles even more* What a great way to end the weekend: For The Kids.


Birthdays are in the details

“Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”~Ausonius, Roman poet

Another February 15th rolls to an end, another birthday for my husband curls up for a 365-day nap. Birthdays are in the little touches.


Bright balloon bouquets should greet very birthday boy and girl–no matter their age–when they walk through the door.


Pooh napkins and cupcakes for either chocolate/vanilla mood, complete with separate forks so flavor-contamination…or for sharing.


Don’t forget the Happy Birthday flags, a separate color for each cupcake.


To the last detail: birthday balloon bouquet tied with smiley face ribbon.


Don’t cover up words with a little red bow; let each one delight the gift. What’s fun without some Penn State-colored beads?


Hershey’s chocolates in a bedside kiss. Good night!

Autumn is the best season because…

“Today you are you, truer than true. There is no one alive that is you-er than you.”~Dr. Seuss, American writer

I don’t understand beach people or winter people when fall is the best time of the year.

Summer people vacation at the beach, ocean or lakeside. They sit in the sun and soak up the warmth, or develop skin cancer depending on your POV. They stroll along boardwalks and sit on lawns. They ride bikes on trails, or annoyingly along pedestrian sidewalks. They swim in outdoor pools and wander through bug-stinging forests. They get tan lines and wear sunglasses. They have ant-friendly picnics. They relax in a world of nothing to do. They’re sticky with sweat. span>

These are the first people to say “It’s hot outside” before dashing into air conditioned stores or shopping malls.

Winter people like to ski, sled or snowboard down hills and mountains. They get red noses and wear sunglasses. It’s an active season, but I don’t know what else winter people do.

These are the first people to say “It’s cold outside” before dashing into a fireplace-filled lodge for hot cocoa or booking a flight for a warm destination (see above).

There can be no complaints about fall. Leaves change color, so the world does not look lonely winter-dead. Plants don’t wilt from a lack of summer rain. There’s no need to complain about too hot or too cold; the weather is perfect for a light jacket, sweatshirt or even shorts depending on your body’s temperature preference. You won’t sweat and pass out from heat exhaustion. You won’t lose limbs or fingers from below-freezing temps. Your car does not overheat in the humidity, nor does it slide into trees on ice-covered roads. In fact, there’s less chance of deep flooding like you would experience with the spring rainstorms.

This is my favorite season to vacation for all those reasons and more. Football season starts, and while I am no fanatic, I enjoy seeing games in person for the atmosphere rather than watch on ho-hum TV. Apples and cider and hayrides are in full swing. Who doesn’t love Halloween? I mean, you either dress up for an excuse to throw a party or get bags of free candy. Really, how is either event bad? You can escape any rainstorm by watching Rocky Horror Picture Show inside a dry and vibrant theater with a zippy crowd.

School starts, and don’t tell me parents are not happy for that. College kids are back with friends, band activities and fraternity parties. Celebrating families at Thanksgiving is vital to the soul. You cannot deny that you fall is an awesome time of year.

My birthday is in September. My husband and I married in October. There’s no conflict finding vacation days. Hotel prices and airplane flights are cheaper, location-dependent, of course. There’s always a few days of that delightful “Indian summer” weather, just warm enough to remind us that there is sun in the world before the earth in cloaked in a white shroud. Our wedding day occurred on an Indian summer weekend, a Saturday that was also a Penn State football by-week. Perfection!

Fashion is perfect for any body type. There’s no self-conscious judging in a too-tight bikini or Speedo, and you can display or hide your figure in a bulky sweater or smooth-fitting long-sleeve shirt. It’s bright enough during the day but not blinding, and it’s dark enough at night to be romantic. No matter the season, you should always wear sunglasses.

Welcome Autumn!

Birthday fun, flowers and Zentangle

“It is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.”~Charles Spurgeon, British clergyman

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep, that’s me, boldly proclaiming the day the world was graced by my presence (“Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child…”). I was born on a Tuesday, just like today.


Pop-up flowers + yellow glitter smiley face = happiness

I never take work off on my birthday. Why would I miss the opportunity for the following exchange?

Random person: “Hi, how are you?”
Me: “I’m great! Today is my birthday!”
Random person: “Well, Happy Birthday. Let me buy you lunch/dinner/a Frappuccino.”

It’s been a low-key day, something I welcome after the long weekend past and the long weekend upcoming. Writing. Café Vanilla Frappuccino at Starbucks. Handmade pizza for dinner. Gifts and cards and a scrapbook kit, oh my! I wrapped the day up by tangling this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #184 while watching Major Crimes DVD, my favorite gift my husband gave me. And the flowers, delightfully fun paper flowers.


Tangle-ING Diva Zentangle Challenge #184

The tangle ING is simple: zigzag lines that connect together as triangles. I see a lot of possibility in this, but today I created a simple tile. Nipa was inspired by one of my Tuesday Tangled Lunch attendees today. It’s a fun, watery tangle, something flowing to break up the stark lines of ING.

A simple little Zentangle. A simple, relaxing birthday. Life is good.


Happy Birthday to me!

My book’s release date!

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”~Victor Kiam, American businessman

I. Have. Decided.
The memoir novel I am writing about the lessons my father taught me will be released on NOVEMBER 20, 2014.

Why that date, you ask? That was my dad’s birthday. Rather fitting, I think.


This was dad in a nutshell

Interested in getting a feel of what the book will be about? If so, check out my short story, Lessons From Dad: A Letter To You, available for the Kindle/Kindle app on Amazon for only 99-cents.

Feeling all warm and snuggly about that, I wrote a Dad-inspired Ku based on the theme prompt “Hold.”

Stay tuned for all the latest updates!

On Zentangle, poetry and napping

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”~Elbert Hubbard, American writer

It’s a long drive from Philadelphia to Michigan. A long drive. No matter how fast or pokey we are, it always takes 12 hours. I have been a zombie today.


A favorite ATC from Zentangle swap

It has been awhile since I worked on artist trading cards. A nudge in the creative direction was a CZT-sponsored swap. The challenge was to create a deck of 52 ATCs, similar to a complete deck of playing cards. We send them into the host, she mixes them up and swaps them with others, and in a few weeks we get each get a unique deck to show off and treasure.

How could I resist?

There was no theme, no rules, other than Zentangle had to be used somehow somewhere on the cards. Some cards I have seen posted on the Facebook page have been done with lace. Some created a large Zentangle Inspired Art in color or black and white, and then cut that down to ATC-sized cards.


Fun with Sharpie and paint

In an unexpected and unplanned nod to April’s National Poetry Month–the time we should receive our cards–I chose the theme of Found Poetry. What is that? The concept is to create poetry, however you perceive it, from existing text. You find words and phrases on a page of some book and connect them into a poem or a deep thought or just something fun.

Since I dabble in media and adore authentic items, I had a plethora of material to choose from. I used pages textbooks, Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine, recipe books, movie guides, novels and more.


My Rixty

Continuing the Zentangle theme is my contribution to Diva’s Weekly Zentangle Challenge #163. This week was to use the new official tangle Rixty named in honor of cofounder Rick’s 60th birthday. Happy Birthday, Rick. Happy tangling everyone. And happy napping to me.

In like a Lion…

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word….”~Leo Buscaglia, American writer

Another month done, another Photo365. That’s two down for 2014. The dirty snow piles in my neighborhood will not melt for another two months. You can see an example on Day 5. And Day 10.

Somehow, I was able to dig my way out to see a long-lost friend, teach a Zentangle class, make ATCs and discovered a new restaurant. I also went to Starbucks enough to earn free drinks through the Star Dash.


Love was in the air when I was treated to the Valentine’s Day gift I wanted: popcorn and The Lego Movie. Everything was awesome, everything was cool because my husband and I are a team. His birthday was the next day, and it started with my homemade cinnamon coffee cake.

I made use of the time indoors, as well. Made THON Dancer Mail and then watched the live webcast. More WiiFit. More Zentangle. More apps to steal my time away with fun play: this time, the new cartoon-creation Bitstrips and the ongoing Heyku which I am now posting regularly on Instagram. Evil. Delicious evil.

Two months into 2014. Have you created memories? Do you remember them? I do. That’s an element of my New Year’s Resolution: “Look up.” That means studying and noticing the details we might not normally pay attention to. Do you notice architecture on buildings? Have you looked into the eyes of someone you love and really see what color their eyes are? Are you experiencing your life in The Now?

As for the other element of my New Year’s Resolution–“Keep up”–well, that’s another matter.

A special unspecial birthday

“Everything is awesome; everything is cool when you’re part of a team.”~ theme song, The LEGO Movie

Happy Birthday to my husband.


The Valentine’s gift I wanted!

Being born the day after Valentine’s Day can be rough. One full day of being treated special followed by another full day of being treated special. At least his mom had the sense to wait a full month and a half after the holidays; December babies have it the roughest.

Still, I got more than I’d hoped for on V’Day. Some tea, artsy stuff, hand baked cookies and seeing The LEGO Movie.
So how does a wife top that? Start the day off with birthday coffee cake.


The blue and white candles were intentional

A day all about him. How often do we celebrate others, let alone ourselves? Clover Coffee brew at Starbucks with a game of Yahtzee. He won them both, and, no, I did not “allow” him to win. That was followed by a shopping adventure afterwards. Apple Scrapple bread from Great Harvest, the “scrapple” part meaning a totally different thing in Michigan than in Philly. Used record/CD store in Ann Arbor, Encore Recordings. Used bookstore in Ann Arbor, Dawn Treader Books (Yowza!). We said goodbye to the scrapbook store mega chain Archivers. Birthday prevening meal at California Pizza Kitchen.

Simple can be special. Team us!

eBook failure…or success? A month in review

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”~Winston Churchill, English politician

October 1 came and went, and I did not publish my eBook. That’s okay. Really, I’m okay with that. Zentangle and the scrapbooking style a la Tim Holtz has taught me a lot about releasing my expectations of perfection. It’s not an excuse. I accept responsibility. I set a goal, I didn’t make it, so I just keep going.

Lets face it, I’m a lot closer than I was last Tuesday when I didn’t have a scratch of ink on paper. Today I am in my second–and final–review/rewrite of the story. I’m not looking back; once edited, that paragraph doesn’t get touched again. The next time I see that section will be either in my end spellcheck or when I hit Publish.


Happy Birthmonth to me

For now, I focus on what I did accomplish. September was a cool month. It’s my birthday month. As a kid, I loved it because that meant the start of school and time to use those new notebooks. Yes, I was a paper nerd. Wait, was…?

The only downside is that you didn’t meet a lot of kids in class to become friends with, so birthday party attendance was at an all-time low. Not like March birthdays; those kids’ houses overflowed with attendees…and therefore gifts.

This past month, I received unexpected gifts. I was at home with my in laws to eat mom’s homemade cheesecake and play with their 8-month-old puppy. We never make the 12-hour drive this time of year, usually reserving that for longer breaks, like Christmas and New Years Day.

I cropped with friends. I saw friends in Chicago, including Jane from Arizona who happened to be in town seeing her daughter off for college. Speaking of college, I didn’t make it PennState like I wanted to, but I hung out with friends in hometown Pittsburgh and ate Creamery ice cream at the only store I know of that sells it outside State College.

There was Zentangle. There was writing. I crossed the 40-hour mark exercising on my WiiFit and earned a gold pig counter. I renewed my Notary Public license. I drove my car over her 150K miles. I played games. There was coffee, cupcakes and candy corn flavored Oreos thanks to my husband.

Yep, I accomplished a lot. I hope you did. Take a moment to appreciate those and to look forward. October…whew…that’s gonna be another great month, starting with the book publication by this weekend.

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