Dancing in memories: a reflection of April

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”~Peter Drucker, American businessman

Back to my regular blogging schedule now that the AtoZ Challenge has ended. Did I complete the challenge? No…and yes.

I did not post all of my alphabet posts on the day-of alphabet days. Why the delay? One: Life interfered. I took some vacation, had a minor house issue which required major effort to contain, and bought and installed a new computer and printer, the latter being not as easy a venture as I expected. The trip to State College to see the Penn State Blue-White game was the highlight. That involved daily Creamery ice cream cones, my husband’s first venture into The Phyrst bar, shopping, photos at the Lion and on the Beaver Stadium football field. That trip was followed by a mini-trip to visit his folks: dinner, a trip to quaint Doylestown and lots of puppy play time.

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The wonders of April 2015

I exercised more on my WiiFit–and it shows;
see Day 14–attended my friend’s book signing, bought three bags of used books for my Found Poetry Zentangle class next week and saw my baby turn 200K in our driveway.

Lots of little things make up one big life. Remember that.

But the second reason all of my AtoZ posts are not posted as of this blog post is that I wrote flash fiction in each of them. Flash fiction. It was spontaneous, not planned at all, but it takes time, more time than I expected. However, after Day One, I couldn’t stop; both for myself and for my readers. It was my first attempt at both flash fiction and AtoZ. My first time writing daily blog posts and daily storytelling.

Not the best idea I had.

So I’m extending the challenge posts throughout the month of May, rather than doing an info dump of alphabets on my readers.I hope you’ll come back and learn all the ways to Procrastinate a Writer. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe you’ll feel for Jayne and Tom, and who is that Newspaper Guy? Or maybe you’ll just leave hungry for cookies.

How to find daily happiness

“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories.”~Thomas Fuller, English clergyman

I got suckered into an April Fool’s joke, the first one played on me in…oh, years…. That’s why I didn’t expect it. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

April got better after that.

A friend of mine is participating in 100 Happy Days, an ongoing project where you force yourself to notice daily things that make you happy for the next 100 consecutive days. You take photos of each one as a reminder and share them socially with others as you are comfortable doing so. Yes, force yourself to be happy.

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30 days of happiness

I do something similar through this Photo 365 app, although I approach it from a scrapbook-memory-keeper aspect than a this-makes-me-happy POV. I would include photos of personal struggles or loss. That’s a historical context, but even the sadness is happy in a sense that I had that memory. I would have to say that every picture makes me happy.

This month, there are photos of me at the Penn State Blue-White spring football game. The game itself was not the draw, but the trip back to my home campus was. The Lion. The ice cream. The first time I ever laid down on the football field just like a PSU opponent after being tackled by our players. Then there’s all the things not captured in photos: a visit with my dear college friend; trying the Thursday daily special at Baby’s just because I’m never in State College on a Thursday; a photo op with the new football coach; the fellows who tried to pick me up in the hotel lobby (that’s right, I am cute but totally devoted to my husband); driving around campus with said my husband and sharing our undergrad memories.

That trip inspired the following week’s Throwback Thursday photo: me at the now-removed Joe Paterno statue that used to live outside Beaver Stadium.

The trip also preceded a visit to my in-laws, which produced great memories of family and the puppy.

Then there are the games played, both electronic phone-app games as well as Yahtzee with my husband. Us spending time together at coffee shops. seeing movies and dyeing Easter eggs with glitter that is still drifting through the house. Me spending time with pseudo-extended-family: art friends and writer friends. My writing was a focus, especially as I explored my haiku poet side through Ku, the app formerly known as Heyku. There’s also the grand success of my WiiFit adventures: for the first time, I achieved perfect 50-50 balance during the body test portion of the routine.

Looking back, how can I choose just one thing a day that makes me happy?

Green grass, family and four-legged licks

“Just play, have fun, enjoy the game.”~Michael Jordan, American athlete

Those are good words for both sports and for life.

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The Blue-White crowd was allowed on the football field after the game. It was a sunny 72-degree day, perfect for photos. The field is made of natural grass, a sturdy yet strong cover. I could nap there. Of course, I can nap anywhere. And it makes one cool picture.

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After the game, we made our traditional heading-out-of-town stop at The Creamery. The Cookies-n-Cream flavor was “hard,” and my server had to scoop and scoop to get any out of the tub. The result? My awesome, softball-size cone, wobbling as I took this picture. Weight Watchers; what’s that? It’s worth the Points because the ice cream comes from the milk that comes from the cows that are cared for on the farm located on edge of campus. Penn State started off as an agricultural school, after all. We piled a dozen yogurts into a cooler and then drove to Philly. We’re less than four hours away from my in-laws at this point, so how could we pass up a quick visit with my in-laws. And the puppy.

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Let’s face it: for my husband, it was all about the puppy.

A delight-full surprise, too. Family.
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Ever since we planned this trip, we’ve been talking to my husband’s brother and sister-in-law about them visiting.  Since we’ve been on the road for days, we asked if they would be able to drive down from New Jersey for a visit. They came, along with a surprise guest of our aunt, his mom’s sister. My husband and I haven’t seen her in years, so it was fabulous to visit and chat. A casual day, with mom cooking her famous pot roast and baking my new-favorite banana nut bread.
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Catching up on family news. My sister-in-law’s cats are doing mostly well. My husband’s brother is attacking work challenges head on. My father-in-law just got a new smartphone, literally yesterday. Mom and her sister are both busy with home stuff and family. The puppy, Lucky, now a year old, is still even-tempered and–as my husband is fond of saying–funny. .

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Sister-in-law selfie


Tomorrow is the long drive back. For today, we’re enjoying the good weather and good times.

Penn State in photos: Blue-White weekend

“Where we love is home–home that our feet may leave but not our hearts.”~Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., American writer

I’ve talked about home before. There is a difference between home, home away from home, home-home…and the like. Penn State is some funky combination of all of those, for both me and my husband.

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Mount Nittany: what a sight to wake up to!

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Me and my husband hangin’ with the new football leader, Coach James Franklin.

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Shopping in State College, outside Animal Kingdom, the cutest stuffed animal store on the planet.

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My choice today for The Creamery’s one-size ice cream cone is Keeney Beany.

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If you are visiting campus and don’t take a picture at The Lion statue, you are doing something very wrong.

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Sometimes you gotta shake up those traditional Lion photos.

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Only I could see the tangle Mooka in the stained glass window at The Deli.

And this is only Friday.

Triple D: Diva dares Di

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”~Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist

A quick and dirty post because I’m packing for a weekend in State College for the Penn State Blue/White spring football game. Us vs. Us! It’s a chance to see the debut of the new head coach and an excuse to eat Creamery ice cream.

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The Diva Zentangle Challenge #162 is to use your initials as the string. I’ve done a capital cursive D when the tangle Pendrils was introduced. This is my take on it now.

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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.

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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.

Ice cream, yinz scream

“Life is like an ice-cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time.”~Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist

So where am I spending my last day of Birthday Weeks for Sweet Pea? Well, I’m eating PennState Creamery ice cream, but I’m not in State College. Where I am, you can mix the flavors.

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Surprise! I’m in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Leave it to another PennState alumni with a store in the Strip District to make this wonder happen. And this is only part of my wonder-full weekend…!

Start and end the day with chocolate

“Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”~Alan Watts, English philosopher

The picture app a day perfectly captures my today: chocolate chip bread baked for me by my husband, Yahtzee at Starbucks, art time for me, dinner together of my beef pasta meal, culminating in a soft serve twist at Dairy King and this sight as we finished a walk in the park.

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Today was a good day.

Today is…

“Give me Liberty or give me Death By Chocolate.”~D.W. Hirsch, American award-winning writer and blogger

June 7 is a historical day in the world. Today is National Donut Day. 

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The last cherry Timbit looks so lonely….

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“Servings: 4”? Must be a misprint.

I heard late in the day that Dunkin Donuts was offering free donuts.  Tim Hortons had a limited selection by evening, but there were plenty of Timbits for me and my husband.  Before we ate them, that is.

Today is also National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Nothing beats Penn State’s Creamery ice cream. I’m embarrassed to show that I still have some of this left, bought at the end of April, almost two months ago. It’s also a very good thing. What better way to celebrate than with Penn State’s finest?

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