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.

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Books on the Horizon: do you read?

“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”~Walt Disney, American Cartoonist

If you’re a writer, do you read books?

You should. That’s what everyone says. However, if you’re a writer, how do you find–or make–the time?

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If you’re a reader, how much do you read? Do you think it’s “enough?”

I’m both a writer and a reader, but I am guilty of all that. I don’t make the time to read because I’d rather write, but when I write, I want the relaxing downtime of reading. I don’t know about you, but if I am not doing both writing and reading, then the world says I’m not a good person.

This never used to be a problem. I swallowed books in elementary school. Mom had to limit my Scholastic Book order in middle school. In high school, I wrote extra credit stories based on books I read outside the classroom.

What changed? I guess Life happened. That and the Internet.

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Haiku Horizons Week 79: “Brush” reminds me of my choices

Social media in all its forms has distracted us. When was the last time you used your phone to call someone? I did the other day because my uncle doesn’t have a computer. It was cool to hear his voice. The familiar Pittsburgh accent made me miss him and my childhood home even more.

It’s so easy to get sucked in by everything else. That’s when you realize you said “just 10 minutes” over an hour ago. And books are hard to carry. It’s a physical item we don’t need when Life is on our phone which fits in our pocket.

But we do need them. Books are a throwback to a time when we made real connections, not just Likes. Five years ago, as my Timehop app reminds me, I preferred and actually read real books.

Now I’m a published author with currently three books available electronically. I’m procrastinating with the physical printing of them through a service such as Smashwords because I see no immediate rush. Everybody reads eBooks, right?

I thought my Deadwood Writers Voicesblogpost would inspire me to read, but that book I once liked held no interest now. I was reminded of a YA vampire book series I adored, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer, and I bought but never got around to the final book. I also found a tattered paperback my mom read and adored, The Face in the Abyss by A. Merritt. I remember the big scary snake on the front cover, but I still read it because of her. I loved it because of her, and I’m sure it has inspired me in my writing today. That’s the thing about physical books, the touchy-feely inspiration.

I won’t remember how or if it did inspire me until I read it. And yet it sits on the table, unopened but with a bookmark in it. I can see it as I sit here typing….

Do you remember when…?

“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.”~Bo Bennett, American businessman

I didn’t intend that quote to be reflective of this blogpost; it’s just serendipity.

Today is December 1. I’m reading social media posts about personal success (or failure) of NaNoWriMo. I did not participate because I had other writing obligations that were more important to me this year than cranking out 50,000 words, but I know I would have won. I’m stubborn like that. My perspective on NaNo is that if you have more written words on November 30 than you did on November 1, then you succeeded. In that sense, I succeeded because I wrote more words in my memoir and in my Day-Night story.

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Since it is December, a lot of people are looking to the end of the month for the end of the year. I’m jumping in here to be a persnickety trendsetter and reflect on the past now. I hate getting lost in the flux of it all.

The Photo365 app reminds me of the month that has passed. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” November was exciting: hearing Alice Walker read her poetry in person; reading my current Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine article published as the centerfold; traveling to Illinois for the Penn State football game; wearing funky socks for funny feet; watching the new season of Major Crimes; and recalling family traditions.

I have become so dependent on my smartphone. The Timehop app accessed my past December 1s, and last year’s Photo365 calendar popped up.

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Even the Photo365 app has changed look

Last year, I participated in NanoWriMo and won. There’s a lot of NaNo in that month. Artwork and Zentangle. Games. Starbucks. Coffee. Thanksgiving stuffing once again. New restaurants. Random roses and holiday Peeps from my husband.

How awesome is that?!?

So many things that get lost in the shuffle, especially as we enter the Mega Holiday Month of December. Do you want to capture your memories? Just do this. Write a short journal entry. Scrapbook one 4″x6″ photo on an 8″x8″ page. Post a random conversation on Facebook. It’s as easy as that. Really.

Need some inspiration for a starting point? Check out the Fat Mum Slim blogsite for the Photo a Day challenge. There’s an app for that, and an active community on Instagram posting images.

I’m participating in the #fmsphotoaday challenge most days, having become more active on Instagram. “A natural social media site for you, a scrapbooker,” a friend commented. Come check out my Instagram images. I’ve almost reached 500 posts. Be there to witness the momentous event!

Consider the prompts as beginnings for a journal entry, a piece of art, or a Tweet. The idea is to be creative; how can you choose that creativity? Remember, if you save one more memory or create one more piece of art by December 31 than you did on December 1, you are a success.

I’m publishing a book!

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet

Well, here goes…. 

It’s been said that if you state something publicly, then you are held accountable for that action.  With that in mind, here I go, creating a deadline:  

I will publish my book on November 20.

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My book: Release date 78 days away

There, you have it.  There, I have it: a deadline.  Accountability. Motivation.  Or insanity.  

Whatever.  It’s all the same, really, just different degrees.

Writing. Rewriting. Editing. Kickstarting. Or Indiegogoing. More rewriting. Coffee-ing.

With all that going on, and a spur-of-the-moment, how-much-more-last-minute-can-I-be decision to drive down to South Carolina this weekend and receive my NFPW award in person. My Mom-Star Trek e-book is my first one published out in The Real World, and to win a National award is…well, I’m just damn proud of myself.

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Diva Zentangle #183

Oh, right, I got lost in all that self-congratulatory stuff. I’m just diving into this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #183. This week is a UMT (Use My Tangle) challenge featuring the tangle “X-did” by Annette Carlo.

I wasn’t feeling very Zen when I did this, but I adore X-Did. Dainty. Lacy. Delicate, like a snowflake. Or wrapping paper. Why I think that, I don’t know. It’s a fun tangle and I’m glad I had the opportunity to play with it.

Now off to write. or edit. Or drink tea; coffee is for later in the writing stage.

My Star Trek is a winner

“Art is the daughter of freedom.”~Freiedrich Schiller, German writer

I AM A WINNER!

How totally cool is this? My first published eBook, Mom, Star Trek and Las Vegas: A Grand Adventure, won THIRD PLACE NATIONALLY in the annual NFPW Communications Contest.

The National Federation of Press Women is open to media professionals in every aspect of communications, from print to radio to TV and beyond. I have been a member for almost 10 years, joining when I moved to Delaware and had regular columns in newspapers and magazines.

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Awesome and award-winning book!

This is my book’s synopsis: Have you ever been brainwashed by your parents? I have, and one of those events is Star Trek. You don’t have to be a science fiction fan to connect with the quirky love expressed between parent and child. If you’re a Trekkie (or Trekker), take this walk down memory lane and remember your humble fandom beginnings.

And I won. Little ol’ me. Not that I need outside justification to be a “real” writer but…it is really is awesome when That happens.

Damn, I’m a great writer!

To publish a book–and to win–is to boldly go where I have not gone before.

It is with that same boldness I approached this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #178.  Actually, this one was pretty easy: use your name as inspiration for the tangles you use.

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My D-String

Double bonus here because the initial of my first name makes an awesome string.  I’ve done this before a few times, and I always love the look of it. This tile is no different.  I used tangles I haven’t touched in months (dare I say years?) and still found a balance of light and dark in my Zentangle.

My first name, Diana, is represented by Drupe. It was the only tangle I drew in any named order. I used Vitruvius to honor my given middle name from my Dad’s sister, Aunt Virginia. That is a tangle…well…my gosh, I forgot that existed! My maiden name was Wolf, and I changed that to my middle name when I got married to honor Dad.  Double meaning, W2. It worked well given the large interior space in the D.

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D.V.W.H.

My married name, Hirsch, gets a bonus tangle because I had five segments to fill. Hibred is a cool border tangle I used inside W2 to mask a misstep in the tangle’s official step outs. I needed to take my time with Hurry because it had to fit inside the small loop. A smidge of shading and ta-da!

Vitruvius. it just now occurs to me why that word sounded so familiar. That’s the name of the spectral wizard who brings all Master Builders together to fulfill the Prophecy in The Lego Movie. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman architect and chief of the artillery experts who operated the military machines. He is the sketch drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, the human body spread out clock-like as if trapped inside a world.

Bet you didn’t expect a history lesson here. I didn’t expect to write one, but it is summer break, so everyone needs to keep their minds exercised before school starts in September.

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