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.

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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.

10…9…8…7…6

What a magical countdown.

5…4…3…2…1

“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.

A #WeekendCoffeeShare of writing…failures?

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”~Margaret Mead, American scientist

If we were having coffee, I might be dozing off. It’s been a long week. I guess I haven’t caught up on sleep from last weekend’s trip to State College for the Penn State-Illinois football game. We ate too much, stayed up too late, shopped way too much, cheered until we couldn’t speak, and just other general alumni rowdiness.

My writing has fallen off this week, and I guess that’s just part of life, the universe and everything. I signed up for NaNoWriMo at 11:30pm on October 31, and my current word count is six, I think, and that’s because I typed in a proposed title. My idea with NaNo this year is bucking against the “rules” to write 50,000 words of one novel. I plan to write 3-4 short stories, easy enough to edit and ePublish by the end of the year. That’s a good use of my November, rather than draft another novel-I’ve-always-wanted-to-write just to have it sit in a file on my computer.

Other writing goals are sluggish. I did finish my Scrivener tutorial. What a mentally exhausting task that was. In the process, I seem to have muffed up the program itself, so I’m awaiting response from the developers to see what I did. MailChimp is proving to be not as easy as others said it would be, or else I’m making more of it than I should.

I haven’t submitted anything to my writers’ group in a few months, but I did discuss with them the options of self-hosting this blogsite and finally using the domain name I’ve been hanging onto for about 5 years. At least I planned ahead for that.

My husband’s off sulking because Penn State didn’t win this week’s football game. I’m a bit bummed myself. It came down to one play–a poor play call, even I could tell–but a lot of games this season have been won by one final play.

Grab an Oreo cookie to-go; we have plenty left from my Halloween blog party. Have a safe drive home, and I’ll see you next week.

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.

Penn State Blue-White Weekend 2015 in photos

“Life is one big road with lots of signs; don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality.”~Bob Marley, Jamaican musician

Sights for the senses from Blue-White Weekend, April 2015

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Welcome to the Bicentennial Diva Zentangle Challenge

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”~Martin Luther King, Jr., American activist

This week, we celebrate a milestone: 200 Diva Zentangle Challenges.

Wow.

I’ve been around since Diva Challenge 4: Stars in January 2011. What a change I’ve seen in my art, my tangling approach, in the Zentangle challenges themselves, and in everything going on in my life. Back then, I was not yet a CZT. I did not have a published book, let alone three. I was a social media holdout. This award-winning blog had been active for only nine months. Penn State football celebrated the 401st team win under coach Joe Paterno, making him the first college coach to earn over 400 victories (eventually earning 409 wins to become “the winningest coach in major college football”). I hadn’t heard about The Sketchbook Project. I had yet to meet some of my close scrapbooking friends. I finally trusted myself and submitted my first writing pieces for critique to the Deadwood Writers Group around that time, after observing the group for almost a year.

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Diva Zentangle Challenge 200 in Mooka

This week’s challenge was to use our favorite “go-to” tangles and create a monotangle, incorporating the number 200 into the design. My fallback tangle is Mooka. That tangle is quick to do, simple to create, and it is impressive alone or with other tangles. It’s made by drawing one continuous line, but it has this in-depth, 3-Dimensional illusion look to it, no matter how you vary the look of the tangles. Can you find my 200 in the design?

Happy 200 to Diva Laura and all fellow Zentangle enthusiasts and artists.

A bittersweet #tbt

The app I downloaded, Timehop, continues to amaze me with glimpses into my past.

I’m a scrapbooker, so I know a little about saving memories. But to see the immediacy, from a stranger, well, the sight is jarring.

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The Happy Couple at the Paterno Statue

Four years ago, my husband and I were in State College to watch history, again. We were in attendance for Joe Paterno’s 324th win, making him the winningest coach in college football history, surpassing Bear Bryant. On this day, the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrated their 400th win under the coaching skills of JoePa. That made him the first major college coach to achieve 400 wins in one college program.

Back then, the Paterno Statue lived outside Beaver Stadium, a photographic landmark for alumni, sports fans and historians. Sculpted in 2001, the statue was huddled between stone walls on which plaques listed the games Paterno coached at Penn State from 1966 to 2011.

It’s rumored that JoePa himself did not like the statue, but Penn Staters certainly did. And, yes, almost everyone did the Number One Pose.

The statue was removed from the site in the spring of 2012. Those of us who have photos of the statue treasure them, not just for the statue image itself but for the nostalgia and true memories the pictures bring.

We’re waiting for its return. Until then, the pictures remind us…of everything.

A #tbt for #PSU24 day

“What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”~Margaret Mead, American scientist

As a rule, I don’t like blogpost titles that includes hashtags. It’s a sloppy shortcut to do double-duty without proper social media promotion. But in this case, rules are made to be broken.

Today, Penn State University showcased a 24-hour look at all the various actions going on at campus. However, this event turned into its own World Campus as students, alumni, employees, students abroad, other campus locations and anyone connected to Penn State showed their pride.

I made my alumni contributions on Twitter, Vine, Facebook and Instagram. In case you missed my day, here are some highlights:

(A special shout-out to author Marcie Hill who reminded me that it’s okay to do a picture-only blogpost.)

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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!

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?

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