Pens, steak and squirrels, not necessarily in that #WeekendCoffeeShare order

If we were having coffee….

*yawn* Pardon me, I just woke up from a nap on the Lovesac. Go ahead, sink into the oversized adult beanbag while I get a cup of coffee. My day started too early subbing for someone at work, starting at 6:45am. People were just weird this morning, and then a woman gave me this red pen. It made my day.

Until you stopped by, of course.

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Right-hand, mid-forefinger heals!

Good news: the doctor says my finger is healing as expected. I will still do exercises because even though the fracture has mostly healed, it could take up to a year for the swelling to completely disappear and my finger to heal. Have you ever broken anything? Let me tell you, this journey has been frustrating. I feel good, but then I wake one morning with swelling for no good reason, and then some days I can bend it well and some days it feels stiff and sore. I’m so happy I’m doing well, but it’s frustrating. I have no control, and that’s really annoying.

What’s not annoying to me is the latest Geico TV commercial with the squirrels. Have you seen it? A mother is talking to her son about squirrels being back in the attic and the father’s decision to not call the exterminator. “He says it’s personal this time.” I love that line! Wherever I’ve lived, from my childhood home to my dorms and apartments, I’ve always lived on the top floor. Because of that, I’ve always heard rooftop noise, be that puddling rain or curious scamperings. My first night in one New Jersey apartment, I wrote a poem about that for my Journal Club. It made me feel not so alone. Anyway, back to the point, I hear those same scrabblings in our house here. Do you hear anything? It could just be me, but I wonder if I have squirrels, like Mom and I always wondered if that strange light in the sky was an airplane or a UFO. We were always disappointed.

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Did you do anything for Paczki Day–or Fat Tuesday, as it is known everywhere outside of Michigan? Here the big thing is basically stuffed donuts, I guess like beignets for Mardi Gras. This year, I got a mix of flavors from Busch’s up on 5 Mile. Last year, we got “authentic” ones from Dearborn through the local corner market up the street. Mangos Fruit Market closed in September, and I miss the fresh lettuce, local pastries and the homemade turkey chili. We could use some of that today.

Enough about food. I’ve got to get ready for dinner tonight. My husband is taking me out for dinner to Morton’s Steakhouse. We’ve never been, and I have to find an outfit that is both classy–just because I like dressing up–and practical, because the parking lot might be a little icy. Let’s catch up again next week.

A Super-Bawl #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

Isn’t this place cool? It was great to rediscover No.VI Coffee last month when a friend checked in on Swarm. I’m usually only up this way when I have a particular doctor appointment, which I did a few days ago. Remembering that checkin, I came here to write all afternoon–I was quite productive–and raved about the place to my husband. We’re always on the search for new coffee shops to visit, so that’s why we’re here today. Thanks for meeting us here.

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Such a polite sign….

As I said, writing was productive after the crazy start to my week. I did some blog posts, critiqued the pieces for my writer’s group, and did some blogging and planning. Yeah, I haven’t touched my memoir or Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks in a few weeks, and I’m feeling really guilty about that. There’s so much I want to do, need to do, and stuff keeps falling through the cracks between my laptop keys.

My husband’s enjoying time on his tablet, so we have time to chat. Want another cup of the Mocha Java French press? It’s good, right? Until you get to the very bottom, that is, so enjoy it now.

Get this: for some reason, I felt compelled to open my Timehop app. By connecting your social media, it shows the history of you. Well, on this date three years ago–it was a Thursday–I was sitting in this very shop also eating breakfast. It was a Caribou Coffee then, but now it’s a local shop.

This is the first time Timehop has gone back 6 years. I really didn’t get into social media until 2010, which blows my mind in so many ways. On this day, I was prepping for THON and just connected with my Moraler. Gosh, the thought of that still makes me cry and….

Sorry, give me a moment. Hand me that napkin, please. Thank you.

*wipes eyes in a self-conscious but thoroughly happy way*

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February 7: A Day in my History

Sorry, just the mention of THON always brings tears. Not in a sad way but in a super duper happy proud way. I danced as an undergrad, and six years ago I had the honor of raising enough money to dance for the THON Alumni organization, DMAIG. Yes, 46 hours awake and your feet to raise money for children’s cancer. I’ll tell you more about it later; I just can’t talk anymore.

*sniffs into a third napkin*

Have you ever done something so worthy, something so proud, that you can’t forget it? That’s THON for me, the greatest thing Penn State has done and will ever do.

It’s a sunny day out, and he’s getting a bit antsy in here. It’s a sunny, snow-free day, super-nice for February in Michigan. Let’s head out for a drive, or maybe a wander around a bookstore. It’s great sharing today with you. What’s new in your world of magic?

A new year, a new #WeekendCoffeeShare

If we were having coffee…

It’s kinda nice to get out of the house, isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s not like I’ve been cooped up all week–far from it!–but sitting in this Starbucks gives us some space to spread out. Too bad that local coffee shop in Maple Glen closed. It was charming. They started a tab for me the last time I was there. How cool was that? How dangerous was that? I wanted to show my husband, but alas. I was hoping we’d meet there, too, but this is the best we’ve got at 6:12pm.

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Happy New Year in Philly

Happy New Year! How did you spend yours? My husband and I were crossing the highway hand-in-hand when everyone tooted horns and yelled out windows. We made it to Sugarbush Casino to see the fireworks over Philadelphia. Much warmer than last year, and this spot in Philly is easier to get to. Maybe you’ll be in town to join us?

My gosh, a worldwind week: shopping in New York City; train ride from New Jersey; craft stores in North Wales here; mall shopping at King of Prussia and here in Montgomery Mall; coffee shops everywhere; and so much more. The weather was great all week.

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Believe in the magic of Christmas and window displays

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Celebrating in the City and beyond

It was in the 40s when we were in the City, perfect for walking around. Times Square was the most crowded, maybe because some streets were already blocked off for the ball drop the next day. The Macy’s window displays were creative. The bookish geek in me adored the Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus display, but the Charlie Brown animatronic windows were divoon. My favorite was the Red Baron one with Snoopy decorating his dog house in lights then taking off into the sky among fireworks. The way the curtain of clouds revealed the story made everyone gasp.

We found some fun Starbucks Christmas tree ornaments and exclusive Times Square mugs. It rained only as we got to Penn Station for the train home, and of course we got roasted nuts. No trip to the City is complete without nuts.
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The Penn State bowl game yesterday was a loss, but it wasn’t. My husband and I watched the game with the Montco Penn State Alumni Chapter. They hosted it at a bar and provided free appetizers. The final score was 24-17 Georgia, but our team came back with two 4th quarter touchdowns to make it a game at the end. It all came down to the last play of the game, and it was a real effort. No one gave up, and we don’t feel bad about the outcome. Okay, we hoped they would win, but the soul and the spirit that the players showed was enough for me to feel proud about it all.

I did get some writing done, as well as some writing organization. I didn’t touch Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks once I chose not to publish by December 31, but I did some blogging, some planning for blog and writing time, and I’m catching up on my much-neglected social media.

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Lucky the puppy flops on the stairs waiting for head and tummy scritches

It’s strange that people are going back to work tomorrow, but we’re still on vacation until Wednesday. Not that I mind. It’s been nice visiting with my in-laws and the puppy. Eat, nap, scratch, eat, sleep…oh, the life of a dog. I feel like that today since I’m sleeping in tomorrow.
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Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I haven’t, and I don’t intend to. It’s complicated but really simple: I don’t want the pressure. I’m being kind to myself that way, but that’s why this whole writing-planning thing is important. I’m setting goals and striving towards them, which is different than “resolutions.”

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Together time: he whooped my butt in air hockey

It’s been all about food. There was brunch last Sunday, pizza from another delicious hole-in-the-strip-mall Italian restaurant here, more pizza in the City, homemade lasagna, Wawa subs and…. Let me say that I’m looking forward to getting home if only to eat “normal” food and exercise on my WiiFit.

It’s really been all about family. And the puppy. My husband and I had together time, we talked with his folks around the dinner table a few nights, we played with the puppy, stuff like that. His folks are getting older, so it’s good that we make these times to be together. Make no mistake, I wasted many hours playing games on my phone and watching YouTube videos, but we were here in the house with them. Sometimes just being is enough.

Care for more coffee or tea? There’s free in-store refills for Starbucks Gold Card members, and I have yet to hear what you’ve been up to. How was your week?

A Storm-y haiku on the horizon

“We can only learn to love by loving.”~Iris Murdoch, Irish author

There are a lot of phone apps out there to make writing more fun and creative. My current favorites include There’s Notegraphy, which adds different styles to the text you write. InstaQuote allows you to alter font style and size as well as backgrounds and emoji. Use Your Handwriting translates the text that you write–print or cursive–to create a specialized style that adapts to your handwriting the more you use it.

These are free, or mostly free, in the iPhone app store, but I’m not sure what is available for Android phones. Can you Android users add to this list?

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There are many more apps to combine words with photos, but that’s a creative exploration for another day. I’ve been using the three listed above to play with my poetry I place on my social media accounts as well as on this blog. I love using them for the Haiku Horizons weekly challenge. This week we’re up to Week 85 with the theme “storm.”

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One app I played with is HaikuPopper. It’s a random word generator game, giving you 60 seconds to create a 5-7-5 haiku from the words that scroll down the screen. I’ve created some fun, silly, stupid, unintelligible, confusing and clever haikus using that. Today I tried to create something representing the sense of storm, and on my second try, I came up with something that conveys the idea without using that specific word. “Storm” just did not pop up in my list.

What are your thoughts on my poetic creations?

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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Writer procrastination, brought to you by the letter B

AtoZ-LetterB-2015

Welcome to Day B of the A to Z Challenge. What you will learn this month is: 26 Ways to Procrastinate a Writer
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2. The second way to procrastinate a writer: BEACH balls

Granted, just about any ball will do, but some options are better. Bouncy balls are hard and tend to play hide-n-seek with you, winning because they lodge themselves under the couch and hunker down until you get new furniture. Footballs can break windows, and baseballs can knock over frames and break glass. Very few houses have a basketball court hoop in their living room. Nerf balls are soft but bland: their bouncing consists of a soft plunk on the carpet or a withering slunk down the wall. A desktop basketball Nerf combines both, but this game may become annoying as the writer gets up every 15 seconds to pick up the ball just to toss and miss again.

The beach ball is ideal because there are multiple sizes to coordinate with a small office or a large deck, and since it is soft plastic filled with air, the risk of physical or material damage is minimal. In fact, there is a pleasant pa-doink sound when the ball hits someone on the head. The beach ball makes a great distraction as the urge for a writer to play overwhelms the task of typing. Setting a beach ball back and forth across a room or in a circle of chairs reminds the writer that there is a world outside their cramped computer desk or writing corner, and one should never let Life pass you by. Finally, the colors are cheerful green-yellow-red-blue, reminding the writer of tropical vacations and relaxing times under palm trees, thoughts more worth ruminating on than writing–unless the writer is crafting a fun-filled sandy scene. Writers, however, rarely write fun stuff that doesn’t feel like work to them, so this is an unlikely situation.

Jayne is Write Beside Herself

“Tomorrow’s Friday,” Tom said in his teasing voice.

“Yes, it is,” Jayne replied, tossing peppers into the stir-fry.

Friday, she thought. The end of a week, another great, unproductive writing week. Yeah, Tom can relax, but not me. I haven’t earned that. Unless. Well, I can get up early Saturday morning and get some writing done before Tom gets up. Maybe he’ll want to visit his folks, and I’ll just say that I need some time to…to what? To finish my character, yeah. If I knuckle down and bang out maybe 2000 words or 5000 more, I can drive over there in time for dinner. Then I can relax and maybe we’ll see a movie.

Better yet, she continued thinking, maybe he’ll want to hang with his friends. That’ll be great, I won’t have to make up an excuse or anything.

Jayne turned around to look at Tom. Please let it be that.

“The weather’s supposed to be good,” Tom said. “Do you want to go to the beach on Saturday?”

Jayne felt her brain muscles freeze, her mind and vocal chords struggling for dominance. She pushed the vegetables around in a circle then pushed them into each other “That sounds nice,” she said, taking a breath, but the pause said more than her words.

“Or I can go and just scam shorties at the beach,” he laughed, raising his eyebrows.

“Ha, ha. If you think you can find better than me out there, go for it.”

Tom walked out of the room, and for a moment, just a moment, Jayne thought he might be serious. When he didn’t come back in, she wondered, Did he just go to the bathroom or is he in our bedroom packing? That’s just silly. She concentrated on making sure each piece of broccoli had the same amount of oil on it before she added the chicken. Did she miss a spot on that side of the pan?

“Look what I found in the closet,” Tom called. Two seconds later, there was a white-blue blur to her left and a soft pa-doink on her head a heartbeat later.

“Owww, Tom, what the–? You almost spilled dinner.”

Tom strolled around the kitchen and grabbed the beach ball off the counter. “Sorry,” he said. “Remember when we got this?” He tossed it up in the air. “We drove down to see that band last year.” He tossed it up in the air again. “Everyone was tossing beach balls, and you were smiling so much.” Tom bounced the ball on his wrist. “I bought you this as we left.” He caught the ball and held it secure on the counter.

Of course she remembered that. He asked her to move with him the following Friday, over dinner at– The memory caught her as she studied the stir-fry. They were eating at Stu’s Stir-Fry Studio when he asked. She’d had the beef special. Special. Their restaurant.

She looked at Tom; he stared at her, but he might have well been staring through her heart. “Sure that sounds nice. I could use a break from this.” She tossed the chicken in and heard it sizzle.

<to be continued>

Today, I am not my Father’s Daughter

“Serious art is born from serious play.”~Julia Cameron, American writer

My father’s number one rule, the most important lesson he taught me, was to “Get Out,” as in, don’t stay indoors. You rot without human contact, breathing fresh air, seeing and hearing the world in present, not on a TV or radio. This is one reason older people become “shut-ins,” because with no purpose to get out, they become afraid of the world. Despite the good health to venture outside, indoors becomes safe, familiar and comfortable.

Today I do not feel like going out, and I don’t know why.

No, I do know why.  And that’s what makes me nervous.

I’m reading a memoir that is making me moody, tense, uncomfortable with its truths. It’s the sign of a good book when an author can pull out emotions from a reader, but I don’t appreciate that right now. Does every memoir have to be a Shakespearean tragedy? I’m still trying to figure that one out. I miss my husband, travelling on business this week. I’ve used my Weight Watchers’ allotted Points for the day, and I haven’t had dinner yet. The gala apple I just ate wasn’t the freshest or sweetest. I’m frustrated with my current Zentangle challenge because the tangles aren’t flowing for me. The clothes dryer is not working, awaiting a tech on Thursday. I am behind in my Facebook social media, and I hate the obligation associated with that, but there is a professional need to do so this week; now, actually.

I haven’t written or edited in a few days, still reeling from my cold last week. There are no good reruns or episode marathons on TV right now. I am running through my current DVD present, NCIS: LA Season One, going on my third viewing-through. I have yet to finish a scrapbook calendar gift, and yes, I know today’s date closes in on the end of January. I’ve been stuck there, and I haven’t felt motivated to create any additional art. Writing this blog post is the only thing that’s giving my today purpose.

At least our Keurig is still working, but I’ve dumped two cups of coffee for over/under brewing it, or I over sweetened/lightened it.

Dad would have found a way to get out of the funk, even despite the cold, snowy weather outside the door. Today, I am not my Father’s Daughter, but I am not my father. Maybe I need to experience these moments to appreciate going out. Or maybe these are the dark days that challenge me.

Now who’s sounding like the Elizabethan tragedy?

Why is it always cold and rainy on Halloween?

“Life is one big road with lots of signs.”~Bob Marley, Jamaican musician

I’m in Michigan and it’s the end of October. It’s no surprise that the weather is cold and rainy this time of year, but it’s Halloween and the temps are extra-cold and extra-drippy. What’s the point of having an awesome costume when it’s just going to be hidden under a winter coat? Will we have enough trick-or-treaters to even go through one giant bag of candy? We have two.

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It may be cold outside, but it’s snuggly-er in Starbucks as we finalize my Indiegogo campaign

I grew up in Pittsburgh, so I’m no stranger to cold and blustery Octobers. I don’t recall it ever being this consistently cold or nasty-wet outside as a kid. I walked around in whatever costume I made and got candy. Period. Maybe I just grew older–not grew up; that’s no fun–and became more sensitive to the weather and chilly toes? Maybe my hometown was just far enough south from Michigan that temperatures were mild enough so that costumes did not need to be covered up?

Anyone who talks about “global warming” has not lived in Michigan in the fall. Don’t get me started on the winters here.

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Is Catnap thoughtful or sad…?

Do you know what the ideal Halloween costume is? It is some sort of school mascot or movie monster, some character where you get to be inside a large, fuzzy outfit. That way you’re warm enough to not need a coat, and your costume is not covered up by a coat. Perfect!

We may not have Trick-or-Treaters, but the Halloween Blog Party is still goin’ strong. My Guys know how to party. Stop by to party along with everyone.

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It’s festive inside our house

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Memories from last year: back when Foursquare was fun

A peek inside the life of a writer

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

Take a peek inside a morning in the life of a freelance writer (me!):

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Start the day off with a spooky cup of coffee

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October in Northville, MI means the Skeletons Come to Town

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Blog writing with Office Guys, chicken-cheese crepe and hot tea.

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The chilly view from my warm, snuggly table inside Next Chapter Bookstore

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When you can see the tea leaves, you know it’s good stuff

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Spinning spider webs above Northville Town Square

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