Sabbatical






Sometimes you have to step away from something in order to see it clearly and truly appreciate its beauty. Stick your nose right up against Monet’s Water Lillies and all you’d see is a glump of single color. No magic there. Back away a bit, though, and the impact just might take your breath away.

The time has come, I think, for me to apply that truth to my online life. I need to step back, close my eyes, and breathe. Not forever, but for a while. I feel the need to distance myself short term in the hope that it will improve my perspective, renew my appreciation, and reset my balance. I’m giving it a month.

For a while now (quite a while, really), most of the time I spend online is spent doing nothing. I’ve been frittering away my time, the most precious commodity of all. I need to change that.

I’ve heard people say that health is the most important thing, or love. Some of the more foolish think it’s money. Those are all fabulous gifts, but on the sliding value scale of crap to cream, time is what wears the rubied crown.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for a pile of money to fall into my lap. If you’ve been considering the beauty of shoestring living and feel that ridding yourself of your worldly goods could help you to live more authentically, I’d be happy (Thrilled! Delighted! Over the moon!) to take your savings and stuff off your hands. I just want you to be happy. I’m good like that. ;O)

Hold on a sec, I think I got a little off track. Where was I? Oh yeah, time. Time is the good stuff. More precious than money, more valuable even than love or robust health. After all, even if you are pink-cheeked, well-loved, and plated in 24-karat gold, you have to have time in order to enjoy those blessings. Run out of time and boom-shaka-laka, you’re done. Adored or despised, marathon-running or barely held together by the miracles of modern medicine, ramen-noodle-eating or lobster-feasting, it makes no matter. You’re still done.

I don’t believe in sin, at least not in the way it is most commonly defined. I don’t think we chalk up credits and demerits that will one day be tallied to determine whether we spend eternity sitting on clouds with harp-playing angels or shoveling coal into a relentlessly ravenous furnace. I do, however, believe there are a host of crimes against oneself that people commit, and pissing away our time has to be near the top of that list.

I’ve been committing that crime. Habitually, knowingly, purposefully. It has to stop.

It will stop.

It stops now.

I’ll be 100% offline for the month of July. Well, 99-point-nine-something percent because I have a commitment to comment and tweet a couple of times for the BlogHer Book Club, but doing those should take all of about two minutes one week and another two the next. That’s it, though.

No email. No online research, joke reading, comparison shopping, or please-deliver-that-right-to-my-door shopping. No Facebooking. No blog reading. No blog posting. No blog anything.

Blogger’s lovely scheduling-ahead option means my Sunday GBE topic announcement blogs will post right on schedule because they’ve already been written and are slated to go live on the correct dates. A sweet friend and GBE member has agreed to post the topics each week to the GBE wall over at its headquarters on Facebook, so life there will go on as usual, too.

I’ll miss you guys. Interacting with and nurturing relationships with you is the one thing I do online that is decidedly not a waste of time. My hope is that you’ll still be here when I return; that you’ll afford me this space and at its end, we’ll still have what we’ve always had.

I’ll be back in August.




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I'm posting this a few days before the end of the month on purpose. If you are not yet a member of the GBE but would like to join, please click the above link and request membership. I'll be checking in here and there through June 30th, but then not again until August 1st, so if you request membership during July, please be patient and know that I'll happily add you in when I return.

Oh, and you wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. I found today’s image on Wikimedia Commons and am comfortable using it because it is considered public domain.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #58: “Strength”






GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #58: “Strength”


As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 280 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and people always ask what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (6-30-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Strength

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth


***SPECIAL NOTE*** I’ll be off the internet (on purpose!) for the month of July. I’ve scheduled topic announcement posts for each Sunday of the month, so you can still check here for like normal for your prompt. Jo, sweetheart that she is, will be posting the topics on the group’s Facebook page each week, so it’ll be pretty much business as usual over there, too.

If you are not a current member of the GBE on Facebook, please note that I’ll be approving new memberships until June 30th and then again after August 1st.




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You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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Two Days Ago







Two days ago, I swam with my daughter and her two little ones. My granddaughter, soon to be seven, and I were mermaids. We peeked up over the edge of the pool, careful to avoid being seen by any humans. My daughter twirled with her youngest to the beat of the tunes from my iPod that came through the outside speakers. His face was lit with the brand of joy trademark to those nearing their third birthdays, and watching them made me tear up a little. After, we sat on the patio and my daughter put her hand on her growing belly. “This one’s a kicker,” she said, and I smiled. I had a good mother and I’m a good mom, but I know no one who is as good a mother as my daughter. That she and her husband are having another baby makes me happier than I can say.

Later, I got repeatedly whooped by my card-shark of a grandson, who looks forward to blowing out six candles in August. I don’t let him win; winning and losing are part of life, so when I play with the kids, they learn to handle both victory and defeat with equal grace. He’d tell you that he wins far more often than he loses, though, and he’d be right. When his little sister woke from her nap, I scooped her up, kissed her cheeks and her belly, then we cuddled up and grinned at each other. She’s a beautiful baby, and brilliant, too. At just four months, she repeats the sounds that I make. I say “ooh” and she says ooh. I say “aah” and she says it back to me. I say “Grammy” and she…smiles at me. We’re still working on that one.

Two days ago, my son called to tell me a funny story about something that happened at work. He calls most every day. Sometimes our conversations last just a few minutes, sometimes longer. He calls even though at the end of the day, he’ll pull into my driveway and come in to pick up his kids. That time is shared, though, with his children and me and his dad. The phone calls are ours alone and I smile every time his name pops up on my phone. He hung out for a little while and then packed the kids in the car so they’d get home at about the same time as his wife and they could all have dinner together. I watched as he secured the kids in their seats and pulled away, and I wondered where the time went.

Two days ago, I had Pad Thai for dinner with the sweetest man I know. We talked about his day and mine, and about the trip we’ll be taking in a few weeks. He made coffee and loaded the dishwasher. I turned down the bed and set the alarm. The last thing I heard before I drifted off to sleep was his whisper and I woke the next morning to find him curled against me, his knees tucked perfectly behind mine, his breath warm in my hair.

Two days ago, I counted my blessings. Today, I counted them again.




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Written for this week’s GBE topic, “Two Days Ago.” If you’d like to blog with us, just clickety-click. All are welcome!

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog. Today’s images courtesy of Morgue File, which offers lots of wonderful, free images for public use.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #57: “Two Days Ago”






GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #57: “Two Days Ago”


As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 270 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and people always ask what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (6-23-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Two Days Ago

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth




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You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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The Artist’s Way: Planting and Tending a Creativity Garden






I’m a notebook girl. No, you don’t understand: I’m a notebook girl. See that pic up there? I didn’t have to move an inch to gather those. Yeah, ten notebooks all within arm’s reach. Crazy, you say? Quite possibly.

Suffice it to say I don’t mind writing in longhand. Some of my best ideas come to me at odd times and I’ve learned from experience that if I don’t jot them down—and sometimes flesh them out—right away, they flutter off quickly, leaving just a hint in the air of something delicious that I foolishly let pass without taking a bite.

Because I’m fond of paper and pen, but equally enamored by the computer, when the opportunity arose to try out My Artist’s Way Toolkit, I was all over it. I was somewhat familiar with Julia Cameron and her book, The Artist’s Way, which among other exercises, asks writers to commit to writing “morning pages.” Morning pages are just what they sound like—pages written first thing each morning. Three, to be exact. In longhand. Three early morning longhand pages of whatever comes to mind, be it lush words of literary brilliance or scattered accounts of worries and complaints. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, I thought.

I was wrong.

My alarm goes off at five-flippin’-thirty on weekdays and I usually scowl at it and then lie in bed until the realization comes that I have zero minutes remaining if I intend to get to work on time. Being the responsible girl that I am, I get my fanny in the shower and get on with it. The writing of morning pages means that the alarm must be heeded at first blast, something that puts me in more a frame of mind to pen scathing diatribes than gorgeous words of wit and wisdom.

I don’t like morning pages. Afternoon pages? Sure. Evening or late-night pages? Absolutely! Morning pages might hold more appeal were I retired or otherwise privy to leisurely sunrises, but at this juncture, morning pages are mean little bitches determined to poke me in my bleary eyes.

Okay, so morning pages are not my cup of tea. That’s okay, I did them anyway. I said I would, so I did. Besides, there’s more to the toolkit than just early morning free-writing. There are weekly Artist’s Dates, for starters. One assignment each week to take the writer away from her desk in order to spark something. I’ve done four:

  • Visit a part of your city or town (a safe part) that you are unfamiliar with. I strolled through town using the alleys, rather than the sidewalks. Alleys do provide a different view—guys at work in their garages, kids playing in their backyards or splashing in swimming pools. Dogs bark at fence lines, some tethered, some free and intimidating. I wouldn’t say I was inspired, but I did come across some gorgeous flowers, giant purple blooms that looked a bit like daisies on steroids, made even more beautiful by the way they peeked between the pickets of a crisp white fence. The homeowner told me they were some species of clematis, but since there are 300ish, that didn’t really narrow it down a whole lot.

  • Go to a candy shop and buy yourself some of your favorite kind of childhood candy. I got cotton candy. On a stick--not in a bag like they have at fairs. Cotton candy on a paper cone, and it was fabulous. I picked pieces off at first--grown up style—and then pulled a small bit with my mouth. Better. Little dark pink dots appeared on the fluff where it was moist. A six-year-old in a fifty-year-old body. Good stuff.

  • Visit a great second-hand or thrift shop. I have to admit that this did spark something. Pieces of furniture with history, knick-knacks, and other items brought to mind possible stories of previous owners. And yep, I had a notebook with me (was there any doubt?).

  • Go to the beach alone, leaving all books, cellphones, or other distractions behind. Walk, breathe, listen. Yeah, no. Beaches here are anything but quiet and likely to spur solitary creativity. Instead, a "virtual" beach visit had to suffice. Kind of lacking.



In addition to the morning pages (blech!) and the artist’s dates (yay!), My Artist’s Way Toolkit provides Artist’s Exercises and room to write about them on each page. The four that came my way were:

  • Take your artist for a walk, just the two of you. A brisk twenty-minute walk can dramatically alter consciousness. Below, record reflections you made on this walk.

  • If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?

  • Describe three old enemies of your creative self-worth. Please be as specific as possible in doing this exercise. Your historic monsters are the building blocks of your core negative beliefs. Select and write out one horror story from your monster hall of fame.

  • Have you felt discouraged by any feedback you've recently received on your art? Write a "letter to the editor" in your defense.


Those exercises really did offer some insight, not all of which I’d care to share. I will say that they were instrumental in my decision to stay off the internet for the month of July. I’m thinking that will be a good thing.

The online Toolkit also has tabs for “Creative Pages” and “Creative Notes,” but after weeks of use, mine remained blank. Remember, I have lots of notebooks for that stuff. The front page of the toolkit also has inspirational/motivational quotes from Julia Cameron, and clickable little soundbites of the same. Nice, but I like Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handey better. :OD

All in all, I think the Toolkit is pretty cool. I think for me, I’d prefer the book to the online version, mostly because I’d like to be able to pick through the dates and exercises randomly, rather than having the assignments doled out in a specific order on a set timeframe. Plus, there’s my preference for writing a lot of my initial stuff in notebooks, rather than on the computer, so the book format would be better suited to my style.


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My Artist's Way Toolkit







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Just so you know, I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.


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Channeling Erma






Erma Bombeck shared herself and her life as a wife and mother with warmth and humor. She was able to write about the oh-so glamorous world of motherhood in a way that spotlighted its grittiest moments while truly celebrating its joys. When she talked about mess and noise, of ruined clothing, tight budgets, lost tempers, and human shortcomings, she did so in a way that made readers nod in recognition, laugh at themselves, and know they had a sister in the world who lived and loved as wonderfully and imperfectly as they did. Erma, though she didn’t live to see it, was the mother of all mommy-bloggers. Long before there were blogs, there was Erma.

Though it’s often mistakenly said to have been written after her cancer diagnosis, one of Bombeck’s most well-known and often shared columns If I Had My Life to Live Over, was actually published in December of 1979, thirteen years before she was diagnosed with breast cancer and seventeen years before her death. Ultimately, it wasn’t the cancer that claimed her, but polycystic kidney disease, an inherited ailment that she passed on to both of her sons, who’ve each had a successful kidney transplant. Erma Bombeck died at the age of 69 from complications following a kidney transplant.

My list, much like Erma’s, doesn’t call for any major do-overs. Given another go, I’d marry the same man and pray for the very same children. I’d give my life nothing more than a quick sprucing up, a smoothing of a few rough edges.


If I had my life to live over…

  • …I’d let my curls spring free and embrace the gray from the day the first one appears.

  • …I’d drag my husband out on the dance floor more often and if he refuses to budge, I’d dance with whomever is willing.

  • …I’d spend less money on crap for the house on more on things like paint, canvas, good brushes, and violin lessons.

  • …I’d decorate in a far more eclectic style, and bring into my house only things that I think are beautiful.

  • …I’d set the record straight.

  • …I’d go to bed earlier.

  • …I’d eat only what pleases me.

  • …I’d put myself into the equation more frequently when I calculate budgets, both in terms of time and money.

  • …I’d ask to speak to the manager every single time I was treated well by any employee anywhere.

  • …I’d write more letters, the old-fashioned kind.

  • …I’d choose a smaller house, but with a much bigger yard.

  • …I’d sit outside more often on clear, starry nights.

  • …I’d let the little stuff go quickly.

  • …I’d build myself a treehouse.

  • …I’d cultivate dandelions.

  • …I’d never spend a single minute on a treadmill.

  • …I’d embrace chaos, rather than trying to organize it into tidy rows.

  • …I’d live out loud and let my weirdness shine brightly.





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Written for this week’s GBE topic, “If I Had My Life to Live Over….” If you’d like to blog with us, just clickety-click. All are welcome!

One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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The Haunting of the Elevens





A while back, I shared my weird 11:11 and 5:55 story. This past few weeks, a crop of taggy posts have emerged, this time asking the tagged to share eleven facts about themselves, answer eleven questions posed by the person who tagged them, and then offer eleven questions to their own eleven tagees. Coincidence or really odd, freaky, supernatural, cosmic call from The Universe?

Yeah, I know. My eleven-thing and the eleven-taggy-thing are two very different things, but I had to introduce the post and when someone says eleven, I hear eleven-eleven, so I went with that. Anyway, to get on with this eleven thing, I must first share a ten plus a spare random tidbits about me. I was triple-tagged, but I’m tweaking the rules (okay, cheating) a bit and only posting one set of eleven things about me. I’m honestly not sure if there’s anything left to know about me that isn’t either ridiculously embarrassing or exceedingly dull, but I’ll give it a whirl.

  1. I recently discovered that my phone allows me to send calls from select callers straight to voicemail. That made me happier than I should probably admit.

  2. I’ve successfully completed both NaBloPoMo and The A-Z Blogging Challenge several times. I sometimes had a hard time doing the daily blogging thing, but I’m planning to stay off the internet completely in July, which I think will be exponentially more difficult.

  3. If they gave out awards for crab-assery, I would have won a gold medal last week. Fortunately, I get over myself pretty quickly.

  4. I want to be Bronwyn Gordon when I grow up.

  5. My sense of smell is freakishly acute. At our last house, I smelled something weird around our furnace and though no one else could smell it and my husband thought I was nuts, I insisted on calling the HVAC guy out to take a look. It turned out we had a small carbon monoxide leak. The deadly stuff is supposed to be odorless, but I’m telling you, it’s not.

  6. The other night, I dreamt I won the lottery and in the dream, I wasn’t overly excited or even surprised. I guess even my subconscious mind believes I will win one of these days.

  7. Laziness is my default mode, but it’s constantly overridden by my desire to get an unrealistic number of things accomplished.

  8. One of Tangled Lou’s questions brought back a nice childhood memory. When I was a kid, my mom sometimes let me take naps on her mink coat. It really ticked my dad off, but it was fabulous.

  9. I believe that eating chocolate covered strawberries counts as eating strawberries.

  10. I have a wee bit of a control-freak tendency, and the desire/need to steer things in a certain direction (you know, the right one) may or may not contribute to my occasional bouts of crab-assery.

  11. While sorting a box of photos, I realized that my last three pairs of glasses are almost identical. Brown, metal, and rectangular (or close to). Maybe it’s time to change it up a bit and get a grown-up sized pair of octagon shaped glasses.


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Tangled Lou, from Periphery came up with this first eleven. She’s utterly brilliant, remarkably talented, and possibly clinically insane.

  1. If there were 5 birds in your yard, which one would you eat? And why? The biggest badass of the bunch, in the hope of sending a message to the rest: Stop crapping in, on, and around my pool.

  2. What's the best thing that happened to you when you were 7 years old? That was 43 years ago. Can I tell you the best thing that happened 43 days ago instead? Never mind, I can’t remember that, either.

  3. If the mob was going to take one of your fingers to recover a debt, which finger would you give them? Why? (Or would you do that thing where you flip the table and grab the giant meat cleaver from Vito?) I’d give him one of my hubby’s fingers. After all, what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine, right?

  4. If you were to throw a drink in someone's face, what drink would it be and why would you do it? I can’t picture me tossing a drink at someone, but I do have a weird and longstanding desire to slap someone right across the face, like I’ve seen done countless times in movie scenes. I’ve mentioned this desire so many times that my husband, son, and son-in-law have all volunteered to let me have at it, but I just can’t. I chalk that partly up to the pacifist thing and partly because I think to really experience the full joy of it, it would have to stem from the appropriate emotion. A gimme slap just isn’t the same.

    It’s odd that I won’t slap the hubs, though he’s willing, but I am willing to sacrifice one of his fingers to pay off my debt to the mob.

  5. Someone gives you a gorgeous mink coat for a gift, would you wear it? Why or why not? I eat meat and wear leather, so I’m not gonna go off on some moral tangent, but no, I wouldn’t wear it—mostly because I live in jeans and I’m not a mink coat kind of girl. I would be happy to sell it and use the moolah for something delightful, so if you were planning to buy me a mink, I don’t want to stop you.

  6. You are trapped in an elevator with the following people: Elton John, Kathy Griffin, Jimmy Carter and John Malkovich. What do you do? Would you take pictures with your cell phone? I’d try to get Elton John to lead a sing-along, and then video tape it with my phone and upload it to YouTube. It would go down as my coolest moment ever.

  7. Who did you want to be when you were 13? Are you that person? Why or why not? Donny Osmond’s wife and a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. I didn’t really take the whole Mormon thing into consideration at the time.

  8. If you found a finger in your burrito, would you set it aside and keep eating? Why or why not? I’d hang onto it just in case the mob boys come back around for more digits.

  9. If your navel dispensed the condiment of your choice, what would it be? Why? Nutella. Yes, it is so a condiment.

  10. Are you a ferret person? I’m not even a puppy or kitty person.

  11. You are given an award for something you are very proud of. You get up to make your acceptance speech and they hand you a box of teeth. Does it throw you off? What do you do? Would you proudly display it on your mantel? I’d thank the Tooth Fairy for her generous contribution and then I’d showcase the award right next to the ridiculous collection of trophies we have from car shows—in the garage.


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This next bunch is from Gill (Mojo Writin at Bright Blessings). Gill is kind to her core, though she’ll blush at the compliment—and she writes short stories that almost always get marvelously twisty.

  1. What is the first book you remember reading as a child? The first? Hmmm. I was a nerdy little reader girl early on, and I remember loving one particular book of poetry from a set of Childcraft books. I have a copy of the book still. My sister saw it at a garage sale some years back and picked it up for me, saying that she saw the book and immediately flashed back to me reading it at the dining room table of our childhood home.

  2. Have you ever owned a fad toy - such as a Tamagotchi? Does a pet rock count?

  3. What was your favourite childhood game? My family played a card game called Liverpool and we all learned as soon as we were able to hold 12 cards. I still love the game and the oldest grands are being schooled in it as we speak.

  4. Can your body do anything strange - such as ear wiggling? I rock the Spock fingers and taco-tongue, but that’s about it.

  5. If you had to spend the rest of your life in a single room, who would you take for companionship? I’m supposed to say my husband, right? Okay, my husband. If he’s busy, I’ll settle for Johnny Depp. Or somebody who makes really good lasagna. Can the room be a kitchen, please? With a bed? And lots of bookshelves?

  6. Do you have a friend who knows to wipe your computer should you suddenly die? No, but I’ve recently read a good dozen posts about this very topic. Well, the posts covered wiping the computer and disposing of assorted items they would rather their kids didn’t find. I’m trying to think of exactly what I might need destroyed and I’m coming up blank. There’s definitely something wrong with that.

  7. What is the worst grammar peeve you have? Just one? No can do.

  8. You can go back and change one decision in your life - would you? Probably not. I’ve made plenty of foolish decisions, but they all lead me right here. Mess with one thing and it could jack up the whole works.

  9. You're coming back to this world as an animal - which one? A gorilla. A big, ferocious, don’t-screw-with-my-babies mama one.

  10. Would you ever confront someone you saw doing something illegal - such as dropping litter or cycling on the pavement when there are signs forbidding it? No. I’d just give ‘em the stink eye. I have a very powerful stink eye, just ask the geezer guy who walks his beast-on-a-leash in front of my house and used to just keep walking after his pooch took a dump on my lawn. He stops to gather what rightfully belongs to him now. Magic stink eye.

  11. What one sound can make your heart miss a beat and a smile break out unbidden? Giggling grands.


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These last questions are from Kat, from My View through Kat Eyes. Kat is a total sweetheart, and she lives on a dairy farm, which makes me more than a little bit jealous.

  1. Why did you start a blog? To get my fix.

  2. When watching a movie, do you prefer comedy or drama? I prefer anything where people don’t get shot to smithereens.

  3. What author, dead or living, would you most like to spend an afternoon with? This should be an easy question, but I’m absolutely stumped.

  4. Describe yourself in 3 words. Always means well.

  5. What book are you currently or have recently read? I just started Fifty Shades of Grey. The reviews from friends who’ve read it range dramatically and those who liked the books say that you have to read all three in order to like them, so I bought the bundle. I’m not far into the first one yet, but the half-assed writing and horrible editing is already bugging me. Also, the writer has overused the words (or variations of) “flushed,” “blushed,” and “clumber,” and references to the main character biting her lip to the degree that if I hadn’t shelled out thirty bucks for the trilogy, I’d likely set the thing aside and forget it.

    ^^^ That last sentence was all sorts of run-on and barely made sense, but I'm leaving it as is, in tribute to my default laziness. ^^^

  6. Are you a morning person or a night owl? I’m a night person living a morning person’s life.

  7. What would be your fantasy dream job, excluding writer? Potter.

  8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? In a little cottage on a fistful of wooded acres on the edge of an artists’ colony. A red barn that houses a woodshop and pottery studio would be a great bonus.

  9. Favorite childhood memory? Sitting at the dining room table with my mom, talking, laughing, and basking in the love.

  10. What one word could change the world if more people believed in it? “One.” As in, we are all one. Most folks seem pretty good at looking out for themselves, so if everyone understood that we are all one, everyone would be well looked after.

  11. What is your biggest pet-peeve? Door to door religion peddlers trying to sell me the Jesus Special.


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A page from the Childcraft book of children’s poetry. This kid looks just like sweet Dougie Brown.



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I’m not tagging anyone specific. Yes. More, um, tweaking. No, wait! I am. I’m tagging YOU.


Yeah, so I forgot to post questions yesterday. Thankfully, Christine’s brain is far more engaged than mine. For those of you interested in participating, here are your eleven:

  1. When did you start feeling like a grown-up?

  2. What celebrity made your heart go pitter-patter when you were a kid/tween/teen?

  3. What song do you and your sweetie think of as “your” song?

  4. Do you consider yourself patriotic? Why or why not?

  5. What is something you once believed, but no longer do?

  6. Jean shorts: Just fine or a sure sign of extreme dorkiness?

  7. Has an infomercial ever prompted you to make a purchase? If so, what did you buy?

  8. What snack do you have hidden in the back of the cupboard/fridge?

  9. What book or movie seemed to speak to the masses, but didn’t do much for you?

  10. What do you wear to bed?

  11. Is there a story of you as a child that your parents told so many times that it became part of your history? Something cute or funny you said or did, maybe? Care to share?





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You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #56: “If I Had My Life to Live Over…”







GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #56: “If I Had My Life to Live Over…”


As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 270 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and people always ask what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (6-16-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: If I Had My Life to Live Over…

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!

Beth




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You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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The Morning the Cat Ate My Blog







I’m excited about my blog today. I crank out a lot of stuff, some of it utter crap, but not all. Once in a while I post something and think Damn, woman! You are brilliant and you have magic fingertips! Before you read further, I’d just like to say that you are about to step into one of those rare goodies. I hope you enjoy.*

*In the name of both decency and plagiarism laws, I should probably disclose that I did not, in fact, write the contents of today’s blog. The brilliance and magic fingertips are both the property of my guest blogger, Tara from Faith in Ambiguity, as is every word from here on out.



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The morning that the cat ate my blog, I came in to find it in bloody bits of carnage on the floor. Quite naturally, I shrieked. My husband came barreling in from the other room to find me collapsed on the floor next to it, sobs jerking my body. Repeatedly, I uttered the one word “No.” He had to drag me away.

It took me quite a while to accept that it was gone. For a time, I would go to the internet, ready to share some amusing anecdote, sometimes sitting with the keyboard underneath my fingers before realizing that the blog was dead. When I wanted to express my deepest thoughts, I felt its loss most strongly. For years, the blog had seen me through everything. I would get up in the morning, shower and come downstairs and it would be already awake, waiting to be fed. Sometimes it was a pleasure to work with, compliant and purring under the gentle hammering of my keys. Other times, it barked clichés, wouldn’t come when called and refused to link. Somehow, for all these trials and triumphs through the years, I loved it all the more.

We buried its mangled remains under an elm in our back yard and live tweeted the funeral. As we wiped the soil of its grave from our feet and set about the dining room table to eat cake, I felt its absence like a giant smashing weight, made heavier by the imperative to carry on as normal. It was, after all, only a blog.

“My blog,” I found myself saying, with tears welling up in my eyes “was my best friend. Because of my blog, I discovered that I could write. Because of my blog I made friends who I have never met, friends nonetheless with whom I share an intimacy that is unlike that of workplace friends, gym friends, or church friends.”

My guests stared, embarrassed, as mascara rushed down my cheeks in becks of soot. Chair legs shifted uncomfortably, tea cups rattled.

“My blog was not a departure from real life. It was, in so many ways, my real life. It was the one being to whom I would honestly confess a laugh at something too crass to be funny, a fear that I was embarrassed to feel. Now that it is dead…”

I choked back a strangled sob.

“Now that it is dead, I don’t know who or what I will be honest with.”

With that, I stormed out of my dining room and up my stairs, shutting myself up in my bedroom. My husband knew better than to try the door. Shortly after, as I wept on my quilt, I could hear the front door heave open and shut several times as my guests left. I was alone. Soon, as evening crept into the room and shadows lengthened, the solitude grew oppressive, my own thoughts and emotions repetitive, and still I stayed. Shiftless, I nosed around in the drawer in a nightstand and withdrew a hodgepodge of items: hair ties, cat bells, a notebook. Finding a pen in the furthest corner of another drawer, I began to scribble thoughts, my fingers awkward and unused to the movement of script. After a few stiff minutes, my hand found rhythm, my thoughts focus. Quiet ceased to loom and instead embraced.

The cat, who had been absent for the last three days, leapt out from under my bed, lighting next to me and nosing the pen.

“Go away,” I told him. “I am writing.”






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Tara found the image for this post on MorgueFile, ‘cause she’s cool like that.

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GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #55: “High School”







GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #55: “High School”


As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the comment section below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We have over 260 members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE2’s Facebook Page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

Oh, and people always ask what GBE stands for. It’s Group Blogging Experience. The original GBE was started over at MySpace by a fabulous woman named Alicia. She headed up the group for close to two years before deciding that she’d run her course with it, so she stepped away.

Last year, Alicia and I, along with a few others who’d been a part of that original group, were talking on Alicia’s Facebook wall about how wonderful that experience had been and before I could stop myself, I announced that I was going to start a blogging group in the same fashion as the GBE. With Alicia’s blessing, I swiped the name, added the 2, and the rest is history.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (6-9-12) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: High School

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth






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You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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You Found Me How?! May 2012 Edition






I'm going the lazy route this time around. I've been taking screen shots of my search results all month long, so I'm posting some of the more interesting ones. Gotta love easy, right?


Ready. Set. Go.


























































Whew! See 'ya next month!




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You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.

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