Saturday, December 29, 2012

Contentment: Word of the Year

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I don't. I hate failing. I don't like leaving projects undone. So NO. No resolutions for me. I did start a new tradition though, and this is the fourth time I'm going for it. Have you heard of “the word for the year”? I found it through a blog called, “Mama Manifesto”. How I ended up there...I don't remember. You know how it goes, you use a link, find another one, jump from blog to blog checking out bloggers who leave interesting comments, and then all of a sudden you can't see the shore and you forgot your breadcrumbs...

The main idea of the word for the year is that it's a guiding principle or a an idea to focus on as you consider all aspects of your life. I wrote about the first word I chose, for 2010, in the post “A Word to Savor for a Year”. I have several examples there of what I really am trying to say if I'm not making total sense today.

For 2011 I picked “health”. I had whooping cough, and it was taking me such a long time to recover. I ended up with severe asthma. I was on bed rest for many long weeks. I decided that I needed to focus on health, not just healthy body and diet, but healthy thoughts. For example, I'm not worthless just because I can't carry laundry right now. I CAN sit on my bed and fold it. I'm not worthless because Jake thinks my lesson plans for home school are boring. I'm actually attempting to home school – something I swore (which I learned one should not do...) and that's quite brave. Especially while sick. It's healthy to be brave. Are you catching on to how the word guides your thoughts and decisions?

Fast-forward to 2012. I picked “health” again, because, well, I was in the hospital. And to be honest, I hadn't done that great of a job having a healthy attitude about my limitations in 2011. Call it taking the class again...

Now it's time to pick a new word, and I've had a hard time deciding. It's time to go in a new direction, though. I've been focusing on myself, how I feel, how I feel about how I feel. I've frankly been whining and complaining. Wallowing. Whining about wallowing. Seemingly FOREVER. Time for a focus change. The word prednisone will no longer appear in any of my posts.

My word for 2013 is CONTENTMENT. Wherever I am, whether it's stuck in bed again, (please dear God, no...) I need to think content. This is a soft pillow, so cozy. I'm not stuck in carline. No one is vomiting on me.

I've gained weight from nasty meds combined with being sedentary. Hmmm...I guess that's one I'll have to work on some more to be completely content about, but here's one content thought: lots of people pitched in and brought us wonderful meals.

After all, this is a focus for a year, and it's OK if I don't do this right all the time. It's not a resolution. It's an idea, not a gym membership or a vow of 1000 words a day. It's a way of thinking. It's trying to find the positive in whatever situation I may find myself in, and I certainly have no idea where I'll find myself in 2013. I mean – wasn't the world supposed to end last week? I'm content it didn't.

The Lettered Cottage

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mom Milestones and Memories

Being a MOM is one of the greatest privileges on earth. It's work, it's body fluids soiling inconvenient and inappropriate places. It's car seats, strollers, high chairs, constant vigilance. It's also beautiful moments when that baby reaches for YOU, and no one else will do. Feeling a bit nostalgic this morning after having spent a wonderful Christmas week with DataBoy, YogaGirl, and my newest niece, Sunshine.

I also had a surreal afternoon where I felt like a grandma. I went with YogaGirl to visit a long-time friend of hers and her new baby. ( You might recall that I met YG when I was her 7th grade math teacher. It's pretty cool to have her as a sister now, gotta say.) So there I am, with two of my former students, and we're all sitting on the floor playing with their babies. These “girls” I taught and coached and mentored are now moms. Good moms. It was a joy to watch, but wow, time flies. I felt like the grandma – a generation away from these happy women, just starting the journey I've been on for a while.

It's been a journey of many detours and unplanned rest-stops along the way, and of course there were times when I thought I just wouldn't make it. I remember when they were three and five though, quite distinctly. We were done with diapers. SWIM diapers (and their million dollar price tag) AND both boys could hop in the car and buckle their own car seats. I thought to myself, “OK, I think I can actually handle this.” It was a good feeling.

Having spent eight years teaching teenagers, I looked forward to when they'd be independent to a greater extent, and to be quite honest, not need so much “hands-on” care. I couldn't have been more wrong. They need me now more than ever, and it's remarkable that they WANT me around. They ask for advice. They ask questions – the kind that many parents dread hearing. But I answer. I have one who wants every possible detail, and one who will say. “STOP! I don't want to know anymore!” There are teachable moments. There are frustrating moments. And now, we've added a new element. The truly terrifying, “We could die a fiery death!” moments.

Jake got his driver's permit. Talk about feeling old! It's so strange to sit in the passenger seat while YOUR SON, whom you used to buckle into a car seat, operates the vehicle. He's actually a very good driver, and wisely, The Engineer took him around the first month, “Honey, you just can't handle it yet, I know how you are.” We finally got the go-ahead for me to supervise, and we drove to Blockbuster. But we forgot the other stop - tortillas.

This is when I realized the best part of having a teen driver. You see, I'd already gotten into my pajamas as soon as we got home, and we were settling in for family movie night. I lamented the need to change to do that last errand. But there's no need! Teen drives to tortillaria, teen gets out of car, Mom stays inconspicuous in the car in her PJ's. Life is Good.

~ Tina

P.S I don't remember where I heard this quote, but it was probably in Mom's Group.

The days will be long, but the years are short.”

Amen to that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent Christmas Stars & Candles: Scandinavian and American Traditions

Last year I shared three posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) about my immediate family's efforts to honor the heritage of both my Swedish roots and The Engineer's (quite firmly planted) American traditions. I think we make it work pretty well. Recently though, I was reminded of another difference in our cultures. Outside decorations, or should I say, decorations one can see from outside the house.

Let's start with us Americans. Frankly, I think we've gone off the deep end. I love Christmas lights, especially if they follow the outline of the entire house and DON'T BLINK. I like the new LED lights - they twinkle so gently. I certainly appreciate the folks who rent a cherry picker, and string lights, thousands of lights, all over their trees.

I don't like plastic figurines. And the worst off all? The inflatables. The SPINNING inflatables. Why? To me they are just ridiculously overboard. To view these good and bad decorations, our family traditionally gets some fast food, puts on some Christmas music, and spends an evening driving around looking for nice light displays. It's festive, cozy, and a nice time. (I secretly pretend I have a BB gun and shoot the inflatables.)

Swedes on the other hand, at least as far as I can remember (and I checked with The Swede who concurred) don't really decorate the OUTSIDE of their houses. They concentrate on the inside and how those decorations appear from the outside. The idea is to create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that beckons visitor to come in.

That cozy effect is most often invoked now with in modern times with  electric candle stands, shaped in an inverted V in the windows. (I searched for non-copyrighted pictures and couldn't find any...and my parents don't have theirs up this use your imagination). A lot of families also put single candles (again, now electric) in every window. I remember vividly flying home for Christmas (pre-marriage and family) and as we pulled into my parents' cul-de-sac, there were the lights, the figurines, and then at our house, a single candle in every window. Made me a bit misty for my homeland.

Another traditional Scandinavian (as in not just Swedish, but Norwegian and Danish, too)window decoration that beckons visitors is the Advent Star. These are found in many variations all over Scandinavia. This particular star is from my Farmor's home (father's mother). 

photo by my Dad

 It's now hanging in the window at my parents house, here in Colorado. It's made from gently shaved wood, delicately woven into this heirloom. Many Swedes implement some variation of this star. They are as varied as snowflakes, and when I see one, I want to go inside, sip some coffee, and catch up with friends.

What are some of your traditions?  Do you have a defense for the necessity of inflatable decorations?

P.S My friend actually MADE stars like this one from vintage paper.  She's like a crafting super hero or something.  Directions, pictures, nice tutorial all found at her very popular blog, House Revivals.  Go check it out and at least say hi!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I think I found my new “Skinny Boy.” (This post will make a lot more sense if you've read that one.)  However, to sum up, we have another boy who spends a LOT of time here because frankly his home life isn't "satisfactory."  He hasn't been as easy to warm to – he just has a different personality. But again, like Skinny Boy, amazing work ethic and impeccable mannners. Home situation quite different, too. Again, we'll leave it there. Lives in a nearby rental, reunited with Dad and new girlfriend. The difference in our family life, and I think the explanation for why he spends literally every available moment here, he shared off the cuff with me this afternoon.  What he said really helped me, because I've been wallowing in a the inertia-sucking mire of self-pity for a while.  "Smiles" gave me perspective. (That nickname is for you, Brian - he sure could use your expertise, and he's tries valiantly to cover his pain with a gorgeous smile)

I Finally got my house decorated this weekend by my fabulous Swissie, and this afternoon The Engineer found the Advent House!  

The advent house has 24 doors, big enough to tuck a little treat into. Of course I was ELEVEN days behind, so I wrote privilege cards, not being allowed to leave the house “limited activities, you may walk around your house if you want”. (I'm recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis that sent my asthma to Olympic Gold...and I cracked at least one rib. While coughing.) So the cards said things like, “Get out of dishes”, “Get a smoothie”, etc. It's a tradition. There are usually trinkets, ornaments, candy, but not so far this year. Not been exactly traditional around here with a laid-up Mom for so long.

I asked “Smiles”  about his favorite Christmas traditions. He gets to spend a lot of time with his Grandparents in another state, so I didn't think it was a hurtful question. I thought there'd be some to share. He just smiled and said, “We're not a put together family like yours.”

Imagine that. I thought I was blowing Christmas for our kids with my infirmity, but no, I'm putting it together. Thanks, Smiles. I needed that. We need each other. We can help each other. Keep coming over.

P.S (Last year I wrote a three-part series about Swedish/American Christmas traditions if you'd like to take a peek.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cheers, Cavanagh Blogfest

Dear Mrs. C.,
I'm sure Alex's beautiful description of marriage in CassaFire was born from his relationship with you. You're a special lady, and I'd like to thank you for letting him do so much for us!

I don't know what Alex looks like physically, but to me he looks like generosity, selfishness, giving, and integrity.

Alex reminds me of my math and bandmate, Bill. He didn't play guitar, but he rocked a mean bass clarinet.

Give Bill Pullman dark hair, he's Alex. Though I'd rather see Alex played alive. Still not adjusted to zombies.

******  Even Awesome Ninja Captains Sometimes Need the Help of Friends*******

Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh wakes suddenly from a deep sleep. He's got his guitar still in hand, and his head on the keyboard. Visiting all the IWSG folks who rely on his group-building strengths has left him tired. “Just 20 more blogs...I can do it he mutters,” putting down the guitar. I CAN do it. All by myself! I'm a Ninja!  
Then he pauses. Byron needed help. He needed a friend. Sometimes Awesome Ninja's do, too. Time to enlist some help!

Two new co-hosts are recruited.  Soon Alex heads to find Mrs. C, and as they fall asleep, he's piloting his Cosbolt, new navigators at the ready.


This is the most special blogfest I've participated in.  Alex has been a wonderful  friend, mentor, and blogging buddy.  He totally deserves this day dedicated to him.  You're the best, Alex.

Hosted by Mark “The Madman” Koopman”Marvelous” Morgan Shamy", Stephen “Breakthrough” Tremp," and David “Kingpin” Powers King, the BlogFest runs from December 10 - 12. 

P.S There has been some confusiong as to what this post is about (yes, there actually are people out there who don't know for the sake of clarity, here are the questions I was answering above.

·         In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?
·         In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.)
·         In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?
·         In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:
     ·         Cavanaugh
           ·         Ninja
           ·         IWSG
           ·         Cosbolt
           ·         Guitar
For Bonus Points:
·         In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Digging Up The Dirt: What Do You Want to Know?

Today I'm asking for your help. Even if you're not going to be in the April 2013 A-Z Blogging Challenge, you can still contribute greatly, and the entire team of co-hosts will be grateful for your creative, goofy, or pin-em-to-the-wall input, if that's the case.

We are putting together this year's “Get To Know Your Co-Hosts” questionnaire, and need your help with questions. What would you like to know about us? What have you been wondering about me? If we get enough questions, each co-host will choose which to answer, so we'll have some variety.  For what you already know about me, see the "About Me" tab above.

Please do me the huge favor of heading over to the A-Z Blog today if you'd like samples of what our questions and answers were last year. You can also see what questions have already been contributed.

Or, if you're ready and short on time, leave your question in my comments here. Either way, we sure appreciate your help.

~ Tina

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG: Do I Need a Weekly Schedule?

I missed posting last month, and I mean MISSED as in wow, it was amazing the support and encouragement that I received from you bloggers during my first foray into this wonderful group, and I want more. Thank you. You took me seriously and you answered my questions honestly.  

This week what plagues me is my blog's format. A lot of bloggers follow a schedule, so I know that Mondays I'll get musings from the weekend, Wednesday a haiku, and Fridays something random. I like that. I've tried giving myself a schedule, but can't decide what it would be.

I used to have a meme schedule, where the only day I wasn't involved in something with a linky list was Mondays. That got exhausting because there was so much visiting it took away from writing and visiting my regular buddies and responding to comments on my own posts.

I started my blog to practice writing, so I can “legally” write about anything. I'm finding that topic too wide. I get paralyzed staring at the blank page wondering what in the world will make someone come read. (And I know readership is down because my blogging is down, but it's a cycle...) I want honest feedback, real opinions, I'm not afraid to start a controversial debate, either.

Do you think it would draw more readers if they knew that on Mondays they'd get a Swedish childhood story, Wednesday a poem with the good folks at dVerse (if you're a poet, gotta check 'em out – awesomely welcoming group), and then Fridays an embarrassing story. (This is an example. Not saying I could keep up with this schedule...)

Do you have a schedule? Do you tend to read more blogs that do? What is your opinion of what would be best for me at this time? Honestly, please tell me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh with the help of some friends host this hop the first Wednesday of the month.  Come join us!  Click on the picture for the link to the linky (the one in the sidebar).

Monday, December 3, 2012

You Can Find Hope in the Madness

Oh come oh come Emmanuel
And ransom stressed out shoppers in their fight
Don't let the tinsel, trappings and the light
Detract from celebrating what is real
Our savior is Whom we should honor here

He came to save the lost and despaired
Not make us spend more than we should have dared
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Peace can be found this year
Just let go of what you once held so dear

Oh come oh come Emmanuel
Release us from what Christmas has become
And help us celebrate the ONE
whose coming brought the hope and the light
And deserves our worship this and every night.


Here's the melody of this old hymn if you're not familiar with it.

I felt the urge to re-write some of the lyrics as the newspaper grows thicker and thicker with low prices on things we don't need. I feel that the US is the most blessed nation on earth, and that instead of buying gifts for each other, we should reach out and bless those less fortunate. I don't know your faith or beliefs, but it's my belief that wanting to help others is universal. Thanks for listening. Feel free to disagree. I'm listening.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest

Today's it's time for another blogfest. I'm glad, because I can't seem to get myself in gear unless there's a party...

We are to talk about bloggers we miss, and then also bloggers we WOULD miss if they disappeared. Our community is a growing and changing one, I myself have been disappearing lately...damn depression.


Jane of Aging Mommy
Jane became a mom after 40, quit a lucrative career, and stayed home to raise her adorable daughter, Mirabelle. Jane was funny, honest, hopeful, encouraging, not afraid to share her insecurities or failures, and was a wonderful buddy. I have a folder full of our email correspondence. 

Then she did the sensible thing and quit blogging so that she could spend more time raising that wonderful miracle than WRITING about raising her. I admire that. But I miss my friend. Jane – I hope all is well with you and your family.
I can't link you because she's really and truly gone.

Polly of 5th Sister
You can still visit her blog, she hasn't shut it down, but she hasn't posted at 5th Sister since May. I miss her so much. Polly is an amazing writer and poet, and incredibly talented at haiku, stringing together multiple small poems into one, cohesive, blow-you-away wallop of a write.

I loved her Monday Musings that gave us some insight into her daily life, and I loved her willingness to share her faith openly, even in the midst of great struggle. Polly – please come back! You have lots of fans waiting for you! Big hugs.


Brian Miller of WaystationOne
Brian has been my supporter and friend since I first started blogging. I don't think there's a post of mine he hasn't commented on, and it's usually a race to see if he'll get there before Alex...

I appreciate Brian not just for that, though. He's a supporter of so many bloggers of all levels and styles- there are few places I visit where he hasn't gone before me with his upbeat comments and his trademark “smiles”. He has an amazing heart and counsels troubled kids, loves his family and and is willing to share about them, and his talent is incomparable. How he manages to get a piece up every single day with all that he does amazes me. Don't ever stop being you, dear friend!

The other bloggers I'd sorely miss are my A-Z Team. They have helped me survive what has probably been the hardest year of my life. They pick up the slack, they encourage me, and keep me going. Since we're limited to three in each category, I'm sending you to the A-Z Blog where you'll find them all in the sidebar. Of course, there over there in my sidebar, too. Just wanted you to visit our headquarters....

This blogfest is brought to you by these wonderful folks:
Andrew of Strange Pegs 
Matthew of The QQQE  
Alex, the Ninja Captain himself, of Alex J. Cavanaugh 

Don't forget to visit them, too!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Embarrassing Story du Jour: Ice Cliff of Insanity

I think it's embarrassing story time. I'm kinda in a rut and haven't written anything that wasn't for a blog fest/hop for a while. In my “about me” section, (see tab above) I alluded to a stupid, ACCIDENTAL stunt, and now I'll come clean. I almost died peeing.

One of the most treacherous and frightening mountain passes in Colorado is called Berthoud Pass and connects I-70 (the main thoroughfare through the mountains, east to west) with the towns of Winter Park, Frasier, and on down the road on Colorado 40. It's a desolate place. There's one tiny town between I-70 and Winter Park, and it rolls up its sidewalks around 4:30 pm or so. So if you need to use the restroom, do it in Idaho Springs, and then consume nothing for the next two hours. This I've learned the hard way.

We are on one of our wonderful snowboarding trips with my Awesome Aunt Risky who has rented us a condo in Winter Park. Of course we have a late start on the trip up because the kids have to get off school and my Swissie has to finish work, so it's late and dark as we're making our way over the icy, snowy, did I mention DARK pass. I have to pee. I also know I have to hold it. But man, I've got to pee.

Finally, I ask my sister to pull into one of the slow traffic pull-offs. I know they have one foot stone walls to climb over, and then some semblance of privacy. After all, I have driven this road in daylight. Daylight is highly recommended. She pulls over. I climb over one foot wall. What I think is one foot wall. There's snow everywhere and the pull-off hasn't been plowed.  It's rather hard to see...

I soon discover that while I have indeed climbed over a one foot wall, it's on to a tall cliff, an ice cliff, long way down, boulders, creek, and ice at the bottom. I'm sliding. I manage to dig my fists into the wall (once you crack through the inch or so of really crusty snow, you can get a hand hold. And foot holds.) I figure if I'm going to slip and fall down the cliff and die in the creek, I don't want to do it after peeing my pants, so I manage to get my pants down (I think you can imagine how hard this is while hanging on for dear life, but bodily functions sometimes take precedence). I gratefully finish my business.

How to get back up though? Remembering the rock climbing lessons I've watched Aunt Risky teach the boys, I know you only let go of one hold at a time. So slowly, punching my bare hands into that frozen cliff, I slowly make my way up. But there's a lot of sliding down, too, and I'm terrified, pants still not quite on, and really starting to freak out.

God is on my side though, and crying and gasping for air (we're at 12,000 feet or so here) I manage to throw myself over the wall and into the pull-off. I'm soaked (in SNOW!)  having a good ole freakout fit of crying and screaming and trying to tell the story as I climb into the truck and she pulls away. At first she's laughing her ASS off, as you probably are too, but finally she realizes that I really was in danger, and gets eerily quiet. “Let's not tell the kids this one.” Fine by I'd appreciate it if you didn't either    ;-)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monstrous Monday Blog Hop!

Monsters. There are scary monsters, silly monsters, classic monsters, imaginary monsters. I'm going to write about the monster that stalks me daily. Let's see if you can guess who it is.

My monster has the power to alter what I see in the mirror. I get a skewed picture.
My monster makes me think about it every waking second of every day. I cannot escape. Ordinary tasks, ordinary events of the day take on epic proportion as I battle it. It's the center of my universe, and likes it there.

If I try to hide, it finds me.
It finds me in jeans that are a bit tight.
It finds me questioning every bite of food I put in my mouth.
It whispers in my ear that I can finally have back what I haven't had in so long.

It sings a siren song of solution to all my troubles.
If only I were thinner, then...
I might not have high blood pressure
I might not have asthma
He might pay more attention to me
I'd be able to get more done
I wouldn't be depressed
I wouldn't be in pain

It's all there, all for the taking, if I just take back the control. It's really about control, and not so much about food.

Have you guessed?

I was never a cook. I mean, when all you eat in a month is maybe one piece of plastic wrapped American cheese from your roommate's shelf in the fridge, why bother learning sauteing or double boilers or how to soft-boil an egg you'd never let past your lips?

I'm different now. I love to cook. I love to eat. I'm healthier, recent asthma bout not counting. This is the body that climbed the fourteener. This is the body that rode the MS 150 from Denver to Canyon City. (That's 150 miles away, just by way of explanation.) This body carried two high risk pregnancies.

So what's my problem? Anorexia is like alcoholism. You can be a behaving anorexic, or an active one. I'm behaving. But on those days when the jeans are a little tight and life is a bit out of control (those high risk pregnancies are now two teenage boys) I long for the control. The euphoria of extreme hunger and the will-power to overcome it.

I know it's hard to understand unless you've walked the road yourself. But it's an evil monster, and when you see it stalking those you love, it puts you on alert. Moms – please don't ever mention weight to your daughter no matter what. Praise her for her wonderful qualities, let her eat what she wants, and remember that one CarelessWord can start a cycle that will never end.

Ok, probably not the sort of monster you were expecting, but you can visit Tim Brannan at and get all the info. Meanwhile, it's a blog hop, so hop on over to one of the other participants you'll find on the list below.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How to Feed a Stray Cat

A murder of crows
takes off in 
almost unison-fright-flight as I
(tromping through the fallow garden)
stalk Compost,
who of course leaves (they're falling all around)
her perch,
as fresh goodies join the pile

She rules in majesty,
mostly white, with her brown-black face,
orange “stay away from me” paws
padding softly to the companion pile,
patiently waiting for the delivery

As close as I've come -
is it the carrot peelings, or
maybe it's egg shells -
are they dessert?
Lick the dregs, of the separated
dump the yolks
and of course the potatoes
I don't need peelings,
though she does
this is her restaurant,
and it seems today is a good day

She's still there as I walk back,
and gingerly (on those ginger paws)
she approaches her dinner.

Been stuck in the waste-land of no idea what to write.  Then this just tumbled out as I sat staring into the backyard.  At least seven cats compete for our compost pile, but she's the queen, and not nearly as feral as when I first saw her.  She still scares the crap out of the collared and pampered neighborhood cats, though.  If I were her, I'd enjoy that.  A lot.  ***

Monday, October 22, 2012

MMM: Monday Movie Meme - Movie within a Movie

It's still Monday...even though I'm way late getting up this week's version of Nicole's MMM: Monday Movie Meme, with today's topic: Movie within a Movie. There was one movie that came to mind immediately, probably because I've watched it close to 100 times.

This movie is amazing. It has just about every famous actor you could name (Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Kiera Knightly, Emma on the name of the movie and you'll get the IMDB page as usual for the complete list...) That's not the most amazing thing though – this movie takes what seem like individual stories, and as the movie progresses the stories come closer and closer to each other until you have one glorious, continuous theme. It's SO good. And so damn funny. There are more quotable lines in this movie than any other I've seen, and movie quoting, as you've heard me say before, is an Olympic sport in this family.

Ok, so you're wondering about the movie in a movie thing. Understandable. One story involves two stand-ins. Yes, they're stand-ins for a porno movie but this movie (Love Actually) is only rated R. There are a lot of scenes of them setting up a scene, getting the lighting correct, etc., and these for me provided some of the biggest laughs.

But wait! There's more. Another story involves one of the characters shooting his own version of the wedding video of two of the other characters. It has far reaching consequences.

Ah hell, you've probably seen it, but there you go. If you haven't you MUST.

What movies do you think of when you hear “movie within a movie”? Add your ideas to my comments, or put up your own post and the link in Nicole's comments. Here's to movie recommendations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest

The book I noticed is Retro-Zombie: Art & Words by Jeremy Hawkins. I noticed it because he asked me to review it before it went live on Amazon. Hey, that's noticing! You notice something someone points out to you...

I love this book. Jeremy is a writer and a digital artist, and this endeavor which he dubs, “A coloring book for your mind” continuous to make me think each time I pick it up. I've included pictures of my favorite page spread

and a close up the words that are my favorite part

I'm excited to be a part of the “Did I Spot Your Book?” blogfest hosted by Ciara Knight  nd her co-hort, Alex J. Cavanaugh  The idea is to spotlight a book you've noticed, shout about it through all your social media networks, and once the author notices that YOU'VE noticed his or her book, leave a comment at Ciara's and Alex's. Be sure to visit them both! 

Yes, obviously Jeremy is my friend. Some might call this cheating. I call it being a friend. Check out this amazing book!. Here's the Amazon link. Now head over to our co-hosts and for the next noticed books on our list. You'll be sure to find something that interests you for your reading list.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Friend: Jeremy Hawkins

Hey Friends,
Please welcome my adopted A-Z brother, Jeremy Hawkins, as he explains his latest endeavor. Yes, his name is familiar because he's the one who built the new Life is Good and also an A-Z host two years running. I'm happy to support him in any way I can!

I wanted to share this with you for a couple of reasons... one it's really cool if you enjoy something scary and horror music. Second, well this is the independent record label I do work for and it's one cool event happening all month. 

Howlin' Wolf Records & Jason Comerford present a 3rd season of 13 CHILLS: Commentary, PRIZES, and good ole October Mayhem. Leave a comment, read a little something interesting and win some prizes. Here is the schedule for the upcoming days for the whole month. 

01 - 10/03, Wed - FRIGHT NIGHT - Brad Fiedel
02 - 10/05, Fri - MISERY - Marc Shaiman
03 - 10/08, Mon - THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH - David Lee
04 - 10/10, Wed - SISTERS - Bernard Herrmann
05 - 10/12, Fri - THE FLY - Howard Shore
06 - 10/15, Mon - ???
07 - 10/17, Wed -
08 - 10/19, Fri -
09 - 10/22, Mon -
10 - 10/24, Wed -
11 - 10/26, Fri -
12 - 10/29, Mon -
13 - 10/31, Wed - 

Read over the current day's score, read the history and make a comment (right side "What do you think?")... be entered in weekly giveaways. At the end of the month be entered in a huge prize "Friday the 13" Scores 1-6 Box Set by: Harry Manfredini.

13 Days of CHILLS

Jeremy Hawkins

Monday, October 15, 2012

MMM: Monday Movie Meme: The Power of We

It's MMM: Monday Movie Meme at Nicole's, and once again, I'm making it on a Monday! I don't suppose it's much of an accomplishment, when I only seem to be able to post once a week these days.

I do have lots of good excuses. I've been out meeting the many encouraging folks who are part of Alex's Insecure Writers SupportGroup. I've also still been visiting the fun members of his Ninja Army who participated in the Favorite Genres Blogfest. In other words, traveling has trumped writing. Does that happen to you? I know that this wonderful community we occupy has a give and take. I can't expect to JUST blog and have them come. I know I must visit. However, I've got to find the balance. 

I really like what Nicole picked for today. “The Power of We”. Movies about people who work together for a common cause, for the common good.  Remember to click on the titles to get the IMDB info.

I know this isn't a movie, but it's the first thing that popped into my mind. These stranded plane crash survivors had to work together, not just to stay alive, but to find a way to be rescued. I justify straying from a movie because these episodes are just as rentable as a movie. The first two seasons are the best, and many stopped there. I do believe this series suffered from several problems. No one could have predicted how popular it would be, how it would become a water-cooler staple. Consequently, they didn't really know where they were heading when they first started, nor how to get there. No, I don't really get the ending. But if you want an example of “Live together or die alone” then the first few seasons of this amazing series will give you that, and a lot more. Like Josh Holloway...

I guess I'm on a plane crash theme as well, today. A plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness and the survivors must band together to fight off the wolf pack that is hunting them. I will not tell you I enjoyed this movie, it was way too intense for me emotionally, graphically, and I didn't get the ending I wanted. But it held me in it's grip from start to finish, and I spent most of the movie with tears in my eyes. It gets to you. Grabs you. Pulls you in. Just like the wolves that pick them off one by one...does anyone survive?

What movies do you recommend about people working together for the common good? Seen The Grey? What did you think? You can answer in my comments, or write your own post and link up at Nicole's.

Monday, October 8, 2012

MMM: Monday Movie Meme: Dangerous Kids

Hey, I'm getting to do MMM instead of TMM. Confused? It's Nicole'sMonday Movie Meme.  I've been managing to get them up on Tuesdays... She's chosen for today's topic “dangerous kids”. I'm going two directions in this one.  Don't forget to click on the movie names for the IMDB page

This movie came to mind immediately because dangerous doesn't necessarily mean dangerous physically, as in the examples Nicole chose. Dangerous can be psychological and emotional as well. This movie shows that concept very well actually. I know there are many out there who think that John Hughes movies from the 80's were crap and over-exaggeration of high school. I'm here to tell you differently. Molly Ringwald's character was persecuted just because she didn't have as much money as some of the kids who were rich and “ran” the school. They played psychological games with her, just to prove how much she didn't fit in.

I've experienced it. When I had to move from MD to CO for my senior year of high school, I didn't fit in at my small, Christian school. (I'd attended public school my entire school career). These girls wore dresses and heels and HOSE to school and wanted nothing to do with a girl who was tainted by public school, wore jeans and t-shirts, and would rather make friends with the less-judgmental guys. I give John Hughes props for telling some of the stories we'd frankly like to pretend aren't real.

I just love this movie. Not usually one for campy, I did enjoy the booby traps that Kevin sets for the bumbling burglars. Besides, I've always been a Joe Pesci fan. I'm sure that were some of those stunts to be performed for real, they'd have some serious head trauma at the very least, but it's kept light and funny and the smart kid shows that he can be dangerous if messed with.

So there you have it, two opposite movies, but I think you'll enjoy them both. They are both good for discussion when watched with the appropriate aged child/teenager. My boys are slowly warming to John Hughes and me wanting to talk all about them. It's amazing what a bowl of my famous popcorn and some twizzlers can do for their enthusiasm, though.

What movies do you think of when you hear “dangerous kids”?
You can write your own post, or just leave your ideas in my comments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group - My First Brave Meeting

Hi, my name is Tina and I'm an insecure writer. I'm insecure because so many of my blogging buddies have published multiple novels, and I'm still writing my first one. I'm insecure because sometimes I get no traffic when I've worked hard on a post, and I'm insecure because I don't have my family's support. Let's tackle 'em one at a time.

I'm lucky to get to hang out with the big kids in the big pool, I know that. It's lovely when they tell me I've done well. It's also lovely when they take the time to offer real critique because that shows me that they are REALLY reading what I write and care enough to say what I could improve. I'm flattered when the big bloggers visit EVERY post I write, but I feel guilty when I don't make it around to all of their posts. I'm a stay-at-home mom of two teen boys, and don't have a lot of time for my writing/blogging/visiting. Then I feel guilty when I spend to much time on it. (We'll get to more of that in reason 3...) I've published my first story. That helped me a lot. It gave me the confidence to keep writing the novel I started for BuNoWriMo. It hasn't given me the TIME, though ;-) but it's at 17% and that's more than I had when I started.

I'm a math nerd. Numbers fuel my sense of worth. Four comments on a post makes me feel unimportant. I have to work really hard not to constantly check my stats. I think part of that goes back to issues from college (anorexia, which you can read about in Careless Words) where self-esteem was non-existent and numbers (at that time) on a scale defined me. I'm afraid of letting blog stats do the same to me now. It has helped me to have another blog to work on – being a co-host at the A-Z Challenge Blog really feeds my self-esteem and I feel appreciated and important with the work I do there. It's not much writing though, but it does use some of my God-given organizational and leadership skills and that's good.

I'm also insecure because not all of my family members take the time to read what I write. Yes, several are subscribers, some read sporadically, but there is one person who I wish would read everything I write, and tell me I'm doing a good job, working hard towards my goal, and that he'll support me in them. Maybe one day he'll get it. So far, I spend to much time of my day on “that time-wasting blogging thing” and not enough “getting stuff done.” Sigh.

If you're an insecure writer, you may join us on the first Wednesday of every month.  The linky is at Alex. J Cavanaugh's, our consumate host.

TMM: Tuesday Movie Meme: Museums

I think I might have to start permanently calling these posts TMM: Tuesday Movie Meme, because when Nicole posts her's on Monday, I'm usually too busy to get a post up right away. When I post, it's usually the night before, or some miracle leads me to churn something out between 5:30 and 6:30 am and up it goes. I've asked her oh so kindly to tell me the night before what the topic is, but that's cheating she says. Her whole deal is spontaneity. Fine, I can be spontaneous. Just a day late ;-)

Today's (well, yesterday's) topic is museums. Name movies that have to do with museums, whether real or not. I immediately knew what I wanted to write about.

I'm not a Ben Stiller fan, mostly because I'm not a physical humor fan, and the whole pizza scene in Dodgeball just was ridiculously unnecessary. But, my kids like movies, so I've suffered through a slew of bad Disney movies over the years. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked these movies. The premise is original, and the story is just plain fun. I was worried about the sequel because in general I'm not a sequel fan – 99% of the time they are far below the original on just about every scale. However, Battle of the Smithsonian turned out to ALSO have an original premise and a very satisfying ending. So don't dismiss these as kids movies. Go have some fun, giggle at absurdities, and enjoy some history come to life. Literally.