Finally Friday!

Woo! We made it! Yay us!

And on that note, here’s a really terrible joke that made me laugh entirely too much:

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did, and I hope you all have a great weekend! What fun things will you do?

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Throwback Thursday

Because I’m tired from fighting a migraine all week, I’m taking it easy today. In the meantime, here are a few things from my archives that you might enjoy:

You should also check out this year’s team of Tiny Peppers, because they’re all pretty awesomesauce.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go crawl into bed and stay there. But do please share with me what and who you’re reading in the comments so that, when I feel better, I have new things to read!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Wild Wednesday

It’s been a wild Wednesday.

Things got off to a rocky start this morning when I backed out of my garage. There was much loud swearing, and I really don’t want to talk about it, except to say that as a result of getting off to a rocky start, I was unable to resist trying one of the donuts that greeted me as soon as I walked in the door at work. I was also unable to resist one of the gourmet cookies that arrived this afternoon. And I was unable to resist Godfather’s Pizza come suppertime.

The sky swore today.

I happened to look out the window by my desk about 4:00 p.m. and I couldn’t believe what I saw. It looked like January outside, except for the part where the grass was still green. They said I could leave early if I wanted, but I wasn’t worried about the roads, even though everyone forgets how to drive in snow between May and November. I just took it easy, only getting mildly annoyed when the person behind me with the super-bright dims seemed to ride my bumper for ten miles before finally going around me. But I made it home safe and sound, and my kids made it home safe and sound, so it could have been a whole lot worse.

Besides, I got a book today.

Everyone knows that books make everything better, and this book in particular is very exciting. I’d actually completely forgotten it was coming. About a month ago, A.F.E. Smith posted on her Facebook page that she’d run across a box of proof copies of her third novel, Windsinger, and asked if anyone would want one. Naturally, I said yes! And when I finally made it home tonight, a pretty, pretty signed copy was sitting in my mailbox, just waiting to be read. (You can check out my review of Windsinger here, and my reviews of Darkhaven and Goldenfire here and here.)

I’ve been struggling a bit with reading lately, so it was a wonderful reminder that there are loads of great things out there to read (as if I really needed a reminder of that). I seem to read in fits and starts these days – when I’m reading, it’s all I can do, and writing is the same. Maybe it’s just that I feel so pressed for time, like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. Maybe it’s some weird manifestation of something I’m not entirely certain of. I don’t know.

There’s an awful lot I don’t seem to know these days.

But maybe things will look brighter in the morning.

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Tuesday Trek

It’s no secret that I love Star Trek. So today I bring you a lovely Trek-themed meme and my best wishes for a happy Hump Day tomorrow!

What things do you love? Tell me in the comments!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

The Monday Meme

Well, better late than never, right? It may be a hair after 11:00 p.m., but I’m going to get this out tonight yet.

I was thinking about changing things up here, since I haven’t done that in a while, and to get my creative juices percolating again. In case you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years like I have, Facebook has become host to a wealth of memes, and I’m going to use them for inspiration…at least for a little while.

First up? This gem that I saw last Thursday:

It’s funny because it’s true. But even as it’s true, it’s also false–Hobby Lobby’s had Christmas stuff up since before Labor Day, and I’m pretty sure I heard a Christmas song or two while I was in there keeping my eyes peeled for signs that Jack Skellington was lurking about. I mean, it was Halloween in one aisle and Christmas in the next. You’d have been looking for him, too.

How do you feel about Christmas music before Thanksgiving? Let’s discuss!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Time capsule inspiration

The University of California in Santa Barbara has done something wonderful, and I had completely forgotten about it until about a month ago.

I’ve had this short story sitting on my hard drive now for about three years (and yes, short is a relative term), and I finally had both the time and the inclination to get back to working on it. It went through one round of revisions after I’d initially written it, but it’s been so long since I’ve read through it, let alone actually worked on it, that I decided to go back to my standard revision practice of recopying the entire MS and making changes as I went. When I’m done, I’ll type it up and make a few more changes as I type.

But my revision process is beside the point.

Anyway, one of the focal points of the story is…

It pays to be prepared…

A great singer once said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run,” and those words flitted through my brain as I headed up to the mic with my tablet in hand. I hadn’t planned to run, though I had considered running in the opposite direction. And I managed not to trip over all the cords, so that was a bonus.

“Our next reader says she’s livin’ the dream, so she may be sleepwalking up here!”

I reached the mic, smiling at the intro. “Well, I don’t sleepwalk, but I have been known to talk in my sleep, so here goes nothing.”

And then I set my tablet down. Three lines into the poem I’d planned to read, the screen went black. I don’t like public speaking, but I seem to keep finding myself doing it, even when I don’t mean to. And when I’m in front of people, it doesn’t take much to get me flustered, so a malfunctioning tablet was sure to do the trick.

I was prepared for that, though. My tablet’s battery was already low—and getting lower—when I arrived at the Hearst Center, but I hadn’t had time to print off a copy of what I planned to read because I hadn’t decided exactly what that would be until after I arrived. While I was preparing my reading, someone asked me if I trusted my tablet to see me through, and when I glanced at how much battery remained, I decided it would be smart to have a backup plan.

So three lines into a thirty-nine-line poem, my tablet crapped out. Evidently I set it down on the end with the power button, which turned the whole thing off. Not to worry—I whipped my phone out of my back pocket and continued reading without missing a beat. It made my intro feel even more fitting.

And it all worked out in the end. Several people told me how much they’d liked what I read, and a couple of people (including the MC) commented about how seamless my recovery was. What can I say? I have a history of quick recovery when it comes to technical difficulties. Once, in sixth grade, we did a project where we had to do a mock radio broadcast. As we went to play our musical selection, my tape deck hiccupped. Without even thinking, I said, “We are experiencing technical difficulties—please stand by,” and my co-host went into commercial. I can’t be sure anymore, but I think he completely ad-libbed the commercial, and we ended up doing really well on the project.

Nothing like quick thinking to save your bacon.

If only all of life’s hiccups were that small, things would be pretty good. But that doesn’t mean that a little preparation and a bit of quick thinking can’t still save you when things aren’t going your way. Patience and persistence are both vital ingredients when it comes to making your own good luck, and while I may not be the most patient person in the world (far from it, in fact), I am certainly one of the most persistent. Some may argue that stubborn is a better word for it, but sometimes in life, you have to be stubborn in order to get what you want.

It’s like Don Schlitz said all along: You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em.

And just keep swimming.

What about you? Do you enjoy being in front of a crowd, or would you prefer not to?

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

It’s that time of the year again…

Today is November 1 and you know what that means…It’s time to get crazy!

Crazy like a writer, that is.

That’s write (see what I did there? 😊), today begins NaNoWriMo, which for some crazy reason I decided to try again this year. But I haven’t written a word on my novel yet today, and I probably won’t, which is going to put me at a startling deficit when tomorrow rolls around.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ve written plenty of words today. I’ve probably even hit the magical 1,667 mark. But the words I wrote weren’t for any personal projects, so alas, they don’t count.

November 1 also means that NaBloPoMo has begun in earnest, which I’m hoping will get me back on track when it comes to my dearly-beloved-yet-sadly-neglected, wordy home here on the interwebs. But with my friends at #TeamTinyPeppers cheering me on, I’m sure I can get back in the swing of things this time.

Because willpower—I has it. Sometimes. If food isn’t involved. 😊

So what about you? Are you participating in any of this month’s writerly activities? I want to hear all about what’s going on with you down in the comments!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Tea

Tea and kluntje isn’t the same without milk, but it’s still pretty good.

We always drank tea with milk and kluntje growing up, usually at family get-togethers. Tea is comfort. Tea is family. Tea is home.

I’m drinking my tea with kluntje this afternoon and wishing I had some milk to go with it. It’s strong tea. German tea. It has a robust flavor when brewed properly, but I let mine steep too long today. It tastes almost…bitter.

Twenty-five years ago today, my mom passed away. I miss her every day. I wish that I could call her for advice. I wish that I could call her to ask about her day. I wish that I could remember her. I wish I had some milk for my tea.

It would be easy to become like my tea – dark and bitter. And for a while, I was. But as I sit here drinking my tea, wishing things were different, I’m reminded that even in the depths of darkness, there is still sweetness to be found. The cracked and broken shards of kluntje fill my mouth with sweetness. They’re strong, those remnants – they withstood the boiling tea.

The survived – and so did I.

I still miss my mom – I always will. But, like my tea, I am strong; I am robust. Like my tea, I can still bring comfort and joy. Like my kluntje, life has changed me – it has bent me, but it has not broken me. The hot water has worn me down, smoothed my rough edges, but it hasn’t melted me completely.

And I refuse to let it.

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Ten years!

Last time we went to Olive Garden for our anniversary, our waiter left us a special message on our pumpkin cheesecake (which was free since it was our anniversary). This year we had a different waitress and different cheesecake, but she still left us a special message, and our strawberry cheesecake was still free.

The couple at the table next to us were celebrating 55 years together, which makes our ten years seem like a grain of sand in the hourglass of life, but it’s something to aspire to, the sunshine to dream of on cloudy days. And if I have anything to say about it, it’s a dream we’ll see fulfilled.

Happy anniversary to the man who’s done his best to make all my dreams come true, my partner, my encourager, my motivator, my best friend. The best is yet to come!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.