Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
It is my belief that we have basic human rights that protect us in a civilized society. My basic rights are being violated, nay, mutilated every week at the baseball field where instead of being able to kick back and watch some Little League my poor eyes are exposed to horror after horror. As a result of this retina trauma, the other night I composed this list (with the help of Harris's Mom and Super Teacher) of what to wear at the baseball field. These guidelines can really be applied to any outdoor casual event in the South. I see this as a public service and hope you will share it with your friends and neighbors.
What to Wear at the Baseball Park
1. Wear a Shirt. Now you would expect that this rule would mostly apply to men--andfor the most part it does--but there seems to be a trend among women (adults who should know better) to not wear a real shirt. They simply wear a sports bra and some bottoms. This is not okay, in fact, this rule was almost called, It's a sports bra not a shirt.
2. Wear shorts that fit. If I wanted to see your butt, I would change your diaper. I have seen way, way, way too many butt cracks! Both male and female, unfortunately. You would think this rule would only apply to too much skin showing because pants are cut so low. But sadly I have also seen cheeks sagging out the bottom of shorts that were woefully too small and often too tight, but that is another rule.
3. Wear clothes that fit--not ones that fit you when you were five, but ones that fit you thirty years later. The Guy has a saying that sums up this situation, "That is a nice outfit. It is a pity they didn't have it in her size." Enough said on that subject.
I realize that is covers only the most basic of rules for what to wear, but I felt that so many people seemed to need help that we should keep it simple and start with three rules. Perhaps you all can add more rules for us...
What do you think should be worn to the baseball park?
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I've been pondering this very thing lately because I've got a new book fermenting in my brain. Along with it comes first love, the kind that develops during the course of a new story idea and the fleshing out of new characters with their firsts: first meet, first kiss, first fight... you get the idea. ;)
Typing The End is ultimately satisfying because of the limitless publishing possibilities, but beginning anew is quite the adventure. Expectation. Suspense. A compass that takes you where you want to go. You name it! When it comes to writing a new book, everything is at a writer's disposal. But the choices a writer makes, the deeper into the book a writer goes, no matter how intricately plotted or conceived, oftentimes deviate from the designated fork in the road.
To follow the plot or not? That is the question.
Characters like to blindside writers, don't they? I find this part of the writing process to be the most intriquing part. When a character comes fully-fleshed out, it's not like I have any say in the matter when that fork presents itself.
Once realized, stories become entities that no longer require a writer's vision.
I love this part about writing the most. That moment when the story unfolds as if it is writing itself and the characters speak as though alive. (Though it can get crowded up in here when that happens.
I'm having a moment like this now. While finishing up my current book, I had a character who simply wouldn't allow me to write a scene. He didn't like being told what to do. (He's an Alpha male, of course and wanted things his way). His way however, meant scaring my inner critique, that good ol' tried and true internal editor. You know the one, or ones, in my case. You see, my internal editor is a them, not a who. They are the church choir staring over my shoulder, which makes it quite crowded in my tiny office space. When the writing is good, it's so very, very good. (Cue Hallelujah chorus, prayer hands and swaying bodies.) But when the writing is bad, not bad writing, mind you, but writing that deviates to the deliciously bad and sexy, well... things can get ugly up in here.
Times like these call for extreme measures. Believe me, I know. That's why I love Alpha heroes. Strong and sure of themselves, they won't let anyone stand in their way to a happy ending. They're prepared to fight through the massing crowd with savvy and sword to exact my cooperation. Until, my handsome hero defeats said internal editors and sends them packing off to the choir loft where they belong, I'm sometimes at a character's mercy. And thankfully so. Because when a truly fleshed-out character wants to make you his be-otch, you know the writing's good.
When your story takes an unexpected turn, give your characters and stories their firsts and lasts. Allow them to come to life. Doing so, could possibly bring salvation.
How do you deal with that pesky Internal Editor?
Monday, April 23, 2012
|PA and me after Footloose. He did not choose the white tux.|
|Last Homecoming Parade|
|Last Halloween Party|
|After the Last Football Game|
|Last ROTC Military Ball|
|Last Prom-He did choose this tux!|
Friday, April 20, 2012
I have to admit, the concept of comfort food was lost on me until Painter Girl asked me about it around the time my youngest was born. I really had no idea what she was talking about, this food that could comfort you. What’s that? Then I realized it was all the foods I grew up on….the chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes and fried chicken and gravy, the gumbo…..stuff like that. And as far as the ever true food-love of a woman, Chocolate…..well, you’ll be disappointed to know that chocolate’s not exactly my idea of a dream confection either. Unless I’m PMS-ing.
There is one chocolate recipe I will admit to being head over heels in love with. And that’s Nigella Lawson’s Chocohotopots. Oh. My. Gawd!!! I must’ve been seriously PMS-ing when I decided to makes these divine pots! I’ll have to pace myself from now on when it comes to these blessed ooey-gooey-masterpieces of chocolate scrumptousness. They. Are. Perfecto! And because of such, I will share the recipe with you. I know it’s out of character for me to do so, but every woman needs this recipe. And so I share. Please! Do yourself a favor and make these. Eat them when they’re fresh from the oven (otherwise they fall way down on the pleasure mark). They will minister love and health and wellness to your soul! Oh and….if you’re a man reading this post, for the love of God! Make these for your Lovey! I promise…she will love You for it! <3 Enjoy!
as seen at...
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I know, but you’ll get over it! Promise!)
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, with 60 percent cocoa solids
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar (I just use regular, it’s fine enough.)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Special equipment: 4 (2/3 to 1-cup capacity) ramekins (I use 6-8 small ones, they’re RICH!)
Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Butter the ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.
Either in a microwave or in a bowl suspended over a pan over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and 1 stick butter, then set aside to cool a little.
In another bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and flour with a hand whisk and beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture between the 4 buttered ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, by which time the tops will be cooked and cracked and the chocolate gooey underneath.
Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve. Make sure to warn people that these desserts will be HOT!
And there you have it folks! Choco….Hot….Oh….YUM!!! Mmm….nom, nom, nom! So....what do you think?
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Somehow, as a child, I never read these books. Perhaps it seemed too much like a "boy book" or maybe it was simply that I didn't read any fantasy-- but at any rate, I never knew about this series. When the movie came out it looked so gorgeous that it drew me in. Then I read and fell in love with the books. I even read the one that comes before this one, The Magician's Nephew. I love the rich descriptions that the movie brought to life but, even more, I fell in love with beautiful use of language and superb characters.
I would love to be the Daughter of Eve, from the City of War Drobe in the Land of Spare Oom. Or be Lucy who was curious, adventurous, and yet found time to be kind. I think it would be great to have a big brother like Peter who always took up for me and tried to smooth my way; as well as, a sister like Susan who was always trying to keep us all together. Even a brother like Edmund would keep things interesting.
There has been much made of the symbolism in this book, especially after the movie was released. Many people draw parallels between Aslan and Jesus. It is also easy to compare the wayward Edmund to the self-absorbed way many of us go through our lives. We don't mean to cause trouble, but we want a cushy life for ourselves. I can see where these idea come from, but for me the beauty of the language and the fantastic movie the book makes in my head far outweighs any cerebral exercise in spiritualism.
The characters of the children in this book are very distinct. There is also the absent minded Professor, a stern housekeeper, the MacReady, and a cast of fantasy characters from a talking beaver to the evil White Witch who styles herself the "Princess of Narnia."
Have you read these books or seen the movie? If so, what character would you be? If not, I encourage you to give them a try!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I also have a lot of older animals, all with ailments like arthritis and such. As I look around I see that my time is coming to face heartbreak and sadness but then, I would never had known the joy of these loyal animals. The conundrum I put myself in is what everyone faces – you get the animals and you forget that some day you will face the inevitable. I am a stubborn person, not one to give in easily. When I am dealing with a problem I face it, then I try to determine how I can control it. I never learned the lesson of quitting; it’s not in my nature.
I started thinking in the wee hours of the morning Sunday that I have to learn to let go. Oh, not of these wonderful animals, but of the need I have to control. I guess I think that if I work hard enough, try hard enough and do enough that I can change the outcome of things. In some situations that is true. I just haven’t learned to judge when it is really time to quit. At my age, you’d think I would have. But no, I keep pushing and pulling, trying and trying when everyone else has stopped. There are greater Forces in the universe that are at work; the Bible verse “a time to sow and a time to reap…” constantly plagues me. When will I learn?
I guess I am getting philosophical because I lost a dear friend on Sunday; a man who helped me start life as a new lawyer. He was witty, funny, and at all times a Southern gentleman. His view on life was to take it with both hands, move forward and never look back. Nothing bothered him because that was just the way things were. As I stood in the barn, thinking of that man and wondering why I couldn’t be like him, I remembered his view of taking life one day at a time. He always said you never know what is going to happen but it will be interesting. So Vule, wherever you are, thanks for reminding me – we all die but we all have a job to do while we’re here.
So if I have to control things and push, then so be it. That’s me, that’s who Cheryl is. Vule would be proud of me.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Chief lesson learned: The world is a very small place.
I moved 8 times before I turned 16. 2 times in college and 8 times in 20 years of marriage. I've lived in Germany 3 times (newborn, teen and wife), Japan once (as a kid) and Italy once (as a wife). Through all these moves, I've been fortunate to experience different cultures and other languages, as well as find a way to fit in wherever I was. How? Sometimes you stick your foot in the door, invest yourself, in order to succeed.
Lesson: Make the most of the time you've got.
Japan: Earthquakes carried our beds all the way across the floor to the other side of the room but I also have memories of catching Pincher Bugs and snails, skating on an outdoor ring behind our quarters, and exploring tunnels carved into the snow by my dad.
Italy: Though I spent most of my time birthing babies and as a commander's wife, I still had time to see the Alps, Dachau, visit Pompeii, tour villas and museums, explore the Sunday markets downtown and eat pizza and tortolini at Il Dragone, my favorite pizzeria, complete with brick ovens.
Germany: As a teen, I cheered and played softball. Our competition cheerleading squad won 1st place two years running. I went to Frankfurt High School, toured castles and took part in a play at Heidelberg Castle. As an adult, I traveled to Holland, Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria. I was also a commander's wife with two little children and a poltergeist in my car.
Lesson: Good things come to those who wait.
Throughout our travels, there were places I didn't want to be, for one reason or another. Sometimes it was simply a matter of LTC's job, a job that kept him on the road for 3 weeks at a time, allowing him to be home for 2 weeks before heading out the door again. In New Jersey, LTC was home only 1 year out of the 3 years we were stationed there. Tough times! But as with any hardship, the good follows. We found a home to plant our roots and were able to give our children the best upbringing they could possibly have.
Lesson: Be careful what you wish for.
LTC is home more often these days. The kids are grown. I have more time to write than I did with four kids underfoot, even while working a part-time job. I have roots! Something I've never had the luxury of having before. I've made great friends who cherish me for who I am. I've joined writers groups and am surrounded by others who think the way I do and get me.
Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. Throughout the years, I've prayed for healthy kids, a loving family, a wonderful home and the ability to write stories that will comfort people who are going down the roads I've traveled. Sometimes I think the only thing stopping me... is me.
Be careful what you wish for.
The world is a small place- Be professional, kind and compassionate.
Make the most of what you've got- You're the perfecter of your fate. You've got what it takes to make it through!
Good things come to those who wait- If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then try again!
Be careful what you wish for.
What have you been wishing for throughout your life?
Monday, April 16, 2012
I was a comic book reader as a child, but not cool comics like they buy on The Big Bang Theory about guys with superpowers. Oh, no. No Superman, Marvel, etc. and whatever. I read Dennis the Menace, Archie, Richie Rich, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Of course, now that I think about it, Caspar did have sort of a superpower, even if he did have to die to get it. He could fly.
If I could pick a superpower, that would be it. I'd fly all over the place. Also, the Ghostly Trio could scare somebody by just saying, "Boo"--I mean to the point that people begged them not to boo. That was pretty super and wouldn't be a bad ability to have.
But no flying for me, except in an airplane. No booing that does any good at keeping annoying people away from me.
What I can do is tell when somebody is lying. I swear, it's like a sixth sense. I wish I didn't have this ability, due to the staggering number of people who lie.
I've always been able to do it, but I have a vivid memory of the first time I became acutely aware of it. I was sixteen and my high school boyfriend told me he'd had sex with his next door neighbor's granddaughter. Now, this had supposedly occurred before he met me, so that wasn't an issue. But I knew he was lying, though there was no good reason for me to not believe him. I didn't even know the girl in question. Later, in a fit of repentance, he admitted it. All I thought was, "Well, I knew that."
And it has happened over and over again all my life. Someone will say something—and most of the time it's something small that makes no difference—and this little ping will go off in my head. Often, (often enough that it has taught me to trust my instinct) I find out for sure that they've lied because they trip themselves up.
Too bad there's no money in this. Flying would be way better. Or booing.
Oh, and by the way, The Guy never lies. I mean never. He doesn't even know how. That's probably why I let him pick me.
What superpower do you have? What superpower to you wish you had?
Friday, April 13, 2012
I believe bookmarks are an art form all their own. I found a brief history of the bookmark on Wikipedia.com that was fascinating. (Though I’m sure there’s way more information on them somewhere. Imagine a coffee table book on the art of the bookmark! Love it!) Anyway, the article brought to mind a beautiful ribbon bookmark I use in my Bible that has 5 ribbons of different colors attached to a thin stiff cardboard bookmark that slides down into the spine of my bible. I can’t tell you how handy it is to have more than the standard 2 ribbons for such a big book!
Momma B (Painter Girl’s mother, who long ago adopted me and made me her very own youngun) makes the most beautiful bookmarks in the world. They’re designed with heart and love and imagination. And as much as I love her artistic endeavors, I can’t seem to bring myself to use them. They do however sit in a sparkly LOVE vase arrayed like the most beautiful bouquet of art. Sometimes I gift them to share their extension of love with someone who might need a little somethin’ somethin’ for their heart. (Momma B’s really a heart surgeon, not an artist.)
Some of my other favorite bookmarks were the ones Clair and I collected over the years at the library near our north Texas home. Every week when we went to the library, Clair would ask Ms. Liz for a bookmark and bring it home like it was the most beautiful gift in the world. I wish I’d had the sense to preserve them like a stamp collection or something. But sadly, they’re gone. MIA. Never to be seen again. What remains is an indelible love for books, and that’s good enough for me!
When I was in Austria, I found the cutest bookmarks ever. They’re bookworms handmade of fabric and threads. Each worm is wearing a tie, kind of like they’re all business about reading. The juxtaposition of fun, form, function and attitude made me laugh, so I bought as many as I could and brought them back to my kids and the library kiddos too.
Bookmarks are also functional. I often designed bookmarks at the library for the purpose of announcing book clubs or special events. Of course we had a bookmark with the library hours and circulation details on it. Romance authors utilize bookmarks for announcing their titles, too. They’re always fun to find at the library checkout desk! Of course, any bookmark is fun to find on Friday the 13th! Sorry y'all. My bookmark photos refuse to make an appearance today. :/
So, if I don’t use my bookmarks, how do I mark my place in the book? Ha! A piece of junk mail, a paperclip, a stray ribbon I found handy…and that’s just it…it’s whatever I find handy, because it’s likely all of my wonderful bookmarks are in their right place and that’s not where I can be found reading! I know right? I frustrate even myself. But for the real question, do I dog-ear the precious page of a book? Well……hmmm……maybe? If I have to? Okay, rarely. But I have been known to do the “D”eed.
So what do you use to mark your spot in the book? Bookmarks? Feathers? Leaves? Post-its? String? What? And be honest… Do you, you know……“D” the book?
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A British woman living in France caused a major brouhaha with her column about how women hate her because she’s beautiful. I nearly choked myself to keep from laughing when I read the column. It seems Samantha Brick has endured trials and tribulations for her entire life just because she perceives herself as beautiful. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2124246/Samantha-Brick-downsides-looking-pretty-Why-women-hate-beautiful.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
In the column, Brick bemoans the fact that women snub her, ignore her and have even hurt her career simply because of her looks. The first thing I got from reading the article is that Brick seems overly concerned with other people’s perceptions about her looks. Secondly, to quote Barbara Walters, she just isn’t that good-looking. The storm over the article continued all last week, evoking responses from women all over the world. She was interviewed on a network morning show about the reactions and her response was that she didn’t intend to come off sounding so smug. It wasn’t what she had in mind when she wrote the article – she meant to point out that other people’s perceptions about looks can be hurtful. Sorry, but that isn’t what I got from her column. When I read it all I could hear was a boastful, vain woman who blamed other women when things didn’t go her way. She really laid into women who are older and “whose bloom is gone” for hating her (hmmm, could be why I didn’t like her). Oh, I know, she cited instances when women were outright rude to her but then, we didn’t really know how she was acting at the time either. I just thought the whole things was kind of silly. It did, however, bring her into the world’s spotlight.
After reading the article I got to thinking about perceptions. From what I have read, people who have a large ego require constant validation about themselves from others. People who are secure in themselves and don’t need outside validation have self-esteem. Ego is destructive; self-esteem promotes character. If you are secure in yourself, then you don’t need the approval of others. Here comes the ADD part – that got me to thinking about writing (I know, it’s a jump but then a spatial mind does that). If you are insecure about your writing, you constantly need validation from others about how great and wonderful you are. If you are secure about your writing, then you know inside when what you have written is good without other people telling you. So when the rejections start coming in or you get a bad review think about whether it’s you or your ego reacting to criticism. Yes, writing is something that seeks approval – an editor has to approve of what you have written in order for it to be published and then people have to buy it. But, not all things resonate with all people. Simply because one person doesn’t like your story doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good story or that it isn’t written well. It just means that you haven’t found the right market. I guess what I got out of all this is that you have to keep trying when you believe in yourself. Perceptions don’t always mean that others are right.
Have you heard of Samantha Brick? What did you think about her column? What is your take on the perceptions of others? Is it necessary to validate yourself? I know, being published is a form of validation, but if you’re constantly being rejected or criticized have you ever felt that the world is judging you unfairly? Just wondering…
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Home. It's where your story begins...
Spring is the best time of the year to own a home. I love sweeping off the porch, setting out cushions on my wrought iron furniture, uncovering the pool, and listening to the birds outside my windows.
Birds always seem to be happy creatures, don't they? Singing endless lyrics. Flying in groups with their peeps. Chillin' on poles. (Today I caught myself missing Hawk. Hawk used to sit on the power lines as I drove by. Sometimes he'd fly out in front of me as if trying to tell me something. Unfortunately, I just realized I hadn't seen him since a tornado hit his prime hunting ground. Was he killed or driven away? I can't be sure and it makes me sad.)
As with every beginning, there is a middle and an end. Such is the way of all things, especially the calendar year. I'm barely able to believe 2012 is almost half-way over. It just seems like yesterday the new year began and I planned my goals out for the year. When I look back on what I've accomplished so far, I see boons and pitfalls, but I KNOW I'm making strides. It's all in perception, right?
Recently, I entered two books in one contest and one in another. I sent out some queries and plotted a new book, one I plan to write during a Fast Draft challenge beginning in two days. I'm also THIS close to finishing my current WIP.
And so, though I appear to be clanking my cymbols and bouncing along, I've pondered the energizer bunny. How cool would it be to have that kind of energy, to hop, hop, hop from one project to the next, getting them all done in a timely manner?
Are you on track for the year? How are your energy levels and if you were the energizer bunny, what would you do with your time?
Monday, April 9, 2012
Spring is the best time of year to own a home. I love sweeping off the porch, setting out cushions on my wrought iron furniture and listening to the birds outside my windows. Birds always seem to be happy creatures, don't they? Flying in groups. Sitting idle on poles. (Today I caught myself missing Hawk. He used to sit on the power lines as I drove by. Unfortunately, a tornado recently hit his prime hunting ground and has either driven him off or killed him. I can't be sure and it's made me sad.)
It's in these earliest days of the growing season that I'm at my best, planning the garden, picturing the summer scope of foilage and the vast colorful show to come. I know lots of work will be involved. But I don't think about that now as I weed out the chaff and plant the new.
With every beginning, there is a middle and an end. It's hard to believe the year is almost half-way over. It just seems like yesterday that 2012 began and I planned my goals for the year. When I look back on what I've accomplished so far, I see boons and pitfalls, but I KNOW I'm making strides. It's all in perception.
Wouldn't you like to have as much energy as the Energizer Bunny? If you did, what would you do with your time?
I used to have a wad of keys that I could have used to attack a gorilla. I might not of won, but my weapon would have evened things up a little. Now, my keys couldn't take out a baby lab rat.
At the height of my key capacity I had a key for:
- My apartment.
- My boyfriend's apartment.
- My parents' house—front and back doors.
- My parents's car.
- My car.
- The library, where I worked.
- My desk at the library.
- The library library story hour room
- The Junior League office.
Then the key evolution began. First I got married to the boyfriend so two apartment keys became one house key. However, I gained a key to his car, so there was no loss. In fact, if I remember correctly, he had a separate trunk key so, I added one .
Then I quit my job at the library. Three keys gone.
Then I finally had to sense to take sustainer status in Junior League, so I didn't need in the office anymore. They took my key.
Somewhere along the way, The Guy got a vehicle with only one key.
Now I have a house key (front and back door are the same), his car, my car.
I do have house keys for a couple friends, but I don't carry those. I have a safety deposit box key and no fool carries that.
Three little keys. I can't say my life is much simpler.
I bet you think I am about to liken all this to the phases of life or compare it to writing.
I just want to know how many keys you carry.