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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Very Merry Unbirthday to You

We all hear about the big bones of contention in marriages—money, how to raise the children, and how to spend the holidays. But I think there’s another biggee that people just don’t talk about—birthdays.

As one of four children, I looked forward to my birthday. I got my parents’ undivided attention, my favorite dinner (except for that one time my mom made me my sister’s favorite dinner of pot roast and [shudder] green peas), and my favorite cake (devil’s food with chocolate frosting). To make it even better, there were presents. Notice the plural. My husband, who was an only child, has an entirely different take on birthdays. He doesn’t like a big fuss. He says it stems from his mom making too big a deal of his birthday and any other event in his life. He refused to come out of his room for his fifth birthday party. And he was embarrassed by the abundance of toys his mom would shower upon him, sometimes for no reason at all.

He doesn’t like presents. Let me amend that one. He likes presents that he picks out for himself. When he turned 40, he gave himself what I like to call his mid-life crisis present—motorcycle riding lessons at the local Harley Davidson shop and a safety helmet. I was very supportive much to my family and friends’ consternation. Why, you ask? Because he should enjoy his life, because I am not his warden, because the insurance policy was paid up, and because riding lessons are a hell of a lot better than some other things he could have acquired during his mid-life crisis, like a long-legged blonde.

This is the e-mail he sent me this morning: “It looks like CVS Pharmacy should carry the lotion. NOTE: This is just an FYI and not a veiled attempt to get you to buy another bottle of lotion for my birthday. However, you should interpret this FYI to mean that it was cold this morning, and I need some new gloves. You should not interpret the mentioning of gloves to mean that you need to buy me gloves for my birthday or Easter. I will buy gloves next year. P.S. None of this has anything to do with a new color TV.” We have a TV from his college days that is dying a slow death in the kitchen. The squashed picture is now three inches in width, but he doesn’t want a new one until this one dies.

His birthday is tomorrow. We won’t celebrate it until Friday evening because he has a friend coming in and this friend will be going out to dinner with us. So, good wife that I am, I’m postponing his low key hoopla. But he’s having one. I’m making him his favorite ice cream pie, and I’m buying him one gift. Not any of the above listed. That’s a good compromise, I think. What he still doesn’t understand after fifteen years of marriage is that it is a joy to give someone you love a birthday present. A present says I know you, I get who you are, and I am so glad to have you in my life that I want to celebrate the day you were born. In about fifteen more years, I think he may finally understand!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Deliberate Words of Praise

by Ila Campbell

I was despairing of coming up with a good topic to write about this month and then (wait for it), my mother-in-law came to visit.

(No, I’m not going to rant.)

Usually when she comes to stay we have a lot of usual mother/daughter-in-law issues, but there wasn’t this time. No words of criticism, no disappointed looks, no behind-my-back snarky remarks about my housecleaning. This is the usual scenario since she considers cleaning her only job and hobby, while I have a full-time job, two kids, write novels in my ‘spare’ time and have a load of interests that have nothing to do with bleaching my curtains four times a year. So when I hear she’s coming and it’s actually during my vacation period, I clean the crap out of my house before she arrives. So she cannot find her usual faults with my life and it’s a perfect visit, right? Wrong. The lack of criticism raised a whole ‘nother problem.

The lack of praise.

Now, I’m not asking anyone to kiss my feet because I finally cleaned up those dustdinosaurs roaming free under the couch (not that I’d object either), but could I please just get some acknowledgement that I’d done something she considered valuable? (No, really – not ranting.)

This is something I’ve often struggled with, and I know you have too, in some fashion. My father was Mr. Stoic “shake-it-off-suck-it-up-do-some-pushups” kinda guy and getting him to say something nice about anyone or anything was like asking him to sever a limb. I remember being horribly upset and jealous when I was seventeen and he got a puppy that he babied like nobody’s business. That dog got more words of praise in a week than I’d heard my whole life. I think we could pretty much all name at least one person in our lives who is like this.

I thought I’d married a man who was the opposite of my father in this way. Unfortunately, that was the honeymoon period. By the time the kids started coming around, that had dissipated. Eventually I realized I’d married into a culture that functioned on the concept that criticism ‘corrects’ character and it’s bad luck to say good things about people ‘lest the evil eye turn toward them. The milder form of this you’ll probably recognize in your own life is: “Why should I praise you? That’s your job.”

Sound familiar?

But this lack of positive reinforcement got me thinking about how important it is to receive these small, seemingly unimportant words of praise. Teachers learn early how to grade papers with not only points for improvement, but also at least one comment on what was done well. Mothers often do this with their children (but most of us probably not enough) when our son or daughter accomplishes something and we say, “I’m so proud of you!” or just pull them aside and say, “You’re a great kid, you know that?”.

But how often do we do this with the people we work with? The service people who get things done for us? The family member who causes no waves and therefore gets little attention?

Writing is a kick-you-in-your-teeth business, and words of praise are scarcer still. How often do we tell ourselves things like, “Well, no news is good news,” or “I shouldn’t take it personally, they’re probably just busy.” That’s us reacting not to negativity from editors, agents, publishers, and their assorted minions, but from lack of anything positive. I know someone who recently nearly fired their agent over just this issue. The agent was shocked because she absolutely loved the client and their work. Well, the reason why, chica, was cuz the words of praise just weren’t there. Then there's another friend who belongs to a critique group who can only seem to heap on the criticism under the guise of "improving" her.

Admit it, don’t you just love editors despite their rejections if they use phrases like, “I really appreciate you letting me look at this first” or “I absolutely loved the characters” or “It was a really fun read”? And don’t we make mental voodoo dolls of the ones that just list the things wrong with the manuscript? Makes that “good luck placing this elsewhere” tacked onto the end sound sarcastic, doesn’t it?

The Wet Noodle Posse has been a godsend of praise for every one of its members. We have been incredibly lucky to have those words coming from fellow writers every day. (I find myself feeling better even when the words are not directed at me!) A month or so ago one of our members, Colleen Gleason, challenged us in her blog to commit random acts of kindness – to turn the kindness we give to each other each day in our group outward.

I’d like to propose something similar. How about spending the next week giving out Deliberate Words of Praise? It doesn’t have to start out grandiose. Maybe next time you make that emergency stop at Starbucks on the way to work, after the clerk gives you your coffee say, “Thanks for doing that so fast. I appreciate it.” Or “That’s just the right amount of sugar. Thanks!” Spread it around. I’m going to try it for week. I’m making a guess that it’s going to get easier as I go. And hopefully it will elicit some praise of that much-needed praise in return.

So there’s your mission, Readers! Go out and spread Deliberate Words of Praise to the masses.

Oh, and did I mention that we really appreciate each and every person who visits this blog? And that’s not just a cute end line. It’s sincerely meant.

Love to you all.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bring it On by Theresa Ragan

For over ten years I have been writing. Seven of those years more seriously than others. I have not sold a book yet. What is going to be my magic number? Thirteen years? Fifteen? My ex-agent wrote for twenty years before she sold a book. I know many authors who took ten years or longer to make a sale. I wish I could go back to the days when my mind didn’t harp on making the sale…the words, “will this be the one?” twirling through my head as I write. It’s no use. I can’t stop thinking of the ultimate prize anymore than I can stop my kids from driving me crazy. It takes blood, sweat and tears to write a darn book with no guarantee that you’ll make the sale when you’re done. I know. I know. I should write for the love of writing, for the love of producing a book I am proud of. Bull Pucky. It’s not working. I want to make that sale. I NEED to make a sale. Will there be more frustrations on the other side AFTER I make the sale? YES! Well, good. Bring it on. I can handle anything those publishers/editors/agents throw at me. I am woman. I am strong. I am a writer.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Writers, Olympic Gold and the Blue Fairy Theory

by Delle Jacobs

In 1940, the Blue Fairy told Pinocchio, "When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true." America took it to heart, for it's what we all want to believe.

Okay, that's not all there is to it, and we all know that, too. So we have expanded the Blue Fairy Theory to take in effort. Now we all know if we believe hard enough, work hard and long enough, then whatever it is we want, we can have.

Good thing I never wanted to be an Olympic skater.

When I was a teen, I loved skating. I lived for winter to come, and when it did, my brother and I watched the daily temperatures with a mathematician's eye, counting the days the temp stayed below freezing, subtracting two days for any one that rose above, until we knew the ice was safe. All winter, we paid attention, and every day we could skate, we did.

I loved sailing across the ice, feeling the cold wind on my cheeks. I had no talent, but I skated anyway. I tried spins, and fell, but got back up and kept on trying. It took me forever to just get the hang of skating backward, something other kids seemed to pick up immediately. But no matter how hard I worked, how much I loved it, wanted it, I had no talent.

This week I watched the skaters in the 2006 Olympics, awed by their talent, beauty, and accomplishments. Because I have skated, perhaps, I know how incredible their performances are. I know every time they spin into the air they are running a risk. They are pushing themselves higher, farther, faster. And more and more often, the risks they run end in a fall to the ice.

Blame it on the new scoring system, not showing up for practice, a previous injury, even thinking too much or not having enough confidence. These skaters are demanding things of their bodies and minds nobody else in the world can do, that skaters in the past might never have tried. When they fly, they may soar and land. But they may fall. The risks have become huge. Too bad they make it all look so effortless, because when they fall, it's hard to understand. Somehow, we wonder aloud, they just didn't have the commitment tonight, or wanted it too much, or weren't thinking, thought too much, shouldn't have missed practice...

Reality? What they are doing is incredible. They push their bodies so long, so far, so much, that almost all of them have suffered some serious injury. With the very best they can do, their minds and bodies can't be consistent, and some days just will not do it all right. They can be concentrating so hard on the toughest moves nobody else can do that they aren't thinking about the simple one that trips them up. They ask the impossible of themselves day after day.

They all want to be standing in the center of the podium when the event is over. But only one of them will. And their tasks are so difficult, with so much room for error, any or all of them could have a mistake that will cost them their chance. They could probably have a better chance at the gold if they have a more conservative, safer but inspired performance. Yet they take greater and greater risks that are likely to cost them the very thing they seek.

Knowing the stars are too far away to touch, they reach anyway. And every time I see a skater fall, I think not of what they should have done, but at how high they tried to reach.

I always loved the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, and I wanted to believe I could have what I wanted by wishing on a star. But I think even when I was very young, I knew that wishing was only one part of it. Eventually I began to understand that, like the Olympic skaters, I could put every resource, effort and talent into my goal, but still not achieve it. Sometimes the Blue Fairy doesn't sprinkle her dust where we think she ought to.

But there's something more to life than winning that one gold medal at the Olympics. For a skater, it's the skating itself, the wonderful journey toward perfection that never ends. For me as a writer, it's the same thing. I can't make the world accept my writing, buy my books as if I were the latest Dan Brown or J. K. Rawling. But I have my journey to fulfill. My dreams of gold will always be there, and I will always reach for stars I know I can never touch. And because I do, I know my writing will continue to grow. And I will grow with it. That is the true worth of writing to me. My personal best. My Olympic Gold.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Wet Noodle Posse Cover Quiz

by Jill Monroe

Okay, Mary had us talking tests in her last post (and yes, I can get on a soapbox, can't I?). Here's a fun cover quiz post:

Give yourself one point for each correct answer:

How many covers have horses on them?

How many feature only legs?

He's got a little something behind his back.

2 Points

In a A Reputable Rake and The Mysterious Miss M a woman is holding something, what is it?

Which books feature something in the title that you would do in Las Vegas...if Last Vegas were around at the time?

Anne Mallory's heroines all have something in common on the cover, what is it?

24 hours...

3 Points

Based on the cover, which heroine would you NOT want mad at you?

This hero is wearing jewelry?

Rogue or Rake, which one is Scottish?

We have lots of ladies in waiting, what's one you don't expect?

5 Points

In which cover should people NOT throw stones?

This fan says love!

Home is where the heart is, yes?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Keeping Hope Alive by Debra Holland

Every once in a while I have a dream that I consider significant. Sometimes I have a psychic dream that later comes true, or something from my subconscious illuminates part of my life for me. Even more rare and very special have been the dreams where I’ve been given a spiritual message.

The spiritual dreams usually come when I need the answer to a question, or I’m upset and struggling with an issue.

In the middle of February, I’d had a particularly difficult and painful weekend--one that left me feeling like I wanted to retreat from life and never, ever interact with ANYONE. The rare times I feel this way, I entertain fantasies of selling my house, taking the large amount of money I’d make from the California real estate market, and moving to a rural cottage in the country near a small Mid-western town. There I’d live on the proceeds of my house, read books all day, and garden, and I’d never talk to anyone ever again. Well, I’d go into town once a week for groceries, and that was all the exposure I’d have with people. I might, or might not, retain contact with my wetnoodleposse friends. (The might not is because I know they would NOT let me follow this particular fantasy.) And I’d fly back home on holidays to see my family.

While I was in this upset, depressed, retreat-from-life place, I also questioned why I should bother continuing to write books--I’m investing a lot of my time and energy into writing, that I could be using elsewhere.

Also while I was in this dark place, I examined a few other areas in my life, and experienced similar doubts and negative thoughts.

When I was in my dark cave, I knew that these feelings would pass. (They always do.) Soon, I’d pick myself up, start the steps to heal my feelings, and turn my thoughts in a positive direction. And after two days, that began to happen. Yet on day three, I was still aware of some lingering feelings of doubt and discouragement.

Then came the dream where I was given a spiritual message. Unfortunately, I didn’t immediately write down the dream, thus in the morning, I was only left with fragments.

In the dream, an editor’s assistant came up to me and handed me a card-sized envelope. She was eager for me to open the envelope. I don’t remember what the assistant said. There was something about the editor liking my writing. But she did specifically say that the editor had included a gift in the card. She repeated that several times.

The envelope was a little thick, and when I opened it, a broken piece of an angel’s wing fell out. The white wing was about an inch long, and it looked like it had been snapped off from one of my ceramic Christmas angels. On it were some words in cursive letters. I can’t remember the words, but the assistant said, “Don’t give up hope.” Perhaps that was what was written on the angel’s wing.

There was also a mention of the singer Lional Richie. I think the editor had included the words of a song of his, but I woke up before I saw or heard them. (If anyone can help me with suggestions for one of Lional Richie’s songs, I’d appreciate it.)

When I woke up, I felt as though I’d been brushed with an angel’s wing. Throughout the day, although still healing, I was once again hopeful. Life was good.

Three days later, I received the news that the screenplay I recently adapted from my first book, Wild Montana Sky, was a finalist in the Kairos Prize competition for spiritually uplifting screenplays. Of course my mood skyrocketed, and I was happy and excited to the point of tears. Life had reaffirmed for me the message in my dream--don’t give up hope.

In fact, I realized that the message really is don’t give up. For if I retreat to my solitary fantasy life, then I won’t experience the joy of my accomplishments, most of which have to do with interacting with people.

I have to remember that writing, like life, is a journey. On the journey, I’ll experience difficulties when my steps falter and my spirit grows heavy. But I’ll also encounter special people and have wonderful successes. But I won’t find the special times, if I don’t walk the path. The important thing is to keep following my dreams and never give up.

For all of you who are struggling, remember:

DON’T GIVE UP HOPE! You don’t know what lies right around the corner.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Super Tuesday

Today is Testing Day in the Great State of Texas.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Every third, fourth and fifth grader are testing today as part of the No Child Left Behind act. It's the first reading test for third and fifth, the writing test for fourth. You can tell by the time of this post that I'm not worried at all.

For the past few months, we've been working on skills to aid in reading comprehension - context clues, main idea, predicting, comparing. For the past few weeks, we've "endurance tested" the kids to make sure they don't wear out when they get to that last story. We teach strategies, like naming what kind of question they're being asked, what skill, and what strategies they use to figure out the skill.

For the past few months, I've walked the fine line between stressing the importance of the test and stressing the kids. Yesterday, we didn't even talk about the test till the last thirty minutes, when we rearranged my classroom into testing mode.

Today I will go in my classroom and remove all visual aids, including the alphabet. I will pick up the secure documents and bring them to my classroom. We will have hallway monitors, including one from the district office to make sure no irregularities occur. We will not have PE, and we will eat lunch with our kids to make sure they don't talk about the test. (It's worse at my mom's school. Even the little kids won't have PE or recess today - I don't see the point in that. It's a big school, and they won't be disturbing anyone.) I cannot look at the test except to make sure that the kids have not marked on the bars at the edges of the scored booklet. Every time we leave the room, I must lock up the test. Every book must be accounted for. My children's performance will be part of my evaluation (the school's performance was part of my evaluation even when I was music teacher.)

My students may not get up out of their seats, even after they're finished. I know I'll have two done in two hours. That means they have to sit and read for the rest of the day (I know, what a hardship.) I also know that no matter how much time I give four of my students, they will not pass. They'll have another shot in April. They won't pass then, either, but hopefully one will be in Special Ed by then and the other in dyslexia. One of them will be so stressed today that she may shut down. I worry about her the most, even though her mother and I decided holding her back may be the best for her in the long run.

Two of my boys will pass, but it will be a fine line. If they stress too much, forget it. They'll pass the second go-round, I'm sure of it, but I sure hope they pass today.

In two weeks, we'll know, and we'll come up with more strategies. But damn, what a way to teach.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Friends in New Places by Diane Perkins

It seems like I write a lot about friendship on this blog. That is because the WNP ladies are wonderful friends and I cannot say enough about how wonderful they are! The best gift writing Romance has done for me is to give me a world of friends, but it sure leads me in directions I never expected.

One of my Washington Romance Writer friends, Patty Suchy, told me on her Novel Explorations tour that I simply must rent the DVD of Phantom of the Opera. I (perish the thought) had never gone to see it in the movie theatre. I didn’t heed her advice but when it came on HBO I watched it. Oh ho! Well, you can read my prevous WNP blog or my Warner Women blog, both of January 20, to hear how I became obsessed. And why.

It wasn’t long before I was visiting gerardbutler.net to learn more about Gerry Butler. This is an incredible website, not just because of the subject matter, but at the sheer wealth of it. Tamara, the site designer, it turns out lives near me in Virginia. We share a mutual friend - Karen Anders who writes for Blaze. If you like Gerard Butler in any movie, you should visit this site. You might see stuff like this on it:

Coincidentally, one of the fan members, Tarts they are called, “Catmac” to be specific, emailed me that she’d read my Warner Women blog about the Phantom and had started a forum discussion on it on gerardbutler.net. So naturally I peeked in and joined the discussion and a couple of others. One discussion was about Scottish Romances that the Tarts were reading and I took the opportunity to recommend Sandy’s books A Man in a Kilt and A Rogue in a Kilt. This was turning into great fun. I read lots of postings on a variety of the many forums. Perused the Gallery. Watched the videos. Read messages from Gerry’s family and others who participated in the Gerard Butler Conference in Glasgow a few weeks ago.

So I joined and became an official Tart. Romance Author Tart. Why? Because it is frivolous fun, a happy place, and there are such nice people there. Devoted fans, intelligent, vibrant people leading busy lives like me, but who are all willing to jump into that world of fantasy that I love. What do I expect to find there?

Friends.

I leave you this month with a quote from Gerard Butler: “We are all at heart romantic and passionate and there is nothing like a dark romance to stir us up, no matter what age you are.”

Cheers!
Diane aka Romance Author Tart

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Big Ol' Weekend - Kiki Clark


I'm not the kind of person to feel starstruck. But last night, sitting in Boettcher Auditorium and waiting for Bernadette Peters to come onstage, I felt a little flutter in my chest. She's one of the greats. A great voice, a great mane of beautiful hair, a great performer. Leafing through the program, I read that her husband of nine years died in a helicopter crash six months ago. Six months. I have no idea how long she's been touring with this show. Is it an obligation she can't get out of, or therapy -- the only thing keeping her from crying twelve hours a day? I suspect the latter.

She came onstage, as creamy and beautiful as ever, in very high heels and a beaded dress that shot prisms of color and probably weighed 25 pounds. And she started with Sondheim's No One Is Alone.

"Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood..."

It was almost devastating to watch, especially through binoculars. I'm pretty sure she cried a little, but here's the thing -- she never missed a note, never lost control of her voice. Any grief she felt was channeled into the music. I've seen her perform that piece on DVD, and this version blew it away. The whole evening was like that. There were some happy songs, but the majority were sad. After all, Sondheim is her favorite composer, and he specializes in angst.

People gasped at the end of songs. I did it after that one, and I heard a woman give a sort of moan at the end of Faithless Love. ("Faithless love has found me. Wrapped its chilly arms around me.")

She finished the concert with the hopeful benediction of Irving Berlin's Counting My Blessings, and got two standing ovations. I have never seen that much raw pain on stage. I've never seen pain made to serve music like that, and I have never seen a better live performance.

This morning we had a different kind of entertainment. We went snowshoeing. Our friend Heather had never been, and felt comfortable trying it with us, since we are not the kind of gung-ho athletes who assume everyone is up for a nine-mile hike in below freezing weather. The weather was below freezing, but we made certain she was dressed properly and strapped into her shoes. Then we pootled around in the great white way for about an hour, stopping for a thermos of cocoa laced with Frangelico and then making our way back to the trailhead. We were almost back to the parking lot when we stopped to fawn over a cute, worried terrier, dressed in a bomber-jacket-style dog coat and little booties. His name was Scooby. Turned out he was with a party of people that included a gal Heather hadn't seen since high school, which was pretty cool.

We had lunch in Nederland, and invited a distinguished man with an artificial leg to join our table. He had flown in both WWII and Korea, used to fly Teddy Kennedy around, lost his leg in a head-on air collision (not his fault), and now spends his days flying and boating around the world with his wife of 19 years, whom I envisioned as one of those Katharine Hepburn types -- a tough, adventurous woman with steely blue eyes and an elegant jaw you could nonetheless crack rocks on. We had a great time talking to him.

On the drive home, we decided to stop at Boulder Falls. In the summer, the water thunders down the 30 to 40 foot drop, making tourists raise their voices to be heard. The surrounding rock, not to mention the creek, makes it difficult to approach closely. But in the winter, you can walk across the frozen creek to the very foot of the falls, which now look like the interior of a cave, with rippled ice, cupped and curved ice, lacy ice, and ice stalactites furry with perfect, snowflake-shaped crystals. Water sluices behind these ornate shapes like shadows on a wedding cake. Beneath our feet, the creek chuckled in high and low tones, sounding like bamboo wind chimes.

We went home, well-exercised, well-fed and over-upholstered, and stripped off the top layers of our clothes so we wouldn't cook. It's been a great day, and I'm counting my blessings.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Time Traveling

Time Traveling

Over the past few years I’ve become somewhat of a genealogy nut. I guess it’s my love of history and the fact that I have a relatively small family that has sent me on the quest for curious names and places.

I recently acquired two volumes of newspaper abstracts, dating 1879-1883, from my great grandfather’s hometown in Northwestern Tennessee. When I read accounts from a century ago, it never ceases to amaze me how much our world has changed and, yet in some ways remains the same. Since Valentine’s Day has recently passed, I chose selections, which dealt with romantic topics, well sort of.

Here’s a sample from the personals section of the local 1880 paper.

Tom Ellison is at present visiting Cerulean Springs, near Hopkinsville, Ky,, for his health. Poor Tom; his health has been feeble for some weeks—in fact, since a certain young lady completed her visit friends in Paris, and left for her home near Hopkinsville. We hope Tom will return much improved. He has heart disease.

Today, we have People Magazine. I’m thinking Brad Pitt might like to commiserate with ol' Tom on the lack of privacy in his personal life.

I detected the same sly voice of Poor Tom’s reporter in another excerpt. Either the reporter takes delight in poking fun at certain individuals, or is a matchmaker trying to give Dolly Levi a run for her money.

Our friend, D.B. Howard, has a pet hen setting on a few eggs in his backyard. He goes out occasionally and frightens the poor hen off the nest. His reason for this, is that he fears the hen will starve to death, or die of paralysis on for want of exercise. Howard knows what he is about when handling boots and shoes, but he has very little hen sense. Our friend needs a wife to take care of that hen.

Now tell me ladies, how can you refuse save the poor hen from Mr. Howard? Actually, I’m thinking this poor hen needs a burly rooster to set Mr. Howard straight. Mr. Howard has issues most of us heroine-type of women would prefer not to deal with, yes?

The last account I have for you was lengthy, but interesting so I’ll summarize. This ought to have you sitting on the edge of your seat. FIFTY YEARS ENGAGED, was the title. Not a catchy title for a romance, but certainly intriguing, nonetheless. Fifty years in 1878 was a heck of a long time. Well, it seems a Mr. George G., known as “Wash” became entangled in the affections of Miss Annie W. (I’m wondering why he was called Wash, aren’t you?) Well, I have it on good authority that Annie was “a rural lass of no groveling presence.” (Annie has potential for 21st century heroine. “No groveling presence.” We would like to take lessons from Annie.)

They were wont to congregate under the shrubbery of old man W’s, and exchange those soul inspiring words and glances, which only juvenile tillers of the soil can enjoy.


I guess since cars hadn’t been invented, the bushes were it. Well, it seems that things got a little heavy for old “Wash” and he bolted West, warmed up his cold feet, and got himself a wife and 11 children! (At this point I’m thinking Annie had a lucky break Eleven! Holy smokes!)


Many years later, as a widower he returned to Poor Annie, who had been “enjoying the isolated lot of an old maid.” Right. He wanted to know if she was still angry. She admitted to being a little miffed, but said she had partly gotten over it and took him back. (Annie, honey, we need to have a talk.)

Annie and “Wash” were married. She was sixty-nine and he was seventy-three. All I can say is I wish Annie every happiness under the sun. And I hope Wash got his name from his desire for cleanliness and his ability to do the laundry. Annie deserves that much, don’t you think?


Lorelle Marinello

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Musings about IQ, jobs and Valentine's Day

by Pam Payne aka Tori Scott

Since I was in need of a distraction–aka procrastination–I went and tried out this IQ thing at http://www.blogthings.com/quickanddirtyiqtest/. Here’s what they had to say about me:

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

Okay, I’ll agree with the last three, but below average on LOGIC? Me? The one who can never win an argument with my oh-so-logical youngest daughter? Hmmm.

Then I tried out the one on what my major should be. Yes, I already have my
college degree–for all the good it’s done me–but for the sake of procrastination,
I tried it anyway. My results:

You are great at looking at many details and putting them all together.

You are talented at detecting subtle trends, accuracy, and managing change.

You should major in:

Statistics
Speech
Conflict studies
Communication
Finance
Medicine

Think the AMA would consider that proof enough of my qualifications if I decided to hang up a shingle and call myself a doctor? No? Pity. I could use the money.

I’ve been looking for a job off and on for about 5 years. I live in Podunk, Texas where the best paying jobs are at Wal-Mart ($6 an hour) or Burger King ($5.50 an hour). I’m sorry. I’m 51 years old, have started two highly successful day care centers (the value of hindsight–never should have quit either of those jobs), I have bills to pay. We need to eat. My property taxes are higher than my salary would be. I am not going to commit 40 hours a week to a job that pays me like a high school student. So I keep looking. And looking. And looking.

Maybe I should try writing. And writing. And writing. Instead of sitting here poring over want ads. Ya think?

On another note, yesterday, in case you missed it, was Valentine's Day. The day for lovers. So what if it's actually a celebration of a guy's death? Hallmark has made it THE day for lovers. And for cheaters. Did you know Valentine's Day is the hottest day in the year for private investigators? That's when those cheating spouses have to see both lovers, which makes it easy to follow them and catch them in the act.

It's also probably the highest-stress day for husbands. Especially those who have been married a long time and still haven't the faintest clue that a bunch of flowers and a card would send their
spouse over the moon. It was all I could do to keep the dh from buying me chocolate--his standby gift because he can never think of anything else and can't understand why on earth I'd want him to spend $5 on flowers that will die in a few days. I talked him into going out to eat Mexican food for lunch instead. I should have gone for the chocolate. I was still burping those fajitas at 10 p.m.

Next year, I'm sending myself a dozen carnations and a chocolate rose.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Have you taken your deep breath today?

It's 8:15 pm and I'm going for my second try at posting my blog. Earlier today I responded to Bridget's fun "Alborada" post, then lost my internet connection before I could type in my post for the day. Since I only had a few minutes before I headed out to begin my afternoon taxi service for my kids, I felt a small amount of frustration. However, my busy schedule doesn't allow time for staring at my computer screen in despair. So I grabbed my keys and headed out.

Now dinner is done, the dishes almost washed (said children need to get to work), homework is being completed, the Olympic Games are playing in the background and my computer connection is back on line. YAY! I have time to take a breath and send a shout out to my fellow Posse members and fans.

Which brings me to the message I'd like to pass along today (tonight) on the eve of St. Valentine's Day...

In the rush of your busy lives and hectic schedules, remember to stop and take the occasional deep breath. Take the time to reflect on your life. And most importantly, give thanks for your loved ones. Those who are there to support you, guide you, love you, and give you the occasional-much-needed kick in the pants. Hug your kids before they head to school in the morning. Call your spouse or special someone in the middle of the day to let them know you're thinking about them. Call your parents or siblings to say hello. Send an old friend a "what's up" email. Give yourself a special treat. Enjoy what life has to offer.

For me, right now I'm enjoying a frosty pina colada while my girls work on their studies, my husband chats on the phone with a buddy and the Olympians inspire us with their feats. I'm nearing the end of another Kissinger family hectic day, and I feel blessed.

Tomorrow morning, when I'm up at 5 to make chocolate-covered strawberries for a Valentine's breakfast treat for my family, I may feel differently. :-)

Cheers, and Happy St. Valentine's Day Eve.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

ALBORADA: Or, "Why YOU Should Watch Telenovelas"

I was flipping through channels the other night, looking for something to watch during my workout, when suddenly I saw a familiar face. It was Fernando Colunga, a Mexican actor I hadn't seen since the last time I watched a telenovela…several years ago.

Fernando has changed. Fernando is hot. Fernando has long locks and has apparently discovered either a personal trainer or steriods. In the intervening years, he's also acquired a wrinkle between his eyebrows and I haven't, so I feel quite warmly disposed toward him.

Anyway, I had to watch whatever it was. It turned out to be the fabulous historical costume drama, Alborada (the word means "sunrise"). Only five minutes into it I was asking myself, "Why did I stop watching telenovelas?"

Alborada is an instant classic-- everyone is married to the wrong sister or brother, everyone is pregnant by the wrong man, the hero and the villain were switched at birth, the heroine is nobly born but illegitimate and was forced to work as a laundress in a whore house…and so on.

It's as if someone in the script department decided not to compromise on genres: "Should we do a cowboy theme or a historical theme? How about both? Should we have a secret baby plot or an amnesia plot or an estranged half sisters plot? Hell, make it all of the above!" In an outstanding grace note, the villain is a licentious pervert with a widow's peak enhanced by black eye pencil, who tries to imprison virtuous women in brothels and talks to his dinner guests through a pervy painted porcelain mask. What's pervy about a porcelain mask, you might ask? Just watch the show already.

Unfortunately, the villain was shrieking at his wicked mother when my husband (The Professor) walked in. I had totally stopped doing oblique crunches and lunges, and was splayed on the bed instead, with my jaw hanging open, trying to figure out who the villain's father was. The Professor looked at the screen with a half-smile on his face and asked me what I was watching. I tried to explain how "Alborada" is must-see TV, but he just gave a laugh and when the heroine came onscreen, he remarked, "Is that actress Lucero? She looks old." Then he left the room. No, he did not pat my head first.

So The Professor didn't get it, but I think you will, my blog-buddies. You'll know what I mean when I say that Alborada kicks the sorry ass of just about any American show I can think of. It's all about storytelling, and Alborada doesn't have just one story, it has more like twenty-five. You don't need to know Spanish, either.

Don't forget to watch for the porcelain mask. And the extra-pretty horsies. And the good-hearted prostitute. And the vile henchmen. And the dwarf.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Judging a book by its cover

by Charity Tahmaseb

The other day, Princess and I were sitting at the computer while I caught up on the Wet Noodle Posse blog. Princess is three. She’s been “reading” since she was eighteen months old (plopping down on the floor by the dog, opening a book, and babbling at him). The other day, she “wrote” her own book--two drawings taped together book-fashion. The story revolved around Mommy and Princess spending a long day at home (what she calls the weekends), where we were dressed “so cute.” (Obviously chick lit.)

So it was interesting to see what this future reader (and possibly writer) of America thought of the book covers on our sidebar. I don’t know if the marketing and art departments at the various publishers want to take note, but they might. She already coordinates her wardrobe better than I do.

First up: The Viscount's Wicked Ways by Anne Mallory. I think it’s because the blue in the heroine’s dress resembles that of Cinderella’s, but Princess was very taken with this cover. As for the Viscount? He can keep his ways (wicked and otherwise) to himself until she’s say, thirty five.

We scrolled down until we hit upon Stephanie Rowe’s Unbecoming Behavior. I know when Stephanie first posted her cover for the WNP to see, we all thought the heroine looked a bit like a grownup Angelica from the Rugrats. In any case, it received an emphatic “That one!” from Princess.

Norah Wilson’s Lauren's Eyes brought the exclamation of: “Oh, horsies!” Enough said, I think.

For Stephanie Feagan’s Show Her the Money, She’s on The Money, and Run for the Money, Princess said, “Oh, pink. I like pink.”

She was also quite taken with Fire Dance by Delle Jacobs. No comment, but every time we scrolled by, she’d point to it.

“Oh, that dress, Mommy. I want it,” she said when we reached How to Marry A Duke, the anthology that includes a story by Sandy Blair. Obviously we’ll need to start saving for her wedding now.

When we were done, she wanted to scroll back through again (and again, and again, she’s three, remember). Princess decided at that point she wanted all the books on the sidebar.

There you have it. Book covers as judged by a three-year-old princess and future reader (and possibly writer) of America. Now if I could just get her to coordinate my wardrobe.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Steal Away With Trish Morey

Out now - Book 1 of The Arranged Brides Duo - Stolen by the Sheikh by Trish Morey!

Stolen By The Sheikh

The Sheikh's chosen bride...

Sheikh Khaled Al-Ateeq has granted Sapphire Clemenger the commission of her dreams: the designing of the wedding gown for his chosen bride...

Only the Sheikh's deal isn't as simple as it sounds. Not only must Sapphy accompany this formidable prince to his exotic desert palace, he also forbids her to meet his future wife. In fact Sapphy begins to doubt that this woman even exists... Especially when the measurements given for the gown mirror her own!

Sapphy realises she's trapped in Khaled's kingdom - and it's intended
that she'll be the Sheikh's future wife!

Here's What Others Are Saying:

"Alpha males ahoy! Trish Morey has a talent for producing hot, sizzling men that leave us thirsting for more and Sheikh Khaled is no exception... Stolen by the Sheikh is a hot read that the reader will be unable to put down - try it and see!" - Cataromance reviews

About Trish!

Trish Morey's 2003 Golden Heart finalist became her first sale to the Presents line and was released in the US last January as The Greek Boss's Demand, a Waldenbooks # 1 bestseller. Her second release, The Italian Boss's Secret Child reached the same dizzy heights. If you enjoy Stolen by the Sheikh, watch out for part two of The Arranged Brides duo, The Mancini Marriage Bargain, coming in March!

Visit Trish's Website

What'll They Think of Next?

Looking through my favorite cooking catalogue can sometimes make me think I don't have the necessary tools for what I hadn't realized--until I saw them on those pages--are my most basic cooking needs.

For instance, I really, really need a vacuum marinator. Okay, I didn't know there was such a thing two minutes ago, but hey, why should I wait hours to marinate my favorites when, with a few quick strokes of the built in pump, I could allow seasonings to deeply penetrate my food in a matter of minutes?

And here's a tall, thin colander for those challenging items like fennel and leeks. I don't have a recipe calling for fennel and leeks, but that colander looks like something that would improve my food preparation skills. Not to mention that potato ricer--to think we've been mashing our potatoes without one all these years!

I have to admit, I've got a couple of drawers and cupboards filled with kitchen gadgets that haven't seen a lot of use. The electric carving knife we received as a wedding present twenty-nine years ago comes to mind. I've only plugged it in half a dozen times, to slice through cream puff rings instead of the roasts it was probably intended for.

How about you? What culinary tool treasures are hiding in your kitchen corners? What magical gadget makes you feel like a world class chef? I need to know what I might be missing.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Poem

by Jenna Ness

“It’s your job to love me,” the pretty wife said,
“And you’re not doing it right.
You’re supposed to thrill me,
to caress and fulfill me,
and dance with me all through the night, through the night,
to make love to me all day and night.”

“I’m sorry, my dear,” said the young man, surprised,
“To fail you was not my intent.
I buy you chocolates and flowers,
and spend all of my hours
making money to keep you content, pay our rent,
making money to pay for our rent.”

“I don’t care about money,” she replied with a pout,
“Or the nice house or jewelry of mine;
the life you provide
is all on the side
of what’s really important – your time, it’s your time,
your attention, affection and time.”

“I quit my job,” said he with pride the next day,
“And I did it for you, my dove;
I’ve sold the house and the cars
So we can live by the stars
We’ll eat and drink just for our love, just our love,
we’ll live for each other and love.”

“I’ll need a divorce,” she said before winter had passed,
“A poor life just for love has no shine.
Romance without bling?
I’ve found a new king
who shows love with his sweet bottom line, and it’s mine,
he shows love with his hard bottom line.”

Monday, February 06, 2006

Nostalgic Reads

by Colleen Gleason

A few weeks ago when the Wet Noodle Posse was putting together our Top Ten Faves for February (best lines by a hero in a book or movie), our discussion somehow expanded to our favorite book and movie heroes, then our favorite book and movie heroes of our youth, and then our favorite reads of our youth.

Aha! I thought. A great blog topic.

Of course many of us had read the same books: Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden (my favorite), Anne of Green Gables, the Little House books, etc. But there were lots of favorites that many of us hadn't heard of. So I'm going to list a few of mine and I'll be interested in knowing whether anyone else out there read them....

The Three Investigators series, starring Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews. The original Scooby gang--but without the girls. More fun than the Hardy Boys by far! Their clubhouse was hidden in a junkyard and could only be entered by following cryptic messages, like "Green Gate One" (which meant to enter through the secret door in the part of a fence that was painted green).

These three guys had business cards that said "The Three Investigators: We investigate anything." The mysteries were clever, and even now, as I am reading them to my younger children, I find them intriguing.

Alas, the books are now out of print. The only place you can find them is on eBay, or you can head over to Seth Smolinske's Web site and see what he has for sale.

I also enjoyed The Mad Scientists Club, written by Bertrand R. Brinley, and its follow-up, The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists Club. These were stories about a club of boys--probably six or seven of them--who had a great time playing pranks on people and on their town.

One of the first stories was about the Monster on Strawberry Lake. They decided to make the legend come to life and used a canvas-covered motorboat to create a Loch-Ness kind of monster. Unfortunately, it worked all too well, and the city called in the Navy to help find out what was going on!

These collections of stories were out of print until Purple House Press (a small press that specializes in bringing nostalgic children's books back into print) rereleased them in hardcover with great dustjackets. I own the new reprints, and also a third one, which had never been released originally.

I've never met anyone else who read the Willard Price books. Cannibal Adventure, Amazon Adventure, Safari Adventure, Gorilla Adventure, etc. They were published in England, I think, and are about two boys whose father is a zoologist.

They go on trips with him and there is always some kind of mystery to solve, and a lot of information about animals and the environment in which the story takes place. I read these books over and over again. I've been able to find a few of them on eBay...but I'm still looking for a hardcover version of Cannibal Adventure.

I did read some girly books too!

My mom got me into Rosamund du Jardin's books (set in the '50s; a little before my time, but, then I was a Grease fan too!). Anyone else remember those? They are now being reprinted by a different small press called Image Cascade. I read all the Tobey & Midge Heydon series, and the Marcy Rhodes series.

And then there were the Sue Barton nurse books! I loved those, because she had red hair like I always wanted to have. And she always had such hot guys after her! There were mysteries galore, and we learned a lot more about nursing then we did with the Cherry Ames series (which I read too).

Finally, what about Phyllis A. Whitney's young adult books? My very favorite was Step to the Music. The classic romance set during the Civil War, in which the heroine falls in love with the charming younger brother, who goes off to fight for the South...but eventually learns that the older, more gruff and brooding one, who enlists in the Yankee Army, is really the one for her.

Sigh. I think I'm going to have to hit eBay again to find some of these older reads. They are worth enjoying again as an adult!

I'm interested to hear about any other books you loved when you were younger. And if anyone has a hard cover copy of Cannibal Adventure, you know where to find me!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Diane Gaston Is A Sure Bet!

Out now - The Wagering Widow by Diane Gaston!

Wagering Widow

Guy, Lord Keating, laden with his father’s debts, elopes with “heiress” Emily Duprey...only to discover she is as poor as he! Now his only hope of saving his family and dependents is a reluctant return to the gaming tables. Emily must escape this marriage to a gamester like her father. But she needs more money than she can win as Lady Keating - so she becomes Lady Widow, a card-playing masked seductress! Then Guy recognizes the beautiful Widow as his quiet, mousy wife - and their inconvenient marriage takes an unexpected turn...

Here's What Others Are Saying:


"Gaston's tale of a marriage in trouble and a plain but honorable heroine coming into her own pulled me in from the very beginning. Likable characters and the author's gift for creating a believable world made this book a winner." Lynn Spencer, All About Romance

Visit Diane's Website

It's all about the love

Love. We write about it, sing its’ praises. Hope for it. Share it. Hoard it. Mourn it when it’s gone.

For a romance writer there is no greater celebration of the love between two people than a wedding. If you want to see love in its’ purest form, get thee to the chapel.

My niece, Jennifer, was married yesterday, to Jason Denny, the love of her life, in a beautiful lakeside ceremony in Orlando.

It had been raining steadily for two days straight all across Central Florida (it rained so hard in Tampa, about an hour and a half away, that the roof of a Bed Bath and Beyond store collapsed). The wedding was scheduled for 4:30. The skies were cloudy and dreary. The guests were arriving, some with umbrellas in hand.

The sun came out at 4:06.

Apparently, love does conquer all!

As you might expect, the wedding ceremony was beautiful, the bride, breathtaking, the party that followed, a blow-out. I went stag, but I absolutely refused to miss out on the dance floor fun. I danced with my brother, my sister, my nephew and the bride. I cried when my brother toasted the couple’s happiness, saying how happy he and my sister-in-law were to welcome Jason into our family. Everyone got misty-eyed when Jason toasted Jennifer, his new bride, and thanked her for being his friend and confidant as well as his wife.

Here’s my toast: Jennifer, I have loved you since the first moment I saw you, swaddled in the nursery on the day you were born. I have watched you grow from a busy toddler to a beautiful woman who gives love to everyone around her. I pray you are blessed with happiness and light and love—in all weathers. Jason, welcome to the family. You’re a keeper.

All my love,

Your proud Aunt Karen

Friday, February 03, 2006

Submission

No, I'm not talking about bowing down to one's husband or wife...although that does bring some interesting thoughts to mind. But in this case, I'm referring to the ole writing submissions. Yesterday my agent sent out my new proposal and since that time I've found myself wondering---Does it ever get any easier? I mean, I have a book on the shelves, it shouldn't be so difficult sending my new baby out into the big, bad world of editors, right????

Wrong. I've talked to several multipublished authors about this and they all agree--it doesn't get easier. Certainly, I don't think this time is any less harrowing than with Jane Millionaire. Possibly it's more so, truth be told. Expectations are there and higher than in the past, but all the old fears along with lots of new ones.

I believe it's because with each new project there's a new piece of your heart, your psyche involved. Like with sending your children out into the world, each child is different and thus you have different worries, different things that tug at your heart. You love them all, but know each story has different strengths and weaknesses.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"You never give me your money, you only give me your funny paper..."

by Stephanie Feagan

I usually have some burr in my blanket, whereupon I pull out my soapbox and rant about whatever that burr happens to be. Today, I'm in Chill Out mode, and getting all hot and bothered about any one topic is, well, just not gonna happen. I'll save the world next month. Today, it's Random Thoughts Day here in Feagan Land. It's also Groundhog Day, so go feed a groundhog. Also my grandmother's birthday, God rest her soul.

Speaking of, she was forever asking, "Where's my purse? Where's my purse?" It was usually in her lap when she asked. That line has become the stuff of legend in our family. We're known to suddenly, without provocation, start yelling, "Where's my purse? Where's my purse?" I still shame Mom and Aunt Glenda for failing to bury Grandma with her beloved purse. I imagine her in heaven, making poor God crazy, asking about her purse, which she'll never find because Mom and Aunt Glenda didn't send it with her. Maybe God made her a new one. And attached it to her arm, so she'll never, ever, for all eternity, lose sight of it. For God's sake, I hope so.

Baby Girl called last night. So did Number One Daughter. Both of them having assorted life crises which they wanted to discuss in infinite detail. I'd planned to go to bed before 1 a.m. for the first time in at least a month. Turned out, I got to bed at 2:30 a.m. Maybe tonight.

Baby Girl mentioned a psych lecture her boyfriend had, and the professor quizzed them on their anger levels. One of the questions was, when you're in the Express Lane at the grocery, do you count other people's items to see if they exceed the limit? The Boyfriend said no. Baby Girl said yes. He asked her if she would confront the offending man with eleven items, instead of ten. She said no, to which he asked, then why would you count the items? Her response: It's the principle of the thing.

I've had a department store gift card sitting on my desk for several months. It's an old one, a graduation gift to Baby Girl. She used it to buy something, but can't recall if it has any balance left on it. I thought I'd take it and find out, but here it sits. Check back with me next December, and ten to one, it'll still be right here. If it was a Starbucks card, I'd have checked ten minutes after finding it. I love Starbucks, sometimes more than I love my cat, but it's a vaguely guilty sort of love. Wretched excess to pay $3.41 for a cuppa Joe. Of course, the damn cat is wretched excess. But try telling him that.

I recently drove to Nashville to give a speech about taxes and writers to the Music City Romance Writers group. I said Road Trip and Mom and Aunt Glenda said, "We're in!" They may have regretted the decision because I made them stop all along Interstate 40, whenever I spotted a Waffle House. I love coffee. A lot. And next to Dunkin' Donuts, Waffle House has the best coffee in the universe. If I die and go to heaven, I'm certain God will serve Waffle House coffee. I'll have some with Grandma, who can pay for it out of her new purse.

Outside the Waffle House in Hot Springs, Arkansas, I got a call on my cell phone from my agent. Silhouette Bombshell bought my fourth book. It's titled BLOWOUT and it's about a petroleum engineer who puts out oil well fires. I was so excited, I had Aunt Glenda hold my coffee while I got out of the car and jumped up and down and squealed with glee. Those waitresses inside Waffle House probably thought I was really excited about the coffee. I was. But I don't typically jump up and down and squeal with joy about the coffee. Well, maybe on the inside.

My husband recently bought a new car, a Toyota 4-Runner. When he picked it up, they took his picture beside the car. Later, they mailed him a calendar and his picture is on it. There's an order form to purchase additional calendars. Contact me for yours. I'll get right on that.

Being CPAs, Mom and I have to prepare 1099s and W-2s for some of our clients. The IRS insists that all 1099s and W-2s have to be filed on their forms, which have red print. We can't print them off the computer like all the other myriad forms. No, no. They have to be special forms. So Mom goes to the IRS office in Dallas, her list in hand of how many she needs. She takes a number, which is 943. The guy next to her has number 297. The lady after her gets number 342. Yes, that's right. The IRS can't even figure out a freakin' numbering system. They actually managed to screw that up. Evidently, they don't really use the numbers. The IRS lady just yells, "Next!" and everyone scrambles to be next.
After waiting eons for her turn, Mom tells the lady, "I need 26 of Form 1096."
The lady says, "You can only have 3."
Mom says, "But I need 26."
The lady says, "It's the rule. You can only have 3. If you need more, you'll have to go somewhere else."
Mom says, "Whatdya mean, go somewhere else? This is where we get Form 1096!"
IRS lady says, "You can come back tomorrow and get 3 more."
Mom says, "Are you %$#&ing kidding me? You people are insane!"
IRS Lady: "Next!"

Anyone ever see Eddie Murphy do Gumby on Saturday Night Live? "I'm Gumby, dammit!" Number One Daughter drew me a picture before I went to the RWA conference in New York in 2003. Image hosting by Photobucket It hangs on my bulletin board beside my desk, and you know, it still makes me laugh. In case you can't read the lousy upload of the photo, it says, "Have fun, Damn It!!!!" Yes, I taught my children to cuss. Monkey see, monkey do. Does it help to know that she was 18 when she drew this picture?

My girls hate Peeps. This bothers me, because, you know, Peeps have something for every single holiday. I don't actually care that they don't like them. I faithfully buy a box for every care package I send. Nothing says, "I care," like a box of Peeps. Wonder if they have Groundhog Day Peeps? If it sees its shadow, we'll have six more weeks of high blood sugar.

Mike bought me an iPod for Christmas and I may love it as much as Waffle House coffee and the Catman. I've got what I consider an eclectic mix of music on it. Def Leppard, anyone? AC/DC? Dan Fogelberg? The Beatles? Willie Nelson? The Eagles? Firefall? Coldplay? Goo Goo Dolls? Maybe some Asleep At The Wheel? How about Jackson Browne, Van Halen, Sheryl Crow and Aerosmith and Journey and The Outlaws and Mozart? Tom Petty? Counting Crows? Stevie Ray Vaughn? I have to stop now. I think I'm getting turned on.

I also need to go pay my bills. I have to find my checkbook first, however. Where's my purse? Where's my purse?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Case for Kindness

by Trish Milburn

When we decided to start the Wet Noodle Posse e-zine in the summer of 2004, there was a lot of discussion about what it should and shouldn’t be. We didn’t want it to be just an author promotion site, though that could be an element. We did want it to be uplifting and informational for women. What was eventually born was a monthly e-zine filled with articles on all kinds of topics of interest to women. That makes sense since every member of the Wet Noodle Posse is a woman – ones who care for not only their family and friends but also their communities, their countries and womankind everywhere.

A friend of mine has been collecting quotes for quite some time, and she recently sent me her file of favorites. Three on the first page struck me as particularly applicable to the ladies who make up the Wet Noodle Posse:

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
--Mark Twain

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
--Anne Frank

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

The WNP ladies are all about kindness and support, and I think that’s reflected in the material covered in the e-zine each month. For instance, the February issue, now online, has articles about scleroderma, a disease that took the life of one of our own recently; Dr. Debra Holland’s suggestions for uplifting and motivational reading material; a craft piece detailing how to make a decorative box in which to store your love letters; recipes for scrumptious Valentine’s Day desserts; a travel article about things to see and do in the open land around bustling Las Vegas; and a profile of Maryanne Capelluti, a Noodler who passed away in January. If you’re a writer, you won’t want to miss the article on how to write great kisses. And if you’ve missed any of our previous issues – no worries! They’re all archived for your reading enjoyment.

We live in a hectic, tiring and often scary world, but if you’ll take those quotes by Twain, Frank and Emerson to heart and spread kindness every day, not only will you be a bright spot in someone else’s day, you’ll also bring joy and a lighter heart into your own.

For a lot more information on kindness and how to spread it, check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.