“Move the bucket out of the sun or you’ll cook them.”
Huh! Good advice. My daughter and I were clambering across the rocks at the beach in Tahoe testing our skills at catching crawfish. It is an annual tradition, dating back to when I was a kid scurrying across these very same rocks. We were not alone… a dad and his two kids (the overhear was directed at them) were doing their best with nets and lunchmeat. It was time to take some drastic measures. Crawfish are far too clever for that method so I offered them the string and hot dogs we were using.
We, the father and I, watched them fish waiting for sure success. But, while they caught a bunch of little minnows, the crawfish eluded them. I was prepared to be disappointed for them until I looked into their smiling faces
and was reminded that it is not the destination, but the journey, that matters.Journeys Inspired by Love
– I have lived with this tagline for so long now that I sometimes forget why I picked it. Goals and dreams are important. They inspire and motivate. But too often in my own past I have become so caught up in pursuing them that I have forgotten to enjoy the journey getting there.
One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Guillebeau, wrote a great post today on deciding if what you are doing is Worth it All
. Part of making the decision requires visualizing your future self after having completed the goal. It sounds easy but in fact I think this is more difficult than we might imagine. If I have framed my goal of being published purely in terms of the recognition or money I might receive I am sure to feel ready to give up along the way. However, I look at what I have written…. Jessica’s journey to renew her passion for life, Gabriella’s journey to live the faith she espouses, Ryan’s journey to really, truly find love again, and I know that my goal is about much, much more than the rewards at some distant date. It is about sharing their story with my readers; real people who may be facing similar journeys and looking for their own inspiration along the way.
This is why comments and reviews are so
critical to writers. They remind us that what we do matters. Thanks for being part of my journey. I promise to not forget about you and cook you along the way.Deanne
“Mommy I don't feel well. My throat hurts.
My brain shouted NO
even as my heart felt tons of sympathy for my daughter. I could tell she was coming down with the cold my husband and I are both also fighting. It is the end of the school year
, I thought, and I don't have time for this
Fast forward an hour. I am in the kitchen trying to get some food into her before dragging her to school. “Hurry up… hurry,” I call to her.
She says to me, “Mommy I feel like my body is on high alert, and it’s giving me a tummy ache.”
The good news is that after the anxiety filled year she has had she can now recognize when she is getting stressed. The bad news, of course, is that I am currently the one making her that way.
I take a breath and tell myself that the end of the school year is upon us- why not get started right away? While she has her class party I run to the store and grab some popsicles. I pick her up early; we come home and sit in bed
watching a movie and enjoying our popsicles.Welcome to summer!
* * * * * * Photo above is courtesy of a Yummy new site I have found called, www.EndlessSimmer.com
* * * * * *
I didn't actually make these delicious looking popsicles, but they sound too delicious to pass up... by the way, they are obviously not for sharing in front of the TV with your daughter (unless she is over 21 and recovering from a break up or a bad grade:>)Watermelon Mojito Popsicles
Makes 12 2.5 oz Popsicles
· 8oz. watermelon juice (2 ½ cups chopped watermelon)
· 2 oz fresh lime juice
· 1 oz. simple mint syrup (recipe follows)
· 8 oz. light rum
· 14 oz. club soda
1. Place chopped watermelon in a food processor or blender and process until watermelon is juiced (will be slightly pulpy).
2. Combine watermelon juice, lime juice, mint syrup and rum in a shaker and shake well. Fill popsicle mold 3/4 of the way up with mixture. Fill remaining (more....)
"Summer's the one time of year I get fun reading done."
Sadly, I jumped the gun before summer actually started, and now I am afraid I may have already finished the best book of the summer. As my blog readers know, I rarely post book reviews in my blog. I do
like to read... but I have also found it is difficult to do it with an objective eye.
However, I am making an exception in this case. I can't fully explain why since I don't even understand it myself. I will say that for some reason this book reached in a took a hold of me like few books have and I want to make sure the author received my humble vote of support.
Before the review, however, I wanted to post the results of the Blogoversary contest I ran. Apparently my lovely readers and friends were either too humble to enter the contest, or, didn't understand Rafflecopter was in charge of picking a winner. And so, I will randomly select one name from the list of six commenters. Drum roll..... And the winner is - Aven Ellis
! Yay Evan. Send me a note to dwilstedauthor(at)gmail(dot)etc. along with your preferred GC (amazon or B&N) and I will email it to you asap.All right... and now, for my review of: A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM - by Scott D. Southard.
My rating: ---- 4 and 1/2 STARS -----
I read A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM eager for a story of romance resembling hers in tone and style. And, while I definitely found this, I ended up enjoying Mr. Southard’s story for so much more. There is a depth and perceptiveness to his writing which actually had me in tears at one point…. Not during the narration of the story, but in one of the prologues to it.
The book is divided into three volumes, each of which weaves the story of how Jane learns about herself, about love, and about her characters through her own relationships. It was at the start of the final volume, which in story alone had its own share of emotional moments, that I found myself reaching out to Mr. Southard as if to a like soul.
For one thing, I am a writer. For another, my friends will say I am fairly philosophical. In both of these elements I found statements of truth for my life that, in my 46 years so far, have eluded me. To quote:
“It is so easy to romanticize the idea of life.
People make the mistake of doing so each day. Life is not a poem, nor is it a painting. It is not perfect. Life is harsh, and the reality of it can be so hard that even the greater souls amongst us can break into tears over the pains that lie in front of them. It is a path we have all been placed on, and it is one that none of us agreed to or asked for, but we walk it because we have nothing else to do, and no other choice to make. That fact is the one truth that ties all of us together.”
There is much, much more to this prologue… and so much more the story of Jane herself. But I won’t give it away, because, like a gift, it should be opened by the recipient… each reader who has the good fortune to land upon
Mr. Southard’s writing.
* * * * * * * Bio (Deanne note: Obviously my next read will be 3 Days in Rome:>) * * * * * * * *
Scott D. Southard, the author of the new A Jane Austen Daydream, swears he is not obsessed with Jane Austen.
He is, however, also the author of the award-winning novels, My Problem With Doors, Megan, and 3 Days in
Rome. His eclectic writing has also found its way into radio, being the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production.
Scott received his Master’s in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via this very writing blog where he writes on topics ranging from writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site (recently, his experimental novel Permanent Spring Showers).
Currently, Scott resides in Michigan with his very understanding wife, his patient two children, and a very opinionated dog named Bronte.
He can be reached via comments on this site, twitter (@SDSouthard) and at the e-mail AJAD.Southard@gmail.com
"Seriously? You've been nursing your coffees here for two years?"
That's right.... It is my Two Year Blogiversary today, June 6th. It was only two short years ago that this blog journey began, and now I see how far we've come.
So, to celebrate, I am holding a raffle for a $10 gift card to either Amazon or B&N. All you have to do is 1. share this post with a friend on Twitter (or click the Facebook 'like' button at the end of the post) and 2. comment about your favorite post over the last two years. (I personally love the squirrel ones.... there is no end to the amusement I get from venting about them. But then, some of my original overhears at Starbucks are pretty darn good also.)
In any case... I appreciate your sharing this marvelous journey with me and look forward to the next two years together. The contest will run until Tuesday June 11th - when it will be back to my usual posts about what I overhear while writing. Until then, enjoy this peek into my world at Starbucks, and good luck with the contest.
“If groom doesn't show up it could be for a multitude of reasons --accident, kidnapped, murder.”
So, I started a poll yesterday on Goodreads and am having a fun time watching the results. The question was; “What’s the worst thing that could happen to derail a wedding?” (you can add your vote here
.) I listed a few funny option, but the truth of the matter is that I think, as long as the couple is really in love, very little would interrupt that. Of course an accident, kidnapping or murder might do the trick.(Photo courtesy of Stephanie Gehring. Click over to her beautiful sight for amazing art and writing.)
As summer approaches my sympathies go out to all the young brides desperately trying to pull together the final details. Somehow we all survive (dare I say, even enjoy) the wedding day. Flowers may not show up, priests might
be called away to Rome at the last minute, the Maid of Honor might get lost on her way to the church, and Fathers might walk their daughters down the aisle holding the stuffed animal that belonged to the ring bearer (just saying… it could
happen) and still the marriage will take place and the couple will look back later and laugh at these little
The problem is… there are all kinds of resources out there telling you how to create the perfect
day; as if this, not the actual marriage, is the goal. There are far fewer websites and blogs geared to brides and grooms that talk about how to prepare for a perfect married life. What about finances? What about kids, and houses and job transfers and mother-in-laws. It is far easier, I wager, to derail a marriage than it is to derail a wedding. In UNTANGLING THE KNOT Gabriella, the main character is devastated to be arranging an annulment for a couple she had previously helped get
married: Somehow processing the annulment paperwork always left her feeling both helpless and hopeless. She sighed. At least in this case they hadn’t had any children yet.The fact that she had arranged their wedding only a year earlier, however, made this particular divorce worse than normal. Their ceremony had been really sweet, filled with excited friends, a really loving and non-control-freak mother, and a grandfather who had given the bride away.Gabriella frowned, thinking of how something so lovely could go so wrong. She was terribly disappointed for them and wished there were a way to make them see how precious it was to find that kind of love.She’d talked with them enough to know that they probably could have survived any one thing, but between the stress of losing his job and having to pay for the expensive house they’d bought, their honeymoon period had ended
more quickly than most. And then, when Lisa’s grandfather had died suddenly, there had been a huge fight about being able to afford the flight to the funeral. The vicious argument was the last straw and they had given up.
Every now and then I pull out our wedding video and watch it from start to finish. I see that stuffed animal in my Dad’s hand and shake my head, amazed that even now it bugs me. At the same time, though, I am reminded that I
would not have let anything derail the enjoyment of my perfect wedding. How much more applicable, then, is that sentiment to my own married life?
“I read it again now and can’t believe I liked it in high school. I guess it was just angst ridden like us. Now it felt whiney.”
We had arranged a book swap at school and, in between classes, the volunteers were talking about the classics we had read as kids. The children’s books were easy to review… things like Nancy Drew or Little House on the Prairie. But when we got to the high school level we all had different favorites.
It’s now clear I always leaned toward a British sensibility. The Importance of Being Ernest, Pride and Prejudice, even the Canterbury Tales were all favorites of mine- but American writers not as much. Many of the women were re-reading some of the classics because of The Great Gatsby coming out as a new movie. “What about Steinbeck?” asked one. “Oh, or Virginia Woolf?” said another. East of Eden by Steinbeck was a top choice for someone and a bottom for another. Everyone agreed, though, that J.D. Salinger fell flat compared to our memory of it as a teenager.
We wondered aloud why something would appeal so strongly to us at that age and came up with the teenage angst theory in the overhear.
As a writer it made me think; how do young adult authors write something that is true to who they are as adults, but is also relatable to a teenager or twenty something? The phases we go through in our lives are unique, not just in situation, but in tone. Even if I wanted to write for this age I am not sure I could pull it off… I don’t think I could have even when I was a high schooler.
I am glad to say, even on it’s worst day, my life was never angst ridden enough to match Salinger.
is Memorial Day supposed to celebrate, anyways?”
The good news is that this quote was said by a child. The bad news was that we all had different ideas about the answer. So far, our children have grown up thinking it is a holiday when all of the neighbors get together, make a big fire in the grill, separate out the kids drinks from the adult ones, and talk about the newest animals roaming our streets.
And oddly enough, I am pretty sure there is actually some basis for this tradition. My father is originally from a very small town in the mid-west. And many Memorial Days while I was young we celebrated by going back his home town to sharing their holiday festivities. This included a street parade (three blocks, from the firehouse to the courthouse) made up of horses, kids in wagons, all Miss Watsons who were still alive and able to walk, a few tractors with flags on them, and the high school band playing patriotic songs. At the end of the parade route there was a huge picnic set up, with tents and tables and, yes, a huge grill with a big fire in it for BBQing. I seem to recall some silly contests, like pie eating, and a speech by the mayor. I also clearly remember discussion about which animals were plaguing the farmers that year.
So, all in all, not that different from our own, more modern, celebration. The question I have is why? Why do we celebrate Memorial Day like this? How does it represent what the holiday is all about.
According to Time for Kids
: Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May. It is an occasion to honor the
men and women who died in all wars.
Not only that, but it was started in 1868 and was named Memorial Day 20 years later. Then in 1950, it became officially recognized when: On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a
proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.
So not only do we remember those who have died in wars, but we also unite in praying for peace. In fact, there is even designated a “National moment for remembrance at 3:00 p.m. local time.” Somewhere in the BBQ set-up and fire building I think this moment was lost yesterday. I won’t let that happen again next year though.
And, actually, after the food was eaten and the kids had at least been told the part about remembering those who had died in wars, we did sort of say our own neighborhood version of a prayer for peace… it went something like this:
“Please Lord, let the raccoon who is at war with our neighborhood find a new home. Amen.”
Happy Memorial day to all of my friends, family and readers.
“It just always seems like we’re not on the same page.”
His hand sits there… waiting to be held.
She picks up her phone… her hands are busy constantly, texting and checking. What is she waiting for?
“...bad decisions that we made. So don’t tell me what to do”
“I’m not telling you what to do.”
“Yeah you are…”
Now his hands are crossed in front of his body…. And in his pockets.
They go outside; to sit in the sun to get away…. To get privacy... and her, to get space.
Now sit across from each other, eye to eye, rather than right next to each other as they did inside.
It is another teenage love gone awry.
Get rid of the damn phone!
* * * * *
Ahhh, Spring Love. Sorry for the belated post. I hope you enjoy my moment of being ever so grateful I am no longer a teenager.
Interestingly, while looking for a I found a great article about why overheard cell phone conversations bug us so much
“Do you think it would scare the other squirrels away?”
We were out for an early dinner date with friends (yes, I admit it, I went back to EVOE
:>) and wandered past a store window displaying large animal head masks. There was a duck and a rhino (I think). But what caught my
eye was the large squirrel head.
It is that time of year when I again go into battle with the baby squirrels who think they will succeed where others have failed. I hear them scratching at the roof, determined to find a way in… but I am on high alert and will not allow them access.
Still, it is nice to know, if worse comes to worse, I have a back-up plan. I don’t actually plan to wear the mask. But you have to think, if they saw it in the dark of an attic, it would scare the heck out of them. I know it would me.
It is truly amazing the things you can find in Portland. A friend recently saw a mannequin head and bought it for teacher appreciation week (the theme was Portlandia
). Before displaying it in the staff room, however, my friend used it for a practical joke. She stuck the head in bed before her husband came up and when he got there all he saw was her, in bed, with another person. Pretty hilarious.
Admittedly, I have not watched many episodes of Portlandia. But I am glad we have our own show. I am glad to like in a quirky town. I am glad my daughter will experience cultural (in not so much racial) diversity. And I am especially glad that, although the weather may be gray, wet and cloudy most of the year, we are coming up to the most beautiful season…. Our month and a half of summer, when the sharp greens, bright sun, brilliant flowers and soft breeze are like finding you have the winning numbers to the lottery.
“Can we look in this box?”
My daughter decided, on Mother’s Day, to explore the attic. She had found one of the boxes before, a red dress from one of my childhood dolls had drawn her to it like cotton candy at the fair. Proud of herself, she had already rescued two dolls, packed away for 30 something years, and was now on the lookout for anything else she might add to her collection.
Sadly for her, she lost interest pretty quickly. What remained in the box were mostly letters and cards, along with some high school memorabilia (like my old school uniform- which caught my hubby’s eye, but that is another
As I searched through the letters I found, stuffed between them, an old story I had written in my creative writing class in college. It brought back fond memories of that spring semester, writing outside in the California sun and being inspired by my wonderful professor, the amazing poet, Ed Kleinschmidt (now married to Frances Mayes of UNDER A TUSCAN SUN
I wrote, in my last blog post, that passion comes from combining talent and interest. That semester, as I rushed to class, as I stayed up late to work on poems and stories, as I listened to published authors share their secrets, even as I received harsh feedback on my own work, I discovered that combination.
And yet, it took many years for me to pursue it. Because there is one more thing that I forgot about passion… it also takes courage. Ironic then, that the story I wrote all the way back then was related to this very idea.
I’ve created a new web page here
to share some of my old and new work, starting with this very story (as is, no edits). I hope you enjoy.Deanne