Category Archives: Writing

I am part of the WordPress family.

One of my new followers, Shaun at Looking for reasoning to a complicated world, started this award and nominated me. Thank you, Shaun. I am touched.


It’s hard to choose just ten followers to nominate, but I’ve managed to do so. If you weren’t nominated, it doesn’t mean I don’t love your blog. It just means I ran out of space!

The War in My Brain

Gunsmoke and Knitting


365 Daybook


A Way With Words

Joe and Dot

Bucket List Publications

The Ranting Papizilla

Prego and the Loon



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Writing

Happy 100th Post to me!

It’s appropriate that I should reach the 100 post milestone now, since many schools where I teach celebrated the 100th day of school this week or last week. So, I’m having a little blog party, and you all are invited!


Filed under That's So Pomo, Writing

The Liebster Award – Part I

A Way With Words nominated me for a Liebster Award! Read about the late Lawrence Liebster, who inspired the award. 

Liebster Award


The rules for the award:

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.

2. Answer 11 questions selected by the person who nominated you.

3. Make up 11 more questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers.

11 random facts about me:

1. I attended a grade school that had 125 students in grades K-8. The school couldn’t afford a building, so each class had a trailer.

2. When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian, a nun, and a farmer when I grew up (not all at the same time).

3. I majored in physics and psychology (again, not at the same time) before I settled on a degree in English.

4. I joined a sorority in college.

5. I have a bookcase in my living room that I painted one night when I couldn’t sleep.

6. My favorite subjects in high school were math, biology, and world history.

7. I once had five different jobs at the same time. I won’t do that again.

8. When I work up the nerve to do karaoke, my go-to song is “All Along the Watchtower.”

9. One of my cats is named after a Charles Dickens character.

10. My maternal grandmother used to grind her own coffee, and my brother and I would steal the beans from the jar and eat them.

11. I occasionally participate in drum circles and open-mic poetry nights.

1)  What brand of deodorant do you use? – Suave. I usually try to keep my personal care products cruelty-free, but natural deodorants don’t work for me. I’m a big girl. I sweat.

2)  What book(s) are you reading now? – Just finished Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon and am working on a compilation of Dashiell Hammett short stories.

3)  If you were a Beatle, who would you be (John, Paul, George, or Ringo)? – John. He was an idealist and strongly interested in visual arts.

4) Name one of your guilty pleasures. – McDonald’s french fries

5) What (or Who) inspired you to create your blog? – Too many inspirations to name them all.

6) Where were you when (choose one) –  a) JFK was shot. ; b) Watergate was exposed. ; c) OJ Simpson was arrested. ; d) The Twin Towers collapsed. a) Not yet conceived; b) In my mother’s uterus; c) Home from college for summer break. I might have been at my job and heard about it when I came home.; d) At work. One of the managers turned on the TV in the conference room.

7)  Share a favorite Bible verse (or quote from classic literature). – Ruth 1:16-17  — “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May theLord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Testimony to the power of friendship and family.

8) Do you believe in parallel universes?  (If so, do you know how I might visit one.  No, really, I want to know…) – I wouldn’t say I believe, but I find the concept fascinating.

9) List 3 songs you never get tired of listening to. – Anything by Great Big Sea, the Black Keys, or a local Celtic rock band called Brigid’s Cross.

10)  As you were growing up, what posters (if any) did you have on your walls? – I don’t remember specific ones, but cats and other animals were a common theme. I started collecting postcards in college, so one wall of my apartment is like a giant poster of different postcards, bumper stickers, and other random artwork.

11)  Have you ever memorized a poem?  If so, what poem? I’m working on memorizing “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Words by which I aspire to live.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Part 2 to follow . . .



Filed under Writing

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” — T.S. Eliot

I just completed and sent a proposal to teach an after-school enrichment program about reading and writing poetry. I’m curious about my readers’ favorite poems and/or poetic forms. Please share your favorites in the comments.


Filed under Teaching, Writing


How cool is this? The Ranting Papizilla (a very awesome blogger and all-around great guy, check him out) nominated me for a 2013 Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks again, Papi!



The award rules:

1. Award your top 4 bloggers who have commented the most. You can find that on the “site stat” page under comments on the bottom right hand corner.
2. Be thankful.
3. You cannot award someone who has already been awarded. And you cannot give the award back to me.
4. Don’t forget to tell the bloggers you’ve awarded.
5. If you don’t want to pass on this award, that’s okay to. Just admire it.

My top 4 commenters (besides Papizilla):

Anne Bonney at Gunsmoke and Knitting

Rebecca at Lady or Not

365 Daybook

The Surly Spinster

Many thanks to everyone who comments, reads, or simply follows. You make blogging fun.



Filed under Writing

Think before you post

I had a few hours off this afternoon (change in shifts) and needed to get warm after walking dogs this morning (it’s been in the 20s, with wind chill in the teens or single digits), so I went to the library and got online. I found an article my Mom might find interesting, so I posted it to her Facebook wall, and I checked in on some groups and some of my favorite people. One of my friends posted an interesting graphic about protein in vegetables, and since I’m a vegetarian, I decided to share it. Unfortunately, I did not check my facts before posting, and one of my college classmates, who happens to have a medical and scientific background, pointed out that it was inaccurate due to the fact that protein is measured as dry weight and vegetables tend to be mostly water. I took his word for it and took the graphic down, but not before I saw two of my friends, who’ve never met and are separated by an ocean and several thousand miles, get into an argument. I know I said in “The List of Awesome” that I like watching my Facebook friends interact, but I dislike name-calling and ignorant behavior. I’m too old to start a fight just for the sake of watching the fireworks, and I deal with enough real drama not to want it in my non-work life.

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Filed under Friends, Life, the Universe and Everything, That's So Pomo, Writing

The List of Awesome

During a recent library trip, I found blogger Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things. I was in the mood for some light reading to mix with my Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, so I picked it up. (I never got around to reading The Lord of The Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. Don’t judge me.) I found myself nodding along, saying, “Oh yeah, I totally get that,” on just about every page.


In the spirit of that slice of life, I humbly submit my own List of Awesome Things.


  • Reading kids’ books as an adult, either revisiting old favorites or reading something you never got to.
  • Having a cat, dog, or kid sleeping on you. Even with claws, shed hair, and the possibility of ear-shattering howls, there’s nothing that rivals that absolute trust. Having both Medium Fry and Small Fry sleeping in my arms at only a few weeks old ranks among the happiest moments of my adult life. Both my cats like to sleep on me, and they tend to divide and conquer; Big Trouble stretches across my lap or down my legs, while Little Trouble perches on my chest.
  • Coming inside after being out in the cold. Whether you were working or playing, it feels good to shed the extra layers, curl up in a blanket, maybe drink something hot.
  • Hilarious Facebook updates. One of my closest friends is a military wife transplanted from the South and currently living in the upper reaches of the Midwest. Our mutual best friend and I have told her several times she needs to write a book, because her accounts of her Lego-stealing cat and her kindergarten-age daughter mishearing “pregnant” as “pagan” are too funny not to share with the English-literate world.
  • Watching Facebook friends who don’t know each other get into a conversation. It’s interesting to see how my cousins, my sorority sisters, my high school classmates, and my pastor all respond to the same post and to each other.
  • Being able to wear sneakers to work, instead of just for the commute to and from work.
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese. I think I was in college before I tried it, because my Mom a. is allergic to milk and cheese, and b. worked night shift and was more interested in actually eating a meal with her husband and kids than in making said meal Food Network material. Ergo, when we ate macaroni and cheese, it came from blue, black and white, or (rarely) red boxes.
  • The smell of pizza baking. Even if it’s really crummy, greasy pizza, it smells so good.
  • Popcorn popped on the stove.
  • Getting a recipe right after you’ve made it several times. I still remember the first time I made a really good peanut sauce for a stir-fry. I’d struggled with it for more than a year before I finally made it the right consistency and flavor.
  • Watching a cheesy B-movie with friends and doing your own “Mystery Science Theater 3000” commentary.
  • Inside jokes and pop culture references. Renaissance Guy once made his future wife and me crack up during church by saying, “I think he said, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers,’ ” (from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” in case you were wondering) sotto voce, in a perfect Cockney accent, during The Sermon on the Mount. My parents’ parish priest must have thought we were completely nuts.
  • Listening to elderly people talk about old times. Bonus: listening to several elderly siblings, siblings-in-law, or friends share their memories of the same place, person, or event.
  • Finding your perfect karaoke song: you know all the lyrics, it’s in your vocal range, and you can actually sing it passably well.
  • Bread and cheese, preferably fresh, crusty bread and sharp cheese. If there’s butter involved, so much the better.
  • Big, sturdy umbrellas on a rainy day.
  • The conversations you have in the car on the way home or in the kitchen cleaning up.
  • Laughing till your face hurts.
  • Really cold water on a really hot day.



Neil blogs at Check him out.

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Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing

Well, this is cool.

I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a bit longer than a month, and The Ranting Papizilla (one of my very first followers) nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Thanks, ‘Zilla!

Rules of Participation:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

1. I’m first-generation American on my mother’s side.

2. I read an obscene number of books.

3. I changed my major three times in college.

4. I’m growing my hair out so I can donate it. I’ve done this once before and would like to do it again while my hair’s still mostly brown.

5. I’ll listen to just about anything. Classical, country, old-school rap and R&B, folk music, reggae, classic rock, alternative, you get the idea.

6. I’m working on a children’s book.

7. I have three living grandparents, all in their 90s and in remarkably good health.

Now for the hard part – nominating *only* 15 bloggers:


Thanks for inspiring me, both to start blogging and to keep blogging.



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing

Weekly writing challenge

My mobile phone isn’t compatible with Instagram, alas. My phone is merely average rather than smart.

I have a writing challenge nonetheless, though. Little Trouble seems to think it’s his job to help me write today by stepping on the keyboard, batting at the power cord, jumping on my shoulder, or standing on my lap so I can’t see the screen. I carry on in spite of his “assistance.” I merely moved to the local branch library.

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Filed under Animals, Writing

Redemption songs

Many thanks to Prego and the Loon for tonight’s thought:

“Focus on the gift of today, and throw those reminders [of the past] in a fire to create a brighter future.”


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Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Writing