Friday, March 21, 2014

~*~ It's Not Goodbye ~*~

I started this blog with the intent that it would be a place for more personal writing about myself and my family. I've enjoyed telling some of my stories here, but now I must call it quits. No tears, please.

Please join me on my other blog: Farm Muse. The bi-line of Farm Muse is "news, moos, and mews from the farm." I live on the farm; I have news to share; the news doesn't always have to be farm news. So, one blog is enough. Are we agreed?

Editing my NaNoWriMo book is taking up a huge chunk of my life right now. I have posted some chapters from the book on-line, and you can read them by clicking here: Wattpad. My goal is to have the book published before year's end.

This final post is for YOU, my four faithful Piece o' Cake followers. Thank you for reading and being a piece o' my life. Now come on over and sit a spell at my other blog. You, too, can be a Farm Muser. HUGS!! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

~*~ Marshall ~*~

This is a photo book I created of my grandson Marshall, who will soon be 15 years old. I know, I know ... I'm not old enough to have an alomst-15-year-old grandson! I thought you might enjoy seeing how he has grown in the last five years. This will also give you a peek into some of the fun things we have done together as a family.

I won't know until I hit the "publish" button, but I'm guessing you will be able to read the comments more easily if you click on the link below that says "see this photo book larger." 

Shutterfly photo books offer a wide range of artful designs and embellishments to choose from.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

~*~ NaNoWriMo ~*~

Did you notice my badge? It changed from NaNoWriMo Participant to NaNoWriMo Winner. WooHoo! What a month. What an experience.

The aspect of National Novel Writing Month that caught my attention was the fact that, if you planned to write 50,000 words in a month, there was no time for editing. Me? I get hung up on editing. Even when I post on Facebook, I compose the update in my head, type it out, change words, start over, change a few more words, and then hit the "Post" button. The thought of no editing intrigued me.

By way of preparation, along with journals and notebooks full of thoughts, I had 20 chapter titles lined up, each bringing to mind some aspect of life on the farm that has been a trial for me. Each day I would look at the list to see what struck my fancy or stirred some inspiration. As the month rolled along, I added at least another 20 chapter titles. Who knew the farm could provide so many trials? Who knew that 50,000 words were so many!

It didn't take long before I had my very own war cry: "Stop It!" This was shouted loudly when I found myself looking back over what I had just put to e-paper, desperately wanting to change a few of the words or even (gasp) delete an entire paragraph.

I wrote EVERY day during November (even while visiting for a few days at Anna's), and I participated in two live "write-in"s at the local library with WriMos from the area. My least word count for any day was 680; the most was on a "writing marathon" Saturday when I wrote 3,129 words. I became a "Winner" on November 29 with a total of 50,278 words.

An incredible 310,000 people made the bold decision to commit to their books in this past November, and more than 42,000 of them entered the 50K winner's circle. Bravo to everyone who gave it a shot!

What kept me writing? It was simply my firm decision to do it. I had made a commitment to myself (I didn't sign anything or promise anything to anyone), and I was determined to follow through. Some days it was really, really hard work. Other days, it was pure joy. The result? Success! and enough words to play around with and turn into a book.
My Notebook. An early Christmas present, so I can keep writing wherever I go.

Now the hard part lies ahead. I need to edit all these words and ideas, combine chapters that are too similar, get rid of the junk, and figure out how to put it all together in a way that flows and will be a delight to read.

Although I spent the first few days of December in "edit" mode, I decided to set the book aside so I could play "catch up" with housework and get ready for Christmas.

Come January, NaNoWriMo will help me stay on track with the "Now What? Months" to help jump-start the editing and publishing journey for my book. It will include an "official" contract to keep me accountable, editing advice from established authors, and publishing tips from literary agents and editors. Yes, I'll get excited about my book again ... in January.

But now ... CHRISTMAS! Katie is coming from New York for four fabulous days. The day after Christmas we'll meet with Anna and Marshall and have some fun together. Ahhh. Family time: it's the stuff books are made of.


Friday, October 25, 2013

~*~ Be Prepared ~*~

That's the Girl Scout motto, right? Be prepared! I was never a Girl Scout, although I have eaten quite a few Girl Scout cookies, so it seems I am somewhat lacking in this "be prepared" quality.

In less than seven days, I will participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  This is no  leisurely stroll through years of thoughts, ideas, and amazing inspiration. No! NaNoWriMo is the marathon of writers: 50,000 words in 30 days. Ha! I probably haven't written 50,000 words in the past ten years. As a side note, I will not be writing a novel. It is permissible to write whatever you want to write, so I will stick with an inspirational memoir-type book.

Setting intimidation aside, I gathered my journals and notes and scrolled through my FarmMuse blog. I looked over what I had already composed on my computer (but I can't use that, of course) and made note cards of possible chapter titles and what events those chapters might cover.

I had been wondering how I could get all of these thoughts and scraps of paper and computer miscellany organized in one place. Writing almost 2,000 words a day leaves no time for searching through the aforementioned pile of info. Enter Scrivener. It looks like it's just what I need, so I downloaded it the other day for my free trial which lasts through December 7. Perfect!

Two small (?) problems: I now have two-plus hours of tutorial to cram into my little head; then I have to get all my info into the program and hope I can use it to some avail.

Be prepared! All I can say is, come November 1, I will be as prepared as I can be. I will dive into my work with a passion. Book work, that is. The rest of my world may suffer for a month, but ... such is life.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

~*~ 230 Friends ~*~

That's what my Facebook page says ... two hundred and thirty friends. To be more precise, it should read 230 friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and a few interesting people I've never met in person.

I have lived in at least 10 different locations in Minnesota; 2 areas (4 houses) in Haiti; a church dormitory room one summer in Jamaica; 2 apartments and 1 house in Charlotte, NC; and now I'm settled in Tobaccoville, NC. I don't really expect to move again ... but one never knows. My family is spread from sea to shining sea, so, although I've met most of them, I don't know very many of them in a close, personal way.

Enter, Facebook. Two hundred and thirty friends! I have reconnected with friends and relatives who live far, far away; I have learned more about friends who are not so far away but with whom the busy-ness of life makes "bonding" difficult; and I even have a few new friends whom I have never met personally, but whose stories I enjoy. Yes, there are many who never post on Facebook and who never comment on my too-many posts, but if I "see" them, I make an effort to share a smile or a thought with them.

These preceding paragraphs have been, I'm sure, an extremely interesting and enlightening prelude to the photos that follow. A "real" friend from Charlotte came to visit for a couple of days and we had a delicious time together.
Mom Edith and Carolyn at Fleming's Market in Cana, WV

Sister-in-law (and friend!) Pat pointing out the peaches.

Tractors are a part of my life these days.

Virginia-Carolina Enterprises. Beautiful flowers and all kinds of produce.

Pat and I each bought a peanut pumpkin, supposedly the best for a pumpkin pie. We'll see.

Carolyn and I went to the Stokes County Fair in King.

Young and old came down this slide on a gunny sack, laughing all the way.

Carolyn conversing with the sheep.

I asked Carolyn to take a picture of me by this '58 Oldsmobile 88. A friendly Marine joined me :)

Instead of "fair food" we went to Pizza Hut.
Bottom line: 230 Facebook friends ... positively delightful;
living, breathing family and/or friends close enough to hug ... PRICELESS!

Friday, July 5, 2013

~*~ The Princess and the Pea ~*~

You remember the story, right? The prince needed to marry a real princess, but how was he to determine who was worthy of his high status in life? Mom knew the answer, of course. Pile 20 mattresses on top of a pea, and see how well the potential heiress sleeps.

I certainly don't put myself in the same social milieu as a princess, but I do possess some of those same delicate sensitivities.

Take, for a very similar example, bed sheets. If there is a wrinkle in the lower sheet, I can't sleep. No, I don't iron my sheets! I'm talking about the sheet having a little fold or a crease in it. I must lie on a smoooooth surface. And the top sheet must be neatly folded down over the top edge of the quilt or blanket. Pillow fluffed, pillow case smoothed.

You may be wondering what brought these silly thoughts to my head. Well, this afternoon I finally got around to mending a couple of Weldon's work shirts. As long as I had the sewing machine humming, I decided to take care of another problem that has been irking me. I'd like to start a new paragraph now, so please continue reading below.

Before I went to Arizona this spring, I bought a new robe. Surprisingly, I loved it. Except for one small aggravation: after I washed it, the facing didn't want to stay flat, and the seam that was formed by the joining of the robe front to the facing curled up along the inside of said seam. Get it? Probably not, but it drove me crazy.

So, today I top stitched close to the front edge, carefully unrolling and flattening the rebellious inside edge of the seam as I went along. Then I smoothed the facing and top stitched near its outer edge. If you don't sew, you probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about. And, if you're not almost a princess, I'm quite certain you're thinking I must be nuts. But now I will really love my robe ... even when pulling it fresh from the dryer.

(If I were a Princess, I would not be sewing nor pulling anything fresh from the dryer. If I were a Princess, someone could actually iron my sheets for me. "If I were a Princess, la la la la la la la." Makes for a lovely song.)

Here's a photo. Not that it will clarify anything, other than my anality (giving too much attention to details in a way that annoys people).
I'm not aware of any other princess-ly traits that I carry. Certainly I enjoying riding around in a carriage and being awakened by Prince Charming's kiss, but who wants to be a real princess, anyway? I mean, can you imagine wearing glass slippers? Wait. I think I'm getting my fairy tales confused.

With that, I shall don my newly princess-ified robe and retire to the drawing room. I'm hoping my fairy godmother will magically bring me a glass of wine because I'm fresh out. And it's Friday. Oh, woe is me.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

~*~ Family Time ~*~

My family is sprinkled all across the U.S. We're not very good at keeping in touch (although Facebook has changed that to some degree) and a family gathering is a rare event, indeed. This lack of communication in no way represents a lack of love. Hey! We're family! and when we have the opportunity to be together, we hop right in, almost like we just saw each other last week.

In the past couple of months, I've been a gallivanting fool, but all in the name of family. I went to Charlotte for a weekend to see daughter Anna and grandson Marshall. I see them every other month or so, so you won't see quite so many pics below from our time together. I spent a week in Arizona, visiting with my parents and an aunt, my oldest brother and his family, cousins from Colorado, and friends from Minnesota who are just like family! To wind down my spring travels, I had 5 days in New York City with daughter Katie.

Without naming people or places, I hope the pictures below will adequately portray some of my joyous adventures. You'll see that this post is totally messed up, but I'm not going to take any more time trying to get the photos in place. Just roll on through and enjoy.



FOOD ...



Enough pics? Naw!! How about some more food?


I'll close with a few family pics.

Family time ... the BEST!