Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 31st Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

It’s Saturday! First and foremost, I want to wish my Godmother a very Happy 78th Birthday. Love you!

I spent the first few hours today completely unproductive. I read articles online about how Costco gave a mentally challenged man an opportunity for a career with their company, giving him a sense of pride and worth. It was truly heartwarming. Another article was about a growing trend toward childlessness – I couldn’t even imagine. I checked out the weather for this weekend and was distracted by various weather stories, like a man’s van getting hit by lightning, holy crow. Commented on a few friends’ posts, and before I knew it, two hours had slipped by. The internet can be a dangerous thing!

Now it’s time to be more productive! My neighbors are hosting their annual church picnic this weekend, so I want to get some yard work done so we are not an embarrassment to them and I’ve been bugging my hubby about cleaning out the garage, so hopefully we’ll be able to tackle it this weekend as well. We have an older house, and our attached garage is too small for our car (we can pull it in, but if we do, we can’t open the doors to get out of the car), so we use it for storage; Aka: the black hole, the garbage dump, hoarder’s heaven. It’s a holy mess and in desperate need of a serious purge.

I need to run to the post office again. B&N delivered yet another of my daughter’s school books here instead of shipping it directly to her school. The money I saved by ordering the books through them has been sucked up by having to turn around and mail them up to her. If their screens would show the actual delivery date BEFORE the order is finalized, this would save a whole lot of problems. Even still, I contacted them MINUTES after the order was placed and was told they would be able to correct the shipping address. One book was supposed to arrive on 8/21 and the other on 8/22. When I received a book on 8/21, it didn’t dawn on me it wasn’t the one from B&N but from Amazon (I thought I had cancelled it). When we returned home from dropping my daughter off at school, one of her books was waiting here for us, which I assumed was the one that was supposed to arrive on 8/22. Then another book was delivered yesterday – 8 days after they said it would arrive. I will think twice before I order books from B&N in the future.

OK, off to be more productive…hopefully. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:


If I continue to sit here, will I hold Autumn at bay? I’m at the beach, so it must be summer; and if I stay right here forever, that means summer never has to end, right? Don’t call the men with the butterfly nets, I haven’t completely lost it. It’s just wishful thinking on my part. Although Autumn holds a certain charm, colorful foliage, apple picking, crisp clear days; I am not looking forward to the drop in temperature. I don’t want to think about snow and slush, nor the pain the cold weather causes both mentally and physically.

If it’s not summer anymore, that means the holidays are right around the corner. That’s right, only sixteen weeks left in the year. If I keep sitting here, then year end is far away in the future. There is no need to reflect on what was or wasn’t accomplished over the past year. I can just close my eyes, lean my head back, soak in the warm rays of the sun and think about nothing – no back-to-school, no cold, no holidays, no end of year, nothing.

Your Next Challenge is:


I can’t seem to get that song out of my head…


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Hope y’all are doing well this Friday morning! It’s Labor Day weekend already, can you believe it? We’ve already had a few cool nights. Where did the summer go? I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I remember it still being hot through most of September before it would cool down. Then in October we would get another warm week or two, which we called “Indian Summer”.

Having two or three days in a row in the nineties was rare and hitting a hundred degrees was big news, but now it’s common place. The weather has become very strange. Forty years ago there was a gentle wave that brought you through the seasons; you gradually climbed to the hottest first two weeks in August then slowly fell to the coldest first two weeks in February. It was easy, almost predictable. You hoped to have snow on Christmas, but you pretty much knew there was a big storm coming the second week in January. Unless it was raining, or the once in a blue moon it came really early, you knew you would only have to wear a light sweater on Easter and after Mother’s Day you could get away with shorts and they would get you through until the first week of October. Your heavy coat came out about a week before Thanksgiving. I’m not saying it was always exactly the same, but deviations were unusual and when they happened, folks talked about them for weeks, if not months or years.

Now, who the heck knows? We’ve had bathing suits on trying to catch a tan on eighty degree days in February and a blizzard two days before Halloween. One day it’s in the nineties, then boom it’s in the fifties and you’re looking around asking, “Who turned off the heat?”. Record cold, record heat, I’ve said it before and you will undoubtedly hear me say it again, it should have been labeled “Global Unrest” instead of “Global Warming”; because when we are wearing sweatshirts during the day in August, you can’t help but think “Global WARMING” is a bunch of hooey.

Not sure how I got there from basically saying “it’s Labor Day”. I’ll blame it on a pre-coffee blog posting. Today we will be organizing my daughter’s room, closet and drawers so she will have all her ducks in a row for the start of school. I was shocked when I suggested it yesterday, but she jumped all over the idea. We’ll get some done today and then finish up tomorrow. My daughter will be leaving around two this afternoon for another tour of the high school. Hopefully after the tour, she will be less stressed over the transition to the new school.

OK, I’ve rambled enough this morning. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:


I had the hardest time learning how to…


I had the hardest time learning how to do many things, and yet others came with virtually no effort at all. It was almost as if I had somehow known the information already. For example, I had never taken a calculus class in my life, but I was able to teach it to a bunch of college students when I was in eighth grade. However, I’ll still occasionally glance down at my hand to see which one makes the “L” for left.

I can tie intricate macramé, but crocheting is beyond me. I can make a soufflé stand six inches above the pan, yet buttering toast is a challenge. My shoelaces still come undone, my spelling is atrocious and I never did learn how to work the VCR, all things which were taught to me over and over again; but there are so many things I have been show only once, or simply figured out on my own.


Out of time. You have just received a little more information as to who I really am, all the examples above are me; even the admission of having to consciously think over Right and Left.  

Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

So the paperwork took longer than anticipated and then I’m taking care of my son’s cats (25 miles away) while he’s on vacation, and my daughter had friends come over so the house needed to be cleaned, and we had back to school shopping to do. In other words, I never got to the blog yesterday, so I am apologizing yet again.

I’ve chatted with my older daughter several times over the last few days; she doesn’t like the food, but loves her classes except for the computer one but that has to do with the subject, not the teacher. He’s ex-military intelligence and seems like a fascinating guy.

When they gave the speeches at the school, they asked the parents to do one thing – if the child calls home with a problem or an issue say, “Did you ask someone at the college?”. I have been trying really hard to do that, and my daughter has had to deal with several issues on her own already (a wrong book, medical insurance, getting a job on campus, questions on one of her loans). I know by her doing this without our help is helping her to become an independent adult, but it has been tough not taking care of things for her. She’s dealing with it fine, mom’s just having issues letting go.

On the other hand, my youngest daughter has really been surprising me. She is nearly finished with her summer reading, and I haven’t had to prompt her once to get to it. She cleaned up after her friends last night, and today she cleared and set the table for dinner, then when we were done she helped clean up – ALL WITHOUT BEING ASKED. Needless to say, I’m stunned, happy, but stunned. Guess my youngest chickie is growing up too.

Well, it’s getting late, and as you know by now, I’m an early morning person, so I turn into a pumpkin around nine at night. Consider this my disclaimer as to the quality of the response to the writing challenge. J

Your Last Challenge was:

You and a group of friends all have busy lives and you don’t get to spend any time together anymore, so you decide to make a weekend getaway. You book rooms in an old mansion which has been converted to a bed and breakfast. The place is beautiful and at first you are completely enamored with it, but then some strange things start to happen.


“Kara, where did you find this place?” Jennie asked.

 “Online. Why, don’t you like it?”

 “It’s beautiful and all, it’s just, I don’t know…” Jennie trailed off not knowing how to finish her sentence.

Rose chimed in, “I know what you mean. I can’t shake the feeling that someone’s watching me.”

“And what’s with the owners?” Stephanie asked. “Every time I turn around one of them is there, just staring at me. I’m not sure who’s creepier, the husband or the wife.”

Yeah, I should know better than to try and write when everyone in the house is awake. The TVs are going, the dog is barking, the phone is buzzing with text messages. I give up! We’ll chat again tomorrow… until then, have a great evening and happy writing!


Your Next Challenge is:


I had the hardest time learning how to…


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good morning. Day two with no kids around. My youngest spent another night at her friend’s house and won’t be home for a few hours yet. This is going to take a while to get used to, if I ever do. Even when she does get home, it will still be a quiet day because she still has not done her summer reading project. Heck, she hasn’t even started it and we are at the end of summer. She’ll have her nose in a book for the next few days. At least, this year’s book is short and a very quick read. That doesn’t mean I will not have to threaten her to get it finished.

I wish I could find the one book to spark her interest in reading. My middle daughter was the same way. She hated to read. Getting her to read was a battle. Then one day, just before her birthday, she asked me for the book “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyers – quite rolling your eyes, she asked for a book, so I was doing backflips. The book could have been “The Art of Farts” for all I cared if it got her reading. When she finished “Twilight” and asked for the next book in the series, I was overjoyed. By the end of the summer, she had read thirty-eight books and can still be found, quite often, with her nose in a book. So, as I said, I wish I could find the one book to spark my youngest daughter’s interest in reading, then these summer reading projects wouldn’t be such a nightmare.

I’m still gathering and photo copying two years’ worth of receipts to send to the insurance company. Hopefully I will have everything together and in the mail by Friday. It’s times like these where I really want to kick myself in the butt for not being more organized! So no more procrastinating, time to get to work.

Until tomorrow… have a great day and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:


Tom leaned against the tree and stared unseeing into the backyard. Memories of that fateful day came flooding back.

“Please Grandpa, please.”

“I can’t right now Tommy, but I promise we’ll go as soon as I finish the chores.”

“But the fish are biting now. Look, I can see them jumping.”

“And they’ll still be jumping in a few hours. Go find something else to do. Maybe Grammy could use some help in the garden.”

Six year old Tommy hung his head and walked away from his grandfather. He didn’t want to wait. He knew the fish wouldn’t be there later, it would be just like last time when they waited.  They would sit in the boat for hours and have nothing to show for their time. Why did Grandpa need to do chores first? The chores would still be there when they got back.

“Hey Brat.”

Tommy looked up to see his big brother sitting on the back porch. “Leave me alone Joey. Aren’t there any bugs or frogs you could go bother?”

“What’s got you in such a mood?”

“Stupid chores. Why can’t Grandpa do the chores later? I want to go fishing. Look,” Tommy pointed to the creek, “they’d be jumping in our boat if we went now.”

“So let’s go.” Joey said as he hopped off the step and started to head toward the boat.

“Are you crazy? You know we’re not allowed to take the boat out by ourselves.”

“I’m almost nine years old. I’ve been out on that boat a million times, I can handle it.” Joey glared at his little brother. “So Brat, are you coming or are you going to be a baby?”


Definitely better than the last one, I just couldn’t form a thought I liked yesterday. For tomorrow I’ve decided to go back to a prompt style I used when I started this blog, and set up a scene for you to write a story. I’m still waiting for input from y’all as to what types of prompts you’d prefer. So until I do, I’m kinda shooting in the dark.

Your Next Challenge is:


You and a group of friends all have busy lives and you don’t get to spend any time together anymore, so you decide to make a weekend getaway. You book rooms in an old mansion which has been converted to a bed and breakfast. The place is beautiful and at first you are completely enamored with it, but then some strange things start to happen.


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good morning! Sorry about not posting yesterday, I was pooped. It amazes me how much energy driving takes out of me. All told, I drove just short of nine-hundred miles between Thursday and Sunday.

All I managed to get accomplished yesterday was grocery shopping, granted one of the stops was for the grand opening of Weis’ Market, which was a zoo. Not that I had much time to look around because it was so crowded, but it looks like it is going to be a really nice store, and the people were really nice. It was funny seeing the corporate suits pitching in by stocking shelves and stuff.

I was quite proud of myself though, between Weis’ and ShopRite, I got over $250 worth of groceries for $135. With sales, coupons and my shopping cards, I was able to clean up!

I had to make another run to ShopRite this morning to get my daughter a few things. Believe it or not, even though her college’s food is rated top in the country, she is not finding a lot she will eat. She doesn’t like pasta and she doesn’t want to live on pizza and burgers because she considers them junk food. She just lost about 35lbs and doesn’t want to gain it back and I can’t say I blame her. So in addition to the book that B&N sent here instead of to her school and the calculator she forget, I shipped some tuna (with a can opener) and crackers, some Speghettios and some mac & cheese. Yeah, I know I just said she doesn’t do pasta, but those are the rare exceptions. Chances are she won’t even finish the four little packs I sent before the end of the semester, but she has them if she wants them.

My youngest daughter slept over a friend’s yesterday and she’s going to the beach today, so I have the whole house to myself, and it’s weird. It wasn’t often that no one was home. I have zero excuses about not getting something accomplished. So on that note, I have to get the final insurance paperwork for hurricane Irene compiled and sent off, I have laundry and dishes to do, and I have to complete Corporate Blues.

Oh, before I go, I wanted to share some news. I received a notification from twitter that I had a new follower. NBD, I get a few of those every day, but this one was from an author whose writing I really enjoy, Maggie Shayne. I was so excited! Now if I get one from Stephanie Laurens or Catherine Coulter or any other authors I love, you’ll really hear me squealing!!

Until tomorrow… have a great day and happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was:


There’s a nip in the air…


For the first time in two months, there’s a nip in the air. No whirl of the air conditioner unit buzzing in the background. The windows are open and a cool breeze is gently fluttering the drapes. Tonight it is supposed to dip so low, we may need to toss an extra blanket on the bed, but at least we know we will be getting a sound sleep.

Sorry, I know that was short and lame. I guess I’m still recovering from the three days of sleep deprivation. Hopefully tomorrow’s will be better.


Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August 24th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Well I survived…barely. Yesterday was difficult to say the least. It took us about three hours from unloading the car to having her whole room organized, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. Then we had lunch, listened to the welcome speech from the college president, said goodbye to my daughter, then listened to a few more speeches, and it was all over.

I will be breaking the rules this morning. I am going to see my daughter one last time to pick up some of the empty bins she has so they are not taking up space, but it is only going to be a five minute visit. (I couldn’t take the bins yesterday because after we unloaded, our car had to go to off-site parking, and I wasn’t about to carry bins on the shuttle bus back to the car.) The ride back to the hotel afterwards may just be harder for me than yesterday was.

The three musketeers were reunited again, and they all seemed happy, so that does give me some comfort, but not much. It is going to be so weird leaving for home without my daughter with us.




We won’t be going straight home today. We will be taking a detour to Lanconia, New Hampshire to see friends of ours. Years ago we used to go to Wildwood for vacation and we stayed at the same hotel every year. Because of that we became friends with the owners, Anthony & Tillie, as well as some of the guests, Red & Rose; so much so, we started coordinating our vacations so we would all be at the hotel at the same time. Well, the Marianne Motel closed down a few years ago, so none of us have seen each other in a while.

When my daughter and I made our first trip to VT, we met Red and Rose for lunch on our way home, but it has been years since my husband and youngest daughter have seen them. With them only being two hours away from the college, how could we not swing by for a visit? At least I have something to look forward to today or I may have been a total wreck driving home.

I guess I should be going. I need to leave in a few minutes to meet my daughter. So, until tomorrow… hope you have a wonderful day and happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story containing: Hot Fudge, Mustard and a Bottle of Wine.

“These two, three and four week business trips are going to be the death of me”, Carrie grumbled as she dropped her luggage in the front hall of her apartment and tossed her keys and her mail on the table. She shimmied out of her coat and hung it on the hook, “Food, shower, then bed, in that order.” She eyed her discarded bags and the stack of mail. “Ugh. Alright, put the luggage in the room, go through the mail for anything important, food, shower then bed. I’ll unpack tomorrow.”

Carrie hauled her bags into her bedroom and deposited them in the corner, retrieved her mail, then sorted it over the kitchen garbage decreasing the pile by eighty percent. Satisfied with the more manageable stack sitting on the counter, she turned to the refrigerator to tackle the third thing on her “To Do” list, food. She opened the door to find nothing more than a container of hot fudge, a jar of mustard and a bottle of wine. “Well what did you expect stupid, you’ve been gone for three weeks?” Deciding eating was overrated, she headed for the shower.


Your Next Challenge is:


There’s a nip in the air…


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23rd

Hi, It’s Christina –

It’s five in the morning. After five hours of tossing and turning, I gave up and got up.

We finally got out of the house yesterday around 10:30, three hours later than I had wanted to leave. We drove through torrential rain and snarled traffic, and finally arrived up here a little after six. My normal six hour, door to door drive took almost eight hours. When we were almost here we realized my husband left our toiletry bag on the bed at home and I forgot my body pillow (which I need to sleep because of my bad back).

When we got to the hotel, I dropped off my husband and girls and ran to the store for the toiletries, then requested extra pillows from the front desk hoping they would work in place of the body pillow (yeah, NO). We all showered and went to pick up my daughter’s roommate to bring her to dinner. Because of all the luggage in the car, we needed to send my youngest with her grandparents so there was room for Rhea to sit.

A two car caravan is easy enough to deal with and we managed to find the parking deck with no wrong turns – far better than the last time I tried to find it. The last time we were up here, we had dinner at a really good Irish pub and we planned on going there again. All nine of us trek down Church Street to the pub only to find there is an hour and a half to two hour wait for a table. Thank you, no. I don’t care what restaurant it is, there are none that would warrant that kind of wait. Unfortunately, the wait time at several other restaurants was the same. Can someone please tell me what could have possible been going on in Burlington, on a rainy Thursday night, to cause such a backlog?

We finally find a place where the wait was only half an hour. It was not because it wasn’t good, but because they offered tables on a first come, first serve, and you needed to be present (no list of names being called from), so I think a lot of folks had walked away. Anyway, we finally got seated, had a yummy dinner and the whole bill, including a glass of wine for my aunt and two beers for my hubby, came to $140, including tip. $140 for nine people for dinner – I think that’s great.

By the time we left the restaurant, the rain had stopped so we had a nice leisurely stroll up Church Street back to the cars, dropped Rhea off at the dorm and returned to the hotel. My daughter was still insisting she did not want to show up at school with stuff in three cars, so we took everything out of my mom’s car and my in-law’s car and packed my van. Now the game plan is I drive my daughter and her stuff to the school for 8:00, pull up in front of her dorm and let the swarm descend, follow the directions to the off-site parking, give the rest of the family the address for the off-site parking so they can meet me there, and we can all take the shuttle back and help my daughter get situated.

How we think we will be able to get eight of us in the dorm room and be able to get anything accomplished, I don’t know, but the grandparents wanted to be part of this experience, so I don’t want to deny them. This is their first “sending a kid off to college” for any of them. My husband, my sister-in-law, my cousin (remember I said my aunt came with us too) and I all went to colleges locally and commuted daily from home.

Oh well, the time has come to wake my daughter up so she can get ready to leave. I will try to hold it together as long as I can, but I am not making any promises. Seeing the refrigerator in my van set me off yesterday. Tackling a highly emotional day on virtually no sleep, does not bode well for me keeping my emotions in check, so my goal is just not to embarrass my daughter.

The internet is down here at the hotel, so I don’t know when this blog will be able to be posted. So until then… have a great day and happy writing!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 22nd

Hi, It’s Christina –
D-Day has arrived. I know I said I probably would not have had time to Blog today, but I’m up, hours before we have to leave, so…
The party last night was good until the end. That’s when all the tears started. Another close friend of the family was here and she leaves for her senior year of college on Friday, and she started to cry when she found out my daughter made her a cake in her school colors to go along with the cake she made for herself. (My daughter is the one in the back with the green cake, and yes, the friend is crying while she is cutting hers.)
Not long after this, others started leaving and my daughter had to say goodbye. She had a really hard time when her aunt and cousins left. Some people ask why I did this party, and I’ll admit it, one of the reasons was purely selfish. I knew if I didn’t exhaust myself both mentally and physically yesterday I would have had too much time to sit there and dwell on the fact my baby was leaving and I knew I would fall apart. Having a house full of people, I knew I would be too busy to let it hit me.
With all the hubbub yesterday, I never had time to pack my husband’s and my stuff for the weekend, so I have that yet to do today as well as loading our car up with my daughter’s stuff. We sent some things last night in my mother’s car as well as my in-law’s car, but the rest is coming with us. It should be interesting trying to fit the refrigerator, six bins, however many miscellaneous bags as well as our weekend bags, and four people in the car.
Between the side view mirrors and the rear back-up camera, I should be able to manage, since I know the rear-view mirror will be useless. My daughter is a little embarrassed her things are taking up three cars, but if we sneak some stuff in tonight, then we can consolidate the remaining things into our car for tomorrow, and she will be ok.
I hope they allow us to help her unpack and set up her room. The way they made it sound was we drove up in front of the dorm, the upper classmen descended on the car and remove all the stuff and we drove away. Hopefully they meant drove away to a parking spot not in front of the dorm. I can’t imagine just dumping my child and her stuff on the curb and driving away. It would be cruel and unusual punishment for all of us. No use getting worked up over it now, it will be what it will be, and we’ll find out when we get there.
Ok, the sun is finally up enough that I should be able to go in my room and pack without turning on any lights and waking my hubby. Chances are I will be awake tomorrow hours before I need to be, so I will probably do a Blog entry. So until then… have a great day and happy writing!