Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28th

Hi, it’s Christina –

Just a quick post today, because now that Mother Nature has decided to dump on us again, the party has been moved to Saturday. Since we won’t be able to leave Vermont until around one, which means I won’t be able to get to Costco in time tonight, I have to go to the one up here while the girls are in class. Hopefully they will have what I need. If not, tomorrow is going to be a harried day.

According to Severe NJ Weather, we are officially in the “Kaboom” area – translation – a boatload of snow. JC, the weather predictor of the site, has been dead on for all his predictions this winter. His warning for the last big one that hit us was “Mother of God!”, and sure enough, we got slammed. JC doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his predictions. The funny thing is, he is not a meteorologist, and he doesn’t get paid to do these reports, yet he’s a hundred times more accurate than the broadcast weathermen. How is it he can read all the maps and weather patterns more accurately than the supposed professionals?

So yesterday’s drive up here was spent making phone calls – I have Bluetooth – and rescheduling all the folks I invited from Sunday at 2:00 to Saturday at 4:30. Surprisingly, everyone can still come. Some might get there a little late, but I’m not going to complain!

Okay, let me boogie. I’m going to breakfast with Lys and then I’m headed to Costco. Wish me luck!

I hope y’all have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 27th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I haven’t packed a thing. I still need to get dinner going in the crock pot so my husband and daughter have something for dinner tonight. I need to run to the grocery store to get a cupcake for Lys to give to her friend for her birthday today and pick up drinks for my trip, and the warning light came up on my dashboard telling me it was time for an oil change. Thankfully, I don’t have to be in Vermont until five to meet Lys for dinner. So, if I can get everything done by nine, I should still be good.

We’ll be leaving Vermont by one tomorrow, so it’s going to be late by the time we get home. I was hoping to get home before it got dark, but Sammi’s class doesn’t let out until 12:30, so we can’t leave until then. Originally we were supposed to drop her off at the airport because she was going to visit her mom for spring break, but plans changed and now we are dropping her off in Albany on our way through. It’s really no big deal. We literally have to go a couple hundred yards out of our way to drop her off.

Updates – Dani’s eye looks much better. The drops are working, but now the poor thing seems to have caught my cold. Hopefully she won’t have it as bad as I did. It would be sad if she missed her cousin’s and sister’s birthday party this weekend.

Yesterday’s snow fizzled out to nothing. It was really strange though – one minute it was white out conditions, and then fifteen minutes later there were blue skies and sun. What do you think our chance are of the same thing happening with the storm that’s supposed to hit us on Sunday and continue through until Tuesday? I know I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Oh well, I guess I should probably get a move on. I may bring my computer with me since I’ll be hanging around all morning tomorrow with nothing to do, but I haven’t decided. You may see a post in the morning, you may not.

I hope y’all have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

I am the illusive albino panther, highly sought after, rarely seen. I am the largest in my family, most ferocious, most feared. I am the master of stealth, a warrior, a Ninja. My home is in the jungles of South America where I hunt day or night depending on my mood.

Prey, large and small, quake when they hear my blood-curdling call. They know they are in for the chase of their lives; a chase they know they will ultimately lose, for no one can escape my speed, my cunning, my…

“Sprinkles. Sprinkles! Psst, psst, psst. Come to Mama.”

Geez, how humiliating. Can’t I guy have his fantasy? His homerun in the big game where the crowd goes wild?

“Sprinkles, come on baby. Time to come in for dinner. Psst, psst, psst.”

Dinner? Ooo, I hope she made the one with the little shrimp in it. I so love those little shrimp. Coming Mommy.

Your Next Challenge is:

Oh, that will never work…

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.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I tried the reverse order thing again yesterday, but as you can see by the lack of a February 25th blog post, it didn’t turn out so good. I was on track, honest. I had finished the few chores around the house I had intended to do, and I had just sat down at my computer when I received a text from my youngest daughter. It was a picture of her eye. It was all red, and the message said “help”.

After a few texts back and forth, I learned she had no idea what happened, the redness was getting progressively worse, it was starting to hurt, and her vision was blurry. After convincing Dani her Spanish teacher would not kill her for not doing her presentation and it would be ok for her to go to the nurse, she finally went down to the nurse’s office. I waited for the inevitable phone call, convinced the child probably had pink eye and I needed to come get her immediately. While I waited I hunted through the medicine cabinet for the appropriate eye drop.

After fifteen minutes, the phone call came, but the nurse said she didn’t think it was pink eye and she was concerned about the blurry vision. Wonderful. I picked her up and we headed straight to our eye doctor whose office is at Costco. When we get there, there are no lights on in the office but the door is opened a little and the receptionist is still there (she was about to head out for lunch).

I explain the situation and I hear Dr. Mike’s voice come from the other room, “Is it Alyssa?” I poked my head around the door and said, “No, it’s Dani.” He tells us to come right in and has Dani sit down. LONG story short, Dani did not have pink eye, but her eye was red and swollen probably from some type of allergic reaction and she needed steroid drops for a few days to fix it. Dr. Mike felt bad he didn’t have any samples, but assured me the drops weren’t that expensive. THEN, when I asked him how much I owed him for the visit, he said “Nothing.”

How sweet is this guy? He knows we don’t have any insurance and he gives us extra free samples whenever he can. The last time we were there, we had to pay for Lys to get contacts, and the exam was over $150, but when we walked out, she had several months’ worth of sample lenses and all of her supplies to maintain her lenses, so our only expense was the exam itself.

By the time we got home, I didn’t have time to do a blog entry because I had a few other projects which needed my attention. Now, because of all the wonderful snow we are getting at the moment, I’m kicking myself for not adding clean out the car as one of yesterday’s projects. I leave tomorrow morning to go pick up Lys from Vermont. We’re also bringing her friend Sammi home, and at the moment, there is no room in the car for the girls and their stuff. Oh well, whatchya gunna do?

Okay, since I may or may not be posting for the next two days, and it has been forever since I have actually given you a writing challenge, which what this blog is supposedly all about, I had better rectify the situation post haste.

I hope y’all have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story containing the following: The moon, a telescope, crickets

“Keep your hands over your eyes. No peaking.”
“I’m not, but so help me Cameron, if you let me fall, I’ll never trust you again.”
“I’d never let you fall Amy.” He assured.
“Where are you taking me?”
“Now if I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise now would it?” Cameron admonished. “We’re almost there. Just a few more steps. There. But don’t open your eyes.”
“Cam!” Amy exclaimed as she let her hands drop to her sides.
“Humor me. Tell me what you hear.”
“I don’t hear anything.”
“Really? Nothing? Listen harder.”
Amy sighed. She was about to tell him she still couldn’t hear anything when a gentle breeze tickled her ear, “Crickets Cameron, I hear crickets.” She furrowed her brow, “Isn’t it a little early for crickets?”
“Someone forgot to tell them I guess. Without opening your eyes, what else can you tell me?” Sensing she was becoming frustrated, he added, “Please.”
Resigned Amy stood perfectly still and opened her senses. “We’re in a clearing, not too far from the edge of the woods.”
“How can you tell?”
“The last bit we walked I wasn’t crunching over leaves or sticks, and the ground feels soft under my feet.”
“Go on.”
“It’s not dark.”
“How can that be? You know it was night when we left, and you know we’re outside. Have I brought you under a streetlight?”
Amy shook her head, “No. The light is brighter, yet softer somehow. More encompassing. Did the clouds clear Cam? Is the moon out?”

I’m out of practice. I never got to the telescope before my ten minutes were up. Oh well, better luck next time.

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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24th

Hi, it’s Christina –

I did things in reverse order today because I knew I would run out of steam pretty quickly. So, instead of writing first, I did some work around the house. Since my husband was down to the dredges of his wardrobe, I did some laundry. I emptied all the wastebaskets and took out the garbage. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwashers, and I straightened up a little. There’s still A LOT to do, but I am just about out of energy, and I’m worried if I push it, I’ll get sick again.

It’s amazing how much the house can go to pot when Mom is out of the picture for a few days. Whatever, I’ll take the next three days to put things back to rights – just in time for me to leave for Vermont. Hopefully my little loves won’t trash the house too bad in thirty five hours.

This weekend is going to be busy, busy, busy. Saturday Lys will me making Max’s cake and I’ll be making food for the party. I also have to do the Costco run for the cheese cake Lys wants as her birthday cake and the makings for Caesar salad which everyone enjoys. I think the only other things I need to do is sausage and peppers and iced tea, but I’m going to have to check the list my sister-in-law emailed me to be sure. You think I’m bad with my lists? You should meet Cindy! LOL I don’t fault her though, she manages to keep three kids with VERY active schedules, various volunteer work and a part time job all running like clockwork. I’m pretty sure I could not handle the crazy pace she keeps without losing my mind.

Okay, it’s time to flip the laundry, take some more medicine, and then I’m going to take a nap because I still have a grocery run to do and dinner to make. I can’t believe how much a stupid cold has wiped me out. You’d think I was recovering from major surgery. UGH! What a wimp I’m turning into in my old age!

I hope y’all have a marvelous Monday, and happy writing!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23rd

Hi, it’s Christina –

I’ve been puttering around for a few hours online, waiting for my breakfast to settle so I could take my medicine, and then for the medicine to kick in so posting something wouldn’t be a total chore. I have yet to go back and read my posts for the past several days. I’m worried they were a total disaster. One should not be writing when one is sick and running a fever, but I made a promise to myself, I would write, every day, no matter what; and I want to stick to that promise as much as I can. Obviously there will be days where I don’t have access to the internet for one reason or another, but barring that, I will write; even if it is only a short little note to say ‘m still alive.

I know I said yesterday I was going to give Mucinex a try, but alas, we had none in the house – I could have sworn we did – so my hubby ran out to the store and picked up Walgreen’s brand of mucus cold, flu and sore throat relief. WOW, does this stuff work great. I almost feel human again. The only drawback is you need to take two horse pills every four hours. I’m on dose four now, and I am getting definite relief from all of my symptoms AND I don’t feel like Ricochet Rabbit (sorry to anyone who was born past 1975 because you’ll have no clue as to the reference – Google it).

Today, before I run out of steam, I want to finish editing the chapter I was in the middle of and send the piddly amount I have done off to the author. Hopefully he won’t be too annoyed with me. I tried doing a little while I was sick, until I realized my comments were not making any sense and I deleted them all. Best to have a completely clear and focused mind while editing.

Depending on how I feel tomorrow will determine if there is going to be a writing challenge or if we’ll be waiting until Tuesday for the next one. (Sorry, this cold has really knocked me for a loop. I haven’t been this sick in many years.)

Alright, I don’t know how long my energy will hold out, so I best not delay any longer. I hope y’all enjoy the rest of your weekend, and happy writing!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22nd

Hi, it’s Christina –

Now I can add barking like a seal and a low grade fever to my list of complaints. My eyes aren’t watering quite as bad, but then again, I just turned on the computer. I woke up a little before five, coughing my head off, so I got up and left the room so I wouldn’t wake up my husband.

It stinks waking up at your regular time on the weekends. I wish my internal clock had a weekend mode. It is rare when I can roll over and go back to sleep, so once I wake up, I’m up, at least for a few hours. Likely today, I’ll finish this quick post, take the dog out, grab something light to have something in my stomach so I can take some cough medicine, and then go back to bed. Even though I’m okay at the moment, I know, just doing those few things will sap all my energy.

Now that the coughing has started, I know this cold will be hanging on for a few more days. Hopefully, if I take some Mucinex (however you spell it) it will keep the cough from turning into bronchitis. I haven’t had bronchitis in years, and I don’t want it now!

Thankfully this is all happening this week and not next week. I leave Thursday to pick up Lys from Vermont, we’ll be back on Friday and on Sunday we have my nephew Max’s “Sweet 16”. Yeah, our family is a little silly. We make the boys pink cakes, complete with roses and “Happy Sweet 16” on them for their 16th birthdays. My son and his friends all thought it was hysterical, and now my nephew is actually expecting his pink cake. The one difference from PJ’s cake is Lys will be making Max’s cake. Let’s just say, a week from today I’ll be avoiding my kitchen like the plague.

Okay, writing while coughing is becoming more of a challenge than I am up for at the moment, so I think I’m done for the day. I hope y’all have a terrific Saturday, and happy writing!

Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21st

Hi, it’s Christina –

Day three and I still feel like something the cat dragged in after the dog had buried it. Man, I could really use some of my Baba’s homemade chicken soup about now, but that can’t happen for a variety of reasons. I pretty much slept all day yesterday, so why didn’t it work? Lots of rest, lots of fluids for two days; I should be feeling better already. UGH!

I hate this! I’ve got stuff I should be doing! I need to get another chunk of edits to send to the other author this weekend. My kitchen looks like a bomb blew up in it. My hubby’s out of work shirts. I haven’t run the vacuum in days, so my Colby dust bunnies have turned into dust gorillas, and if I don’t do it soon, they may just turn into out and out tumbleweeds.

I don’t know how I’ll be able to get any of it done feeling the way I do. Just sitting here typing this short blog (yeah, no challenge today either), my eyes are watering so bad, the front of my robe is getting damp. I don’t trust myself to walk downstairs to do the laundry, because my balance is all wonky. Even the thought of the vacuum’s noise is making me cringe. As for the kitchen… they can use paper plates and red solo cups for tonight’s pizza and drinks. You’d think, knowing I feel like bleck, Dani would have at least emptied the dishwashers for me…sigh.

I did go the Benadryl route yesterday, and although it cleared up my nose a little, and knocked me out enough to sleep in three hour chunks, I think I’m going to have to cave and take real cold medicine today. Being unproductive for three days is driving me crazier than this stupid cold.

Okay, I’m literally drowning over here, so I’m going to log off. I hope y’all have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20th

Hi, it’s Christina –

I’m not even going to attempt to write an intelligent challenge or response today. This cold has blossomed into a doozy. My throat is so sore, but not from your normal sore throat, it’s from sneezing so hard and so much. My ears are so stopped up I feel like I have a fishbowl over my head, and my balance is all haywire. Today is going to be a very unproductive day!

I sent my hubby a text yesterday saying, “How much do you love me?” I could just picture him rolling his eyes when he read it and thinking, now what? LOL. I needed him to stop at the store to pick up tissues. I had run out around eleven yesterday morning and had been using paper towels since. Yup, Rudolph’s got nothing on me at the moment.

I did feel bad last night, or I should probably say, I felt guilty. My husband came home, after working all day, and had to make dinner, because I just didn’t have the energy to do it. However, from the sound of him and Dani in the kitchen – those two, when together, are downright incorrigible – they had a good time. They left the mess for me to clean up today, but at least they put the leftovers in the fridge. I’ll get to it eventually.

Since I have even less energy today than I did yesterday, I think I’ll pull one of the crockpot meals out of the freezer, set it on low, and be done with it. It will require minimal effort on my part, and dinner will be done. I think I’ll do the stew. That’s what I left cooking the morning I left for South Carolina, and there weren’t any leftovers by the time I returned. It’s been over a month, so I don’t think the family would mind having stew again.

Okay, I’m shot. I’m going to go make my husband’s breakfast and lunch, and then I think I’m going to go back to bed for a little while. Hopefully some sleep will make me feel a little better, or at least give me enough energy to clean up the kitchen later when I wake up.

As much as I hate to do it, I just may break down and take some cold medicine. Hopefully, by taking only one dose, it won’t get me all jittery; which would totally nix any chance of me getting some sleep. I hate cold medicine and the way it makes me feel. Maybe I’ll stay on the safe side and take a Benadryl. It will clear out my nose enough for me to get some sleep, and it doesn’t wire me for sound.

Okay, now I’m rambling, so it’s really time for me to go! I hope y’all have a great day, and happy writing!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Well, it took until almost the end of February, but I’ve finally caught a cold. I should have known I wouldn’t make it through the season unscathed. Sneezing my head off, scratchy throat, itchy ears, the works. Glad I bought some OJ when I was at the store. I also have lots of tea and honey, so I should be good. However, you should consider this my disclaimer if I produce sub-par challenges and responses for the next couple of days. LOL.

The other day I saw something interesting another author was doing on their Facebook page, and I think I may give it a whirl on my own page. She posted a picture and asked her readers to describe the scene in three words or less. It really made you think, and some of the responses were amazing. Since so many of you are still too shy to take up one of my ten minute challenges, this may be the perfect way for you to participate (although I am still holding out hope that more of you will reply to the challenges – especially with all the new authors who are following my page).

The Valentine’s sale of A Second Chance & Taking Chances went really well. February’s book sales have been the best ever, and it did boost my ranking for a few days. However, now that the sale is over, the rankings are slipping a little again. If you were one of the folks who took advantage of the sale, thank you, and if you have read the book(s) and have a few minutes to post a review, it would be greatly appreciated.

Since the sale was a hit, I think I will be doing one for St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, etc. I need to read the rules again for the new KDP program to see how often I am allowed to run a sale. I think offering the books at a sale price yields better results than offering the book for free. Folks tend to think if the product is free, then it can’t be of very high quality, and that is DEFINITELY not the image I want to portray.

What are your thoughts? Are you more likely to pick something up if it’s on sale for 60% or 80% off, or if it’s offered for free? Do you think “free” must have some kind of catch? Do you automatically think if it’s free, then there must be something wrong with it? Do you feel more obligated to read the books you actually paid for, and chose them first over the ones you downloaded for free? Are you more likely to post a review for a book you paid for? I really hope some of you chime in here, because I’d love to hear your opinion.

Oh well, I’m running out of steam, and writing when you’re sneezing every ten seconds is not fun, so I’m going to sign off. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day, you’ll have good luck…

Old habits die hard, and some will never go away. I brought my teenager to the mall the other day, and she damn near had a heart attack when I stopped to pick up a penny off the ground. At her horrified expression, I recited, “Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day, you’ll have good luck.”

To which she replied, “God Mom, I’ll give you a penny if you want one so bad.”

“Ah, but if I simply took a penny from you, it wouldn’t be lucky.” That got me an eye roll and me walking about five paces behind her as she tried to disassociate herself from me. I just smiled, chuckled and tried to keep up.

At fifteen all she could see was her old mom embarrassing her in public. She wouldn’t be receptive to the story of how my grandfather and I would go for walks, and if we ever found a penny, he would stop, pick it up, polish it on his sleeve, hand it to me and recite the same words. True, way back then, a penny meant I could get a piece of gum or candy from the candy store, so finding one had a direct and immediate impact. She wouldn’t find it amusing that we always seemed to find a penny during our walks or that one time I caught my grandfather purposely dropping a penny so we could “find” it.

No sweet girl, it’s not the penny I want so bad, it’s to remember my special times with my grandfather. So sweetheart, I’m sorry if it embarrasses you, but your old mom will never stop picking up pennies she finds.

Your Next Challenge is:

Write a story containing the following: The moon, a telescope, crickets

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, February 18, 2014

February 18th

Hi, it’s Christina –

I was up before five this morning, and when I went outside with the dog, there was less than an inch of snow on the ground, but when I came back in, I checked the school’s website just in case. Sure enough, we had a two hour delay. Two hours later we had a little over two inches of snow. No big deal. I woke Dani up so she could get ready for school, and fifteen minutes later, we get a phone call saying school has been cancelled…again. Really? They couldn’t have called a few minutes earlier?

So, as of right now, the only day the kids have left of spring break is Good Friday. I feel bad for all the families who had vacations planned. I also worry that these families are still going ahead with their original plans, because I just heard yesterday that if the schools don’t have 80% attendance, the day doesn’t count. I have not verified this little tidbit of information, not exactly sure how I would go about doing it really, but if that is the case, I think we may run into a whole lot of problems.

This winter has been murder for schools throughout the state, and I truly feel the governor needs to step in at this point. Yes, the kids should be in school for 180 days. Yes, education is extremely important. However, when Mother Nature steps in and makes it virtually impossible, the kids shouldn’t be made to suffer. It’s not like anyone can control the weather.


My “niece” is now home from the hospital and learning how to function without the use of one arm and one leg. The doctors told her eight weeks before she is allowed to put any pressure on her ankle, and with her hand being out of commission as well, she can’t use crutches. My girlfriend Sharon is going to have one stir crazy, cranky teenage on her hands in a very short amount of time. Perhaps you should add prayers for her sanity as well as for my niece’s recovery.

The driver from the other car, Jimmy, is still in ICU, on a vent, and in a drug induced coma, so he is still in desperate need of your prayers. I do not know the boy or his family, so it’s questionable if I will be able to get any more updates, but if I do, I will let you know.

To the best of my knowledge, there are still no leads in Billy’s, the young man who was found beaten to death Saturday morning, case. I find it hard to believe no one saw or heard anything. You can’t honestly tell me there’s no one on or around the Rutgers campus who’s either acting squirrely or has bruised knuckles or has simply been MIA since Saturday. Perhaps the police do have leads and they are just not making them public. In the meantime, yet another family in my town is making preparation to lay their child to rest and all the young folks are reeling. We have lost so many kids since the summer of 2008, it is positively heartbreaking.

Thanking you in advance for all your prayers! (For those of you who don’t believe or are non-religious, please just send out good thoughts into the universe.)

I did get some editing done yesterday, but zero writing done on my own projects. Instead of stressing myself out, I am going to put my own stuff on hold until I finish editing the book I’m working on. I had hoped to be finished with it by now, but it is REALLY long – over 600 pages at the moment – and life has been getting in the way of me being able to spend as much time on it as I’d like.

The one thing that is keeping me from pulling my hair out, it the story is quite good, and after the author does some rewrites, it’s going to be really good. The manuscript has some booboos, recurring booboos, but no major catastrophes, so he’ll be getting a whole lot less yellow highlights than some of my previous edits. The biggest challenge will be convincing him the story needs to be cut down to the 400 page range or it will be a tough sell. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. He’s smart and very talented, so I have every confidence he will be able to trim effectively.

Okay, enough chit-chat, I’ve got to get to work. (Since it is getting late, I’m going to save the challenge until tomorrow.) I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Time to get back into the swing of things; morning blog and writing challenge, a few hours of editing, a few hours of writing, then household stuff. Sounds like a plan, right? Then why is it all I really want to do is take a nap?

Maybe, if I take a couple fifteen minute breaks, just to stand outside in the sunshine, it will help get my butt in gear. I’ll need to do this today, because tomorrow we’re back to snowy, slushy, yuck. I don’t know about you, but I am SO done with this winter!

Today was the first day Dani was back at school after two days off for being sick followed by two snow days. She was not real happy to see 5:15 roll around this morning. She took a shower, at her cereal, then dozed on the couch until it was time for her to leave. Then the poor kid’s waiting outside for quite a while until one of her friends sends her a text saying the bus broke down.

She comes back in, teeth chattering (it’s only 10° here this morning). I get dressed so I can drive her and a friend to school. Wouldn’t you know it, just as I’m about to pull out of the driveway, the replacement bus shows up. I waved the driver on and just took them myself. Then, when we get to the school, there’s almost no one there. I wonder if folks forgot the kids lost Presidents’ Day because of all the snow?

All right, I guess I should get a move on. I hope you have a lovely day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

I use to tell my kids stories about what snow was like when I was a kid. How we had snow mounds so high, we used to build forts in them, or climb up on top and ride trashcan lids down them; and they thought I was full of bean. They had never seen snow like that, even though we were all brought up in the same state.

They didn’t believe me when I told them about the winter of ’76 when we were hammered by back to back to back storms, each dropping two – three feet of snow. They didn’t believe I had to climb out my bedroom window, crawl my way to the back door, and dig my way through so my mom could open the door to get out of the house. They didn’t believe the snow, actual snow, not the shoveled areas, was taller than me.

Well now, after the winter we’ve been having, they believe. There are twenty foot high mounds in the grocery store parking lots. Standard snow plows have been rendered ineffectual, and the snow is being moved by front end loaders. Caves/forts/igloos pocket many a roadside snow mountain; and children are hiking up the mountains and sliding down on whatever means available.

Your Next Challenge is:

Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day, you’ll have good luck…

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.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16th

Hi, it’s Christina –

Just a real quick update on the prayer requests I asked for yesterday. My niece’s surgery went well. She now has three pins in her hand and seven or eight (the doctor lost count) screws in her ankle. She may be in the hospital for another day or so, but she’ll be fine.

I did find out the kid who was airlifted out is a high school student and his first name is Jimmy, but that’s all I know. I cannot find any updates anywhere, so all I can do is pray for the best. At least now you have a name – Jimmy – to add to your prayers.

As if all of this isn’t enough, tragedy has struck my son’s circle of friends yet again. Although my son was not friends with this boy, Billy, many of his friends were. It appears Billy was found beaten to death behind one of the houses on Rutgers yesterday. Details are sketchy at best, but it is a sad situation none the less. Another young life cut short. It’s just heartbreaking.

Okay, I will not plague you with any more sad thoughts today. I hope y’all have a great day, and happy writing!

Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thankfully we didn’t get as much snow last night as was predicted. We only got another two inches – on top of the almost ten inches yesterday morning. What was the real shocker was the thunder and lightning we storm we had last night and the pouring rain. The rain only lasted for about half an hour and it didn’t really make a dent in the mounds of piled up snow. There will probably still be piles in places come Mother’s Day.

Unfortunately, the lightning did have an effect. It struck a building at the Girl Scout camp a few miles away. I haven’t seen any updates this morning, but as of last night they said the main building was completely destroyed. It’s sad, because in March of 2010, the same thing happened, so the building which was destroyed was new. Hopefully they will be able to rebuild again.

As of right now, the kids have a delayed opening, but I’m not sure if that will change. The rain last night did cause flooding in town and we had road closures. The water may have receded by now, so we may be ok. They said we’d hear by 7:30 if the schools will be closing.

I wanted to let you know, I will not be around tomorrow, so there will not be a blog post. Yup, you get an extra day to do the writing challenge. I know there are a whole bunch of new followers of this blog, so let’s see if some are feeling brave. J

I hope you have a lovely day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story containing the following: Peanut Butter, Kitchen & Diaper

I swear it was five minutes. Less than five minutes! I left him in front of the TV. He was in a Barney coma. He NEVER moves when Barney is on, and there was twenty minutes left on the tape.

I ran downstairs to flip the laundry. I’m carrying the basket of clothes to be folded back upstairs and I step on something. I look down and it’s my son’s sneaker, then, a couple of feet away, his other sneaker. Hmmm, didn’t he have his shoes on? Maybe not. Maybe the dog got a hold of them.

I put down the basket and pick up the sneakers, then I see the socks. Did I leave his socks shoved in his sneakers? I walk the few steps to retrieve the socks and I spot the pants. I know those are the pants he was wearing, what the heck?

I get to the living room to ask my son why he took off all his clothes, and he’s not there.

Ran out of time. I was going to find him sitting on the kitchen floor, in nothing but his diaper, with peanut butter smeared all over him and everything around him.

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, February 13, 2014

February 13th

Hi, it’s Christina –

Well, we only have about two inches at the moment, but the hourly forecast shows heavy snow starting around 8:00. Yeah, just in time for us to leave for work. I am going to leave really early so I can take my sweet old time getting to the shop.

Thank GOD today is not a huge delivery day. We made calls to everyone who had deliveries scheduled for today and asked them if we could deliver either yesterday or tomorrow. Everyone was very understanding and their replies were “absolutely”, “of course”, “not a problem” and even “I can’t blame you, I wouldn’t want to go out in it either”.

Everyone except for one person. Amazing, there always seems to be one “bird” in the bunch. He paid to have his stuff delivered on Thursday, and it was my job to have them there on time. Really? Technically, the governor has declared a state of emergency, and a van delivering flowers isn’t exactly an emergency vehicle. Yeah, although I was sickeningly sweet to the pompous jerk (I have bite marks in my tongue to prove it), I’ve realized I may not have the patience for retail anymore; at least not this type of retail.

Okay, I’m going to forego the writing challenge today so I can grab a quick shower, start a pot roast for dinner, make lunches, go clear off my car – all before 8:15. Hopefully 45 minutes for a 5 mile commute will be adequate to get me there by 9:00. I hope you have a warm and safe day, and happy writing!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Batten down the hatches, we’re about to get blasted again! Depending on which radar model you look at, we are in for somewhere between 8” – 20” of snow for tomorrow. Oh joy. Is this winter ever going to end? Still no invites from my southern relatives to come for a visit. L

Let me tell you, yesterday kicked my butt. Basically I stood for six hours cleaning roses, around 200 roses, with no break. I received a grumble when I pulled out a stool and sat for a few minutes, but then I explained I had a really bad back, and it wasn’t an option. It’s not like I stopped working, and I was only cleaning flowers, not making an arrangement – which you should really stand to do so it comes out symmetrical. After about five minutes, I pushed the stool back under the counter and stood again, but I felt guilty each time I took my five minute sits.

That aside, I did enjoy working again. Today I will probably be answering the phones and waiting on customers. The owner is really nice and so are the two ladies who work with him. I wouldn’t mind continuing on in the shop after Valentine’s Day, but I doubt that will happen. Oh well, hopefully they will just call me to help again next year.

I don’t think my hubby liked me working again, because when I got home, I crashed and burned. My back hurt, my legs hurt, and I was wiped out. I went to lie down for a little bit, woke up four hours later, managed to get dinner on the table, then went right back to bed. It may take me a while to get back in the swing of things, but as soon as I do, the job will be over. Whatchya gunna do?

Since I’ll probably work until four or five today, I have to go and pack a lunch for me too and not just for my husband. (Dani’s home sick again today, so no lunch is needed for her.) I thought I was only working for a few hours yesterday, so I didn’t pack anything. By the time 2:00 rolled around I was starving. The owner was so sweet. He sent one of the ladies out on a delivery and had her bring a pizza back with her for us to share. He also treated for coffee in the morning; both really nice and unexpected surprises.

Well, I should get going. I was a couple of minutes late yesterday because there was an accident which had the road closed and I had to detour. I don’t want to be late again today. In my book, getting to work exactly on time means I’m late.

I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Shhhh…it’s a secret…

Guess whose hubby is turning 50 this year? That’s right, mine; and I’m hoping to pull off a surprise party for him. His birthday is April 27th and I will just have a little dinner with the immediate family. Then, a couple of weeks later … when he will no longer be expecting anything … BAM. My girlfriend Sharon said we could have it up at her house, and I know if we tell my husband it’s a surprise party for Nan (Sharon’s mom), he’ll fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

Nan’s birthday isn’t until July, but my husband is clueless when it comes to birthdays. The only thing saving him when it comes to family is many of our birthdays fall on holidays – mine’s April Fools, his mom is St. Patrick’s Day, our son is the 4th of July – you get my meaning.

By saying it’s Nan’s birthday, it would be completely feasible for me to be cooking, and we won’t need to explain all the cars in the driveway; so I think it would be the perfect ruse. Also by waiting until May, my daughter will be home from college.

Okay folks, this is truly a secret, so if you do happen to know my husband (and quite a few of you do), please don’t say anything to him. My one saving grace is he does not have a Facebook account and he doesn’t read my blog, so I was able to share this with you. J

Your Next Challenge is:

Write a story containing the following: Peanut Butter, Kitchen & Diaper

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, February 11, 2014

February 11th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I’m going to say something I haven’t said for almost two years… I have to get ready to go to work today. Today through Friday, I’m going to be helping a local flower shoppe get ready for Valentine’s Day. I haven’t worked in a flower shop for thirty years! I’m actually really looking forward to it, although I know I’m going to be pooped when I get home. Provided not much has change in thirty year, a flower shop is a ZOO in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. I’ll be hopping, bopping and running around like a nut for the next four days. I really think this is just the thing I need to get me out of my winter funk!

So, the family birthday party for Dani went well. All the snow made parking at my house a bit of a challenge, but we figured it out. Luckily the only wipe-out was a twelve year old boy, and since bumbles bounce, there was no real harm done. My “big brother” surprised us by plowing our driveway on Friday and then my hubby salted AND sanded what was left, so although still snow covered, it wasn’t too terrible.

It was very strange not having Lys here for the family party. She called Saturday – from the middle of a frozen Lake Champlain – but I couldn’t really talk to her too long because I was prepping for the party. From the time we did get to talk, I could tell she was a little sad about not being home for the party. Her birthday is this Saturday, and I think she’s going to be a little bummed because she’s not home. Hopefully her friends at school will keep her occupied and make her day special.

I haven’t been a complete sloth these past few days. I am participating in another marketing event, one which involves forms of social media other than just Facebook. My Amazon author’s page and my Twitter account have shown significant increases, my blog has received new followers (yeah, perhaps this group of folks will take up some writing challenges), and I even have more followers on Tumblr! Pair that with a recent string of five start reviews and my best sales month ever, and, so far, 2014 has been pretty good. Sending up a little prayer it continues throughout the year.

Okay, I have clothes that just finished drying, so I need to fold them. I have to make my hubby lunch (Dani’s home sick today, so no need to make her a lunch). I want to clean up the kitchen – yeah, that New Year’s resolution was an epic fail – and then I need to get ready for work, so I should go. I hope you have a fabulous day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

The over use of adjective and adverbs is frowned upon when writing a novel, but not here. Pick one of your five senses – just ONE – and describe something you like (it could be bread, the beach, sunshine, horseback riding, a book – whatever). Oh, did I mention, don’t say what the “thing” is, let us guess.

Feeling a little nervous, I hope I can relax enough to enjoy this gift. The silk sheet slides over my skin as I attempt to get comfortable. The dribble of the warm liquid on my back releases an involuntary shiver. Deft hands begin to spread the oil over my tense muscles, progressively increasing their pressure as they go; kneading, working in small circles, then in long fluid lines, to release months, if not years, of stress. Slowly I feel the knots loosening and I begin to relax. A soft moan escapes my lips as my back becomes as pliant as melting butter. I begin to drift, floating on a pain free cloud.

Yikes – that was really hard. I don’t know how many sentences I had to start over because I couldn’t use sight, or sound, or smell. Thankfully, when writing, we can use all five senses to describe a setting. I’d be in big trouble if I couldn’t!

Your Next Challenge is:

Shhhh…it’s a secret….

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, February 8, 2014


February 8th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I know I have been naughty for the past several days. There is no good reason for me not posting anything other than I just didn’t feel like writing. I’m not sick, I’m not in pain, I just didn’t want to write. I’m not even overly inspired now, but guilt is a strong driving force.

I think I’ve simply have a case of the winter blahs, all this snow and cold seems to be getting to everyone. It’s either that or I’ve done so much writing this past year, I just needed a break. Whichever, it is now time to kick myself in the butt and get back on track. Luckily I have a large target to aim for…

Here a quick recap of the past few days. Wednesday – freezing rain, snow, sleet, yuck, I didn’t move from the house. Thursday – went to retrieve the mail and somehow the town’s plows played mailbox baseball all up our street and it is now littered with either crunched or destroyed mailboxes. Mine was crunched and all my mail got soaked. Unfortunately my mail consisted of all my tax papers, so I had mail drying out on the racks of my oven. Not fun, but I did manage to salvage everything. Friday, Dani had Snow Ball. She got dressed at a friend’s house, but after the dance, I picked up her and her gang (minus Molly & Bri) and they are now all currently passed out all over my living room. I figure I’ll let them sleep for another hour before I make them breakfast.

Today, we are having Dani’s family party. This will be the first party she does not have to share with her sister, so it will be a little strange. (Dani’s birthday is the 4th and Lys is on the 15th, so we’ve always had a combined family party on the weekend between their birthdays.) THANKFULLY the weather is going to hold out; because originally the snow was supposed to start at some point today, but now it’s not supposed to start until Sunday night. Hopefully it won’t be enough to close the schools again.

I’m more relieved next week’s predicted storm seems to have fizzled out as well, because I actually have a job next week. It started with just helping a local flower shop deliver flowers for Valentine’s Day, but then the owner called me and asked if I could help out all week because they were shorthanded. God works in mysterious ways. Money has been really tight these last couple of months, and this little bit of extra income will give us the breathing room we need to get back on an even keel.

It doesn’t take much, just a couple of hundred dollars, and we’re good. That’s why I was looking for a part-time job. Having a little extra money every month so I’m not stressing, and getting a chance to get out of the house to chat with people will ultimately help my writing. Many of my characters are loosely based or are a conglomerate of people I’ve met over my lifetime; and if I’m not meeting any new people, how can I build new characters?

Okay, I thought I had an hour, but the natives are starting to stir and are going to be hungry, so I should probably wrap this up. I hope you have a glorious day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

The eyes of the world are upon you…

Don’t rush, clean lines, and for God’s sake, stick the landings. You can do this. You’ve done this routine a million times. You could do it in your sleep. Deep breath. You’ve trained your whole life for this. Medal or not, just being here means you’re one of the best. The best at doing something you still love. Okay, don’t freak out. Deep breath. Pretend the flashes are that ancient light in the corner of the rink at home, the one that they never seem to get fixed, and keeps flickering. The crowd’s not really there, it’s the tape the coach used to get you used to the noise. Just focus on the music.

There’s the cue. Deep breath. Okay, made it to the middle without falling on my butt. Don’t look at the judges, don’t look at the judges. Four, three, two, one – pop and smile. Oh, the ice is like glass. This is great. I’m flying. Okay, first combo. Reach back. One. Uh. Two. Uh. And… three. Yeah, I did it!

Music change, time to slow down. Clean long lines, clean long lines. Graceful arms, graceful arms. Facial expressions, facial expressions. And up – point the toes – Uh. Damn, wish I held that just a little longer.

Music change. Oh I love this, so quick and lively. Tape or no tape, I can hear the crowd. They’re clapping along. I’ve got them behind me. One last jump.

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. I did it. A clean routine. They’re applauding. I can’t catch my breath. Smile and wave. Smile and wave. I think I’m going to cry. Smile and wave. Smile and wave. Yup. I’m gunna cry. I don’t care. That was my best performance ever, and I did it here.

Your Next Challenge is:

The over use of adjective and adverbs is frowned upon when writing a novel, but not here. Pick one of your five senses – just ONE – and describe something you like (it could be bread, the beach, sunshine, horseback riding, a book – whatever). Oh, did I mention, don’t say what the “thing” is, let us guess.

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.