Saturday, May 30, 2009


Today I am going to share with you one of my other artsy-fartsy outlets. Besides writing I also play the clarinet.


It was my mom who introduced me to music. When my brother and I were young she enrolled us in organ lessons. We did it for many years.


I remember one year we were part of a concert. We had to go on stage play our song on the organ and then leave the stage for the next performer. I was so nervous I wanted to cry. I went out on the stage, sat down and played the first note. The wrong note. I stopped, looked at the keyboard and, again, played the wrong note. I couldn't remember where to start my song. I was paralyzed for a moment not knowing what to do. Then I thought I would ask the teacher who was off stage. I got up to go and get her and the audience started to clap because they thought I was done my song! How embarrassing! I didn't tell anyone but I didn't want to go back on that stage but I did. The teacher came back on stage with me, showed me the starting note and from there I was able to play my song. Boy, was I glad when that was over.


Though I hated practicing the organ, I now realize it was a great foundation for future music exploration. In grade 5 I started to play the violin. I was not very good at it and that only lasted a year. At the end of grade 6 we got to try out several instruments in music class to help us decide what instrument we would take in grades 7 & 8. I remember trying the flute, baritone (which I happen to be quite good at) and the clarinet. It was then I fell in love.

Grade 7 & 8 music class came easily to me because I could already read music. I continued to play the clarinet from grade 7 all the way through high school. I joined the band (yes I was a band geek) and played in the pit band for two musicals. I LOVED the musicals. I loved the clarinet so much I decided to buy one. (I actually have 2 now)


After high school I didn't play with a group for a couple of years. Then I ran into a high school friend on a bus and she said she was playing in the Burlington Top Hat Marching Orchestra (THMO) and I should come on out. Now the THMO is not your normal band. We never marched. We danced, walked, crawled, whatever got us through a parade. We would visit the crowd and sit down with them on the curb. Pose for pictures. If they offered us a drink we would take it. The audience got to know us in each parade and would wait for use each year, some having trays of food or drinks ready for us when we passed. Another thing we would do is interact with the children. When we stopped we would let them wear our hat, have them join us in the parade for a bit (of course returning them to their parents before we got to far) or let them play a drum. To read more about the Top Hat Marching Orchestra see their website at http://www.tophats.org/ I played with them for about 6 or 7 years.

This picture was taken at the Jell-O Festival in Le Roy, N.Y. by Robert Hoffman. That's me in the middle.


I am on a break. After I had my son I found it difficult to go to practices and parades though I did do a few. And now that I have 2 children and live in another city I find it really difficult. I'm a little busy changing poopy diapers and wiping up spit up. I guess I am thinking about it because I have the urge to get my clarinet out to play a little (which I might do) The nice thing about this band is I can go back whenever I am ready. And I plan to....some day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Child's Honesty

I love how flat-out honest children are. My 6 year old son makes comments like "Mom you're still fat like when you were pregnant."
[in my defense - 9 months up, 9 months down. I still have 3 months left to get to my pre-pregnacy weight ;) ]

Sometimes I read my children picture book manuscripts to my son. His response is usually "ya, it's ok" or "I like it, I guess" as I view the back of his head as he runs off to play. A couple of days ago I decided to share with him my new picture book manuscript, "Elephant In the Cupboard." I read about 10% of the story and looked up to see my son smiling. I started to look behind me wondering what was so funny. Then I realized he was looking at me! I starting running my hand over my face looking for that crumb or pen mark on my face.

"What are you smiling at?"
He giggled, "The story, it's funny." Do my ears deceive me? He likes my story? Oh my, I have his full attention.
"Should I keep going then?" He frantically nodded his head.

I got to then end of the story and he was still sitting there and smiling at me.
"Read it again."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've Been Thinking About My Best Friend

He always listened, he never talked back and he loved me unconditionally. His name was Simon and he was my best friend. I talked to him when I had a problem and he comforted me, he helped me when I had homework and stayed with me when I was sick. We used to play for hours on end; Hide-and-Seek, Tag, house. We were united when I was 9 and he died of old age a couple of years after I got married. Though he lived with the family he knew in his heart that I was his, he was very protective of me and really didn't like my husband (or any other guy for that matter.) After dating my husband for many months Simon finally decided to sit on his lap but only if he could sit in his lap and reach one paw out and touch me. I think he was saying, "I'll tolerate you because she likes you but she's still MY person."

He's trying to blend in. "If I sit really still..."

I miss his and often think about him. "Go ahead. Rub my belly. I dare you."

A young Simon waiting for the popcorn to come flying out of the old air popper.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Branded? - Interesting Picture and A Writing Prompt

There is a mark on my forearm, just below my elbow joint, and I have no idea how it got there. It's perfectly round with a cross on it. It's not a scar (that I know of) or a birthmark. It's not a sticker or tattoo. It's just there. I noticed a couple of weeks ago after a game of volley ball. I thought it looked like place where you put the pin in the ball to inflate it but I haven't had a chance to look at the ball to see it it is the same. Also, the mark will not go away. If it was an imprint from the ball you would think it would have been gone by now. I could have had it before the volley ball game, I don't know.

I have licked it (hey, it looked like icing,) washed it, scrubbed it, scratched it and picked at it but tit still remains.

Have I been branded in my sleep?
Am I actually and android and it's a screw head showing up through my skin?
Is it a mark of a higher power?
Am I the chosen one? (For what, I have no clue.)

Here's a picture of it and you decided. Click on it for a larger view.

Write a story and if you want to leave a comment with a link to the story on your site please do so. Or just leave a comment because you feel like. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Very Exciting Day For Me

Yesterday was an exciting day for a few reasons. Not only was it Victoria Day but my baby girl turned 6 months old. I can't believe it has been half a year alreay. Now she's 6 months old she can start baby cereal and that is what we did yesterday. She didn't jump on it like I thought she would but she did eat some of it.

Another exciting thing that happened was my brother, David, was on the local news. My brother has a black belt in aikido. (I believe he has a 3rd dans black belt) In the video below my brother is the one being thrown around at the beginning and then sitting on the floor with the reporter after the commercial break.

I think I'm going to write an article about aikido for children. I know when my brother told me he was taking it I didn't know exactly what it was. I think it would mnake an interesting non-fiction piece.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Love Cats

At some point I am going to have to write a book about cats. When I was a child all I could think about was cats. I bugged my parents for 6 years for a cat. Yes, 6 years of "Please Mom can I have a cat?" I finally got my wish when I was 9. I still love cats very much but cannot have one since my husband is allergic and we don't know if the kids are allergic.

But I don't want to make this blog about my cat today. Today, I would like to share some pictures I took this morning of the neighbour's cat. I am not an expert photographer. This is just something I like to do for fun.

Here he is lazing on his front step. Prior to this photo I saw him bouncing around swatting at something. At first I thought it was a bug and then I snapped this picture.

Yes, that is a mouse in his mouth (say that 3 times fast.) I wonder if he is going to give it to his owners as a gift?

I have some great pictures of my cat I had growing up. I will have to share those with you another day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Best Gift

I hope everyone had an excellent Mother's Day. I know I did.

Today I would like to share the letter my six-year-old son wrote in his grade 1 class for me for Mother's Day. I am going to try to type it like he wrote it.

Dear mom
hapay muthrns day
I lov ouy so much that I crid.
You make the best butr pancax evr.
Lov Robert

I almost cried reading it. It was on beautiful butterfly paper and along with it I received a potted plant he grew from a seed in school. I don't know what kind of plant it is but he says it's a flower. I'll just have to wait and see. He was so proud. As my grandma used to say: Bless his little heart.

Perhaps I have a little author on my hands? Like mother, like son.

How was Mother's Day for you? What did you get or give?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Paranormal - not for children and not poems

This is not for children and not about poems.

For those of you who followed the link fro Paula Yoo's blog or from Twitter, here are the links regarding the paranormal info.

This is the link to the published article I wrote about a former court house in our city potentially being haunted: At The Downtown Center, You Might Not Be Alone

And here is the link to the group who research paranormal activity: The Shadows Project

And that is all I have to say about that.

NaPiBoWriWee days 6 & 7 - DONE!

Ok a quick update on day 7 of NaPiBoWriWee.

On day 6 I completed picture book (PB) rough draft numbers 4 and 5 and was quite pleased with them. I think they have potential but need a lot of work. At least it gives me something to start with.

On day 7 - - I DID IT! YIPPY! I completed PB 6 and 7. Book 7 seemed to roll right out. I am so happy with PB 7 that I plan for it to be the first one polished up and I want to start looking for a home for it. I was actually laughing while writing it because it was so funny.

I would like to thank Paula Yoo for organizing the very first NaPiBoWriWee and look forward to doing it again next year. Please take a look at Paula's site http://paulayoo.com/
It has some wonderful writing information and is very entertaining. This is one site I have bookmarked!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

NaPiBoWriWee days 3,4 and 5.

Day 3 I did nothing except get a little sun burned. Too busy watching my son play outside and spending time with the family to write. Though I try to write a little every day sometimes it is good to take a little break.

Day 4 things started to roll again but had the baby's swimming lesson in the morning so that took up pretty much the entire morning. Wrote a little in the afternoon.

Day 5 I'm smoken! I finished the drafts manuscripts of picture books 1, 2 and 3 before noon. Picture book (PB) number 4 is on the computer partly done. PB number 5 is roughly written out in pencil in my black book. I have an idea for PB number 6 and not sure what I am going to do for number 7.

So there we go. Both you and I are now (or almost) caught up.
For more information on NaPiBoWriWee go to Paula Yoo's site @ http://paulayoo.com/

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 2 of NaPiBoWriWee

It's day 2 of the first NaPiBoWriWee and I am not doing well. Of course, I expected that for the first three days. I have 2 picture book manuscripts started, ideas for 2 more in my head and none finished. One of the picture book manuscripts I started is almost finished and the other is written by hand in point form in my notebook.

When the boys (my hubby and son) are home I don't get much done in writing. I'm not blaming them, oh no. I just love spending time with them and I choose not to write. Plus, they helped me clean the house so who can complain?

When Monday hits it will be just me and the baby again during the day and I should be able to finish off the manuscripts I have started over the weekend and then write one (or more) a day until Friday.

Good Luck to all those who are participating.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 1 of NaPiBoWriWee

I am participating in NaPiBoWriWee and this is day one. I am doing much better than I thought I would since it was a PA day at my son's school and I had both kids all day while my hubby was at work. Having the kids home all day was not a bad thing. Nope. Actually it was inspiring. I think I got a story idea or two from them for PB manuscripts for later in the week.

For today, I have the PB outlined and I did write some of the parts already. Even though I tried to write a straight PB it still came out in rhyme. I still have 6 more days to write 6 more manuscript drafts. I plan on finishing the rest of it tonight after the kids go to bed. Hopefully they go to bed before I do. LOL

It's not too late to join NaPiBoWriWee Just follow this link. http://paulayoo.com/content/natl-picture-book-writing-week-may-1-7-tues-42809