Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From left to right
Sheila , June Glenda Angie
back row: Sherry and Larry (the only boy)


            Sisters can be wonderful to have. Mine taught me how to get along with all sorts of personalities and in all sorts of situations. In fact, I wonder how people without sisters ever manage to grow up without them. How did they ever learn what was cool and what wasn’t

            June, the oldest, was my protector. She kept my other sisters from bullying me. Later, I got to know her as a loving caring individual. She is always looking out for others.  The next oldest, Sherry taught me to be fun loving and enjoy life. I am the most serious of the five girls. As a child, I could never take a joke. Sherry, on the other hand, never lets anything bother her. She is the most relaxed person I know. If she is late, she cares, but she doesn’t beat her self up over it. When I started dating she would always tell me whoever I was dating was a creep. I should have listened to her.

            Then there’s my sister, Angela, who was the rebellious one. She never did what she was told; in fact, I think she did right the opposite. I don’t think she meant to be openly defiant, she was just easily swayed. As an adult, she worries about everyone and everything. If I don’t hug her when we see each other she thinks I’m mad at her. She’s the most sensitive and compassionate one.
            Glenda, the baby, is four years younger than I. She’s our little daredevil. She hasn’t changed much. Her husband is a shy thing. I pity him.

             Sharing and caring were not learned overnight. Standing up for one’s self was an act in survival. Through it all, we grew up okay, not rich by material things, but rich in memories, some good and some bad. It wasn’t until I got married that I realized some of the simplest survival tactics were unknown to my husband. He didn’t share a bed growing up, as the only boy; my husband never had to learn how to anchor his covers to keep from losing them in the middle of the night. I, on the other hand, shared a bed with my sister and learned this technique at a very early age. When you have to share your blanket with someone who twists and turns all night long, you learn a few things. For instance, the first thing you do when getting into bed is to wrap the blanket completely around you. This accomplishes two things. One, that if the other person rolls over, it will prevent the cover going with them. Two, if they pull hard enough, trying to steal your half (and yes we measured) then it would wake you up and you would have a regular tug of war.
            Those old iron beds we slept on got us in trouble almost every night. They had springs and a feather mattress. There was no such thing as box springs at least at our house. So when the tug of war commenced it created a terrible racket. It seemed as if every night my mother called out for us to be quiet, we couldn’t move without the beds squeaking. You’d think after all the commotion that I wouldn’t be such light a sleeper, but perhaps it’s the fear of waking up cold and coverless.
            Another thing I learned coming from a big family was how to keep peace at the dinner table. My mother could cut up a chicken in such a way as to feed all us hungry children. I don’t remember fighting over the chicken or exactly how it started, but every Sunday mom would fry chicken and we would all have our own “piece”. So it didn’t matter if you got to the table on time or not, your “piece” was safe. As we grew older, we got the better pieces. I started out with the chicken leg, because they were easier for small hands to maneuver and then graduated up to the best, the chicken breast, which mother split into 3 pieces. She would half the breast and cut out the wishbone, which was the best piece of all and reserved only for mother. Dad got stuck with the thighs and back. Mother would choose the two best behaved at the dinner table to make a wish on the wishbone. I even figured out which end to grab to be sure my wish came true.
            I also learned the art of compromising or maybe I should say how to be a good diplomat. I don’t quite remember the whole story, but it seems when my sister Sherry took home economics, she learned to assign seats at the dining table. So from then on we each had our own “assigned seats and Mom and dad sat at each end.
The worst part of the dinner was the cleaning up. I hated washing dishes and would do anything to get out of it. It was always someone else’s turn. It wasn’t too bad when you had someone to help. Sometimes we would sing Beatles songs at the top of our lungs or pop each other with the dishtowel. When our favorite show was on TV, we would high tail it to the kitchen and wash as many dishes as we could during the commercials. This could actually be fun at times.
            Speaking of television, we had another rule at our house. The first one to turn the television on got to watch what they wanted. So the early bird, especially on Saturday morning, got to watch the cartoon of their choice. That would not work today. Today the one with the remote is the one in control, which is usually my husband.
             I hate to admit that I haven’t always appreciated my sisters, as all four of them would tell you. It wasn’t until we were all grown up that I realized how fortunate I was to have four people in the world who know all my faults and love me anyway.




Saturday, July 28, 2012

Metits of Mischief The Bad Apple

I love this book! The character, Seamus Hinkle, is so well developed. He is a good kid except for that one thing that happened to him at school. Now he is sent to an alternative school-Kilter Academy, where he thinks he will be disciplined. But he is not! Instead he is encouraged and trained in bad behavior. The Inner struggle of this character is well played out. It is a must read. Can't wait to read the next one! Way to go T.R. Burns!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Remodeling! Ugh!



Don't you just love remodeling? Well we went through a small project and it was successful for the most part.
We knocked the wall out and opened it up the kitchen. I love it that can talk to Ken (or rather Ken can talk to me) while we are cooking. And we can watch the news or what ever else we are watching.

The floors was especially fun. The furniture was all moved to one side and we could not walk on it for hours. All the furniture was crowded around our bed and we had to climb a wall and fall into the bed.

But it is much nicer don't you think?

The best part is we have it for sale now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Florida SCBWI Workshop

I hestitated about going to this workshop because I am more of an introvert than an extrovert. My best writing buddy (Pat Weaver) was back in Alabama and she always broke the ice for me. But...she talked me into going without her and I'm glad she did.

I took the Middle Grade track with Tracy Adams and Donna Gephart. What a hoot!
I learned and relearned writing techniques. I feel I really got some good writing tips.

Donna was very inspirational. She said her first novel didn't get published, and neither did her second, third, fourth or fifth novel!

Tracy commented on first pages that Donna read.
Some of things she mentioned about the first pages were:
Setting- environment-describe room or where ever the scene is taking place. The first pages that she read that she liked gave an idea of the chararcter, their age, the room or scene.
Keep the beginning in one scene-don't start on one day and cover several days, weeks or months in one scene.

Dialogue: Donna commented on keeping speech tags to a minimum- just "he said" or "she said".
Avoid addressing the reader.

There was so much I learned, and best of all getting to meet new writing buddies!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Went to Alabama to visit family and friends. We always consider ourselves blessed when we (all 6 ) can be together. This picture was taken at my sister, Glenda's house. She's the second from the right. June, sitting next to me, drove all the way from Ohio. Or rather her daughter Rachel did the driving.
Larry is the youngest and the only boy. Thank you Steve for taking the picture for me.

Thinking back to when we were all under one roof, actually it was only five, because June had married by the time Larry was born. But there were five girls under one roof and ONE bathroom! Don't know how we did it. But we had a lot of fun.
Thanks for the great visit and hope ya'll come see me soon in the Sunshine State.

Monday, April 30, 2012

On a beautiful Saturday, downtown Ocala, You can see plants and flowers.
You can see husband coming away with a bag full of delicious fruit and vegetables. Sometimes we get a bunch of shrimp. The best shrimp I have ever tasted is cooked by my husband.

I love to watch people barter and sell and see what is for sale. I've found homemade soap, and goats milk soap, molded in pretty shapes. There is a baker I visit too much. I get chocolate chip cookies, brownies and coconut cake. Yum! Yum!

See you next Saturday at the Farmers Market on the square.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Learning lessons from ICL

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? I've always struggled with how to determine the target age of a book. Not any more. You can find a code in the front or back of a book that looks like 008-012 for ages 8 to 12 or 07-011 for ages 7-11. Also if you are reading a book and thinking, "I wonder how many words this book has?" You can divide the number of pages by 4. So for exmaple I am reading HOOT,by Carl Hiaasen and it has 292 pages. Divide that by 4 and you get 73 add 3 zero's. (1000 words per 4 pages.)

So if you are researching to see how long your book should be to reach a ceratin target age, go to the library or bookstore and start multiplying and dividing and see if you can find the code for the target age.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Horse Country

There are approximately 50 of these horses all uniquley painted, scattered around Ocala. We love to discover where they are. They usually have some sort of theme. I always think of my friend Pat when I see one. I can't wait to show off our lovely city.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Seeing faces and new places

Ken and I are enjoying finding our way around Ocala and the surrounding area. This weekend there was a cattle drive though the middle of town. We found out that this used to be the norm here. We always enjoy going to the farmer's market and getting fresh fruits and vegetable and shrimp! I have found a vendor that makes the best pear jam. It reminds me of my great-aunt Mittie Lee's jam. I used to spend Friday night with her and in the morning we would eat bisquits and pear preserves for breakfast.

Later Saturday afternoon we went to Lake Weir and ate at Gator Joe's where this humongous alligator used to live until someone finally killed it.

It was also in the vicinity of Ma Barker and her gang. I just love finding bits of history and got to there some loot still around? A treasure story? Maybe.

I guess the point is there is always something interesting going on somewhere that can inspire you to write.

Oh and we did call some friends to let them know that the weather is fine and come down for a visit when you get tired of that cold weather.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saying good bye too soon

My friend has suffered a terrible tragedy. Her 17 year old nephew died in a car accident Thursday. I have met him at Pat's several times and the shock has numbed me. I can't imagine the pain they are going through now.

It seems there is way too much death. In the few short months I have said good-bye to two friends from cancer.

I know we will continue to go on. But our hearts will be a little heavier, the moments with friends and family, so much more precious.

Take care my friends. Love you all and you are all in my thoughts and my constant prayer for you to have strength.

God be with you.