Talent Show

cake2

It has recently come to my attention that I have a very talented group of friends, and today I’d like to tell you about them. We all come into this world with a God given set of skills, and while some people take their gifts for granted, others take their talents and run with them.

Speaking of running . . .

Need some new running shoes?  How about this one?  Nice color,  nice tread, and check out those cool silver laces. I think everyone should have a pair of running shoes just like this. The only problem is – they won’t wear very well . . . since they’re made out of cake and fondant!  Can you believe it? (click on the image to appreciate the minute details)  My friend Michelle is a cake decorator.  She  made this fun cake for her running group anniversary celebration and I thought it was fantastic. Michelle does cakes for weddings, parties and just about any occasion. (Would taking a bite be a case of sticking your foot in your mouth?)

Celeste is an amazing quilter.  Unfortunately since I’m not an amazing photographer these pictures don’t begin to do her work justice.

The red and white snowman quilt is full-sized, and is  covered with minute and perfectly executed embroidery stitching.  It took almost a year to make and was clearly a labor of love. The cute bunny quilt hangs in her bunny – themed play room, brightening the walls for the many grandchildren who frequent her home. Last but hardly least is the beautiful diamond pattern, jewel toned quilt that lies on her bed. This is not just a quilt, it’s a work of art.

One thing that I love about Celeste and her hobby, is that she doesn’t box these treasures up and stash them safely in a closet, she uses them and has them out for everyone to see and enjoy.

Ludy is a candy chef extraordinaire.  As you can see she’s into chocolate and caramel,  and has actually made a business of her hobby.  It’s called Chocolate Divine, and let me tell you that name perfectly describes her creations. Ludy caters parties, makes goody baskets, and sells her wares in several grocery store chains. My favorites are the chocolate/caramel/almond turtles.  Note to self: Don’t leave me alone with a box of these.  The great thing about Ludy, is that  as good as she  is, she’s always taking classes to improve her skills.  Oh, I almost forgot, she also does a mean Chocolate covered strawberry.  Don’t you wish you had one right  now? Well guess what. You can. http://chocolate-divine.com/news/

Melinda has been sewing for years, and thinks nothing of sitting down at the machine and whipping up a project that would boggle my sewing challenged  mind. These jackets were all  the rage a few years ago, and never go out of style. They’re made from a pullover sweatshirt that’s been cut  down the front. After the embellishments are added you’d never guess it’s humble origin. Besides making them for herself,  she’s taught many others the ins and outs of the craft. Alas, it’s not as easy as she makes it look, and I have yet to finish mine..

These cute bags are also a sewing masterpiece.  Both bags, one a generic tote bag and the other crafted to hold sewing supplies, are filled with secret pockets, inside compartments and, the bane of my sewing life,  zippers.  She makes them as gifts, since thanks to the hours that go into each one, the price to sell would be astronomical.  These bags are bright and festive and fun, just like my friend.

Boots are her bag. My sister-in-law Sue, scours garage sales and second-hand stores for used cowboy boots, then brings them back to life as a beautiful purse or tote bag.  Who knew that cowboy boots were this pretty?  Sue has also turned her hobby into a thriving business.  She sells her handcrafted designs on-line and has several celebrity buyers.   The best thing about her business, Sue says, is when someone comes to her with a pair of boots that have fond memories attached.  She takes extra care with these projects, and loves turning something old into something new and making it a cherished keepsake to boot. .http://www.pinterest.com/sueroake/

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Dog On It – Lucy and the Library Lady

dog reporter 2Not long ago I read a post where the blogger was interviewed by her cat.  For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the blog or I’d link it, but my dog Lucy got wind of the idea and wouldn’t rest until I let her have a go.  I’ve recently  gotten behind on award thank-you’s,  so I thought I’d combine them and do one interview to answer the required but difficult conditions of talking about myself.  Lucy, my faithful companion will now conduct the interview.

Lucy:  Ahhhhemmm.  So, Library Lady . . .  who is favorite family member?

LL:  Oh that’s easy, my husband John.

Long pause and stink-eye from interviewer

Lucy: Are you sure about that ?

LL: Yes, of course.

Lucy: And who, might I ask, takes John for walk everyday and makes sure he doesn’t get lost, and who has also learn to fetch newspaper so you don’t have to go out in snow every morning?

LL: That would be you, but my answer is still John. He’s my husband.

Lucy: But – but I am dog! – spluttering noises –  I am highly offended!

LL. Well I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t even ask questions like that, I mean I love you too but – wait a minute. What kind of interview is this anyway?  We’re supposed to be talking about me. Here, have a dog treat and try to calm down.

Crunching noises.

LL: Don’t forget your crumbs.

Lucy:  O.K. we try again.  Tell me ten things you like to do in  non-work time:

LL: Now, that’s more like it. I like to read, go for walks, watch old movies – preferably with Cary Grant, Omar Sharif, or Sean Connery type actors. I like to go out to restaurants, especially Mexican or Chinese.  I like to hang out with family and  friends, and travel, and sing in the choir.  I like Chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven with a glass of cold milk . . . whew, three more to go . . . I like to go to the ballet, and ride horses, and I used to ski until it got too expensive. There!

Lucy: You like to throw ball for dog don’t you?

LL: Of course there is almost nothing I’d rather do.

Lucy: Raised eyebrows and perked up ears.

LL: Not now though.

Lucy: Sigh. You also like to sit in messy room and stare at box.

LL:  Messy room . . . the office?  Oh, you mean writing! Yes I love to write.

Lucy:  Stare at box is called writing?

LL: The box is a computer, and I’m not just staring, I’m thinking.  I’m creating characters and dialogue, and story lines.

Lucy: Looks to me like sit with butt in chair and forget about favorite dog.

LL:  Aww – pat, pat –  I never forget about you, but you have to admit you’re asleep most of the time.

Lucy:  True, I easily bored, like now. Let’s go for  walk.

LL: O.K. but first I’d like you to type this up and post it.

Lucy:  Check. You want pictures?

LL: Yes, just make sure you show my best side.

Lucy: No problem.

BEST SIDE

BEST SIDE

SELFIE

SELFIE

dog reporter 2Now for the rest of the story.  The following are some of my favorite bloggers (ie, great writers and my most loyal commenters). They also nominated me for some blog awards.  Thanks guys! Check out their FANTASTIC blogs.

http://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/ (Dragon Loyalty Award)

http://livingwithshadows.wordpress.com/ (Also Dragon Loyalty)

http://vakunzmann.wordpress.com/ (Sunshine Award)

http://audreyhepburnbooks.wordpress.com/ (Also for the Sunshine Award)

http://kateloveton.wordpress.com/ ( Versatile Blogger Award, and the Sisterhood of world Bloggers)

Now here’s some more of my favorites:

http://mwaycott.wordpress.com/

http://kindnessblog.com/

http://jenniferwindram.com/

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://teepee12.com/

http://myliteraryquest.wordpress.com/

http://oldestdaughterredheadedsister.com/

http://shonthumb.wordpress.com/about/

Thanks everyone for  your support.  I love your blogs and appreciate  all your good words!

Children Read To Shelter Cats To Soothe Them

I love the kindness blog! It’s always a bright spot in my day. This story made me smile and I wanted to share.

Kindness Blog

At Animal Rescue League of Berks County, children can read to shelter cats to soothe them. The cats adore them and are always delighted to have these little humans there to keep them company.

Children in grades 1-8 who are able to read at any level are welcome into the shelter to read to the cats at their adoption room. “The program will help children improve their reading skills while also helping the shelter animals. Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing,” the shelter wrote.

Colby is cuddling with the kitty and reading him “I Will Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

 
Children Read To Shelter Cats To Soothe Them1

Isabel is reading to a very playful kitty.

Children Read To Shelter Cats To Soothe Them1

Sam, 1st grade & Ben, 2nd grade stopped by and became Book Buddies! The kitties loved them.

Children Read To Shelter Cats To Soothe Them1

Cassandra, 1st grader, is reading to two rambunctious kittens who are very excited to see her.

Children Read To Shelter Cats To Soothe Them1

8…

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Gold Medal Winners!

winnerIn honor of the olympics, I thought this would be a great time spotlight some Gold Medal  posts from my favorite bloggers. The first is by N.R. Hatch at Spirit Lights the Way.

Spirit Lights The Way

We are magnets.  When we emit positive energy (thoughts, feelings, and vibrations), we attract more positives to us.

Bueno!  Life, she is good!

Mangia!  Mangia!

When we dwell on the negatives, we attract negatives ~ sapping our energy and strength in the process.

If you’re tired of living under a perpetual rain cloud, keep reading! 

Yes, Eeyore, you too!

If we want to attract heath, wellness, and vitality to ourselves, we must stop circulating (and re-circulating) toxic, negative thoughts and feelings.

Here are 10 Ways to Attract Positive Energy into your life, while boosting your immune system, curing dis-ease, and counter-balancing daily stress:

1.  Love and accept yourself as you are right now.  Start a list to remind yourself of all your wonderful qualities.  Add to it every day.

E.g.,  I am the most positive person I know.

2.  Free yourself from past resentments and disappointments about who you were yesterday.  Stop engaging in self-blame and guilt for past acts and omissions.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Revel in it.

As…

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Bag Lady

bag lady 4Wish I was a bag lady. I ‘ve tried and tried to become one but just can’t seem to get the hang of it.

bag ladyFor the last five years I’ve been actively trying and failing  to bring my recyclable shopping bags into the grocery store with me.  I carry  them in the car and they’re not hard to find, but they almost never make it out of the back seat.  It seems that after so many years of not worrying about being green, it’s a hard  to change my spots.

Bless those stores who place REMEMBER YOUR REUSEABLE BAG reminders in their parking lot, because that actually jogs my brain and occasionally works.  But my usual routine goes something like this.

1. Get into the checkout line.

2. See someone else with cloth bags.

3. Mentally kick myself.

My brain starts to churn – shall  I leave this cart and lose my place in line while I run out to  get my bags from the car?  If I park my cart in a random corner  will a store employee think it’s abandoned and put everything away?  If I get up to the  check stand without recyclable bags will the checker shake her head and sigh because I appear to be eco lazy?

plastic bag lady

Woman with more plastic bags than me.

And this is just at my local grocery store,  I can’t even tell you how  about the stress if I appear sans cloth bags at Whole Foods or some  granola type establishment. You just know those people are going to frown. “You’re buying organic food and taking it home in a landfill clogging plastic bag?”  Sadly yes, and according to the, What is Your Ecological Footprint? internet quiz, I deserve to be frowned at.

The quiz consists of five (somewhat vague) questions ( example):

I produce: A) A large amount of domestic waste.  B) A small amount.

Most of my domestic waste is A) Recycled.  B) Not recycled.

Most of? That’s a trick question. I actually  recycle quite a bit  of my domestic waste, but there wasn’t a box to check for that. Anyway, according to the results, if everyone lived like me we’d need 2.8 planets to sustain life. Uh oh.

(I drive a hybrid car! Does that help?)

In my own defense, I think I’m pretty good at recycling. I’m careful not to mix glass and plastic. I don’t throw away pop cans, I compost grass clippings, and refuse to buy things that come in huge wasteful non recyclable containers. But those plastic bags . . . dang, they cost me a lot of points.

Now in reality, I don’t care that the bags hurt my score on the quiz, but I do care that they hurt the environment. I recently learned that a single plastic shopping bag can take a thousand years to degrade in a landfill, and that plastic bags are the second most common type of ocean refuse. Seriously?  I don’t think I want to be a part of this problem anymore..

What if, instead of simply wishing I was a bag lady,  I became one? What if I said, from now on I WILL use my cloth grocery bags? What if I said it in front of all of you so then I’d have to follow through?

Consider it done.

Here’s my plan.

I’m going to run off a copy of the bag lady picture I used in this post, and tape it next to the door lock on my car. That way I can’t miss  it.  Then if I still manage to get inside without bags, I will ask a store employee to watch my cart while I go back out and get them.space

Whew!  This is hard, but I want to do it, because we don’t have 2.8 planets with which to sustain life. But the good news is, if everyone does their part all we’ll need is one. Wish me luck!

Death and Dismemberment

I got a letter the other day stating that my Accidental Death and Dismemberment policy was coming up for renewal.  Now I’ve been kind of conflicted about this insurance for long time.  It’s not very expensive, that’s why I picked it up in the first place, but it’s also kind of a waste of money.  I’ve had it for approximately 20 years and so far have not suffered any death or dismemberment to speak of, although there was the time when I rolled my own arm up in the automatic car window. I wanted to see if it had an auto stop because I was afraid the dog would get her nose caught in there one day.  FYI, there is no auto stop and it really hurt. Watch out for doggy noses and kiddie hands.

But I digress.  I finally decided to cancel the policy, and called the number listed in the letter.  I jumped through a couple of hoops and eventually got a computer man saying they had a high volume of calls and the wait time was fifteen minutes.  Fifteen minutes!  It was only eight o’clock in the morning!  Oh well, I must be calling Zimbabwe or someplace with  a different time zone. I’d get back to them later.

At two thirty in the afternoon I called again.  High volume of calls – wait time fifteen minutes. Really? I checked the address on the letter and found I was actually calling Binghamton, New York.  New York isn’t that far away, let’s see – if it’s two thirty here, it’s four thirty there.  O.K., another potentially busy time, but the next day at 7:02 A.M.  I got the same recording. The light finally dawned. One of the computer prompts was, “If you want to cancel this policy push button #3”.  I bet anyone who pushes button #3 goes to eternal hold. They don’t want you to cancel. Duh!

Needless to say, I was annoyed.  When I told my husband about the  problem he shrugged and said, “I think you should keep the policy”.  I decided he was right. Trying to cancel was a big pain, also, I’m kind of superstitious about things like this and suspect that as soon I cancel the insurance something bad will happen.  Who knows, maybe the 15 minute wait time saved me from death and dismemberment, and then again  . . . my husband was awfully quick to tell me to keep the policy . . . maybe not. (Evil Bwa-ha-ha laugh in the background.)

Stuck

thinkingDP writing challenge: I loved the picture labeled creativity.  The man behind the bars appears to have words flowing freely, something I am sorely lacking right now.

I’m stuck, it’s a classic case of writer’s block.  Not about everything mind you, I can write blog posts until the cows come home, but this new book I’m working on has me stumped.

Here’s the problem.  I recently completed my first novel and sent it off to a potential publisher. While I wait for the big NO, I am trying to work on a different manuscript.  I’ve always been told you need to immediately jump into another project for two reasons:

1.  So you can get your mind off the endless wait and possible outcomes.

2. Just in case they happen to like your first attempt and want to publish it, you should have something else ready to show  as a follow-up.

O.K. that’s all very sensible, but how do you get over your first novel?  I mean its like a love affair that was cut short before your heart was ready.  I loved the characters in my first book, and visiting with them each day and polishing up their witty repartee was a joy.  I loved their story,  how they worked out their problems, and I loved how it all ended.  It was like one of those things that got away from me after a while and kind of wrote itself . . . O.K., I know, time to take off the rose-colored glasses.

It wasn’t always that easy.  I have to be honest with myself and remember how I suffered through the first draft of that one too.  There were times when I went weeks without working on it, and that was even before I had a blog to distract me.

I know if I force myself to work on this new story I will fall in love with it too (right?). I’ve got about five chapters that I’m actually pretty happy with but so far it’s still work. There are a couple of plot twists I have yet to work out, and lately I find myself avoiding the project all together.

Wait, did I  hear someone say, “Get a grip Library Lady, and quit whining?”  I know, I’m almost done, but didn’t I read somewhere that if you’re not enjoying the process, it will show in your writing?  Oh dear. What’s a girl to do?

Has anyone else ever been in these shoes?  I’d love to hear from you. I need some inspiration.  In the meantime, here’s a quote I found about being a writer. It’s by Anne Lamott, a great author in her own right, so she knows of what she speaks.

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Amen to that.

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