Finding MY Way Back

Two things happened last week that smacked me down and left me wallowing in a murky pit of miserable. . .

Trinidad Mud Volcano kind of murky

Trinidad Mud Volcano kind of murky

  1. Flew back to Trinidad after a California Easter and a stop-over in New York with my family.
  2. Opened a letter from Candlewick Press saying my heart-project DAD AND POP was going out of print.
Dad and Pop 2010.jpg

Then, email brought news of a third, tragic event that dwarfed any issues I might have: A friend’s husband died suddenly—no warning at all. One day he was here, all be it, feeling peckish; the next gone.

Knowledge of my friend’s loss made me recount my largess But, instead of snapping me out of it in that what-the-heck-are-you-moping-about-for-be-grateful-and-get-on-with-it way, the realization of how tenuous it was, how in an instant—any instant—I could lose all I hold dear, sank me.

A TED TALK saved me.

Completely unmotivated to even try to “Get over it, and get on with it,” as my friend Beverly always says, by doing something productive (say unpacking, cooking, or going for a walk), I’d pulled on my fuddiest wallowing clothes, plopped down in front of the computer, and gone Facebook surfing—which depressed me even more as every post seemed entirely too jolly, successful, oozing with cheer—so had moved onto email. As I subscribe to TED TALKS, new lecture notices are delivered to my email. I don’t always listen to each talk, but I think about it. Having reached the end of the new mail, I had a choice to make: sift through junk mail & spam or listen.

I've heard other TED TALKS by Elizabeth Gilbert and found them engaging

I've heard other TED TALKS by Elizabeth Gilbert and found them engaging

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The TED TALK was by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and recently The Signature of All Things. (As it happens, I’d recently finished the latter, which was pleasantly, surprisingly, nothing like the former—probably the reason I clicked “play” rather than “delete”.)

Gilbert’s talk was titled "Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating."

In the midst of her talk, Gilbert threw out the fully inflated life preserver I needed.

She described how extreme success and extreme failure feel the same to our sub-conscious. Although polar opposites, in terms of the havoc they wreck on us physiologically—both elicit extreme emotional responses—success and failure feel the same to our sub-conscious. They both have the ability to unbalance us, much the way one lemon too many on either side tips the scales.

Via my interpretation of Gilbert (Listen yourself for more) When we are dangling helplessly, from one end or the other of our balance poles there are two choices:

#1 Quit and just hang there until we fall

or  

#2 Head down, eyes open, set a course for HOME and start walking/working our way back.

Simple really, right? 

Sure. If you’ve got the ruby slippers, know how to use them, and where you want them to take you. . .

But, before we can fight our way back HOME, we must discover/uncover/recognize:

What is HOME?

For Dorothy, it took a tornado; for me a TED TALK.

Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

That’s why I was so miserable. My Home, that to which I as Gilbert defines it “Can dedicate [my] energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential" is comprised of two things: my family and my work. In the past week, I’ve registered both success and failure.  And my friend’s loss was a threat reminder of how easy it is to lose one’s HOME.

 All I wanna do is find my way back. . .    Way Back into Love from Music & Lyrics

 All I wanna do is find my way back. . . Way Back into Love from Music & Lyrics

One wrong wind is all it take. . .

For me finding my way back HOME, meant scheduling time with my family. And, even though I didn't have the energy for it--getting back to writing.

Dang in Elizabeth-baby wasn’t right! It didn’t take long before I began feeling more centered. I knew it for sure when, part way into this blog, a song popped into my head. I'm not in tune--yet--but at least I’m singing again.

Where’s your HOME? Could you find your way back?

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Yoga Baby Wants MORE!

At six months, Baby Ben is a yoga savant!

Resting Baby pose is a cinch.

Sleep tight B 11-7-13.JPG

So is Cobra.  And Corpse pose, too.

                                                                             Corpse Pose? Shoot, I can do that in my sleep!

                                                                             Corpse Pose? Shoot, I can do that in my sleep!

Upward  Facing Dog-no prob!

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YOGA BABY is tenacious! When he wants--really really wants--he goes after it!

Do not be deceived by this seemingly "I love Mimi" behavior. Ben is after that cell phone and he'll climb any mountain to get it!

Do not be deceived by this seemingly "I love Mimi" behavior. Ben is after that cell phone and he'll climb any mountain to get it!

Army Crawl works. But Yoga Baby wants "More!

Yoga Baby wants to CRAWL!

I watch as Yoga Baby rises up out of Downward Facing Dog and flows into Standing Dog. He looks down, then forward, thinking so hard, you can almost see the gears turning. “If only I had one more hand to lean on, I could so do it.”

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I know exactly how he feels.

The other week, my yoga instructor had us on all fours. Not in any dog position. Instead, we were on our bottoms with our knees bent, arms looped through our legs, to the outside of our feet working toward some Harry-Houdini-Got-Nothing-on-You pose. Erica was urging me to put my head down and lift my bottom up off the ground. And I was thinking about it.

I was thinking: Yeah, right. How exactly am I supposed to hoist my big ole self up onto my trembling arms. . . I was thinking about how stupid I looked. Thinking about how, any second I might pitch face forward.

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Baby B does not think he knows. He is going to crawl.

He isn't worried he might fall on his face. He doesn't care how he’ll look tumbled forward. About how he’ll feel when he lands face down. Or what people might think of him. He doesn't have time for doubt.

He is working on HOW!

Any time now, he’s going to do it, too!

In yoga, in life, in our work, I'm thinking I need to reconnect with my inner Yoga Baby. Stop spending energy on all that other stuff and work on HOW!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Disclaimer: Yoga Pose names are intended to be descriptive, not correct.

DO OVERS

So I just spent 3 hours on a Friday night writing a blog post--Hours I could have been liming (which in Trinidad speak means socializing with friends aka "partying");

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hours I could have spent packing my suitcases for my upcoming trip; doing the ironing--which is piling up; eating; sipping; whining (Trini speak for dancing, what Miley calls "twerking"):

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or languidly lounging on the balcony watching pelicans swoop into the glistening Gulf of Paria.

The view from the comfy chair on my patio calls "lounge, lizard! Watch for flying fish! Feel the breeze!

The view from the comfy chair on my patio calls "lounge, lizard! Watch for flying fish! Feel the breeze!

Even with all those things, and more, I could have been doing, I don't begrudge spending one moment writing that post. Because it was brilliant.

It was a post on Do OVERS and how, in the course of doing over our house, I've come to realize the clarity and freedom that comes from throwing in the town and starting over can bring. "I call Do Overs!" The post took me especially long to write because I included lots of photos illustrating problems my contractor George uncovered which led to us having to gut the whole first floor of our house, including maybe rat gnawed wires, leaks, shoddy workmanship, and hidden surprises. (Be glad, maybe, that you don't have to see that...)

The post began like this (I know because I save this bit earlier.):

Hopscotch players have to be able to jump far and accurately--sometimes 4 or 5 squares at a time. But the real secret is in the hopscotch charm. It has to be heavy enough to stick in a square and not roll. Mine was a key chain with a key.

Hopscotch players have to be able to jump far and accurately--sometimes 4 or 5 squares at a time. But the real secret is in the hopscotch charm. It has to be heavy enough to stick in a square and not roll. Mine was a key chain with a key.

When I was a kid, playing a game with friends--hopscotch, marbles, putt-putt golf and the like. Whenever one of us made a really lousy play—marble shot, we called “do overs.”

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Do Overs is an opportunity to try or perform something a second time.
— Wikipedia says

So what the heck? Now that we’re adults…..professionals…DO OVERS aren’t permitted?

Is it because we are scared to chuck it all and go back to the beginning? Take another shot at it? Try another approach?

Or is it because we are too lazy, broke, cocky, afraid of what we'll be left with, of losing what we've got--regardless how flawed that might be?

A fresh coat of paint, new throw pillows, the right lighting mask a multitude of mistakes

A fresh coat of paint, new throw pillows, the right lighting mask a multitude of mistakes

I concluded with the realization that with houses, as with our lives, and our stories, often we allow, knowingly and not, frippery--paint and frills, holidays and laughs, flowery passages and pithy prose--to mask fundamental flaws. And how, if instead of messing around trying to make it look all right,  we should call out "DO OVER," strip it down to the bare bones. Clear the Slate. Wind up and give it another go. 

                             How calling "Do Over" is like a Get Out Of Jail Card. 

                             How calling "Do Over" is like a Get Out Of Jail Card. 

So, this amazing, brilliant, and I am sooooooo convinced, inspiring blog post was finished. I'd clicked to tags, add categories. I'd uploaded a cover picture and even pushed "publish."

I was half out of my seat, ready to get up, walk away, be done. But no, Ms. Clever-McSmarty Pants wouldn't let me quit there, so I decided the post would be even more brilliant if I added a photo of the Do Over game (Because it made me laugh and I was having such fun being clever.)

Do over!.jpg

Oh, yeah, and a pithy little quote about "Rites and Rituals", too.

The do-over was one of childhood’s most powerful rites, for it exerted our dominion over the laws of space and time. The clock was rolled back, the game was restored to its exact status as before before the contested event and play was resumed.
— http://www.streetplay.com/stories/hangingout/doover.shtml

But then, the picture wasn't positioned quite right, so I decided to delete it and try again. Instead, I deleted the entire blog post.

And even after searching all over my blog site and the Internet for ways to recover it, I can't. So now as brilliant as it was, you will never ever get to read that post on the deepest truth of DO OVERS. Unless, of course, I get up the energy to redo it. And despite the convictions of my lost post, I'm not sure I can. 

Not even Marilyn could convince me. (And I listened several times.) So, in closing, I'll let Marilyn speak for herself on the subject. Since you can't read it from me, LISTEN TO MARILYN.

Marilyn.jpg

A Valentine Flaneur & Random Kindness

One day it happens, you begin to make Valentine's and slide into a story, "Once, back when we had gas rationing..."

Back in my day gasoline was 20 cents a gallon... and I used to have to walk 7 miles uphill to get to school...

Back in my day gasoline was 20 cents a gallon... and I used to have to walk 7 miles uphill to get to school...

And then realize the people you are telling the story to weren't alive to remember gas rationing. Your memories--in this case mine--are now officially  "HISTORICAL" (fiction or memoir depending). 

It's Valentine's Day, one of my favorite holiday/workdays. So rather than clicking away as I ought, I'm playing. Last night I wrote out valentines, first thing this morning I sent them, and then made valentines using kindergarten scissors.

(The kind with rubber grips and rounded ends.) 

(The kind with rubber grips and rounded ends.) 

While valentine-ing, I let myself flaneur (sounds so much less aged than my mind wandered). 

Remember back when you were in school? How exciting Valentine's Day was? During art, we'd make our Valentine holders.

Which was fun, but not easy...cutting all those straight lines, making sure the lobes of the hearts were the same size.

Which was fun, but not easy...cutting all those straight lines, making sure the lobes of the hearts were the same size.

This made me think of Ramona trying so hard to cut out her paperbag owl. 

So I had to pull out my copy and reread a bit...

So I had to pull out my copy and reread a bit...

After-school sessions spent selecting the best valentine for each classmate.

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These are the Valentine's we gave in my day. They came in boxes of 24. Which posed huge problems in classes of 27

These are the Valentine's we gave in my day. They came in boxes of 24. Which posed huge problems in classes of 27

These are Norman's Favorite Valentines-- And a  downloadable kit to make them  .

These are Norman's Favorite Valentines-- And a downloadable kit to make them.

Painstakingly deciding who would get which? Then signing them. . . Do I sign with love? Or your friend? Or just my name?

How, at the designated time we'd scurry around slipping our favors into each others bag or box.

  Did you ever not get a valentine?

 Or receive a surprise valentine?  

 

Lexi prefers hers to be goldfish. (If you've eaten too many this photo will appear blurry.) 

Lexi prefers hers to be goldfish. (If you've eaten too many this photo will appear blurry.) 

The first gift my hubby, then boyfriend, ever gave me was earrings for Valentine's Day--a risky move considering we hadn't been dating very long. (They are still my favorites--just for that reason.)

He was quite a bit older when we started dating that he is in this photo!

He was quite a bit older when we started dating that he is in this photo!

Fittingly, this Valentine week our yoga intention is Kindness. Catherine passed around these Kindness Cards to commemorate it.

Click on the ReThink Happiness Movement link below to get a card and see what kindnesses others have experienced.

Click on the ReThink Happiness Movement link below to get a card and see what kindnesses others have experienced.

The idea is to do a random act of kindness and leave a card saying so. Each card has a number and the recipient can click on the website and register the kindness—then take a turn at doing a kindness and passing on the card and so on and so on... into a hopefully happier, definitely more interesting world.
— KINDNESS CARD info

It was the KINDNESS CARD that started me down this road. I bought my first car during gas rationing. On one of my days to fill up (I was an even).

Mine was way cooler with a racing stripe and luggage rack.

Mine was way cooler with a racing stripe and luggage rack.

After idling my way to the gas pump, I filled up my car and joined the queue to pay up. 

Back then the gas pumps didn't have credit card machines built right in. 

Back then the gas pumps didn't have credit card machines built right in. 

How long ago was "back then"? It was soooo long ago, our T.V was black and white, programs only showed on 2 channels and every midnight an Indian in full regalia cried while the Star Spangled Banner played and the flag waved.

How long ago was "back then"? It was soooo long ago, our T.V was black and white, programs only showed on 2 channels and every midnight an Indian in full regalia cried while the Star Spangled Banner played and the flag waved.

When I finally reached the payment window, the clerk said: "No Charge"
"What do you mean, No Charge?"

Seems some guy had paid for my gas. A Random Act of Kindness. 

And even though, sometime later I discovered that "guy" had been my grandfather. That feeling of unexpected kindness stayed--a sparkle. 

                                                      A heart full of Valentines ready to be passed out!

                                                      A heart full of Valentines ready to be passed out!

That sparkle flickered and popped during my Valentine making session. I stuffed my purse with valentines and willy-nilly passed them around. Made me as happy as Mr. Hatch.

                                                                      Remember Mr. Hatch?

                                                                      Remember Mr. Hatch?

If you don't, take 11.5 minutes, cozy up, click over to hear Hector Elizondo read this oh-how-I-wish-I-had-written-it picture book. If you do, give yourself a Valentine treat and listen again. Just click on the title

SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, MR HATCH!

Treat someone--and yourself, too---kindly!

Happy Valentines Day! 

Potato Chips, Penicillin, Post-It Notes, W-D 40 . . . 2014?

Potato Chips . . . 

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Penicillin . . . 

Post-it Notes . . . 

The Slinky . . . 

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Goodreads kick-started my 2014 with this quotation from author Neil Gaiman:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes...you're Doing Something.”

That quotation haunt-taunted me through these last days of holiday and first days of this new year.

We celebrated the start of 2014 at a New Year’s brunch at friends, Joy & Michael’s new Kentucky home. Curtis and I were newcomers to the group. Lots of “news” at the launch of this year promising much change and challenge. Finding myself alone with one of the guests, I resisted the urge to withdraw into a dice-and-slice frenzy and instead tried to strike up a conversation by asking her if she’d made a resolution. It’s usual to make resolutions on New Year’s, isn’t it?

Big mistake! She doesn’t make resolutions. Doesn’t believe in them. Think’s they are stupid. A waste of time. Did I want to know why? Because we always break them, of course. Resolutions are made-to-be-BROKEN Blah, blah, blah blah-baaaaa. . .

I was feeling sorry for having tried starting that conversation when she added something that made me think maybe my resolution conversation starter wasn’t a mistake.

Turns out that morning on one of the “Morning Shows” (she watches several) the featured guest was some author who’d written some book about this very topic and he said (or so I deduced):

Along with making resolutions we need to “sweep away crumbs in our way” by resolving to stop doing whatever it is that is taking up the time during which we will do what we resolve to do.

Along with making resolutions we need to “sweep away crumbs in our way” by resolving to stop doing whatever it is that is taking up the time during which we will do what we resolve to do.

 A crumb. A take-away that bonded with Gaiman’s salutation the way 2 Hs bond with an O. Refreshing!

Spray W-D 40 on any surface & wipe. It will clear away even rusty crumbs.

W-D 40   will clean mineral build-up off glass shower doors, too. And kill cockroaches, remove gum from hair, keep squirrels from raiding bird feeders (spray   W-D 40   on the top of the feeder and “The pesky squirrels will slide right off.”

W-D 40 will clean mineral build-up off glass shower doors, too. And kill cockroaches, remove gum from hair, keep squirrels from raiding bird feeders (spray W-D 40 on the top of the feeder and “The pesky squirrels will slide right off.”

But, what do W-D 40, Potato Chips, Penicillin, Post-it Notes or The Slinky have to do with New Years? Resolutions? Or Neil Gaiman’s quote? Why should we even give a crumb?

All of these things along with The Pacemaker, Chocolate Chip Cookies, plastic and who know what other inventions were created by MISTAKE. Failed tries. Miss takes

Take One! Take Two! 

"I'm Ready for my Close-up!"     Take 40 . . .  

"I'm Ready for my Close-up!"    Take 40 . . . 

In W-D 40’s case, 39 failed tries by chemist Norm Larsen to prevent corrosion by displacing water.

What sets W-D 40 apart from these others is that rather than the end invention being something different or unexpected or accidental, Norm Larsen did what he set out to do: prevent corrosion by displacing water. The name W-D 40 is a testament to his efforts; it stands for “Water-Displacement 40th Attempt.”

Maybe Norm and the folks at W-D 40 Company have mistake envy, because they can’t seem to stop trying to find more uses for their spray. Along the way they’ve made mistakes, and discoveries.

Some bad: W-D 40 is not edible.

Some questionable: Is a python coiled around the undercarriage of your bus?

SPRAY IT WITH W-D 40!

SPRAY IT WITH W-D 40!

Is a naked burglar trapped in your air conditioning vent? Dislodge him with WD-40.

2000+ dang useful! W-D 40 Company maintains a list of remarkable things this “corrosion prevention” in a can can do.

I went back to see if the squirrel repellant tip included a video (call me “cruel”, but I kinda wanted to watch slip-sliding squirrels) and was sucked into the 2000+ vortex. It took some time but I finally pulled myself free—But not before finding a helpful hint I’m itching to try: Last Christmas Curtis was gifted with blue ice cubes to cool spirits without diluting them. Sometime, someone tried using one. I don’t know who. Or when. All I know of the experiment is that one of my adorable, favorite juice glasses now has a blue glass ice cube lodged inside it.

Glass ice cubes look like this, but they don't melt and this one is lodged in an adorable cherry juice glass--one of a matching set, now relegated to the back of the cupboard

Glass ice cubes look like this, but they don't melt and this one is lodged in an adorable cherry juice glass--one of a matching set, now relegated to the back of the cupboard

I’ve tried to remove the cube. Yes, I've tried knives. Scotch. Running cold water on it, hoping to chill the cube enough to shrink it so it would slide free. No such luck.

According to a Reader’s Digest article,  “Stuck glasses will separate with ease if you squirt some WD-40 on them, wait a few seconds for it to work its way between the glasses, and then gently pull the glasses apart.”

When next I’m in WHB, I could give it a try . . .  

Uh oh. . . hang on. That’s how mistakes happen. Breakage. Damage. Possible injury. 

Do I really want to try?

Try, doesn’t mean succeed. . .

Try could lead to fail. . . .

Try could turn out to be a MISTAKE. . .

Consider son Max, then college student’s, attempt to concoct a high-test frat bathroom cleaning product. He tried mixing bleach with ammonia. That experiment ended in a trip to the hospital emergency room and destruction of who knows how many brain cells. Max counts it as a “partial success” as his potentially fatal mistake did save him from more bathroom cleaning. . .

Mistakes. Misses. “F-2” “  Missed my Battle Ship  ”     Frustrating, embarrassing, harmful, sometimes lethal “miss takes.” 

Mistakes. Misses. “F-2” “Missed my Battle Ship” 

Frustrating, embarrassing, harmful, sometimes lethal “miss takes.” 

Safer to stick with the known. If life is good, why rock the boat? Why tempt fate?

“ . . . if you’re making mistakes . . . you’re Doing Something.”

Gaiman went on to add a note to the quote:

"Happy New Year! What kind of mistakes are you looking forward to making in 2014?"

Gaiman’s writing is so varied: CORALINE, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, CHU'S DAY, THE DANGEROUS ALPHABET, ANANSI WARS. . . It seems he’ll try anything.  

Was  Coraline    a mistake? If it was a mistake, it’s one that went horribly right for readers and reviewers. Reading it certainly was one of mine. It creeped me right out, then held me spellbound until I finished…

Was Coraline a mistake? If it was a mistake, it’s one that went horribly right for readers and reviewers. Reading it certainly was one of mine. It creeped me right out, then held me spellbound until I finished…

Paul Fleischman is another writer who likes to try new literary forms. He's recently adapted SEEDFOLK for the stage. 

SEEDFOLKS, a collection of linked short stories--one of my favorites for any age, read aloud to adults!

SEEDFOLKS, a collection of linked short stories--one of my favorites for any age, read aloud to adults!

At an SCBWI conference Fleischman admitted to attendees how his “tries” don’t always work. Mistakes maybe, but never a waste of time. For him, trying new things is what keeps writing interesting.

. . . INTERESTING . . .

In words from one of my fav songwriters,   Mary Chapin Carpenter  , from    I Take My Chances   :

In words from one of my fav songwriters, Mary Chapin Carpenter, from I Take My Chances:

Now some people say that you shouldn't tempt fate/And for them I would not disagree/But I never learned nothing from playing it safe/I say fate should not tempt me.

Today, soon after I click “post”, I’ll play that song again, for inspiration. Make that my battle cry of 2014

Then, I’ll get to work sweeping out some crumbs of my “play-safe days” to make room in this brand new shining year with New! New! New Attitude.  (And give a shout to the Patti LaBelle while I'm at it.)

I take my chances, I don't mind working without a net/
I take my chances, I take my chances every chance I get . . . 

Take one. Take Two. ACTION!                         

 . . . YES, IT MIGHT BE A MISTAKE . . .  

no-guarantees-100.gif

It's a New Year!  

 "What kind of mistakes are you looking forward to making in 2014?"

(I’ll let you know if the blue glass cube rescue operation works, AND MORE!)

You Procrastinate Your Way, I Procrastinate Mine

**Note: This entry was supposed to be posted Sunday, but I put it off until today. Sorry

Heck yeah, I've got loads to do! Tis the season, isn't it? Gifts to wrap. Suitcases to pack. Messages to return. Cards to send. Oh yeah, and writing . . .  

In 2 days I'm leaving Trinidad for the month. First to California for the Big Sur Writing Workshop.  Workshop means preparation. Make copies of projects to focus on. Decide which projects those are. Gather my tools.  Instead . . . 

The Big Sur Workshop is the delicious carrot I'd been dangling   just beyond  , ever since September, when I quit writing to focus on L&R's wedding. I'll refocus on my writing, then, I'd promised myself. I'll commit to finding a new agent. Polish my stories. Finish revisions on my chapter books. 

The Big Sur Workshop is the delicious carrot I'd been dangling just beyond, ever since September, when I quit writing to focus on L&R's wedding. I'll refocus on my writing, then, I'd promised myself. I'll commit to finding a new agent. Polish my stories. Finish revisions on my chapter books. 

After the workshop, I'll fly to Reno to visit my mom and brother's family. Reno means cold, not Trinidad tropical.  After Reno, I'll fly to Westhampton Beach, more cold. I need to dig out my woolies. Instead . . .  

We'll spend the holidays in Westhampton Beach with M&M, L&R and Baby B.

Latest Baby B news: he's flipping front to back and sometimes back to front. And surprise, surprise, like his father before him, loves to be held...all the time!

Latest Baby B news: he's flipping front to back and sometimes back to front. And surprise, surprise, like his father before him, loves to be held...all the time!

Holidays means sorting out gifts I've already bought. Wrapping for folks here. Thank you envelopes. Cards. Packing my suitcases. Instead . . . 

Reno in Winter means dressing like this  Curtis loves his woolies!

Reno in Winter means dressing like this

Curtis loves his woolies!

Trinidad means dressing like this:  Me and John ready for the beach!

Trinidad means dressing like this:

Me and John ready for the beach!

After packing and hauling this mound of baggage for L&R's wedding, I was not excited about packing all over again . . . 

After packing and hauling this mound of baggage for L&R's wedding, I was not excited about packing all over again . . . 

I could have, should have, tackled this To-do List last week--or at least made a stab at it. But last week was Thanksgiving. And cooking a  Thanksgiving Feast seemed more pressing. And more in keeping with my 2013 resolution "Live in the Moment" which I haven't been especially good at keeping.

My post Thanksgiving Feast plans has been for us to continue eating our way through the leftovers while I sorted, wrapped, packed today & tomorrow.  (No hardship; "leftovers" is our favorite part of Thanksgiving.)  Post dinner, Tuesday, I'd sort the fridge, freeze, repackage whatever remained of the feast.

This morning, pouring rain stopped me from keeping my other 2013 resolution "Exercise Regularly," too.

Maybe if I had said "yes" when Curtis asked if I'd like some coffee, I would have stuck to my plan.

Maybe if freibor, Brian, hadn't sent those recipes on ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers, it wouldn't have been on my mind. 

But somehow, when I opened the fridge to pour milk into my coffee, the bowls and platters of leftovers called to me. 

"Take us out!"

"Don't leave us like this!"

 "We want to be used!"

"Mixed!

Blended!

Baked!

Transform us . . . PLEASE!"

And so, leftover mashed potatoes, chopped onion & parsley, butter & fresh grated Parmesan became "Potato Puffs

Leftover marinated mushrooms, picky-platter pickles & olives and a couple of cans of beans--kidney, garbanzo & pinto--became "Bean Salad".

Leftover turkey, green beans, broth, gravy and the rest of the mashed potatoes became "Turkey Shepherd's Pie"

Leftover cranberry sauce, chopped pecans, and milky whipped cream became batter for "Cranberry Pecan Oat & Buckwheat Muffins", some of which I dropped into mini-muffin tins for now, the rest of which--thanks to a quick Internet surfing and instructions from Heavenly Homemakers.comI froze for later. 

Potatoe Puffs, Turkey Shepherd's Pie, Cranberry Oat Pecan Muffins, Marinated Bean Salad (not shown)

Potatoe Puffs, Turkey Shepherd's Pie, Cranberry Oat Pecan Muffins, Marinated Bean Salad (not shown)

The Tupperware saleslady from The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarity would be so proud!

The Tupperware saleslady from The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarity would be so proud!

And everything else that remained of our Thanksgiving 2013 feast was sorted into tidy plastic containers. 

Then, because all the freezing muffin batter postings--I did say Internet Surfing as in ongoing activity and instructions, plural--suggested freezing them as muffin blogs, either in cupcake papers or directly in the tin, and I got to thinking "wouldn't it work to freeze the batter en mass?" I decided an experiment was in order. I spooned half the leftover muffin batter into a greased tin, as directed, and poured the rest into a small contain and froze it that way. My thought is semi-thawed I should work just fine. Procrastination? Ney, I have another work for it: Experimentation. 

Oh yeah! And then, because I was so excited to share this brilliant frozen muffin batter idea here, I left the heaps of crusty feast dishes, pans, bowls, mixing and measuring utensils--not soaking--and raced over to my computer to type up this blog entry. I'll wash the dishes later. Right now, I better get started on that to-do list . . . 

You procrastinate your way; I'll procrastinate mine. . . . 

Vant to Vin? Vampire Baby=FREE BOOKS FOR YOUR LIBRARY

Transform your Story Hour Babies & Toddlers into “Vampire Babies” with a Silly Downloadable Costume! Snap Pictures of a “Vampire Baby” and Win Books for a Library!!  ---it's just that easy!   

I Vant to Vin books for my favorite library: Transylvania Central 

I Vant to Vin books for my favorite library: Transylvania Central 

from Candlewick Press, available from booksellers everywhere--even near you!

from Candlewick Press, available from booksellers everywhere--even near you!

 

The Story Hour Kit

To play with VAMPIRE BABY's theme of teething babies and toddlers secretly being vampires, the Story Hour Kit include six different sets of silly vampire lips to cut-out. The lips, placed on an included paper “lip stick”, can be easily held up in front of a baby, toddler, or child’s lips for a funny transformation.

Following the instructions on the “lip stick” your patrons, customers, and families can snap a picture and post it on Kelly Bennett Books Facebook page along with the name and location of their favorite library. 

VAMPIRE BABY pictures will be entered in a contest to win a collection of Kelly Bennett picture books for their favorite library. A winner will be drawn every 90 days from Halloween 2013-Halloween 2014. Keep snapping those Vampire Baby photos and enter to win often!

• Download Vampire Baby Story Hour Kit (PDF)      

 

 

      About VAMPIRE BABY:
It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby to…vampire baby. Now she’s sinking her pointy fangs into everything — furniture, toys, and especially her big brother. Mom insists that it’s just a phase, but Tootie’s brother knows better. Just look at her hairline!  With perfect comic timing, Kelly Bennett and Paul Meisel give a fresh slant to the new-baby story, proving that even monstrous little arrivals have a funny way of staking their siblings' affections.

Why wait? Download the Vampire Baby Story Hour Kit . . . if you dare!

Read! Play! Sing! Snap! and enter to win books for your library!

And the Winner is . . .

Three winners have been chosen in the I VANT MY VAMPIRE BABY CONTEST. Everyone who left a comment on the Vampire Baby book trailer was entered into the contest. Here are the lucky winners:

#1 Lori Ed Templeton

#2 Nate T

#3 djdoc122

3 Autographed, 1st editions are winging their way to the lucky winners!

3 Autographed, 1st editions are winging their way to the lucky winners!

Send a reply via private message on Facebook via Kelly Bennett Books to claim your prize! Thank you to everyone who participated!

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

I Vant My Vampire Baby contest may be over, but the party hasn't ended.

   Jean Book Nerd''s VAMPIRE BABY & SWAG GIVE-AWAY BLOG TOUR!  

October 25th Friday
- Review & Spotlight Me, My Shelf and I
- Tens List & Spotlight I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

October 26th Saturday
- Review & Spotlight Two-Tall-Tales
- Music Playlist & Spotlight Best Books

October 27th Sunday
- Review & Spotlight Racing to Read
This or That & Spotlight Sassy Book Lover

October 28th Monday
- Review & Spotlight Mary’s Cup of Tea
- Favorite Things & Spotlight A Dream Within a Dream

October 29th Tuesday
- Guest Post & Spotlight Paranormal Book Club
- Review & Spotlight Word to Dreams

October 30th Wednesday
- Spotlight Book Suburbia

October 31st Thursday
- Interview Jean Book Nerd 

  . . . AND a WHOLE YEAR MORE !!!!

  Vampire Baby: Silly Story Hour “Masks” & Chance to Win Books        

Click on the Activitie's tab to download the Story Hour Kit & Contest Details

Click on the Activitie's tab to download the Story Hour Kit & Contest Details

Reader Engagement Project:

Transform your Story Hour Babies & Toddlers into “Vampire Babies” with a Silly Downloadable Costume!

Snap Pictures of a “Vampire Baby” and Win Books for a Library!

HERE'S THE 9-1-1 from Curious City!