Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writing a Poem - April Fool's Eve

On Fridays I started a series talking my way through the process of writing a book. Last week I took a break with my little guy getting his tonsils out (he's doing great, BTW). And in honor of the PAD challenge about to start tomorrow, I'm changing it up a little to talk about writing a poem and posting it today.

I'm no expert at poetry. I just write what I feel, so be prepared for some wacky, some heartfelt and some milk snorting verse!

To show you what I mean, here is a sample. It was my first published work, at the ezine Cafe del Soul. And for more, I added a tab above to see my posted poems and there's always, Sarcastica, Woman of Witticism!

And just in time for the PAD challenge - five pieces of poetry advice from the women at WOW!

I intend to learn a lot about poetry by doing this. And I'm all excited now, but I bet towards the end of the month, my poetry will show me tiring of the printed word! But for now - I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Opening Day!

I couldn't wait. Baseball season is here! Tomorrow is opening day =)

Even though it was snowing. And it's been in the 40s all week for our Spring Break.

WHATEVER!
I'm a die hard fan, of any sport my sons are playing =)
(pic from last year)

I know what's wrong with the world!


I haven't had a good rant in a while so here goes...
We have war, we have government problems, we have fighting and brutality, we have arguing and strikes. Do you know why? No one wants to compromise!

We believe this way and they don't so they have to do it our way or go somewhere else. No one wants to budge. They won't give an inch. I have to have everything I want and you are insignificant. ULTIMATE SELFISHNESS!

And it's not about overlooking or acceptance. There's way too much of that. It's about making sacrifices for others so things can get done. It's about showing the other side that we do care about what they want. It works in every level of strife.
  • From kids fighting over a swing on the playground - take turns and share, children. 
  • To teens fighting with parents - parents make the rules, but they should let the teens have input and know they are heard - how else will they learn? and they will respect them for it.
  • From a couple spatting - you never do this for me, well you never do that for me.
  • To the Houses arguing over legislature. I bet if they dealt with one issue at a time, they could get a lot more done. But they drag things out by adding crap on top of crap! They should try to pass a big piece of pork all by itself - that's transparency.
Then there's the world. So many differing opinions, religions and beliefs. There is a difference between evangelism (teaching) and terrorism (force by fear). Unfortunately some people cannot be reasoned with.

So now that we know what is wrong with the world, what can we do to fix it? We try to understand our history to learn from our mistakes. It's an age old problem, and still no one is willing to step up and be the first to give a little.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quick Prompt Contest 3/29/11

Haven't done one of these in a whileConfessions from Suite 500 is having a quick prompt contest for the newly released Late Eclipses, 4th book in the October Daye series. 100 words or less, here's the prompt:

Rosemary, Habitation, Artificial, Night, October and Bonus Points if you use the phrase "These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend"
Here's my entry...

"These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend…” Jalinda trailed off, staring into the sky.

“Portend? Portend what? What does that even mean?”

“Oh, Rexana.” Jalinda glared. “Why must you be so artificial?”

“Do you mean superficial? You should talk, Miss Goth. Halloween isn’t for another two weeks!”

Jalinda ignored her and continued, “They portend an ominous night of…”

“A totally awesome party!" Rexana finished for her. “Let’s go! I’m starving!”

“I agree,” Jalinda relented. “Where is Rosemary’s habitation?”

“Close. I love this warm October weather.”

As do I. More tempting skin exposed to sink my teeth into.

Stuck with a Name

This Drabble Day challenge is "Name." I'm a little over the 100 word limit, but it's worth it!


Ever hear “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?” I say names matter. My name is Peace. Peace Mayka.

My parents weren't hippies, they're too young. They just didn't think. They said their intention was to bring peace into the world (groan). It would be easier if they were hippies.

At school, I don't get teased much. My friends are over it. It's the teachers who like to come up with lame jokes. "Let's Mayka Peace do it," or "Is Peace like a river?" and my favorite, "Should we give Peace a piece?" Eye rolls do nothing.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. At least I'm a conversation Peace.


PS - Doing some research on the subject I came across this hilarious site commenting on bad baby names!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cooperisms 3

"Something's the mattery, with my battery,"
in a sing-song rhythm,
from the bathroom...

He said he read it in "The Silly Book." Imagine that!

Kick start Monday - April Showers

When it rains, it pours!
I'm taking on not one, but two daily challenges in April! As you might have noticed on my side board. I plan to apply one to the other =) if the prompts work out. Should be fun and productive. Can't wait for April!

The poetry one will be tougher. Each morning we get a prompt, so no advance poems. I'm looking forward to it! The link is on the bunnies.

The A to Z one is crazy big - I was #690!! Our task is to write something to do with each letter of the alphabet every day in April, except Sundays. And then check out the other blogs. Unfortunately it will be impossible to visit everyone. I will visit those who stop by here, plus as many as I can each day. Those with the most intriguing titles, or random clicks, will be the lucky visitees (who am I to talk? TTT?) Thanks to Holly who introduced me to it. And she made her blog newbie friendly for the occasion! Aww!

Lastly, here is my short and sweet AW Flash Fiction entry - "dawn"

Dawn

It starts with a twinkle.

The twinkle sprouts into a spear of light. It is joined by more, piercing and pulsing to life along a dark horizon.

Under the fan of spears, the brightest sliver peaks out yellow, barely an arc, turning blackness to gray around it. Slowly it intensifies, growing bolder and broader. The sky is now slate, yearning for its blue haze.

Birds sing to it. Time to catch that worm. The sparkly green blades drink it in for their breakfast.

BANH, BANH, BANH, BANH – hit the snooze one more time and roll over as it touches your eyes, creeping in through a crack in the drapes…

…warning you that you’re LATE FOR WORK!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getaway Contest Entry

In my search for agents to query I've had my eye on Georgia based The Knight Agency. If only! And as I read their blog for research, I coincidentally? found this awesome contest! It's to win a romantic weekend getaway on Tybee Island by Savannah! Oh! All you have to do is tell why you deserve it in 50 words (doesn't every mom deserve it? too bad we don't usually get what we deserve...). I took it as a writing challenge. Here is my entry:

"Whisked away as a young maid and swept off my feet, Prince Charming and I had many adventures together before we wed. Things soon changed as the Prince became the King and we had three young princes to chase after. I’m still a maid. We need to rediscover the magic."

Can you imagine?

Take this!

The next time you feel a cold coming on - you know that feeling! you can taste it, the slight headache, the sneezes for no reason - take a cold-eeze.

I have done it three times in the last two months and my colds were milder and gone within 4-5 days! I am serious! They have a strange after taste, but it's totally worth it. I thought, why not. And now I believe.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Creativity Toolbelt

I like the sound of this. I feel like Barbara Tyler over at Brainstorms & Bylines makes up her weekend challenges just for me! This weekend the task is to make a list of what tools give us our superpowers to write.

Superhero GIrl Cartoon - Green superhero
Push this button and
  • KAPOW! NOTEPADS! I keep pads of paper upstairs, downstairs, in my purse, in my car and in my work bag. There is always a story or idea and I don't want to forget it when I think of it.
Pull this cord and
  • BOING! PICTURES! I have many pictures in my old photo albums and more on my computer. They trigger memories and inspire stories. Pictures in magazines or images on tv and photo prompts do the same thing.
Press the star and
  • POWER UP! CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! Just because they're my favorite. Everything is clearer with chocolate chip cookies.
Unhook this gadget and
  • BLAMMO! F&F! That's friends and family. They support me by reading my stuff and encouraging me and being impressed that I write. They keep me going!
This challenge was an easy one - and I needed something fun and relaxing this weekend. My son had his tonsils out and has been an excellent patient. His recovery has been smooth so far with limited complaints - what a trooper!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Madness update

You still in it?
Do you care?
I am.
Not really.

I'm more concerned about my baby boy getting his tonsils out tomorrow.

Trying to get another query off tonight, since I may be out of commission for a few days.
Priorities.

So...
"Don't you forget about me!"








Coming up in April...
  • New spring header
  • Dreaming of Disney, 2nd installment
  • Hopefully an interview or two - one professional, one lazy housewife
  • Movie and Book reviews (planning to get to both during Spring Break!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Wednesday - the joke's on me...

Had to continue from my bad day Monday.
At least kids all went to school today, but now the youngest might have a fever. I'm afraid to check. I will have to cancel my sub job tomorrow if he has to stay home - they'll have to get a sub for the sub!

And here's two more things: 1. we had a brief hail storm and 2. now there's a bird caught in my garage!

I just shake my head and laugh. Got anything else for me?

I'll add something fun to this post later. Have to go to baseball practice =)

On the plus side, I sent a query today! Yeah!

Here's the addition and follow up.
First, followup: My lucky son walked into the garage and the bird flew out - if you've ever had this happen you know it's never that easy! And as for tomorrow everything is so far so good.

Fun Addition:
I've finally entered Theresa's 500 follower contest. It only runs through Friday (and Saturday is her bday =) She is promoting Elana Johnson's upcoming YA release, Possession. It looks good, too. And now I pose a question to Elana for her video interview and see if I'm a lucky winner!

"Ms. Johnson, first I have to say that I love the song, "Waiting for the End" so thank you for posting the lyrics. My question is, how did you know the Young Adult genre was your perfect fit?"

And she inspired me to post the lyrics too:

This is not the end
This is not the beginning
Just a voice like a riot
Rocking every revision
But you listen to the tone
And the violent rhythm
Though the words sound steady
Something emptys within em

We say yeah

With fists flying up in the air
Like we’re holding onto something that’s invisible there
Cuz we’re living at the mercy of the pain and the fear
Until we dead it forget it
Let it all disappear

Waiting for the end to come
Wishing I had strenght to stand
This is not what I had planned
It’s out of my control

Flying at the speed of light
Thoughts were spinning in my head
So many things were left unsaid
It’s hard to let you go

I know what it takes to move on
I know how it feels to lie
All I wanna do is trade this life for something new
Holding on to what I haven’t got

Sitting in an empty room
Trying to forget the past
This was never meant to last
I wish it wasn’t so

What was left when that fire was gone
I thought it felt right but that right was wrong
All caught up in the eye of the storm
And trying to figure out what it’s like moving on

And I don’t even know what kind of things I said
My mouth kept moving and my mind went dead
Picking up those pieces now where to begin
The hardest part of ending is starting again

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is in the air

We're all so excited to have nicer weather and escape the dolldrums and sickness of winter.
But, wait! We forgot about the ALLERGIES!!!
Those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, thank your lucky stars! I never experienced them growing up, but now they get worse every year. It's like a month long (or longer) cold!

Which brings me to my looooong day yesterday. These happen once in a while and this one was a doozy. And it's always when my hubby has to be out of town. Oh, well! Here is how it went:
  • I was going to work so I had to wake up the 3 princes at 6 AM. Not pleasant, but not bad.
  • The oldest has the worst allergies and has been getting worse for the past week, coughing a lot. He didn't want to go to school.
  • I talked him into it and vowed to pick him up early.
  • Dropped boys at neighbor's to put on bus and when I got to school they asked me to cover an extra class, so much for picking him up early.
  • Worried about him all day. Emailed teachers, called nurse to check on him. He was fine.
  • Since I didn't hear from him I went home, there was less than an hour left anyway.
  • I walked the dog. When I came back in there was a message - "Mom, come get me."
  • So I picked up sons 1 & 2 five minutes before the bell rang. I promised after all.
Now here is where the fun starts.
  • Drop off older boys.
  • Go pick up youngest for orthodontist appointment, 3rd wire broken in as many months.
  • Run endless errands. Bring McD's home. (got something to say about it?)
  • After dinner, oldest decides it's time to go to Dr.
  • Pile into car and go to urgent care.
  • Yep, bronchitis. 7:45 PM
  • Hike across town to 24 hour pharmacy (of course I know where it is and that it's the only one - they greet me, "Tara!").
  • Visit Walmart to kill time while prescription is filled (2nd trip there that day).
  • Finally home by 9. Showers and bed. Whew!
The boys were very good, considering. Writing it all down is therapeutic and it doesn't seem as bad as it was at the time. The most stressful part was the driving, back and forth, over and over, and dealing with traffic. AAHHH!

It was time for a good stress-relieving cry or laugh or something.

PS - a few other items that added to my day:
  • when I got home from work, there were 13 large boxes on my front porch to deal with
  • more lights blew out in my kitchen (so I replaced the one that's been out for over a week with the last new bulb)
  • my youngest is getting tonsils out Friday but also has a cold - might have to reschedule. Dr. called me back and I missed call.
You could probably top me with one of your days...
We only get thrown at us what we can handle and that was my limit yesterday. I think I'm coming down with the cold now...It never ends =)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Terminator in the Caribbean

This weekend's Brainstorms & Bylines challenge was: Movie Capsule. Roughly, combine two movies and write the synopsis. I chose action/adventure/sci fi. Terminator meets Pirates of the Caribbean.


TERMINATOR flashes into existence in the brig of the Black Pearl. He breaks free, kills the nearest pirates and takes their clothes and weapons.

JACK SPARROW is on the deck trying to use his magic compass to find DAVEY JONES and kill him rather than settle his debt. The Terminator blasts his way to the deck and Jack offers to help him. Terminator was sent back in time to destroy WILL TURNER.

Will Turner is on Davey Jones's ship. Sparrow convinces Terminator he can help him find Turner. He has Terminator use the compass that points to what he wants.

Turner escapes on his own and tries to find his love, ELIZABETH SWANN. She is lost looking for him.

Sparrow and Terminator find Miss Swann first and use her for bait to get Turner. He falls for it and Sparrow intervenes before Terminator gets him. Sparrow tells Turner to go back to Jones telling him only Jones can kill Terminator.

Sparrow and Terminator follow Turner to Jones. Big battle.

Sparrow makes deal with Jones to help kill Terminator. Terminator destroyed. Turner and Swann get away. Jones and Sparrow go separate ways for now.

Kick Start Monday


We have contests and challenges! Below (Sunday) is my flash fiction AW challenge. Above is coming my Brainstorms & Bylines challenge. And I'm sending out some queries this week! Oh my!

And right here is my Show me the Voice contest entry, which I got from Claire, The Word Busker. I am entering the first 250 words in my finished novel...my first couple of pages is an incident so it shows my voice but not my MC. I am supposed to ask for critiques...so what do you think?


Name: Tara Tyler
Title: Pop Travel
Genre: Sci Fi Thriller

Seattle, WA. 2078.
Click, clack, click, clack. The resonance of her high heels on the sidewalk was an exaggerated cymbal clashing in her throbbing head. THWAK, CRASH, THWAK, CRASH. Background city noises that most people ignored were amplified tenfold in her ears. A casual conversation was a lion’s roar. The honk of a car, the blast of an air horn. Even her own vid phone beckoning was a rumbling train shaking her off balance. She couldn’t bear to answer it so she fumbled to turn off the ringer. She could barely see straight. She just kept putting one foot in front of the other holding a hand over her eyes to block out the glare of the overcast sky. If she could make it to a quiet booth and relax with her friends, she thought she might be ok. At least it wasn’t raining.
After walking three blocks from her doctor’s office, the valium he gave her finally kicked in. The agonizing hammering in her temples retreated to a slight, steady pulse as she reached her destination. The pain was now bearable and she was able to fix a smile to her lips as she walked into the bustling tavern. She noticed her friends and more stress was relieved as they waved her over. Their inviting smiles were a welcome sight. She joined them at their table.
“Sarah, you look terrible,” Claire teased. They all laughed.
         "Thank you. My doctor just said the same thing," she replied, trying to seem upbeat as she sat down in the cozy booth.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flash Fiction AW Sunday Challenge - Champagne

This one was so easy - some prompts just form the image!


Champagne Me

Let me tickle your nose.
You know you want me.
Golden, crisp, sweet, sassy.
Such a tingly tease.

That’s it, sip me.
So smooth going down.
“Hic!”
Not too fast now.
Enjoy it. Laugh. Flirt.

Have some more.
Let your hair down.
Sure, one more sip
And out on the floor.

Fill up another flute.
There’s more where that came from.
Plenty to spare.
Plenty to share.

Oops. Did you spill a drop?
Watch your step.
Sure, take me with you.
Johnny doesn’t mind.

He’s such a nice guy.
Helping you up the stairs.
Can he come in?
Maybe some other time.

But he wants to finish me with you.
It’s late and you’re tired?
He’ll just help you to your bed.
Careful, watch out!

I crashed, on his head.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Psghetti Western

I missed last week's "Terrible Minds" challenge - no time, too hard, not inspired, what have you...so I got right on it this week. The theme is "Baby Pulp." And pulp isn't what you think it is. Go to his site for a description, if you want. Anyway, here is my entry. (ps - got the picture from the internet. ain't he cute!)

Psghetti Western
The Dirty Diaper Gang has struck again.

When I moseyed into town this morning, it looked like a twister had blown through. I pulled up my ditey and surveyed the damage. The blocks that were corralling Trisha’s little doggey, Poochie, were scattered all over the floor. She was sitting next to the mess crying. But no one was listening or helping her. All the babies at Guppy Gultch were crying over their own favorite toys gone missing.

I know who did it. It was Meaniepants Mitch and his big ugly sister, Sticky Fingers Marcie. And I bet they had a hand from Smelly Frank and Liam the Lion (he has a stuffed lion with only one eye). I call them the Dirty Diaper Gang. And boy, do they smell!

Here at Guppy Gultch, I’m the sheriff. Sheriff Sam. I have a posse, mostly stuffed. But we keep the peace. The Dirty Diaper Gang always comes in at the crack of dawn and musses things up. They’re probably over in their hideout, the Toddler Climber. Us babies aren’t supposed to go over there cause it’s too high.

I amble around with my trusty sidekick, Mr. Pig and my ba ba full of red juice. I check on the local babies to see what’s been pilfered and try to calm them down a piece before a Sitter comes in to put us in a playpen pokey. It looks like a red ball, a green hammer, a water filled teether and a blankie have been stolen besides Poochie.

I go sit in my thinking chair. Then I notice my yellow sheriff star is not there.

My lips start to quiver, I sputter in some short breaths. I gulp and squeeze my eyes. I will not cry! I must be strong for the other babies. And then I’m ok. I look over at the Climber and see them peeking out. They laugh at me. I give them my best angry baby face.

We’ll see about that. It’s time to teach those stinky meaners a lesson.

I round up my posse. Mr. Pig, Zoe Zebra, Bongo Bear and Toadie. Trisha sees me putting them in a circle for a meeting and asks if she can come. I tell her, fine. But I don’t know how a cry-baby girl could help.

“I’m callin this meetin to order! We gotta do somefin about Meaniepants Mitch and his Dirty Diaper Gang!”

I pick up Mr. Pig and make him talk in his higher voice, “Yeah!”

“Yeah!” Trisha says too.

“Does anybody have any ideas?” I ask.

Nobody says anything. I drop my shoulders. “Bongo? Toadie? Zoe?”

They are quiet.

Off in the corner, Joey speaks up. He’s the one who lost his green hammer. He has a deeper, scratchy voice. Like Oscar the Grouch. “I know what we can do.”

“What?” I ask.

“You got red juice in your ba ba, right?”

“Ya.”

“Me, too,” Trisha says.

“I do too,” Joey the Grouch says. “I’ll tell you what we should do.”

Joey’s plan wasn’t the best, but it is all we have. We make it through lunch and the sun shining in the window says it’s naptime.

Now no one ever wants to go to sleep, and we fight it every day and cry about it sometimes. But we usually drift off in spite of ourselves. Today we are going to stay awake and not cry.

It’s tough! My eyes keep wanting to shut. Trisha looks awful still laying on her mat and Joey might be sawing logs over in his corner there.

I take a gander at the Climber. There’s no movement or sound. I think everyone else is asleep. I get up real quiet like and tippy toe to the back side of the Climber. I peek in one of the holes and there they are, the Dirty Diaper Gang, sleeping like we do. You’d never know they were such meanies laying there so sweet.

I see the stolen loot. It’s being guarded by the one-eyed lion. I creep around and reach in. I can only carry two things at a time so I have to make a few trips. On the last one out I step on a squeaker.

Sticky Fingers is on me like a buzzard to dead meat.

“Lookie what we have here, boys!” She pulls both my arms behind my back and brings me into the Climber.

The gang wakes up and rubs their eyes. “Hey! Where’s all the stuff?” Mitch crabs.

“I took it back!” I say to him.

“You’re gonna pay for that, Sheriff!”

“Do your worst, Meaniepants!”

“Liam, Frank, toot him!”

“Oh, no!” I yell and duck my head.

Then from up above, something drips on them. It’s red juice. The Dirty Diaper Gang starts to bawl.

“Trisha! Joey! You woke up!”

“We couldn’t let you down, Sheriff!” Trisha says.

Marcie lets me go so she can help the boys. Trisha and Joey drop their bottles and we all get back to our mats. We shut our eyes like we was asleep.

The crying brings the Sitters.

“Oh, what a mess! Looks like you guys won’t be able to use this climber anymore,” one of them says. She pulls out a radio and talks to it. “Hey, Al. We need to get the Toddler Climber out of the Guppy Room.”

“Hey, Melissa. What should we do with these little guys?” the other Sitter says.

“First we'll have to give them baths. Then they’ll have to go in separate playpens for their naps. Silly babies. You shouldn’t pway with your bottles, should you, wittle guys!”

Yep. We can sleep easy now. Guppy Gultch is peaceful again.

Writing a Book - Feedback

Take feedback with a grain of salt.

As a new writer I know my book is not "literary" quality. There is so much I don't know about writing a "proper" book. I write my story. I put myself in the characters' shoes. What would they see? How would they feel? How would they look and react and dress and express themselves? That stuff is easy.

To get the necessary tools that make a book more publishable, I need feedback on how I am writing. (I thrive on it! Love me!) So I submitted the first section of another book (Broken Branch Falls) and had it critiqued. The first chapters of books are fun to write so it was easy to shoot it off. And I edited it several times before putting it out there for critique. I thought it was great. But as I said in "Eyes Opened" they really tore it up. "POP" went my balloon.

I also just wrote a query for Pop Travel and put it up in "Query Letter Hell" - because it truly is. I thought it was great too! It was succinct, it had voice, I told about my plot. I always crack myself up with how witty I am (there I go again!).

And guess what. It was crap. I'm exaggerating, maybe a crap +. But when you get the raw, honest opinions of other writers, that's what it feels like. I just have to remind myself that it's for my benefit. Tear it down to build it up, it isn't personal, it's for my own good, bla bla bla. That's why you need a thick skin to write. But it really does help.

So read the crits and try not to let them get to you. Leave it alone for a while. Coming back to it, use advice as you see fit. Even if some of my lines are "cheesy" - that's part of my voice. I just need to fine tune it. Pay attention to the technical advice and think about the opinions and then rewrite. The point of getting critiques is constructive criticism.

If your goal is to be published that means you want the whole world to read your stuff. But everyone is different and everyone has an opinion. I want an agent to like my stuff and ask to read more. This isn't just for my personal enjoyment, no matter how quippy I think I am...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patty's Day! 2011

Here is a link with some facts about leprechauns that I didn't know
                                           
May you have some Irish good luck today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's your favorite color?

Here is a list of colors and their connotations and some have examples. What's your favorite? Does it match your personality?

Red – strong feelings, love, warmth, intensity
redneck, red-hot, red-handed, paint the town red, seeing red

Blue – calm, sad, unappetizing, low temperature
blue moon, blue Monday, blue blood, the blues, and blue ribbon.

Green – nature, tranquility, lucky, healing, jealousy, good for learning, fertility, new
Green room, green thumb, green with envy, greenhorn

Yellow – hard to look at, frustration, increases metabolism, most attention getting

Purple – royal, wealth, wisdom, spirituality, exotic, artificial

Brown – strength, reliability, isolation, warmth, down to earth, comfort, conventional, sophisticated

Orange – energetic, enthusiasm, warmth, draw attention  

Black – evil, death, slimming
Black Death, blackout, black cat, black list, black market, black tie, black belt.

White – purity, innocence, spacious, cold, sterile

Pink – love, romance, calming

I got this information from: “Color Psychology, How Colors Impact Moods, Feelings, and Behaviors” by Kendra Cherry, About.com Guide

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Consumer Reports says...Cars, who needs em?


Time for the annual Carfest!
2011 Top Car Picks
(by size/category):
  • Honda Fit (budget)
  • Hyundai Elantra (small)
  • Nissan Altima (family)
  • Toyota RAV4 (small SUV)
  • Toyota Prius (green)
  • Kia Sorento (family SUV)
  • Ford Mustang (sporty)
  • Infiniti G37 (sporty sedan)
  • Toyota Sienna (family hauler)
  • Chevrolet Avalanche (truck)

Here's the Overall Ratings:
Road Test, BEST - Lexus LS 460L   VS   WORST - Jeep Wrangler (yes, I drive one)
Fuel Economy, BEST - Toyota Prius   VS   WORST - Cadillac Escalade
Owner Expenses, BEST - Honda Fit   VS   WORST - Mercedes-Benz SL550
Visibility, BEST - Subaru Forester   VS   WORST - Mitsubishi Eclipse GT
BEST Under $20,000 - Honda Fit
Most Enjoyable to Drive:
Sedans - Mazda3, Mazda6s, BMW 3, Buick LaCrosse CXS, Infiniti M37
SUVs - Nissan Juke, Infiniti EX35
Sporty - VW GTI, Ford Mustang, BMW 135i
(what no trucks?)

Automakers Ranked:
(based on the average of several recent road tests)
1. Honda, 2. Subaru, 3. Toyota, 4. Volvo, 5. Ford*, 6. Hyundai, 7. Mazda, 8. Nissan, 9. Volkswagen, 10. Mercedes-Benz, 11. BMW, 12. GM, 13. Chrysler
*Most Improved!

Some old cars are better than comparable new ones
2008 Reliable Models:
Acura RDX, Acura TSX, Ford Fusion, Honda CR-V, Honda Fit, Infiniti FX35, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Pilot, Volvo S60

Other Car-related Ratings:
Top Rated Tires: Cars - Michelin HydroEdge, Primacy, Pilot Exalto; SUVs - General Grabber HTS, Pirelli Scorpion ATR
Best GPS: Garmin Nuvi 765T & 3790T

(from Consumer Reports, April 2011)

March Madness

Had to do it!
Nathan Bransford's 3rd annual bracket challenge
I like underdogs and upsets!

ps - beware the ides of March

Monday, March 14, 2011

Drabble in a Bottle

Yeah! Aheila's Drabble Day Challenge - "Bottle"


“Veronica, be a love and hand me my pills?”

The voluptuous blond was traipsed on the couch watching an infomercial. “Here.” She thrust the bottle at the older gentleman in his wheelchair.

His feeble hands fumbled. Pills scattered everywhere.

“Veronica? Please?”

She paused her show and scowled at the mess.

He started panting.

Die already, she cursed.

He grasped his chest.

She stood.

“I’m through, Edward. I can’t take your vile touch or raspy voice anymore. Good-bye!” She stormed out.

Edward fell to the floor and swallowed a pill. He speed-dialed his phone.

“She finally broke, Sanford. Release the hounds!”

Kick start Monday - green week

No, not recycling, tho we should do that too, but Green meaning - St. Patty's Day is coming up!
 irishman dance smiley

And I feel like dancing too cause - guess what! I won a book! Woo Hoo!
I was chosen with my entry last Monday from Jan over at Tartitude, "Possum Summer" by Jen K. Blom. I'm so excited!

And here is a short to start your week off with a smile. From the AW weekly Flash Fiction Challenge: "oil"


“Hey, Mon!”

“Wa, Mon?”

“Wa do yu tink yu a dween deh?”

“Was ih look like I’m dween?”

“Yu a skay-tin?”

“Ya, Mon! Come an try ih.”

“Na! Mi naa waan fi fall. Ih look slippy.”

“Yu a chicken.”

They hear someone coming.

“Ooo ih dis Johnny?”

Another pest joins the two locals.

“Dude! What are you guys doing? It looks totally gnarly!”

“Skay-tin, Mon.”

“Skating? Dude, can I try?”

“Ya. Aright, dweet.”

The two natives watch the new guy slip and slide. He gets covered in slimy goo.

“Awesome! Hey, what is this stuff?”

“Aile.”

“What? Hey, where ya goin?”

The ground was shaking. The two local boys fly away. The new guy is stuck. He’s going under!

**Zoom out.**

“Eli, would you put some oil on my back now?”

“Sure, hon. Your tan is looking primo.”

“Thanks. I still can’t believe we got to go to Jamaica for Spring Break.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Una Memento

Weekend Writing Assignment sponsored by Brainstorms & Bylines. A short story about a memento of the past. I got a little choked up writing this one.
Peanut.

Hi. I'm 8 years old. I just got this cute puppy. I named him Peanut because his head is shaped like one. Some people think it’s because he’s a beagle, like Snoopy from Peanuts, but I tell them it’s not. I love Peanut. He is so soft and sweet. I hug him when I'm sad or scared. And I sleep with him every night.

We just found out that we have to move. I'm in sixth grade now so I understand. It’s because of my dad’s work. My little sister is having a hard time with it. She's only in fourth grade. We have to leave our dog with friends. But I have Peanut. I'll be fine as long as I have my stuff and my Peanut. I plan to get my own real dog just like Peanut someday.

I’m tired of moving. We have moved so many times. My parents say the economy is bad. Whatever. I’m just glad I haven’t had to change schools. And friends. Peanut has been with me every time. He is my one constant in all this change. I’ll be taking him to college with me next year, too. I still plan to get a real one, just like him.

I’m moving into my own apartment next week. College was fun but I’m ready to be on my own. I had lots of boyfriends, which means lots of breakups and Peanut saw me through them all. I can always depend on my Peanut.

I finally got a real puppy! His name is Cody. He’s so cute! And he’s smart. He’s the best puppy ever! But I haven’t forgotten about Peanut. He is still on my dresser.

I’m engaged! We are moving into our own place. Now I have my great dogs Cody and Peanut, and someone to share them with.

Still moving. So tired of moving. It’s harder each time and we have kids now. Have to go where the jobs are. I don’t think Cody can take another move. Good old dog. And I still have Peanut.

Saying good-bye to Cody was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I guess I’m lucky because I know people who have lost loved ones. But to me, Cody was a family member. All my boys want another dog. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. I’ve been sleeping with Peanut again.

Peanut is my link to the past. He’s been with me through it all. Just a worn out stuffed dog, with a heart of gold.

Random Saturday - Looking to Lose Weight?

Me too. Let's see what Consumer Reports has to say about it.

6 pieces of advice to help keep pounds off:
  1. Stop drinking calories. Pops, juice, energy drinks = less filling and more sugar. So drink diet. (No one has studied the consumption of artificial sweetners long enough to attach them to cancer, yet.) Milk and limited alcohol consumption supposedly have enough healthy factors to equal out the calories and are slightly more filling. (I already do this one, they should've said coffee too)
  2. Eat more protein. Atkins type dieting has been studied and is now approved as a good way to lose weight. To be the most effective, protein intake should be 20-25% of total calories. Replacing some fat and starches with lean proteins can be beneficial. (I try to do this too, been slacking)
  3. Eat more fiber. Fiber is awesome! It regulates, helps prevent colon cancer and slows digestion making you feel fuller longer! Plus the foods it comes in have healthy vitamins and minerals. But go slow on the increase - fiber can backfire (if you know what I mean). (Another healthy thing I already partake of)
  4. Lead yourself not into temptation. Snacks. Mmmm. Crunchy, salty, flavorful, sweet - I need something good to eat! The best thing to do is not have these things in your house. Buy them on occasion. If you have them, you will eat them. (I try to buy snacks for the kids that I don't like. I have no trouble limiting their intake, I'm a mean mom) 
  5. Add 2000 steps a day. 20-25 minutes of walking, about a mile, burns about 100 calories. (I walk my dog around the block when I get the mail or go to the bus stop - he needs exercise too)
  6. Cut your screen time. Sitting calories = sleeping calories. Even just standing burns twice the calories of sitting. (this has become a problem since I took up writing and blogging - so I started using my ipad on the treadmill =) Time to get up and move around!
So. This article isn't so much about losing weight as keeping off those extra couple of pounds that most people gain each year. Small modifications can increase your health and energy. I do most of these things and I am at a plateau. I need to do more if I want better results.
(From: "Lose Weight, Stay Active," Consumer Reports, 2/11)