Monthly Archives: September 2012

Let’s Hear It For the Teachers!

School is back in session and we are finally settling into a routine at Camp Solheim.  It didn’t take as much time for my daughter to adjust to high school as I anticipated, thanks in part to some great teachers.  I am in awe of the people who choose a career in education.  It’s the most underrated and underpaid profession I know of.  Yet, these folks spend as many waking hours of the day with our kids as we do.  I envy their dedication—and patience.   Definitely something I lack.

My kids have been blessed with some amazing educators who’ve molded their mushy minds into maturity.  Have they all been perfect?  No.  But life isn’t perfect and the sooner my kids get that through their noggins, the better.  But they have encountered some rare jewels who’ve left a lasting impression on both my kids and me.  I’m a thankful parent this week that one particular teacher took the time to point out my child may not be as careless as we suspected, just battling a previously undetected glitch in processing written information.  It’s nice to know someone really cares about the success of their students.

I don’t remember too many of my teachers.  My family moved around a lot, so they passed through my life for the year or so I lived in one place and then were forgotten.  So, when my kids ask who my favorite teacher was, I don’t have a ready answer.  There were a few teachers in high school whose names I still remember after 30 years.  Mr. Frieberger taught World History and Sociology, both classes I enjoyed a lot.  It was the late 1970’s and Mr. F. was cool with long hair, a beard and those John Lennon glasses.  Jimmy Carter was president at the time and the Middle East Peace Talks were in full swing.  We had our own summit in class one week.  I was Yasser Arafat complete with full head gear that Mr. F. made from a table cloth.  He made sure we all took are roles seriously and I think, at the time, we foolishly believed we could settle the Middle East situation ourselves.

Junior year, Mr. Frieberger taught Sociology.  One of the segments of class was on marriage and family.  We each had to be paired up with a “spouse” to raise a baby (a sack of flour we carried around) and develop a family budget.  Don’t ask me who my first husband was, I don’t remember that far back.  But, we did have a big wedding in the class.  One couple got to be the bride and groom and the rest of us were attendants.  I found pictures the other day of us all in various prom dresses and the boys in jackets and ties.  It looked like we were having a good time.  I’m pretty sure it was just an excuse to have a party in class.  Mr. F. liked a good party at the end of the day.

Do you remember any of your favorite teachers?  Did any of them have profound influence on you?  Have you seen any of your teachers later in life?

And, I’d like to give a big heartfelt thank you to all those teachers out there!

Random chaos and Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion

In the spirit of the momentum I’m living right now, I’m opening the door and inviting you all inside the chaos of my thoughts.

Fair warning, it’s crazy in there.

Deep breath…

My novella JUST ONE DAY just went live at Barnes & Noble,

and I’m trying to figure out how to drive traffic to it and possibly get reviews and possibly get more readers while setting up further promo going for BEFORE AND EVER SINCE

which comes out November 6th.  I have to set up a blog tour and Twitter party for release day, which I’ve kinda sorta done.  By that, I mean I’ve contacted the lady and asked just enough questions to thoroughly confuse and overwhelm myself, and now she waits for all my wisdom-filled answers that I honestly do not have and am too chicken to admit.

I’m supposed to be working on my next novel-slash-possible-series but the push and pull of the novella have split my brain into too many sections.  My daughter is a senior in high school and fighting grades and the teenage drama of her life, while I’m trying to go to everything, be everything she needs, help my husband run his cockatiel aviary and go to bird shows with him.  Which is cool because he goes to signings with me, too.  🙂   And now I just found out that my daughter needs all –yes, all–her wisdom teeth pulled.  Before Christmas.  Because, hey, why the heck not.  We have nothing else interesting going on.  I haven’t looked at the possibility of Christmas gifts yet, and I’m wondering if a giant buy of lotion at Bath & Body will cover everyone on my list.  I mean, my husband might not appreciate it, but he’d smell good, right?

Oh, and my job.

Every day, there’s that.  I mean, thank God, every day there’s that.  But yanno.

Deep breath!!!

Okay, I feel better.  I’ve been looking for a way to just let all that out!  LOL!!

So…let me in on YOUR inner chaos.  What’s going on with you?

Calling All Gardeners!

It’s fall garden season here in Florida and not a moment too soon, if you ask me.  The temperatures are cooling (sort of) and the humidity is easing.  Why this morning it was downright pleasant as I strolled the rows of my budding beds.  Ahhh….

Though it only takes a minute to kick me right out of relaxation mode — and I’m not talking about weeding or watering, but the bugs.  Those varmints are devouring my tiny blossoms!  They lurk beneath the leaves when I pass only to gobble them up when I’m gone.  I’m sure the swamp behind my house has nothing to do with their presence.  Haven to a mass of blind mosquitoes (speaking of cooler temps, can’t wait for the first freeze), it also provides shelter for the crickets and moths.

UGH.  A little insecticidal soap and those beasts should be dissuaded from ravaging my plants.  But all in all, my babies are doing well.  In the photo below, you may see kidney bean plants, but I see comfort food chili in my future.

As you can see, squash and zucchini look good.

In addition to these, I have peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, okra, carrots, lettuce, brussels, broccoli and cabbage in ground.  So that’s what I do in the fall when I’m not writing or chasing kids.  How about you?

Fall Is Almost Here

I always use the term “Fall” when referring to the season of the year that begins this Saturday, September 22nd. However, on the news they call it “Autumn”. To me, that’s a much more beautiful word, but I don’t know why.

When I looked up the word “autumn” in Wikipedia it says:

“Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season, as it is common in other West Germanic languages to this day (cf. Dutch herfst and German Herbst). However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.”

Whatever you personally call that time of year, it can be beautiful. The heat of the day is gone but we’re left with a lovely warmth to take the chill off in the afternoons. Mornings are cold and we don our light jackets and wear long pants. Here on the coast of California, the seasons aren’t as drastically different from each other as they are in other places. It’s still in the 60’s in the afternoons and I can sit outside and it gets hot out on the deck.

Being that I hate Winter, I enjoy this temperate climate.  How about where you live?

Every Once In A While, I Falter, Then Fall Down

Yesterday morning, I woke up to a gray sky and an even grayer mood. I grabbed a cup of coffee, started a fire in the fireplace and sat down to write.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It’s not like this is anything new. All writers occasionally come up empty. But this was annoyingly familiar…

As I sat there, toasty warm by the fire, it occurred to me that I’d been mopey and sluggish and generally all around blah for quite some time now. I could feel the ideas in my head. They hovered in the dark, waiting, watching, seeking an escape route from the unchartered territory of my brain. But they were trapped…locked behind a month long diet of ice cream bars and Twizzlers.

I’ve been blaming my lack of ideas and glum mood on the fact that I don’t get out much or see a lot of people. But as I considered the lethargic state of my brain, I knew there could only be one explanation.

There’s no lock on the pantry or freezer doors.

Sugar is my weakness. It overloads my brain and puts every idea on permanent hold. Coupled with the fact that I’d stopped exercising in the spring because I was so busy in the yard, the over indulgence of the past couple of months had finally caught up with me.

I’m in good shape, healthy, usually mindful of what I eat and do. But every once in a while, I falter, then fall down. If I’m not careful, I end up flat on my stomach, one hand clutching an ice cream bar, the other hand filled with red Twizzlers, my nose pushed into a bowl of richly buttered popcorn.

This junk food isn’t just clogging my arteries and promising to cover my body with an extra layer of warm fat for the winter. It’s frying my brain, killing my darlings…oh, those wonderful ideas that come from the mysterious depths of our sub-conscious.

After I finished whining into my cup of java, I made a few healthful decisions. Resume those daily walks. Cut out the daily sugar and save those junk food extravaganzas for a Saturday night movie fest. Focus on those delicious brain foods – fresh vegetables, fruits, and salmon. Half a day without sugar and already, my mind is humming along and the Idea Fairy is chasing her children out into my world.

I know I’ll fall down again. It’s in my genes. My dad always knew exactly where my mom hid his favorite go-to treat, the supersized bag of chocolate chips.

So what foods make you falter, then fall? And what snacks or foods do you reply on to keep you and your brain in premium condition? Busy minds need help to stay sharp. 🙂

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