Sunday, November 16, 2008

Better be good to your students or else...


Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to a guy whose sister is married to the drummer of Lynard Skynard. You may have heard of them...

Click on this link to see Lynard Skynard perfrom "Sweet Home Alabama."

He was saying that he gets to go to concerts at least once a year and gets pretty decent seats to boot! He also gets back stage visits and the VIP treatment. Why not??? He's family!

Now, I had wondered where the band had come up with their name--after all, it is unique in the sense it isn't a label (like "The Beach Boys") or a family name of a band member (Van Halen) or just a word that may represent their message (Green Day).

Anyway, turns out that the original members of the band went to high school together. They had the long hair that was common in the sixties, but they wore it in a pretty conservative area. Their gym teacher constantly gave them a hard time about their appearance (among other things). The guys didn't like him much, I guess, but they decide to "honor" him nonetheless....

His name was Leonard Skinner.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Letters From War

Hi all,

I saw this video on Youtube a few days ago, and have not been able to get it out of my head. Here is the link:

I mean, I really can't get it out of my head. It "plays" as soon as I wake up and before I go to sleep. It plays in the grocery store and as I do the dishes. I love it...but it's driving me nuts!

I suppose it's because it can be digested from so many points of view and I always puzzle things out to the millionth degree. It's a double-edged sword, believe me! :<)

As an "artist" I think about how the song lyrics were fit together. As the minivan/shower singer that I am, I think about the voice of Mark Schultz who sings it.

As a wife, I think about the pain this woman must feel with her husband gone, having to miss him and also shouldering the anguish of the unknown fate of her son alone. I have always thought that not knowing is many times harder than knowing--even if it's a painful knowing.

As a mother...oh my God...I can't imagine waiting two years to know that my son was okay. When his mother collapses in the video, I could really feel it--albeit a fraction of the real thing--and I was so relieved to see it was him. Home and safe.

As a human being who--like so many others--tries to do the right thing, I think of the sacrifice of leaving your home and everyone you love to go off and fight a war. I have such a deep respect for anyone who sacrifices to go into the military. I think it takes a rare kind of heart to serve one's country this way.

As of last night, I have been thinking of it in terms of being someone's child, because after all, where not everyone is a spouse, mother, father sister, brother, whatever...the one thing we all are--is someone's child.

Yes, it's these multi-layered things I love--sort of! :<) You know, the "writing experts" are always saying you should write about things that you know but I have found (for myself anyway) that the sparks come when I write about something I don't know but desperately want to understand.

My God! I could have a thousand year career, huh?!

Boy Meets Girl

While on my Bowflew (which, if you haven’t seen one in person, looks like a medieval torture apparatus—and feels like a modern one!) I glanced to my left and laid eyes on what made my burst out laughing. It epitomizes what it’s like to raise a boy and a girl at the same time.

A lovely doll house, complete with a maid who vacuums (wouldn’t mind one of these for those of you wracking your brains for Christmas ideas) with giant, predatory Bionicles climbing the sides, preparing to feast on the ever-grinning Playmobile people.

Stereotypical “girl world” meets stereotypical “boy-world.” God love ‘em!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Okay, this blogging/writing is a little like having a sliver. It’s painful, but if it’s there, you have to get it out. Oh, and it may require disinfectant.

Okay, I’m holding my nose and diving in. (No, you don’t need to visualize that.) Why not introduce a little scandal into my mix here?

Close the doors.
Pull the shades.
Take the phone off the hook.
I…**whisper**... have a confession….

It is something from my recent past that I really try not to advertise. You know, because the neighbors…They ask questions. If word gets out, things could get messy. I…ready???...have written a book. (sorry to disappoint any Jerry Springer fans.)

It’s a prepublished (no contract yet—but optimistic) YA (young adult) book entitled One for the Murphys. For those of you who’ve written something for the eyes of others (not for a teacher, but because you thought it would be…fun…you know, like bungee jumping with an extra long cord) it’s kind of like ripping your heart out, slapping it on the table and asking, “So, what do you think?”

It feels like the epitome of “vulnerable” because you always—even if you don’t intend to—crawl into your own basements to write it. And then you have to sit back and wonder what others think. Truly, if you’re brave and serious about seeing your book at the bookstore, (gulp--did I just say that???) you must get to this step of putting it out there. A thick skin (titanium), a sense of humor (how can I not laugh at myself???) and an open mind (but no holes) are all going to help.

Readers of One for the Murphys have given me good feedback on it—of course, good feedback has cost me a fortune in margaritas. :<) The better the feedback, the more margaritas…or is it, the more margaritas, the better the feedback??? Hmmmm…..

I laughed when I saw the above picture. It’s totally me.

Every morning I sit down. I scan my bookshelves with the likes of Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Wittlinger, Alan Gratz, Jerry Spinelli, Katherine Paterson…And, here I sit: room mother, juggler, lint collector. I don’t know. I have to tell you, seriously, that I think it’s pretty brave to write an emotionally authentic book at all; that’s what writers (or the people supporting them) will say when they consider the odds of “making it.” I say, don’t consider the odds—or anyone else besides your living, breathing characters—just put your butt in the chair (Hi, Anita). And, if you’re like me, the journeys you take with your characters, will change your own journey in ways you’d never have imagined…

Be brave. Grrrrroooooowl...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Skee-ball Pockets

Well, as the days of summer fold themselves into our… Aw, what the hell…the summer is over and it sucks. The kids go back to school tomorrow, and I have to admit that while some parents are singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” I am disappointed. I genuinely, really love their company; I have a theory as to why.

At the heart of me, I’m still 14.

My kids are fortunate in the fact that I love all things kids—amusement parks, animated movies, Nerf gun fights, water parks, toy stores, and arcades. While I’m frugal at Shaw’s, there are no limits to the quarters I’ll dole out for skee-ball. I mean, can you really put a price on that cheap crap that you can take home for a mere 500 tickets??? I suppose the sane part of me (hold those tongues, people!) would rather not overtly ask, “How ‘bout we pay $30 for something worth $ .86?” I suppose I’m afraid that some day I’ll grow up, bristle at the thought of throwing money “up the aisle,” and do the grown up thing. Eek…

My kids aren’t any happier about school. I asked my son what he’d like to wear tomorrow—his morning attire. (He says he doesn’t care and I know he really doesn’t.) As I think about it, though, it may be more aptly named “mourning attire” although I don’t know if the black pill hat/veil will suit him…Would clash with his blond hair, I think.

As for my daughter, (a freshman in high school and, no, I’m not thrilled about that either.) she is a little nervous. So am I…but I know I needn’t be. And I know that I will not have to think about what she’ll wear. Later today, we are going out to pick up some make-up for her, and I’m going to give her a lesson. For those of you laughing out there, I want to remind you how my Chap Stick and Boston Red Sox hat compliment my natural beauty.

Anyway, it will be a nice mother/daughter bonding thing. I plan to go with the “less is more” for the make-up and the “more is more and will keep your mother off your back” for the clothes. Actually, I don’t need to worry about that—she tends to be a jeans and t-shirt girl. Where do you suppose she gets it???

So, I’ve officially become one of those people that goes on about their boring, everyday details of life. I know. I should discuss deep things…..

Deep things:

Skee-ball Pockets

And, with that, I guess I’ve come full circle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008


Well, here I am being dragged (semi kicking, mild whimpering) into the world of blogging. I hope the three people that read this enjoy it. And, yes, there will be a quiz…

I’ve entitled my little creation here, Raised by the Apple Trees; only a few people will be able to figure out why. I almost named it, Make Mine Strawberry because that was the title of the book my mother had planned to write but never did. Apparently, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (out on a limb, here) as we both seem to be quite taken with the whole fruit theme.

Perhaps, I’ll just name it Raised by the Strawberry.