Wednesday, May 30, 2012

EYE SPY GHOSTS


Minnies Ghost is returning after a long holiday

Hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day Week-end. Here is your little story from Norway that I should have posted for you on Monday, but was too tired. Norwegians celebrated the week-end a bit different. Most of them just got off the party bus yesterday because holidays usually last two days.  Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Twelve apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31.[2] For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as the "Birthday of the Church."  I had to look this up because I only know the holiday referred to by its Norwegian name, which is Pinse. There are many holidays in Norway during the month of May and to honest with you, I have a hard time keeping up with them.  Labor Day, Constitution Day, Liberation Day, Women’s Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost, and White Monday are all holidays celebrated this month. Although many of these days are religiously connected to Easter, most Norwegians do not celebrate time in church. There is a lot of talk these days about the church and state being separated from each other. Since I am not very religious or political, I have no outspoken views to come with regarding that matter. I am just tired of all these holidays, not to mention the birthdays that happen this month as well! You have probably figured out by now that May is a crazy month for me. You can read about some of that HERE on My Gutsy Story. If you want to vote for "My" Gutsy Story, voting starts May 31st.

My spying skills are also a bit off because someone hid my pink panther suit. Don’t worry, I found it and after a few repairs and a good wash it is perfectly wearable. You should all be aware that my Eye Spy posts might change during the day...depending on what I find and when I find it. Here is what I found first, Knights of MicroFiction is back.  On the 15th of every month you can take up your writing sword and become a knight with Kathy Mckendry and Jess. Something definitely worth checking out and you can read about it at Imagine Today. I also spy Minnie who is aching for some gibberish fun, and that game starts on Friday. I have no idea what my little band of "Patriots of Standard Word Abuse" will come up once Minne gets them started! Fun, guaranteed!
You can look HERE for past games.

Minnies Fan Club-Frida, Einar and Bert


Let me know if there are places you want the Pink Panther to visit. Any news you want to share? Will you be another Knight of Microfiction, or how about playing with Minnies crazy gang? 

Here is something more for you to check out! CHRISTI GODDARD Has just released her book Four in the morning. This one looks like a great read!

http://www.christigoddard.com/2012/05/bit-of-news.html

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084P70J2




Leaving you with some love for the day...


Friday, May 25, 2012

What's for dinner? Heaven in a bowl.

What do you want for dinner? When I ask that question, do you think I really get an answer? Something good is always on the menu. What? Is that the standard answer? I am still waiting for, "Let's take Mom out for dinner!"


Yeah that is a lot of soup, enough to feed an army.

So judging by Wednesdays post, you guys want a recipe for my (hmm) potato soup. Here you go, in my not so recipe mind...Cook up a bunch of chopped potatoes. How many? I don't know, depends on how much soup you are making. If you like celery, chop that up too and cook with potatoes, about 1/4 to the amount of potatoes.  Fry up some bacon and onions, yes you have to chop it up! If you are a vegetarian skip the bacon part. I think I added garlic too. How much? that depends on you. OK, Bacon is fried with onion, etc. NOT TO FRIED! You want it translucent. Now you want to add some flour to all that yummy fat. OK...Vegetarians, don't be offended! Do your thing here with mushrooms and butter that is yummy too. Potatoes are just about finished, yippee!You need that water to add to the thick flour paste you made. Did I mention that? Gradually add some of that water, OK you need some milk too and cream if you have it, until you get the right consistency. You do know that cream and butter makes everything so much better. (Yeah, yeah, yeah) Chop up some broccoli, throw that in. Salt...I love pepper...simmer, simmer... You got the idea? Yeah, cheese as a garnish on top is good!  BTW: This is my sons Potato soup recipe. I think I got it right, he will let us know if I didn't. On second thought, blogger is not his hangout place so I can do what I want with his soup recipe and he will never know. I love soup, do you? What is your favorite kind?

There is a holiday soon, right? Soup works.  Minnie, next week in case you are wondering.





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eye Spy!

 
Do not write your posts in Blogger, because if you have a stupid computer like mine you might just hit the wrong button and lose everything you wrote. Yes that just happened to me, as a writer you would know how frustrating that is! Kind of want to get off that horse, give up and crawl into a hole? 


Not so very long ago I made soup for 120 people. Potato soup, the best I have ever tasted. It was magnificent, magical, and the crown jewel to an ending of a convention that I was helping my son with. What can I say; I was eager and spoiled the whole thing by warming it up to early. Sour, it turned sour and my heart fell. I wanted to go home, to crawl in a hole and die. I didn’t, I made grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza out of leftovers instead. Doing this without a recipe is hard. There is no recipe for writing; you lose if you do not save. Sometimes getting back on that horse is not easy; the train of thought can be gone. So I get back on that horse and tell you what my Pink Panther found today. Funny actually, because “it” is a book about mind reading. Susan has written another book worth checking out, the sequel to a mind jacktrilogy. My mind is totally jacked, need I say more? At least I got back on that horse again. You can too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Secrets


 We all have them, you know...those life changing stories. Those secrets that we don't really want to share and the secrets that we can not share. Those pests and skeletons in the closet that you or your family put there. We have no choice, they are just there. Love lost, suicide, abuse of one kind or another...ghosts that haunt. Ghosts that are just there to tell a story. Those ghosts are yours. You make them real when you tell their story. The question is, do you dare? You are a writer so of course you dare. You change the names and make fantasy out of reality. Sometimes...and sometimes you just tell the truth and let it fly for what it is. Maybe your story will inspire, touch someone, or make someone believe in the impossible. Please check out My Gutsy Story at Gutsy living. Some of you  already know this story. I have never kept it a secret to my family or friends. When a secret can be kept or shared, I chose to share this one and I am glad that I did. Do you have a secret you want to share?



Monday, May 21, 2012

Special Guest-Girl in a Red Cap


Today I have a very special guest on my blog. My daughter is taking time out from her busy student life to explain what it is like going to school in Norway and what it means to be a "Russ." 


It didn’t surprise me when my mom asked me to explain what a Russ is on her blog today. She does not get it, but I really can’t blame her because the school system in Norway is much different than in the states. I know this because my brother spent a year in a junior high school in the states a few years back. My parents sent him there to live with my aunt in Seattle for a while to “straighten him out”. I think that worked out well for everyone. He was an A student over there, but once he came home he barely passed most of his classes. My point is that you Americans have it easy at school. You get a bus to take you there, a cafeteria with hot meals, free books and a structured class room. When you graduate from high school you have one day to wear your graduation clothes, one ceremony and a party where you get lots of money. Am I right?

We walk to school, we take our lunches with us in a paper bag and until just recently, we paid for our school books after 9th grade. When you are finished with 9th grade you get the option to go to high school or vocation school. If you do go to high school the changes are huge! You have to know what you want to do with your life in order to pick the right classes or you are FU…..(mom edit) If you choose wrong you pretty much have to start over. That is what I had to do. I am 22 years old and just finished “High School”. We call it videreg√•ende skole, which means continued education. It took me 6 years of starting over again but I finally did it! I am starting college this August and hopefully when I am finished with that in three years,  I will be a high school history and english teacher. This year I am a Red Russ.

There are several kinds of Russ. There are black ones, blue ones and red ones each defining what you have studied. Each Russ has a different uniform that they have to wear every day in the month of May. I was thinking how to describe this and found this on Wikipedia: “The russefeiring ('russ celebration') is a traditional celebration for Norwegian high school students in their final spring semester. Students that take part in the celebrations are known as russ. The russefeiring traditionally starts on 1 May and ends on the 17th of May, the Norwegian national day. Participants wear colored overalls, drive matching cars, vans, or buses, and celebrate almost continually during this period. Promiscuous sex, drunkenness and public disturbance on a mass scale has been the most prominent impact of the celebration in recent decades.” That pretty much covers it. As you can see, even celebrating graduating high school is a lot of hard work. Here are some of the things we have to do: CLICK THIS LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russefeiring#.22St.C3.A5kuka.22

Oh yeah, and then there are the exams during the whole month. Both written and oral, you never know which classes you get for your final exams until shortly before. I ended up with written Norwegian and Print/Photography. Wish me luck!

Mom owes me big time for doing this so I hope you enjoyed it.



Friday, May 18, 2012

Grill Master Weber-Mans Best Friend


One thing that I love about nice warm weather is that when my children ask, “What’s for dinner Mom?” I can point a finger at Dads best friend, and say that he is cooking dinner tonight.



What is it about men and grilling/barbequing? Have you ever noticed that at parties all the men gather around the grill, and the women gather around whoever is holding a baby? Most men shy away from the stove or oven, but put a grill fork in their hand, and a slab of meat on a plate, and then they are happy as can be. 

We barbeque a lot during the summer which saves me time because basically all I have to do is make a salad or two. Depending on what kind of salads you make, these can last for several days in the fridge. Because salads are cold, you don’t have to worry about the timing of your food. Just grab it out of the fridge and onto the table as soon as Mr. Grillmaster presents his work of culinary expertise. He will brag about how great it looks and you will compliment him. “Yes honey, it looks and smells fantastic, great job!” At that moment all is right with the world. Yes, this would be one secret of a good marriage. When he stands there with that smile on his face, proudly holding that plate in front of you, (even if the meat is burned) then just smile back.


As long as there is meat in the freezer and a grill outside, believe me you will not go hungry. Even a little rain will not keep a man away from his grill. Well, not in this house anyways. On the menu this week-end, come rain or shine: Pork Chops, BBQ Spareribs, Pork Tenderloin, Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Grilled Veggies on a spit and for dessert Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake. I made the salads and the cake last night, so all I have to do now is stab some vegetables, sit back and read my Kindle. Want to know what I am reading?  Michael Offutts new book Slipstream and so far, I am having a hard time putting it down.

Who does the grilling in your family? What is your theory on Men and their grills? Have a great week-end everyone. Leaving you with a few pictures of my daughter during and after her big 17th of May "Russ" celebration, tired but satisfied!

With a Friend in Warpaint
"Russ" have to do crazy things, this is one of them-crawling over a bridge.


After a long night and day without sleep..not exactly sober either

Monday maybe I will tell you what it means to be a "Russ".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Norway Celebrates Independence Day

This morning I was awoken at 7 am by the sounds of a canon. It is the 17th of May, 198 years since Norway signed its constitution and declared independence from the Danes.

Each year the senior students called "Russ" have spent the night in preparation of the big day that marks their graduation from school. Most of them have partied all night in their school uniforms and the goal is to see who can stay on their feet the longest. My daughter this year is one of them.


The children dress up in their fancy clothes . If they are lucky, and many are, they dress up in their national costumes. Shoes are shined, hair slicked back, ribbons in place and most important a small Norwegian flag to carry. The marching bands have been practicing all year for this event and their shiny instruments and drums are ready to set the streets alive with music. My husband marches out front carrying the banner flag for one of them. He has retired from playing but he still like to dress up in his uniform and march along. 


Where am I in all of this? Comforting our dog who we have dosed with Valium because the sounds of a music band petrify her just as much as fireworks. I don't have to go far, several parades with bands pass right outside our window. 



All over Norway, bells chime, guns sound of several solutes and children line up behind the music to start the parade. In Oslo the Royal family stands on the terrace of the palace and greets the thousands of children that pass below them. For Norwegians there is a special meaning behind this day, one that is separate from a declaration of independence. During WW2 Norwegians were not allowed by the Germans which occupied this country to celebrate their national holiday or to honor their flag. Norwegians would have to celebrate in secret among friends and family. Today on the 17th of May this beautiful country and its people celebrate in extra glory knowing full well what it is like not being able to do so. Today they eat a lot of ice cream because they can!

For all my Norwegian friends and family around the world, may your day be full of laughter, love and pride for who you are.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eye Spy a Spider and...

On my to read books, this one you can not pass up!
 
Time to put on my pink panther suit, creep around the internet and find something interesting to share with you. I try to find blogs, ideas, books, or anything else  that catches my fancy, and could use an extra boost. This week I am focusing on Flash Fiction challenges and Michael Offutts new book Slipstream. I know I am a bit late on his blog tour, but hop on over to his blog and check out his book AND HIS SPIDER! It is not to late to get on the tour bus, today he is making a stop over at my secret or not so secret bro, Michael Di Gesu...In Time, as always.



There are many blogs that offer flash fiction challenges. I find them good writing exercises and a lot of fun. Here is one that I recently found and would like to share with you.


Julia's place features  weekly something called 100WCGU. You have 100 words (or the number that have been set for that week) plus the prompt to write a creative piece. The idea behind these types of challenges is to meet new friends, help build the blogging community and practice your writing skills. Minnie gets bored waiting for the last Friday of every month to come along so she can play Gibberish with you. Maybe this challenge will keep her happy for awhile. Go check it out, I guarantee that even if you do not want to play, there is a lot of fun to be had in reading what others come up with. Telling a story in just a few words is not an easy task. Here is this weeks latest challenge and my contribution using these words:
 
LIBERTY    EMPIRE    APPLE    YELLOW    ENORMOUS




Tomorrow is Norway’s Independence Day. Norwegians celebrate their liberty with as much enthusiasm as Americans celebrate their 4th of July. Baseball, enormous parades and apple pie are typical American trademarks, yet we carry the same colors of red, white and blue. Both countries are an empire built by the struggles of ordinary men and women with dreams of a better life and hopes for a better future. My flag will be one among thousands that line the streets of Norway tomorrow, and if I am lucky… a yellow sun will warm my face as well...
Join me on Friday for "What's for Dinner Mom" and I will share my 17th of May celebration with you.
 If you have or know of something worth spying on, send me an email or post it here in the comments. Have a fantastic day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Loves


Today is my Story day and lucky for me it falls on the First loves Blogfest, another great party thrown by the master Ninja himself, Alex Cavanaugh. To check out other first loves for movies, books, music and people click on this link. Happy reading!


The Wizard of Oz made me fall in love with the magic of books, music and movies. At the time colored television had not been around for long, so I was very young. So young indeed that I cannot focus clearly on the memory, but it was sometime in the 1960's. The movie was based on the 1900 children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and after seeing the movie, it was the first book I bought with my own money.  I also had the soundtrack from the movie and knew all the songs by heart. (I still remember some of them) I staged summer theater in my garage always staring as Dorothy. My brother and sisters were forever doomed to the roles of the "Scarecrow", "Tin man" and "Cowardly lion."  To this day, I dream of having a pair of ruby red slippers just like Dorothy's. I admit to having a thing for all that sparkles and glitters. Always looking up, I find the stars here on earth, and in the heavens worth admiring. The Wizard of Oz covers my first loves when it comes to films, music and books. Childish, yes…but we are talking first loves here.

By the time I was ready to put away these childish things, love meant only one thing. In the 70’s, love was riding a motorcycle and listening to “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.  Pink Floyd posters replaced the family pictures on my walls, and I traded out my Ken and Barbie dolls with boys that were not made out of plastic. The first one that I  fell in love with got me pregnant and broke my heart when he left. After 35 years he is back in my life again, but now as a friend. To be honest with you, he actually gave me the first "true love" of my life… a son. My son is the only first love that grows stronger with time.

First loves usually never last but they are seldom forgotten. They find a corner in your heart all bundled up in sweet memories. Every once in a while one of your senses will unwrap a certain memory with a special song, a touching story, or a familiar face. That is when you know my friends, that first loves never truly die.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Lovely and Another Creative


 Lovely and Kreative are two blogger awards that have circulated blog land and found its way here. Two delightful, inspiring, humorous, intelligent, LOVELY and CREATIVE women have graced me with this honor to which I thank them---At a price. I must share 7 random things about myself, and pass these awards on to other bloggers who I find lovely and creative. Notice how I am combining two awards into one? That would be the first random thing about me:

  • I am very tricky. I also love to sneak up on people and scare them. Practical jokes make my day, and I love to hide things, especially treats so I can have them later. My family likes to compare me to a squirrel. 
  • You never know when or where I will be with my camera ready to catch you off guard. I am a super Spy and a Super hero, top secret of course, so don't tell anyone.
  • Hangers need to hang the same way in the closet to keep the universe from collapsing, I am still trying to convince my husband of that fact. He avoids that problem by throwing all his clothes on the floor and refusing to buy more closet space.
  • I am addicted to spices and herbs. I love experimenting with them in food and art.
  • I make my own soaps, oils, candles, incense....yes, I am a witch but don't worry, I am a good one and I never drink and fly.
  • There is always some kind of stone in my pocket or on my person, and I am always looking for new ones. I recently quite my stone of the month club but I think I may have to join again. Just another addiction.
  • The sound of sports announcers on TV or the radio make me cringe. I don't understand why they have to scream, it hurts my ears! If my husband is watching sport on TV, I wear headsets and listen to music. Get a grip people, it's only a ball!
Thank you crazy yet LOVELY MELYNDA and CREATIVE KATIE O'SULLIVAN for these awards, make sure to check out their great blogs. Here are my picks for random exposure, no pressure---do what you will with them.

 Lisa at Diary of a Square Toothed Girl -
 Jenni Steel at Natural Twigs n Spices -
 Geoff Maritz at Geoff's blogs -
Alisia at Some Writers Make It..
Hilary Melton-Butcher at Positive Letters .... inspirational stories
 Odie Langley at The Simple Life -
 Jamie McHenry at Faeries Are Real -
And last but not least Susan the Superearthling

For all you mothers out there, have  a wonderful Mothers Day! Your mother is the one person who will always have your back!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Avengers and Pasta


As I open the door to Fridays, “What’s for dinner Mom?" there is something I need to say:  Guess what? Today I managed to put on my super power apron and in true Avenger style, conjured up Captain Americas Macaroni and Cheese. Not an easy task without American cheese. Before I reveal to you my secret ingredients, I have a bone to pick with Mr. Marvel Comics.
How did Thor get so lost in the world of comics?

Ever since I saw the movie Thor my noodle has been cooking, and last week while watching The Avengers my pasta really started to boil. Why? Because Marvel Comics have taken the liberty of changing the Norse God Thor into a demi-god alien from the planet Asgard, with a half- brother named Loki. Since Thors mother was not human, but mother earth herself in the form of a giantess, and Thors father was the father of all Gods, then I would call Thor a full-blooded God.  Norse Gods; no more live on an Alien planet, then the Greek, Roman or any other God of mythology. It can be debated as to the relationship between Thor and Loki, but according to popular Norwegian legend, Loki was Odins blood brother. This would make Loki more of an uncle to Thor than a brother.  Ok enough ranting, and believe it or not I did like the movie The Avengers. There was a sense of humor which was lacking in the movie Thor and the acting was far superior. This is where I confess that I have a huge crush on Robert Downey Jr. and would love to serve him some of my pasta any day.

Back into the kitchen, let me share with you my secret to making Macaroni and Cheese, yes the American kind made with American/cheddar cheese. We do not get that here in Norway so our melted cheese is like stringy topping on a pizza. I found a way to get that smooth and creamy goodness in every bite! I added sausages to mine, but there is no need---I just like sausages. Here is what you need if you are Norwegian, if you are American you don't need my advice:

 Americans in Norway have to compromise when it comes to many favorite foods.

Instead of following the instructions for the cheese dip, you add double the amount of milk as is instructed on the packet, and you have a cheese sauce. If you are adding sausage or any other kind of prepared meat, make sure to cut it up in pieces. After you mix everything together, put it in a large casserole, top with shredded cheese and bake it in a medium warm oven for about 30-45 minutes. Here is the finished result:

Serve with a salad to make this dish more healthy.

Captain Americas Macaroni and Cheese, a guaranteed heart-breaker! Enjoy your week-end and if you are going to see The Avengers, don’t be fooled by Thor and Loki. Neither one of them are what they appear to be, unless of course you would rather believe in Mr. Marvels Comic book world. Either way, there is plenty of action and humor to keep you and the popcorn machine happy. Back on Monday with a story about first loves.

Have you seen the Avengers? Let me know what you think.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lost and Found


One year ago today my son found me 35 years after I had given him up for adoption. Those of you that have been following my blog this past year probably know the story, but for those of you that do not, I am re-posting some of those blogs today. Here is what happened and how it has changed my life forever.

The three of us, lost and then found

May happens to be an amazing month for me. Do you have a certain month where for some unexplained reason, life grabs you and makes you pay attention? May is that month for me. Maybe my mother, who was born in May, genetically imprinted this month for future events into my DNA. I married my husband in May, my youngest son was born in May, and two children who were lost to me found me once again, in the month of May. Two years ago on May 12th my daughter, who I lost through a messy divorce years ago, found me on Facebook. Last year on May 10th my firstborn son found me as well. 

You can not possibly imagine the effect this has had on my life and the life of my family. In one year, I gained two more children, two grandchildren, a son in law and various new friends including the estranged father of my first son. My husband became a step-father, my mother a great grandmother, and all my children gained more siblings. My son who lost both his adoptive parents and had no siblings, suddenly had a huge family with grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins. I often think how overwhelming this must be for him, and how many more surprises are still in store for all of us.


My youngest daughter traveled to the states last summer to meet both her sister and older brother for the first time. I traveled there soon after and got to spend time with the both of them, I also got to meet my grandchildren for the first time. There have been a lot of first times for everyone and this summer there will be even more. My son is coming to visit us and finally meet more members of his family.


One year ago I got out of bed and started the day with ordinary expectations, when I went to bed that night I realized that my expectations would never be ordinary again. How could they be? In one year I had given birth to two grown children, and the funny thing is ... 
No matter how grown up they may be, 
they still feel like--- my babies to me. 

All of us can get lost, but thankfully we can also be found.



If you are interested in reading more of this story, check : LOST AND FOUND



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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eye Spy


You might have noticed some changes to my side bar, and you might even remember that I have promised some changes to my blog. I am going to try and commit to at least three days a week, each with a theme. Mondays will be story day. Sometimes my posts will be on Norse mythology, Norwegian culture, fairytales or just gibberish, whatever strikes my fancy. Wednesdays are Eye Spy...Something or someone out there is worth spying on so I will let you know each Wednesday what or who that is. Fridays are all about food and family, so back from popular demand; I will let you into my kitchen and answer my childrens favorite question, "What's for dinner Mom?" Don't let this question fool you, my family has a huge appetite and often there is much more on the table than food. Minnie will still be playing gibberish on the last Friday of every month, with her finished story on the following Monday. Now like I said, I am going to give this a try and see how it goes. Maybe having more structure in my blogging will allow me more time to work on my book.

A couple of months ago my blog had its one year anniversary and to celebrate I had a blogfest. The prize I was giving away if I had reached my goal was a troll and some Norwegian chocolate. The troll is still here, but I ate the chocolate. Maybe someday I will try another blogfest, but the few times I have tried have not been very successful. It isn’t much fun to throw a party when hardly anyone bothers to come. Oh well, more chocolate for me.

Today I am turning my spying eye to Hart Johnson who has been writing in her bathtub again to bring us her first ever “Cozy Mystery” book which is being released on June 5th.  The name of her book is The Azalea Attack, and she is celebrating together with her friend and mentor Elizabeth Spann Craig. Elisabeth is also releasing on the same day, her first book in a new series called, Quilt or Innocence ... Both books are “Cozy Mysteries”... Check out their CrazyCozy Blogfest and join the fun!
If you know of anyone or something worth spying on, let me know so I can put on my spy gear and sneak around. I do so love being a sneaky spy. So what do you think about my new blogging schedule and themes? Do you think it will help me to focus more on my book? Do you like to sneak around too? It drives my husband crazy but keeps him on his toes.



Monday, May 7, 2012

Key to the A-Z?

"Guess I have to change my dress now"


This is a reflections post for the a-z blogging challenge. I am a survivor of this challenge for the second year in a row. The trick to surviving the A-Z challenge is finding the key to your imagination and to stay committed. Once you have done that this key will open locks to doors that you might have never found before. You will discover new blogs, and make new friends, but most important, you will get the chance to party everyday (except Sundays) for an entire month with hundreds of other bloggers. You get to connect with others through the alphabet and learn about all sorts of interesting things.


Last year I tackled the challenge on a daily basis and really had no theme worked out. This year, I planned my posts in advance, decided on a theme and even had my own challenge mascot. For those of you that are doing the challenge next year, I recommend scheduling your posts in advance. This saved me so much time and if I needed to make changes it was easy to go find the scheduled post and edit it.


What I really loved were the little buttons that enabled me to easily check out each blog that was doing the challenge. I wish that it had been there from the beginning of the challenge because once I saw that I could get the buttons and downloaded them on to my blog it made traveling so much easier. Even though the challenge is over, I still want to use them so I hope that will be possible.


This year I was very happy to see that the advertising and inactive blogs were found and eliminated from the list. Who ever managed that, GOOD JOB! It was so irritating last year to run into those dead ends. It was also pleasant to see that most bloggers kept their posts short and easy to read. Most bloggers also removed Captcha -Word Verification, and made it easy to comment and follow their blogs. I think this is largely due to the great advice that was handed down through the A-Z blog which is something that I also loved this year. Having a point of reference for the challenge helped me out a lot.


On a final note I would like to thank all those wonderful people that worked so hard to make this challenge so great. I had a blast and now that I have found my imagination key, I plan on using it again next year. I hope to see all of you there on the other side of  the ABC door.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Friend Stanley

Let me tell you about this guy I know. He is made out of paper and came to visit my home just before Easter. His name is Flat Stanley.


 "This is what he looked like when he got here, I forgot to take a picture of him before I sent him home all dressed up in his bunad...I know, my bad!"

"Flat Stanley" lives flat on a page and can fly around the world in an envelope. He is part of a project for teaching children about reading, writing, and learning about new places in the world. My Flat Stanley came to visit me from Ohio, USA and this is what he wrote in the travel journal in took back to his class:
 
When I first arrived in Larvik, Norway-- running into the Trolls scared me the most. Lucky for me Larvik is by the sea and Trolls live up in the mountains.  From Ohio to Norway, (as the crow flies) there are over 4000 miles of land and sea. Larvik is a small town in Norway known for having been the home to a great explorer named Thor Heyerdahl and a ship builder whose name was Colin Archer. Colin Archer built a famous ship called Fram that explored the North Pole. Not sure if he ever saw Santa there or not, but I bet he saw a lot of reindeer. If you go far enough North in Norway you do go over the polar circle. There are Polar bears there but I did not get to see any here in Larvik. What I did get to see are Viking graves and those are pretty cool. There are huge mounds all over Larvik and in these mounds are Vikings that have been buried with everything they owned, even their ships!

Easter here is very strange. It lasts a whole week and most Norwegians go up into the mountains to stay in a cabin and go skiing. There are no Easter baskets, but there are lots of Easter eggs and the kids here get big ones filled with chocolate. I did not understand the language because it is very strange but luckily the family I stayed with has an American mother and her whole family speaks English very well. They gave me this outfit that I am wearing. It is called a Bunad, which is their national costume. The 17th of May is their National day and almost everyone wears one of these costumes on that day and they all go in big parades and eat lots of ice cream. These costumes are different depending on where in Norway you come from. I am wearing the one from Larvik, so what do you think? I wish I could have stayed longer so I could have gone in a parade and eaten lots of ice cream too. Maybe someday I will come back and see some Polar Bears and Reindeer. Maybe even some Trolls.


Have you heard of the Flat Stanley Project? One of my blogging friends gave my name to a teacher in Ohio, after I agreed to participate, and I am so glad that I did. If you happen to see him somewhere around your home, make sure to say hi from me!

Have a great week-end everyone. I will back on Monday with a reflection post on the A-Z challenge, hope to see you then.







Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Last Chocolate



Time once again for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Today I have a huge confession to make, I am a scatterbrain.  Easily distracted and just as easily bored, I find myself moving from one project to another. Nothing seems to hold my attention for very long, part of me might even be afraid of being consumed if I commit to one thing. Does this sound familiar? Most creative people, I believe, have indulgent personalities. When something does catch my attention, it is hard to pull away from it, and when it ceases to be interesting I have no problem putting it away and moving on to something else. In one sitting I can watch a whole TV series, read an entire book, finish a painting, eat a whole bag of chocolates, finish a bottle of wine, or drink a pot of coffee. Not all of these things at once, mind you, but doing things half way is not my style. This can be both good and bad, depending on what kind of results you are after.


When it comes to writing, I am as far removed from this world as possible. I live the words, I breath the words and I dream them at night. Everything else is annoying and irritating, much to the dismay of my family, daily chores and food fall in that category. Locking myself away in a remote cabin with my writing tools sounds like heaven to me. Since that is not possible, and the business of living outside of obsessions is necessary,  I need to focus. As a writer it is easy to get distracted and to lose focus on the story you are trying to tell. A pretty new idea might temp you in a different direction and get you lost. Focus on the road you set off on, because if you take too many detours you will never get to where you were going in the first place. Then again, you might get someplace even better. See my problem? I need focus, but somehow it eludes me. Does it do the same thing to you? Do you have some secret "Focus" formula? If so, please share. 

Now that I have finished the last chocolate from the bag, it's time to get back to work. Have a great hump day and try to stay focused.