No Room in the Doghouse

Poor Snoopy!  At least the Brown family’s house has a large closet where he can house his rejection letters.  I wonder if Charles Schulz would’ve lived (and not retired), if he would have had Snoopy transition to writing on a computer and sending in his queries by email?  Have an amazing weekend, friends!

The Recurring Chair

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I will share with you the true story of The Recurring Chair.  As you know, besides being a writer, I’m also a professional photographer (which means I am always on the lookout for interesting props).  About two years ago, my sister Michelle and I were driving along an out-of-the-way road, when we saw what appeared to be the most perfect red chair in someone’s garbage.

One of our favorite spots to take a posh chair is out to the woods near our house for some “elegant grunge” style portraits such as this:

Now, please keep in mind that we were both extremely embarrassed to garbage pick in broad daylight, but a find like the red chair was too good to wait for dark.  We just knew that if we came back later, that chair would be gone.

Anyway, the red chair seemed perfect… until we got it home.  Once we got it home, we noticed it had a certain funk to it, and one of the legs was wobbly.  We considered repairing it, but in the end, we decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

In our neighborhood, if you garbage doesn’t fit in your can, you have to call the sanitation department and make arrangements for them to do a non-scheduled pick-up.  Furthermore, these are only free twice a year.  So it’s not uncommon for us to save our big garbage until we’ve amassed enough big stuff to make the call worthwhile.  When you schedule a pick-up, they have three days to actually come get the garbage from in front of your house.

About a month later, we had a few other pieces of furniture and some large boxes to toss, so we scheduled a pick-up, and the red chair made its way to the curb.  After we took everything down to the road, we left to run an errand.  When we returned, we noticed that the red chair was gone!

We chuckled that someone else had garbage picked it as we had, and by the next morning when the rest of the garbage was picked up, we forgot all about it.

Fast forward a year.  Last year, we had a friend who had stored a bunch of his stuff in our garage for nearly eleven months, and we had another friend who had kept a few of her things in our garage for almost two months.  Additionally, my son Jeremy did a month-long (quite messy!) project in the garage where he made soundproof panels for his recording studio.  Furthermore, we had amassed some more large, bulky furniture that we wanted to throw away.

The point is, our garage had reached capacity, and it was so gross, we hated even setting foot in it!  It was time to reclaim our garage.

So over the three-day weekend for Memorial Day 2014, Michelle and I literally spent morning, noon, and night clearing crap out of our garage.  We pre-arranged a pick-up for after the weekend, and Friday evening, we started hauling stuff down to the curb.  Besides things that were just plain garbage such as a ton of cardboard boxes, we tossed several items of furniture, games, electronics, gardening tools, photography props, over-sized picture frames, and other stuff we no-longer needed.  Among the items we discarded was a large, heavy, outdated entertainment center.

We were amused at the inordinate number of people who were just ballsy enough to stop their cars and actually garbage pick our stuff right in front of us as we worked.  One man who took our terra cotta flower pots actually walked into the garage where we were working and asked if we had any more!  It seemed as soon as we took something to the curb, someone stopped to pick it up.

That Saturday night, while we had only just made a large dent in the work to be done, our rabbit died and we had to leave to go bury him.  When we got home, the only two items left by our curb were the entertainment center… and the red chair we had thrown away the year before!  We both laughed hysterically, and were happy for the levity to our sad situation with our pet.

By Sunday morning, the red chair was gone again, but by Monday afternoon, it was returned!

Monday afternoon was also when we were finally done cleaning the garage, and it is still just as clean today without any items that belong to anyone else who doesn’t live here.

The garbage truck came Tuesday morning, and by then, the only things left for them to take other than broken down cardboard boxes were the entertainment center… and the recurring red chair!

Time to talk:  How clean is your garage?  Have you ever garbage picked anything?  If so, what?  Would you ever have the nerve to garbage pick something, then several months later put it back?

Where Cats Hide

This is Dakota.  You’ve heard me tell how we rescued him back when I shared stories in my eerie predictions month.  Even though he is officially Dakota, he acts more like a “Stewie,” so we call him Stewie more often than not.

Stewie’s favorite game is hide and seek.  This time when we couldn’t find him, he was hiding in a case of water bottles.  Oh, Stewie!

Let’s talk:  What is your pet’s favorite hiding spot?  Do you drink bottled, filtered, or tap water?  If you drink bottled, what is your favorite brand and why?

The Jolly Old Elf

This time last year, I’d been blogging for just over a month, and I didn’t have nearly the number of followers that I have now, thank you very much.  So if you saw this last year, please forgive me for repeating myself.  But as far as my old stories from years gone by, I’m just about out of new ones to share.

This one is especially funny because it’s so stupid. I wrote this when I was in the first grade, so I would have been six at the time. I remember I was preoccupied with learning to write in cursive, even though we had not yet learned it in school. Hence, you can see that I managed to at least sign my name in cursive. (How funny that I was so obsessed, and now they don’t even teach cursive in school anymore.)

The thing that’s especially humorous (and embarrassing) to me about this poem is that I swear my first grade teacher told us a story (or read us a book) about “Carl’s Leprechaun.” It must have made a big impact on me to go home and write about it. Yet, when I found this recently, I Googled it and can find no such story!

The other comical element, besides my bad spelling, is that I had to write in the margin that it was indeed a poem. Obviously my reasoning was so that no one could confuse it for a novel or other fictitious prose narrative.

In case you can’t decipher my masterpiece, it reads as follows:

The Jolly Old Elf
There was an elf.
Hee hee hee.
I can’t believe what I see.
I said, “Hi there.”
He said, “Zee zee zee.”
Now it’s the end because
He was Carl’s Leprechaun.

(By the way, no one was able to answer my plea for help last year, so I’ll ask again… If YOU know who or what Carl’s Leprechaun is, would you please tell me?)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Friends!

Let’s chat:  Have you ever heard of Carl or his leprechaun?  Have you ever pinched someone because they didn’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?  What is your favorite book or even movie about a leprechaun?  Are YOU wearing green today?

Changes

Last week, I blogged the cover reveal for my good friend Craig Boyack’s new book, Will O’ the Wisp.  I shared with you how I designed the cover and how much I loved the story.   Today, I am pleased to announce that as of this past weekend, Will O’ the Wisp is finally available for sale on Amazon.

By the way, if you don’t know what a will o’ the wisp is, I’ll be happy to explain in Craig’s own words:

“It is a natural phenomenon involving a light that floats above swampy or boggy areas. It’s also seen with friction associated with tectonic plate movement. Science doesn’t exactly know, because it is extremely rare. There are many legends associated with it, and I took the legends from there.”

I also wanted to show you the difference between the original photo and what ended up being Craig’s cover.  Here is the original:

The Original

And here again is the finished product:

Will O’ the Wisp by C.S. Boyack

And since it is now published, I’d like to share the blurb with you as well:

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.  Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.  Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.  Patty is going to have to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.  Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense and is set in the mid-1970s.

Now if you think this looks or sounds even remotely intriguing, please know that it definitely is!  And I’d never steer you wrong.  So please hop on over to Amazon and pick yourself up a copy right now.  (By the way, if you’re anywhere other than in North America right now, you’ll want to pick up THIS copy.  Craig used a portion of song lyrics, and the license he purchased only covered North America.  He made a different international version for the rest of the world.)

Time to talk:  Did you already know what a will o’ the wisp was?  Have you ever known someone who claimed to be the victim of a family curse?  Do you like when books are set in a past time of your life so you can vividly recall certain news items, technology, or fads?

The Luck O’ the Irish

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I have yet another one of my kindergarten projects to showcase.  (My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cook, loved to keep us busy with art projects, which is why I think I loved her so much.)

First of all, you’ll notice this is printed on the old school “ditto” paper, which you can tell because of the purple ink (which always smelled so awful to me!).  And while it might look like I got lazy with the assignment, that is not the case.  We were supposed to paint a green “wash” over the entire page, though I’m not entirely sure why.  (It seems to me that if we would have perhaps first colored with a white crayon of a piece of wax, that would’ve made more sense because it would have been like Easter Egg art.)  At any rate, it was a very thin, watery paint, and at first, I didn’t use enough.  So Mrs. Cook held my hand in hers and dipped my brush in the green water, then helped me paint the entire page.

Of all my works that my Grandma threw out over the years, I have no idea why she felt that this one was a keeper.

Let’s talk:  Did your mom ever keep an absolutely stupid piece of work you did?  Did you ever have to complete what seemed like a pointless assignment?  Did you like the smell of ditto paper?