13: What Caught My Senses: Keep Calm and Read On, Peeps




* We moved into our house at the end of April and my writing room is finished 😉

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Love Minus Eighty














*Little Read Reviewer- Intriguing Review- Love Minus Eighty- Will McIntosh- http://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/love-minus-eighty-by-will-mcintosh/#comment-8215

* Entertainment Weekly- The YA novel Divergent Is Becoming a Movie- http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/06/19/this-weeks-cover-divergent-first-look/ (I really enjoyed Divergent & Insurgent is waiting patiently on my bookshelf for me to read 😉

* Huff Post- Best Summer Books & Their Corresponding Drinks- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/summer-books-_n_3472844.html?utm_hp_ref=books (One of which is Love Minus Eighty paired with a frozen margarita).

* Salon- Will Reading Make You Rich? http://www.salon.com/2013/06/21/will_reading_make_you_rich/

*Rebekah Wolveire- Seeking Beta Readers for book 1 of Vampire series- http://rebekahwolveire.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/seeking-beta-readers-forbook1-of-vampire-series/

* Kristen Lamb- Should Authors Write Bad Book Reviews?-  http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/should-authors-write-bad-book-reviews/

*Book Store Book Blogger Connection- http://bookstorebloggerconxn.com/ (Fabulous idea!!!!)






*Win a Contract to Write a Dark Crystal Novel: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/win-a-contract-to-write-a-dark-crystal-novel_b72556










*Hunt County Writers Retreat- July 5 &6- Middlesburg, VA-  http://huntcountrysuspense.com/WritersRetreat2013.html?et_mid=624399&rid=234710119

Author Interview Questions: 

* Jen Wylie’s Blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/brainstorm-interesting-author-interview-questions/#comment-3629 (Jen’s post helped me think of author interview questions 😉


* Ky Grabowski- Would You Like to Be Featured on Ky’s Blog? – http://kygrabowski.wordpress.com/monthly-billboard/


* One of my favorite poems:

Self Pity- D.H. Lawrence:

I never saw a wild thing

sorry for itself.

A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough

without ever having felt sorry for itself.


* The Novel Reviewer- How to Keep Motivated When Writing- http://www.thenovelreviewer.com/how-to-keep-motivated-when-writing/


* B-day gifts from my best friend Danielle which includes a purse hook that says Keep Calm and Have A Cupcake 😉








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* Florida Georgia Line- Crusie- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PvebsWcpto  “Baby you a song You make me wannna roll my windows down and cruise.”

* Movie – The Place Beyond the Pines- Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper. I was looking forward to this one but was disappointed. I wouldn’t watch this again.

* Movie- Stoker- Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goodeman. Not my cup of tea, even though I appreciate artistic movies. I wouldn’t watch this again.

* Movie- The Call- Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin. This one was a pleasant surprise. I might watch this again.









* My Schmom’s Lasagna – I nicknamed my mom “Schmom” after the Sheetz breakfast sandwich. 😉








* A whole lot of goodness from Great Harvest Bakery


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* This weekend my parents visited from Pennsylvania. My dad made a campfire in my backyard and we made mountain pies (take 2 pieces of white bread and fill with anything you desire. We made pizza ones- sauce, cheese, pepperoni and apple pie ones – apple pie filling). And of course we made S’mores. 😉


* Bitten by a zillion mosquitoes 😦

Guest Author John W. Howell

Photo by Tim Burdick - Copy* Twenty-Five Questions with author John W. Howel

* Visit John’s blog, Fiction Favorites, at http://johnwhowell.com/

  1. Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been? I have been a logophile since I was in the third grade. I started looking up words without being told to.
  2. What is your favorite color? Has to be coral.
  3. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born on the mean streets of Detroit and grew up there until my Freshman year in High School. We moved to the suburbs then.
  4. What is your favorite football team? Pittsburg Steelers
  5. Who is your favorite author? Kurt Vonnegut
  6. What is your favorite book? Has to be Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut followed by Catch 22 by joseph Heller.
  7. What do you do when you are not writing? I am restoring my 1978 Toyota FJ 40 Land Cruiser
  8. Do you have a day job as well? I do not have a day job. I am a full time writer, I do occasionally consult with big business types.
  9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? My advice would be to write every day even if it is only a few words. Do not worry about building a platform until you have at least one finished work ready to go. Then start the next and begin building a marketing plan.
  10. Is being a writer a curse or a gift? Writing is both. The gift is when others enjoy the work and understand exactly what you had intended to convey. It is a curse when the opposite occurs which it always does.
  11. Where do you write? I live by the Gulf of Mexico so I write at the dining room table which has a view of the water.
  12. Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write? I like 70’s rock when working on a novel and silence when composing poetry. I actually wrote my current novel listening to my iPod. I put it on shuffle and use noise reducing earplugs for a total wipeout.
  13. What do you typically drink while writing? I drink water. I have a pint Mason Jar that I fill with ice and drink away. On Friday night a similar jar is filled with Margarita and consumed after the writing is done.
  14. What challenges have you had in regards to your writing life? The only real challenge came after I decided to go the traditional publishing route. I did a lot of queries and finally landed a contract.
  15. When did you first start and when did you finish your book? I started my book on April 1 (no joke) and finished August 8th. It was a total of 89,000 words.
  16. If your book is made into a movie, which actors/actresses do you envision playing the parts? I would like Matthew McConaughey to play the role of my protagonist John J. Cannon. I have a nice part for Gwyneth Paltrow as well.
  17. What does your protagonist think of you? Would he/she want to hang out with you? John J. Cannon is a San Francisco lawyer who wants to take a leave of absence to become a charter captain. He comes to visit the town I live in and we have become fast friends. I sometimes have him over fro dinner or we meet for drinks at one of the local bars. He has a 65 foot Hatteras Coverable fisherman boat so he is a good friend to have.
  18. How do you market your book? What avenues work best? My book will be published later this year by Martin Sisters Publishing and I intend to do book signings, local interviews, special book events and a bunch of social media marketing.
  19. What has been the toughest criticism so far? Really haven’t had any however I believe there will be some.
  20. What has been the best compliment? My editor said the voice was strong and the story well paced
  21. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? I have some vignettes that are based on experience but the story line is totally made up.
  22. How did you come up with the title? The working title is My GRL which is the name of John’s boat
  23. Will there be a sequel? yes. The main evil doer gets away and we need to get him in the next book
  24. What project are you working on now? I am 60,000 words into the sequel and trying to master some poetry forms
  25. What question did I leave out that you’d like to answer? Do you do any other kind of writing? Well, I also write short stories and have done some copywriting
Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and Kick Some Butt while Writing On

Sad, Happy, But NOT Sappy.


* This is a post I wrote awhile back on an old blog and figured I’d share.

            I prefer a heart wrenching and tragic ending to a saccharine fairy tale. If that makes me “emo” as the middle school students that I counsel would say- so be it. My favorite color is black. I love the rain. And I heart sad endings. Ambiguous endings work too.

“Legends of the Fall” is one of my all time favorite movies. For those of you that haven’t seen it- SPOILER ALERT- Three brothers fall in love with the same woman (Susannah, played by Julia Ormond) The first brother is her fiance but dies during World War I, the second (Brad Pitt who’s name is Tristan in the movie) pulverizes her heart, and she kills herself while married to the third brother. Tristan writes her a letter from the sea which says “All we had is dead. As I am dead. Marry another.” When he finally returns, Susannah is married to Tristan’s eldest brother Alfred. She says to him “Forever turned out to be too long.”


            One of my favorite poems is “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath. An excerpt:


Is an art, like everything else,

I do it exceptionally well.”


            Fortunately my musician husband is a fellow “emo” when it comes to music. We chose to dance to “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice on our wedding day. Patrick made sure to ask the DJ to cut off the last part of the song- “I can’t take my mind off of you…’til I find somebody new.”


           The other day I stumbled upon an online survey- “The Three Types of Novel Endings.” Out of the 1,740 participants, 41% preferred happy endings but only 2.2% enjoyed sad endings. I assume that the rest favored cliff hangers.

Yesterday I asked 19 co-workers if they preferred a happy or a sad ending. Nine of them said “happy,” six said “both happy and sad” and four said “sad.” Several also added that they enjoy “cliffhangers.”

Kelly, a friend and co-worker, mentioned that she “likes endings that are a step up (for the character) from where they were.”

Another friend and co-worker, Kevin, explained that he prefers “ambiguous endings and enjoys discovering what happens to the minor characters based on the actions or inactions of the main characters.”


            Do you prefer happy, sad or ambiguous?

Guest Authors Wanted!

Guest-Authors-Wanted * Would you like to be featured on Keep Calm & Write On?

If so, please follow these easy steps:

1. Follow Keep Calm & Write On

2.  Answer the following 25 questions and the fill in the blank.

3. Send to Feltenk@hotmail.com  (Please include your name and any pictures you’d like posted. I’ll let you know when I’ve received your info).

* My goal is to feature an author (published or not) once a week.


Keep Calm and Answer These Twenty-Five Questions

  1. Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been?
  2. What is your favorite color?
  3. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
  4. What is your favorite football team?
  5. Who is your favorite author?
  6. What is your favorite book?
  7. What do you do when you are not writing?
  8. Do you have a day job as well?
  9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
  10. Is being a writer a curse or a gift?
  11. Where do you write?
  12. Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write?
  13. What do you typically drink while writing?
  14. What challenges have you had in regards to your writing life?
  15. When did you first start and when did you finish your book?
  16. If your book is made into a movie, which actors/actresses do you envision playing the parts?
  17. What does your protagonist think of you? Would he/she want to hang out with you?
  18. How do you market your book? What avenues work best?
  19. What has been the toughest criticism so far?
  20. What has been the best compliment?
  21. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
  22. How did you come up with the title?
  23. Will there be a sequel?
  24. What project are you working on now?
  25. What question did I leave out that you’d like to answer?

Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and _________________













* Painting by Dottie Dunsmore



* Chris McMullen- What Makes People Buy Books?- http://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/what-makes-people-buy-books/


* The Nearest Poem Anthology – Sofia M. Starnes – Submit a poem that resonates with you, one that you haven’t written, by June 30 for consideration: http://www.sofiamstarnes.com/page11.html

* Virginia’s Writing Club- The Golden Nib Contest – submit poetry, fiction, non-fiction by September 3- http://www.virginiawritersclub.org/events?eventId=486528&EventViewMode=EventDetails

* Write By the Rails- Golden Nib Contest- submit poetry, fiction, non-fiction by July 15- http://www.writebytherails.org/2013/05/judges-for-first-tier-of-golden-nib.html

* Narrative Fifth Annual Poetry Contest – Submit until July 19- http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/207341

* Sante Fe Writing Project Contest- http://www.sfwp.com/the-contest

* Glimmer Train’s Fiction Submission Deadline June 30- http://www.glimmertrainpress.com/writer/html/index2.asp

* Book Hub is looking for Submissions for eBook publishing: http://bookhubinc.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/writers-and-authors-wanted-book-hub-is-looking-for-submissions/

* The Community Storyboard- Accepting Submissions In Most Genres: https://neverendingstorydepository.wordpress.com/


Virginia’s Writing Club- A Symposium for Writers on the Journey to Publication- Saturday, Aug 3- (I registered today!) http://www.virginiawritersclub.org/events?eventId=694357&EventViewMode=EventDetails


* Christian Mihai- 50 Questions About Self Publishing- http://cristianmihai.net/2013/06/13/50-questions-about-self-publishing/

* Catherine Caffeinated- How Self-Published Books Are Made Part II:  http://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/06/19/how-self-published-books-are-made-start-to-finish-part-ii/

* Horseshoe Publishing- http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/a-post-for-horseshoe-publishing/comment-page-1/#comment-1137


* We Are All Vulnerable to Plagiarism- http://selfpubauthors.com/2013/06/18/we-are-all-vulnerable-to-plagiarism/


* Kristen Lamb- The Three NEVERs of Social Media: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/the-three-nevers-of-social-media/#comment-74094


* Vote Kate to the Top- She has an amazing opportunity & she needs your help. It takes less than a minute to vote! –  http://andrawatkins.com/2013/06/19/vote-kate-to-the-top/


* The Perfect Number of Children for Literary Success- http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2013/jun/13/perfect-number-children-literary-success-pictures

*Vice Suicide Shoot Pulled After Sparking Controversy- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/vice-suicide-shoot_n_3460219.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books

Vice Published a Fashion Spread of Female Writer Suicides [Updated]








* A Big Thanks to Patty at Petite Magique for nominating me for Loyal Reader Award-  http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/150-followers-and-more-awards/









* Movie Pre-Screening The Heat – Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy- hysterical!

* I signed up for free tickets through Advance Screenings: http://advancescreenings.com/












* Movie Pitch Perfect – Anna Kendrick & Acapella Awesomeness! 2 Thumbs Up

* Pitch Perfect Soundtrack- http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=xoilhw-Rt1E&feature=endscreen

4 chords







* Axis of Awesome- 4 Chord Song – all the greatest hits from the past 40 years just use 4 chords – same 4 chords for every song

savages 2







* Movie Savages – I wasn’t rooting for any of the characters (except a tad for villains Salma Hayek, John Trovolta, and Benicio Del Toro b/c they were at least entertaining)  – SPOILER ALERT- and was satisfied by their demise in the “first” ending (esp. Blake Lively’s character which I couldn’t stand). I do not like promiscuous, Barbie doll, wanna-be hippy, airhead types, who only care about drugs, shopping, and boys.  The “second” ending was less cliche but left the main characters alive to continue on swimming in the ocean and smoking pot, which is probably a more realistic ending. Perhaps this was director Oliver Stone’s intention- to show how thin the line between a savage and a civilized person is and how easy it is to turn a blind eye to the injustices of the world, until of course, it effects you.












* Passenger- Let Her Go- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBumgq5yVrA – “Only know you love her when you let her go. And you let her go.”

* Miley Cyrus- Stay – http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=RGLh138m7sA&feature=endscreen “Say you love me more than you did before…”

* Does anyone else hate talking on the phone? I’m okay with texts and emails but phones? Ugh!


* My stinky but lovable dogs- Sammy and Gustav (named after composer Gustav Mahler)























* Claire’s at the Depot, Warrenton, VA (Former train station)











* Moo Thru in Remington, VA


* Once again, I got nothing!

Social Media Quiz

I Like

How much do you know about social media?

* Tomorrow I’m going into a few classes to talk to my students about social media and I decided to create a quiz for them b/c who doesn’t love a quiz on the last full day of school?!  (I found this information on various internet sites including SlideShare, YouTube, JeffBullus.com, &  HubSpot)

1. What is an internet troll?

A. A mythical creature originally from Scandinavia

B. Someone who sits under a bridge stealing WiFi

C. Someone who posts comments to blogs or internet forums that are calculated to upset, disgust or anger other people. (A.K.A. former actress and wanna-be rapper, Amanda Bynes)

2. What is the most popular social media in the US?

A. Twitter

B. Facebook

C. Instagram

3. What is Foursquare?

A.  A type of pattern on golfer’s socks.

B.  A social network in which users share their locations with friends.

C.  Firm and unwavering conviction; “a foursquare refusal to yield”.

4. Which celebrity has the most Twitter followers?

A. Lada Gaga

B. Justin Bieber

C. Barack Obama

5. How many hours of video footage are uploaded to YouTube every minutes?

A. Seven hours

B. Twelve hours

C. Thirty-Five hours

6. What is the average number of friends that someone has on Facebook?

A. 75

B. 300

C. 130

7. How much time does the average American teenager spend on social media per day?

A. 3.8 hours

B. 2.4 hours

C. 1.5 hours

8. Do men or women spend more time on social media?

A. Men

B. Women

9. What is the most addictive social media site?

A. Twitter

B. Instagram

C. Facebook

10. Which political group of people use Twitter the most?

A. Democrats

B. Independents

C. Republicans

11. What percentage of people ages 18-24 use social media while in the bathroom?

A. 55%

B. 33%

C. 12%

12. How many Tweets are sent per day?

A. 100 million

B. 25 million

C. 450 million

13. How many Facebook users have zero privacy settings?

A. 12%

B. 5%

C. 25%

14. The average Twitter user follows (or is followed by)

A. 51 people

B. 33 people

C. 90 people

15. How many people in the US use the internet?

A. 206. 2 million

B. 305 million

C. 175 million

16. Which athlete was googled the most in 2012?

1. Swimmer Michael Phelps

2. Basketball player Jeremy Lin

3. Football player Peyton Manning

17. Which celebrity or celebrities was googled the most in 2012?

A. Band One Direction

B. Princess Kate Middleton

C. Singer Whitney Houston

18. Which movie was googled the most in 2012?

A. The Avengers

B. Skyfall

C. The Hunger Games

18. Which image was googled the most in 2012?

1. Band One Direction

2. Selena Gomez

3. Justin Bieber

19. Who is the most googled celebrity in the world?

A. Justin Bieber

B. Lady Gaga

C. Rhianna

20. How many people in the US have an internet addiction?

A. 1 in 5

B. 1 in 8

C. 1 in 10

21. Do more male or female teens prefer to shop online?

A. Females

B. Males

22. Which website makes the most money?

A. eBay

B. Google

C. Amazon

23. What is the most popular Facebook game?

A. Candy Crush saga

B. FarmVille

C. Pet Rescue Saga

24. What song lyrics were googled the most in 2012?

A. Boyfriend- Justin Bieber

B. Payphone- Maroon 5

C. Gangnam Style – PSY

25. What song has the most YouTube hits ever?

A. Gangnam Style- PSY

B. Justin Bieber- Baby

C. Jennifer Lopez fet. Pitbull- On the Floor


1. C – Someone who posts comments…

2.  B- Facebook- 58% of Americans have a Facebook account ( 15% have Twitter, 12% Instagram)

3. B- A social network or C- which is the definition of FourSquare

4. B- Justin Bieber – 40 million  (Lady Gaga has 37.9, Barack Obama has 32.2)

5. C- 35 hours

6. B- 300 friends (I’m below average with only 288, ha!)

7. A- 3.8 hours

8. B. Women

9. C. Facebook (23% of Facebook users check their account at least 5 times per day)

10. A. Democrats

11. B. 33% (Is using social media in the bathroom weird? Cause I do this, too!)

12. C. 450 million

13. C. 25% (Yikes!)

14. A. 51 people

15. A. 206.2

16. B. Jeremy Lin

17. C. Whitney Houston

18. C. The Hunger Games

19. One Direction

20. B. Lady Gaga

21. B. 1 in 8 (including me, clearly!)

22. B. Males

23. C. Amazon

24. A. Candy Crush Saga (It really is fun!)

25. C. Gangnam Style PSY

26. A. Gangnam Style- PSY

Week 11: What Caught My Senses This Week






juliusf d










* Robert Rostein: 12 Famous Writers Who Did Time: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-rotstein/famous-authors-who-did-ti_b_3403276.html?utm_hp_ref=books

* 10 Best Books for Summer: (FYI: Bring Up the Bodies was in the running for the Women’s Fiction Prize 2013):  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/best-books-summer-2013-10_n_3402117.html?utm_hp_ref=books

*Penguin Book Truck- (Holds 500 books)- Mobile Bookstore: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/penguin-book-truck_n_3404169.html?ref=topbar

*Flavorwire- What Your Favorite Shakespeare Play Says About You: ( Evidently, I tend to sympathize with villains!)  http://flavorwire.com/394825/what-your-favorite-shakespeare-play-says-about-you

*Author Wendy Higgins Book Signing at Barnes and Noble, Sat, June 15 from 11 am-1 pm, Manassas, VA

* Sarah Cradit’s The Storm and the Darkness cover reveal- http://sarahcradit.wordpress.com/


* Poetry Foundation- Writing Your Own Poem-


* The New Yorker- 8 Rules for Writing Fiction- http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2013/06/eight-rules-for-writing-fiction.html

*Nathan Bransford- When It Feels Like You’re Never Doing Enough- http://blog.nathanbransford.com/  ***I feel like this everyday!!!

*Crissi Langwell- Writing Without Distraction- http://crissilangwell.com/2013/06/10/writing-without-distraction/


Book Hub






* Book Hub- 25% eBook Publishing Services- http://bookhubinc.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/this-week-only-25-off-our-ebook-publishing-services/

*Book Hub- e book conversion- http://bookhubinc.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/ebook-conversion-under-170/

* Catherine, Caffeinated- How Self-Published Books Are Made- http://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/06/13/how-self-published-books-are-made-start-to-finish-part-i/#comment-31104


* Create Blog: Lots of Great Blogging Tips: http://createblog.co/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2




Kristen Lamb’s Blog- Comment on Help Me, I’m Drowning, for a chance to win…http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/help-me-im-drowning/#comment-73454

* Also, check out Kristen Lamb’s novel We Are Not Alone 

*Ascent Aspirations Print Anthology Contest- http://ascentaspirations.ca/ascentspring2013.htm

* FREE KINDLE BOOK UNTIL JUNE 16- The Ritual by Erika Dankin

FREE Online Presentation:

“How to Use Social Media & Sell More Books” –http://view.email.createspace.com/?j=ff3411717666&m=fead15707564047d74&ls=fe8d13787663057575&l=fef31775706d02&s=fec41d7376640774&jb=ffcf14&ju=fef01c747d6102&r=0


* Exploring Pixie- Give it up for the Introverts! http://exploringpixie.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/give-it-up-for-the-introverts/

* Some of my b-day gifts:


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*Patty- Photo Shoot- Tattoos- http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/photo-shoot-tattoos/comment-page-1/#comment-2646

















* 50 Things Only ’80s Kids Can Understand (So many things including Garbage Pail Kids, Punky Brewster, Labryinth, She-Ra, Debbie Gibson, Trapper Keepers!) – http://worldobserveronline.com/2013/05/22/50-things-only-80s-kids-can-understand/

*Some Perspective- (This is so cool!) http://thechive.com/2013/06/09/some-perspective-10-photos/


* Fall Out Boy- Light Em Up- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3YLpsHZ_dw

* Labrinth feat. Emeli Sande- Beneath Your Beautiful- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqIxCtEveG8  

*Kristen Chenoweth & Anna Kendrick- For Good- http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=SEdnIvnCko8

* Maggie Rose- Better- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzQnteCqt90

*Blake Shelton- Sure Be Cool If You Did-  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXmmXAUqfd8











* Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino (my free b-day drink)

* Top 5 Starbucks Secrets: http://coffeecupnews.org/top-5-starbucks-secrets/







* B-day Ice cream Cake









* I’m really bad at this sense. If I had to lose one, clearly I’d choose this one, lol! Which reminds me of the movie “Perfect Sense” about a disease which causes the loss of senses, one by one. It’s excellent but quite sad.

Birthday Pooh










*This is something I wrote a few years ago. I thought it was appropriate to post since tomorrow, June 12,  is my 33rd birthday 😉 

Sharon, co-worker and friend, recently turned fifty-years-old and our guidance department (which consists of six people) forgot. In our defense, Sharon is the one who plans all the birthday lunches. We didn’t realize our faux pas until an edible arrangement of chocolate covered strawberries, pineapples, grapes, melons, etc. arrived from Sharon’s husband. Co-worker and friend, Terry, asked what the special occasion was. Sharon held up her right hand and formed an “O” with her left hand. Terry said, “you’ve been married 50 years?!”

After work I spent quite some time reading birthday cards. I chose one with a crazy looking bird on the front. The inside read “There’s no bright side to turning 50. On the other hand, there is a bright light but you want to stay away from that.”

Another co-worker and friend, John, signed the card, “Halfway to 100 and you’re still kicking. Love you baby.” We’re a close department.

There’s something special about birthdays that end in an “O.”

Memories of my 10th birthday are melting quickly like the skinny pink and yellow candles on my Jem and the Holograms cake. I had really wanted a Madonna cake but mom drew the line.

My 20th birthday is also fading fast but the Winnie the Pooh cake won’t be forgotten. My then boyfriend bought me a Pooh bear early in our relationship which started a trend. Suddenly friends and family were buying me Pooh stuffed animals. Butterfly Pooh, talking Pooh, large Pooh, small Pooh…you could say I received a lot of Pooh during my twenties.

Last June I celebrated my 30th birthday. Co-workers and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings which is our happy hour hot spot. Since we work in a school, we talk in code while at work. It’s not “are you going to Happy Hour?” it’s “are you heading to 2 H?” It’s not “wow, could I use a beer,” it’s “I’m thirsty for a Sprite.” I wore a paper crown that said “Wild Thing.”

I’ll turn thirty-one in a few months, or as I like to think of it- the anniversary of my thirtieth birthday. Growing older can be tough but it beats the alternative.

One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that you can’t take yourself too seriously.

Another thing I’ve learned is that you have to get rid of the Pooh in your life.