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Sharing a great writing website


The other day I was writing the scene in my latest Work in Progress, and I noted that I tend to use some words or phrases quite a bit. In a conversation, people nod, shake their head, shrug, and so on. And as this is the first draft, it is quite normal to fall into using these words or phrases. But I was thinking rather than wait until my next round of editing, what words or actions could I use instead? Well, a quick search on the internet led me to this blog post of 100+ Ways to say Shrug by Kathy Steinemann. Here are the first lines of her post: “Perhaps you rely on shrugs as action beats to differentiate between speakers in dialogue; or maybe you’re on an early draft, and you write the fi...
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Quote of the Week – September 23

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school ~ Albert Einstein Original link
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Fundraising during a pandemic


Many non-profits depend on donations and fundraisers to support their programs. And the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is no different. We could not survive without the support of parents and community members. But this year it is harder to fundraise. Many businesses that we depend on for support are struggling. Some have laid off workers or are not even open. And if we turn to parents, we face similar issues. They may be struggling financially, worried about losing their job or be unemployed. Our school district was concerned about the stress that families could be dealing with whether it was financial or emotional. Originally, they banned all fundraising. And then they amended it to only...
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Recipe of the Month – Spaghetti Bake


My daughter had good luck picking taco casserole for a dinner that she has continued to suggest other meals.  This one came for the Delish website. Since she likes spaghetti this seemed like the perfect fit for her. While it was good (needs more sauce), I don’t think I would choose this over a regular plate of spaghetti.     Ingredients Cooking spray16 oz. spaghetti2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped2 cloves garlic, minced1 lb. ground beefkosher saltground black pepper1 tsp. Italian seasoning1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes1/2 c. basil, chopped1 c. shredded mozzarella1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan Directions Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a medium baking dish wit...
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Quote of the Week – Sept 16

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today ~ Malcom X Original link
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Unexpected trips to the veterinarian prove pets can be expensive


In addition to the two-legged children, I am the “mom” of five of the four-legged variety. That is two Cocker Spaniels (Gypsy and Sadie Rose) and three cats (Spooky, Tails and Nikki). All except Gypsy are considered seniors. Sadie Rose just turned 7 while the cats are 12, 13 and 15. This leaves Gypsy as the “baby” at age 2 ½. When you have multiple pets – especially older ones – you have to expect a certain amount of expense. There of course is food, treats, cat litter, and toys. And then there is the normal well-checks and shots. But one thing it is hard to prepare for is when you fur-baby gets hurt or sick. Lexie always talks about when she grows up she is going to have two dogs and a cat....
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A new layer of constant dread


We now know what 2020 had in mind for September. Most of the West Coast of the US, including near where I live, is on fire. Please don’t try to debate me on climate change. This is a direct result of ignoring science and those who warned us. No amount of ‘raking the forest floor’ would’ve stopped this. I live between Seattle and Tacoma. I love the area, and have been here for the last 25+ years. It’s usually cooler weather, and asking people if they saw the mountain (Mt. Rainier) today is a normal thing. Especially during the summer. Less than 30 miles from me, the Sumner Grade Fire is burning. The air is unhealthy, and it’s one of the strangest skies I’ve ever seen. Being that I remember th...
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I need more time! – A September update


Well it is September. Ok, technically it has been September for six full days, and I have not posted at all in September. Ugh. Well, as always my excuse is that I am busy. And will continue being busy through at least this week and maybe next week. I keep saying – and hoping – that things will slow down after the middle of this month. Ok, here are some things that have been keeping me from posting. PTA – This shouldn’t come as a surprise. One, I am on 3 different PTAs. And two, well, all PTAs are busy at the beginning of the year. The one that takes up most of my time is the Middle School, where I am PTA president. Not only did I have to prepare for the first board and membership meetings of...
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It’s a trap! And I made it!

So, I’m heading out the door in about 45 minutes to go to work. The 2nd load of laundry’s in the dryer, dishwasher is running, and I made my hubby’s lunch for tomorrow. I’ve made sure there’s food for them to make in the freezer, the bed is made, and I even dusted the walls in most of the house. I had 2 1/2 hours this morning where the house was quiet and I could’ve written. Instead, I didn’t even open a file. I fell into a trap of my own making. When I first started to write, I had hours at my disposal. Time where I could sit down and simply write. My kids were much younger, but had already reached a stage of some level of self-sufficiency. I wrote the majority of ‘Scales & Stingers’ during...
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The roots of my fantasy worlds.

Hey. It’s September 1, 2020. Fall isn’t quite here yet, and the year has a lot more time left to mess with us. I’m resisting saying it can’t get worse because, well, it can. I don’t want to tempt it. One thing I’ve always loved about Autumn is the falling leaves. As I sit at my desk, the window next to me is open. A light breeze is coming through. Cool enough to keep the office a comfortable temperature. I was talking to someone on Twitter tonight (my handle’s @DaughterHauk – come find me!), and finally made a connection. My childhood wasn’t amazing. I’ve never kept quiet about it, really. It was stable, yes. My parents loved me, though they didn’t really understand how to raise a creative s...
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Starting slow, and being patient

Well, my hands are officially out of the braces. The CTS should be resolved. Or, if not completely gone, where I can resume all normal activities and only wear the braces at night if I see symptoms. The trigger finger on my right hand is much better now. Doctor gave me a steroid shot to calm the tendon down. Held off on the shot on the left hand for a few reasons. One, the right was far worse/more bothersome. Second, I wanted to make sure it worked, see if it could calm down on its own. Right now, I’ll get a shot done in October when I go in for my yearly check up. The left was never as bothersome as the right. I still feel it once or twice a day. The right is that way now. However, I can ti...
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Quote of the Week – August 26

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world ~ Nelson Mandela Original link
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Oh my! We have a new driver in the house


It is a mix of feelings when you first born reaches the age where he (or she) can learn to drive. I’m excited for him to move onto this new area, but at the same time, I have trepidation about him driving out there with all those other crazy drivers. Yes, my son, Jase turned 15 in May. Because the Department of Public Safety was closed due to COVID-19, we didn’t get his learner’s permit until the beginning of July, which was the earliest we could get an appointment. I must say I love having an appointment. It cut down the usual long wait at the DPS office to mere minutes. In Texas, you have the choice of sending you teen to driving school or go the “parent-taught” route. We chose the latter....
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Quote of the Week – August 19

Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think ~ Albert Einstein Original link
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A new…and very different…school year begins

Today is the first day of school. But it is not like years past. Today, instead of grabbing their zippered binders and lunch boxes, the kids are heading to their computers to start school. Yes, we are beginning the year with virtual learning. Unlike the distance learning of the Spring, this is actual classes taught on Zoom. It is supposed to be as close to in-person learning as possible. This is Jase’s first year of high school. But the nerve-wracking find out where your classes are in the new school will have to wait. His online – and later in person schedule – resembles a college schedule. He has 4 classes that meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then he has 3 classes that meet for a longer...
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Black Isle, Clootie Wells, and Healing

Hey. I’m not working today, but Muse decided I was done sleeping. Such is life when you’re owned by a tortoiseshell cat. LOL Two years ago today, I explored Black Isle. It’s not a real island, more of a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water. It’s to the north of Inverness, and has some amazing things that you can go explore. We took a boat out from Avoch to see the dolphins in Moray Firth, visited Groam House Museum, found the ruins of Fortrose Cathedral quite by accident, and hiked out to Fairy Glen. I’ve talked about the hike before. There’s a post or two in the archives about it. One thing I wanted to do out on Black Isle was visit a clootie well. These are sacred springs, dating b...
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Loch Ness memories


Yesterday was a busy day. Work, grocery pick up, therapy, walking, and getting ready for dinner, etc. Basically, I’m just now sitting down in my office to share a memory of Scotland. Will try to do another post tonight about what happened on the 12th. This story is from 8/11/2018. This was our 2nd full day, but the first one where I did anything. The first day was arriving, then a train ride to Inverness, and crashing pretty early. Jet lag/not sleeping much meant the adrenaline finally said ‘you’re done!’ pretty early. This was the day, 2 years ago, where I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to start a push button start car. That had the steering wheel on the right side of the car. Ho...
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Memories of Scotland, 2 years later

August 10, 2018: The plane landed in Glasgow at approximately 6 am local time. I can’t remember sleeping much as we flew across the Atlantic. That need that had been in my soul for decades had awoken like a hungry lion. I needed to get to Scotland, fulfill some promise made lifetimes ago. Only I didn’t know who I made it to, or where, or why. Seattle had been in a heat wave when I left. Upper 80’s/low 90’s. I’d been miserable for over a week. If I remember correctly, we’d hit triple digits within the week before my trip. We make it through customs and immigration. I visited an ATM in baggage claim as we waited for the bags to come around. Part of me was nervous about my bag. Not that it was ...
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Testing 123

I don’t know how long will be in the braces. I do have a follow-up visit with my Dr. tomorrow at 2:00 PM. Hopefully we will have better answers as to what’s going on with the two fingers and exactly how long I will be in the braces. Until then I want to get back riding on the next book. My agent is already submitting ‘Scales and Stingers’ to publishers which means I have to get busy on the next one. This post is part of a learning experience. I will probably do a few more over the next week as I learned how to do speech recognition correctly. I can mistakes at least grammar wise in this. Please don’t hold it against me! I think the biggest part for me that will take the most time to learn is...
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Recipe of the Month: Taco Casserole


My daughter loves the Zippy Beef & Mac casserole and Enchilada Casserole so she suggested trying Taco Casserole and found this recipe on dinneratthezoo.com. We have made just a few adjustments to the recipe and those changes are listed below. This is an easy recipe and everyone in the family loved it. I think this will be a great meal to plan on a busy school or work day. And it is a good use for those small pieces at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. Ingredients 1 lb ground beef 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 packet taco seasoning 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I use either Chipotle or Mexican-style), undrained 1 1/4 cup tortilla chips, crushed 16 oz. can refried beans 1/3 cup salsa 1 1/2 cup...
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