Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Photo Journey of the Last Nine Months

I basically took a hiatus from writing to get over various anxieties, burn out and then I decided to enjoy the summer.  I think the pictures and their captions will give you an idea of what has been happening:)

The winter was bitter cold and very snowy, even for Michigan, but it was worth it watching my grandson Jace and my daughter, his Aunt Emily (MeMe) play in the snow for the first time. His dad and grandpa were off to the side laughing with us.  

When we weren't cuddling under blankets, we were reading,watching television, playing and laughing.

The long awaited spring finally arrived and we started working on a new herb bed and a small garden plot. Jace tried to be helpful to grandpa but mostly he thought we were playing.  

Late spring and early summer brought flowers, which was one of the first words Jace learned besides Mama and Dad, and something sounding like Grandma (I'm sure of it!).  It's been a long time since I had a little one around to show nature to, and it is as wonderful as I remember it being with my sons and daughter. 

My daughter Emily went to her first semi-formal dance, which also marked the end of middle school.  She turned 14 in February and I'm constantly amazed at her sense of style, her creativity and her intelligence. She reads almost as much as I do, and she reads at a level higher than many adults.  I am, however, in denial that she started high school in September.  

We learned that Jace may like cake, but he doesn't like everyone singing Happy Birthday, whether it's for him or his dad. 

In February Chuck and I celebrated our 25th anniversary with a night out alone, which doesn't happen too often. In July our children threw us a cool party with friends and family with the help of my husband's parents.  They did a great job, and my sister-in-law cooked the food, which was amazing. It was Hawaiian themed, hence the flower in my hair, the shirts and the lei.

In 25 years we've lost friends and family, I gave birth three times to our amazing kids who are now 21, 20 and 14, and we made good friends along the way.  We lived in the city for ten years in a 90 year old home, then moved to the country where we've been for 10 more.  Our grandson was born, and we watched our middle son become a parent while struggling to find his way in the world. I'm so proud of the changes he has made, and the father he has become. It's been a roller coaster, but I wouldn't change a thing.

This summer has shown me that love and laughter keep a family together, while soothing the soul. I'm especially happy that after 25 years my husband and I still "do it" for each other:)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Modern Musical Movies: Quirky and Whimsical

Let's talk about my love of musicals. I don't love all musicals. Some have me running the opposite direction, screaming in agony. Growing up these were my favorites: 

Mary Poppins 
The Sound of Music 
Doctor Dootle 
My Fair Lady 
West Side Story 
Wizard of Oz 

Julie Andrews is hands down my favorite actress, singer and person in the entire world. Seriously, who doesn't love Julie Andrews? 

 Now, move forward in time to 2013 when I now have a 13 year old daughter who puts up with my obsession with the above musicals, but since she's watched them endlessly since birth, she's looking for her own musicals. This has led to watching a lot of bad musicals over the years including: All of the High School musical movies, Camp Rock and a little ditty called Lemonade Mouth on the Disney Channel. Shudder. 

However, over the last few years we've found a few gems. 


This movie was marketed so wrong it was unbelievable. The trailers made it seem like a fluffy Disney movie with angst and immature humor. It was instead more like an Indy film with many levels including themes of grief, judging others, being true to yourself and friendship. The music was amazing with it's light Ska influence, including a cool version of an old Bread song from the 70's. 


Yes, this is a Jack Black movie. Yes, he's a dumb ass, but the kids are very cool. Many of them were musicians and new to acting. The end of the movie with it's concert scene is amazing, and I couldn't help but giggle at Jack Black as he learns what teamwork is all about. 


It took me awhile to sit down and watch this for some reason, even though my daughter saw it twice with friends. Once I did, I loved it. Well, everything but the two vomit scenes. Really folks, can we skip the puking? No one really likes to see it. The music is great, and I loved the themes used in the plot. Who knew a cappella group could be so entertaining? 


The only word for this movie is adorable. Freaking. Adorable. I know it was hated by many, and loved by few but it makes me laugh and smile. Who can hate her singing Somebody to Love by Queen? The ending after the ending has the entire cast singing and dancing to the Elton John song Don't Go Breaking My Heart is just plain fun. Throw in giants, ogres, elves, dumb step sisters and an evil king. I've never read the book, and knowing Hollywood it probably doesn't follow the story, but it's a cute, adorable movie. Sometimes we just need a bit of cute in our lives.

We have a few other favorites that include Enchanted, Tangled, Mulan, The Cinderella Story (Selena Gomez). My daughter has some die hard oldies that she's loved since she was little:  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web and The Wizard of Oz are movies I know she'll be sharing with her own kids one day.

Do you have favorite musicals?

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Adult, New Authors, 100 Books Later and It's 2014

2013 flew by with the birth of our first grandchild.  It felt like I plodded along on the writing front, though I wrote five to eight articles every month, and managed to keep up with my Goodreads account.  I also edited and partially wrote three gardening ebooks for one of the websites I've been working with, which was a new challenge, but one I really enjoyed.  My grandson continues to be fascinated with books, which tickles me to no end.

I read over 100 books in 2013 and discovered some new authors, which is always exciting.  I never tire of discovering new writers because each one has their own unique style.  Some of the new writers I discovered last year include:

Kristen Ashley
Kit Rocha
Skye Jordan
Codi Gary
Hailey Edwards
Sarah Castille
Jasinda Wilder
Suzanne Wright
M.L. Buchman

2013 also brought us the category of New Adult, which I have concerns about as a mom. I appreciate that most authors have warnings on the blurbs when the story contains adult themes. My daughter is 13 and has told me several times that when she searches for Young Adult the New Adult books are included. Fortunately, we talk about what she reads and she has no interest in reading something inappropriate. However, this is not always the case, and it concerns me that the filter isn't better when it comes to the categories, at least on Amazon. Those of you who've read many of the New Adult stories like I have, know that they can be gritty, gut wrenching and the sex is not for those under 17 or 18.  Hey, I'm 53 and enjoy the new stories, but I'd prefer my 13 year old wait to be exposed the gritty world of New Adult.

This year I'll be writing gardening ebooks for the same company I edited for last year, which is a huge challenge for me.  I'm telling myself it's simply a grouping of articles on one topic, which is no different than what I've been doing.  I'll still be writing home and garden articles each month, and of course reviewing books on Goodreads.  I'm going to try and blog more, but it will have to come after the paid gigs are caught up each week or month. 

Thanks to those who've hung in here with me:)

~Happy New Year!  Brenda