Tag Archives: picture

There’s more to it than writing………

Platform, pictures, bios, blogging… jeez louise, writers are responsible for a lot.

Most of the time, we should be writing for sure. But there are some other things writers should be thinking about.

A mug shot is one of them. I should say – a mug shot we are happy with.

For a long time, this was the picture I was using for just about everything.

And it was fine. But it looked like I took a picture that I was happy enough with and cropped it way too small and said, “done.” Because – that is exactly what I did.

Well, it so happens that I was taking a photography class – from a real, live professional photographer. And we spent about 6 hours together.

So, I asked her to take a few “professionalish” pictures for me.

And this is what I got…

Uhmmm. Yes, that is a lot better.

So, if you think you might want to publish something, someday, take some time and have a good picture taken. I pinky swear you will be very glad you did!

Write/Blog what you know – or not……….

There is a ton of fabulous writing and blogging advice out there. One of the most familiar refrains is “write what you know”. I call BS on that  one. If you write fiction, you kinda sorta gotta write what you don’t know or it’s not really fiction. Hmmmm, right?

Another blogging mantra is “write what other people want to read”. That one frustrates the hell out of me. How are we supposed to know that, right?

The proverbial answer is to look at your stats and see what draws people to your blog. Then give them more of whatever that is.

Yikes. My most popular post ever is this one. It got nearly one thousand hits in one day. The key word that people used to find it was “writing”. Which would all be awesome if this post was anything more than an announcement of a writing contest being hosted somewhere else by someone else. Alas.

The post that consistently gets the most traffic on my blog is this one. It gets hundreds of hits every week and it is well over 3 years old.

Go ahead.

Ask me if it’s about writing….

Or the tremendous individual growth I experienced while living in India…..

Or about parenting….

Or anything else that I really care about….

Or even a tiny little book review…..

Ahem. The answer to any of those would not be yes.

It is simply a post of pictures of flowers I took while traveling throughout India. Most of the plants weren’t even really unique to India.

But.

This blog isn’t about flowers

or gardening

or writing contests

hosted by someone else.

And, you really don’t want my gardening advice. I pinky swear it!

In fact, this is what my very own plant looks like right now. 😎

There are delish but there are lots of brown spots. So I am really, really sorry if you came here for gardening advice.

But if you came here for pictures of flowers, I have been taking some pictures recently. I hope you will enjoy these.

So those are some of the flowers that I have seen along the way. I hope you enjoyed them! 😉

Hey Mr. Big Shot………..

Ryan Lochte recently came to our area. If you are asking who that is – you have come to the wrong blog. 😎

Really, you don’t know? Yikes. He is an amazing swimmer who has recently beaten Michael Phelps. Yep, he is a big deal.

Not only is he a rock star athlete – he is a tad bit good looking. And, yes, I am fully aware that I am old enough to be his mother. Don’t worry, I didn’t make a move on him – poor number one hubby is still stuck with me – I just noticed that he has some assets in the looks department, that’s all.

He is also apparently quite the philanthropist. He has raised a good bit of money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Plus he was not obnoxious at all. He seemed really low key and his was even willing to take pictures with old ladies. He even smiled so as to not let on what torture it really was. tee hee.

I thanked him for being such a good role model of just how well hard work can pay off and I told him he was very fun to watch in the water (no kidding, right) and then I told him to remember on those tough days that he is inspiring kids to get better. Flower is sure he is going to quote “that mom from NoVa” when his wins his next gold medal. It might be swimming, but I won’t hold my breath. 😉 Bear was just extremely thankful that he wasn’t there to see me embarrass myself him.

15 milliseconds of (possible) fame………….

If you have been reading along for a while, you might remember that my family and I got to be extras on a movie set while we lived in India – just one of the many wonderful things we got to do on our adventure that we would have n.e.v.e.r. been able to do here. I was hesitant at the time to say what movie it was because I didn’t want our scene cut from the movie because info about it appeared on some (stupid mommy) blog.

However, the movie premieres today and we just might be in it.

Guess what the movie is – go ahead, guess…….guess…….guess. Yep, Eat, Pray, Love.

This is a frame that someone (who apparently knows and loves Peter) froze from the trailer.

Now, I want to be very clear that it is extremely possible that this scene got cut from the movie. It is a flashback wedding scene that was not originally in the book. But just in case it makes it – Hubby and I are sitting at the back left table and my kids are sitting at the back right table. Hubby and I are sitting with the main camera guy’s girlfriend (I know he is a super duper big deal and has a much more glamorous title than just “main camera guy” but I cannot remember what it is, sorry) and our kids are sitting with someone’s (maybe even the director’s) kids – so I am thinking we have a good chance of being in there. But I won’t know for sure until 7:10p when I drag my hubby to the theater. And you bet your arse I will write again tomorrow and let you know for sure.

About the book – I will be very honest here (shocking, right?) and tell you that when I started reading this book several years ago, I was not a big fan. I thought it was indulgent, selfish, and, because I had children, a husband, and a life I am happy with, completely unrealistic. The main character does not have children (if I remember correctly she is trying to get pregnant at the beginning of the story) and she decides to completely reinvent herself by leaving her life behind and traveling to Italy to eat, India to pray, and then on to Bali to love. That is so not going to happen in my world so I had a hard time making a real connection to the story. Plus the author came across as a little too impressed with herself – however this whole book thing is working out pretty well for her. Believe me, Julia Roberts isn’t knocking down any doors to play me in a movie so I will shut up on how much I didn’t care for the book right about now.

The experience was a lot of fun.

Hubby and I and even the kids actually auditioned for speaking parts. The kids had to pretend to be afraid of family antics at the Thanksgiving table – they have absolutely no experience with family antics so they were woefully unprepared and were not picked. I tried out for the role of soccer mom which I am woefully over-qualified for and I think they were afraid I might out-act the actual stars. And Hubby tried out for the part of the priest. And if you know him – stop laughing – it really is not that funny. Really, stop it.

The movie crew offered to send a driver to pick us up. I wasn’t too sure that leaving our house with our children in tow at 4am and driving off into the sunrise with a complete stranger in India was a great idea. We had our own driver take us. But once we got there, we got to go to wardrobe and makeup and hair – where they straightened my hair – pretty funny since I have paper straight hair and they put make up on me that made me look like either an 80-year old great-great-great-grandmother or a woman who doesn’t own a mirror. But the chances of you actually seeing my face or my hair are probably pretty slim. So here I am with my dear friend who loves me enough to wake up at 4am to come with. Smooches girl!

About Julia Roberts – I was frankly disappointed that she never even said hello to the group of us in the room. I think that would have been the nice thing to do since we all woke up at the crack o’dawn and sat in a very hot room all day to help make the movie. She is certainly very pretty and actually smaller in stature than I thought she would be. And her laugh is absolutely infectious. But she never once turned to us and said “thanks for being here guys – especially since I am going to make enough money on this movie to feed all of China”. Really? Hmpf.

As you can tell, the scene we were in was a wedding scene. So at one point, one of the directors thought it would be more realistic to have people “pretending” to take pictures. They gave cameras to the people in the scene who were associated with the filming so that they could trust that pictures would not end up on the internet (which by the by, I totally would not do because I know full well that would mean the scene would be cut, duh).

As I mentioned, we were sitting with the big guy’s girlfriend and she was given a camera. So, I asked her if she would use my camera instead. Brilliant right? Hubby was crawling under the table, very sure that we would be getting kicked out and he would have spent his entire day in the heat in a suit for nothing. It was probably as close as he has ever come to considering divorce. But she was delightful and used the camera. She even told me she was trying to get a picture with me and Julia in it together – she was really a liar, liar, pants on fire. She is actually a director in her own rite and was very careful to only take pictures without faces. But it was very sweet of her to pretend for the crazy lady trying desperately to break bend the rules.

And then, at the end of the day, she turned us in. Honest to God, I thought I was back in college trying to get into a bar with a fake id (and Dad – by that I totally mean hearing a story about a “friend” in college who tried to get into a bar with a fake id – you taught me better than that). Enter Bruno who could not flatten his arms against his body because they were so bowed by muscles. Hubby is giving me the death stare while Bruno deletes the pictures.

But, all in all, it was a fantastic experience. The beginning and end of a wonderful acting career – and, yes, hubby and I were each paid $60 for our time and extreme talent.

I will be back tomorrow to let you know if we made the cut.

A river runs through it…………..

Bangkok was a whirlwind and, unfortunately, although we saw a lot, we left a lot unseen. Some things we just ran out of time to see. Some things we simply chose to leave unseen. We had heard about the floating markets – had heard that they were once active trading centers and super fun but are now mostly tourist traps. So we opted out of the official floating market tour and instead rented a boat to take us on a roll down the river.

Honestly, the thought of being “stuck” on a boat in a crowded market where vendors hawk their wares try to gently coerce you into buying only the most beautiful trinkets that you really want with no escape route and no bathroom just did not appeal to me. And we have found that we are not buying that much stuff. There are a few things we want to get but most of Asia seems to have the same kind of trinkets – wooden elephants, chess games, hair accessories, and the like. We are kind of  at the point of “been there, done that, don’t even want the t-shirt”.

So, we said no to the floating market and yes to the canal. It was all kinds of loverly and I feel like we got to see the more secluded side of Bangkok. You may have realized this already – but I am what you might call geography challenged. I had absolutely no idea that a river runs through Bangkok. Duh.

We rode on a boat like this.  In fact, we rode on this boat.

Temples lined the canal. And each one was just as intricate as the next.

This is the view from the main thoroughfare and either I was drunk (was not) or the buildings look crooked.

Then we hung a right into the canal.

It was like a window opened to a whole new world. You could just tell life stories just happen here. Everyday stories of everyday life. Day in and day out routines that just happen over and over again without much thought or planning. Life periodically rocked by sickness, travels, visitors, spiritual revelations, new discoveries, birth, and death. Full circle life lived through generations of family after family simply repeating the same cycles as their parents did before them and only occasionally stretching to break long-held traditions.

I could have sat on this boat for hours and just watched the stories unfold – or imagined them to be much grander than they probably most often are. It was really a fantastic place. “It’s a Small World” in Disney could have been modeled after this canal. Except that this canal was exceptionally quiet. The most noticeable thing to me was that is was so peaceful. Quaint and quiet and peaceful. Deep cleansing breath kind of peaceful.


It was a world of laughter,
A world of tears.
It’s a world of hopes,
And a world of fears.
There’s so much that we share,
That it’s time we’re aware,
It’s a small world after all.

There is just one moon,
And one golden sun.
And a smile means,
Friendship to every one.
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It’s a small world after all.

On parade…………

I was with a group of American ladies walking thru the streets of Delhi and we came across a group of Indian women walking through the streets of Delhi. It was a funny moment as we passed each other. You will see from the pictures the vast array of fabrics that Indian women wear. They are just stunning – the women and the clothes they wear. I have never seen so many women walking together at one time and it seemed like a parade. Surely, they felt bad for us in our drab clothing – I am sure they wondered why we looked like we were melting in the heat that we just cannot get used to. I am sure we made some connection over estrogen, comfortable shoes, and the universal truths of womanhood on a very esoteric level but I am not poetic enough to put words to that today. Really, we were all giggling like little school girls. It was a cool experience.

Many of the women motioned to us to please take their picture. It really is too bad that they have absolutely no idea that people all across the world will smile today because of them…

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Interview with a Vampire (or me me)……..

Okay, I am not really a vampire – but an interview with me just did not sound as interesting. In the blog world, there is this thing called a me me – it’s a little chance for readers to get to know more (than they ever wanted to know) about the blog author – that’s me, yes, me. Miss Grace got interviewed and now I get to play along. She asks the questions, and I answer.  Bear with me – this might require some thought – stand back in case my brain explodes from actual use, I cannot be held accountable for the splatter. What? If Walmart does not have to corral their shopping carts, why should I? Anymeme, here it goes.

1.  What’s your favorite non-blog website/place to waste time on the internet.

I am sadly a facebook addict. It has been very fun to connect with friends from long ago – I have even met a future friend from India. Now that is cool. I also read skim the Times of India. And I cannot tear myself away from the craft sites where I have wholesale accounts. It appears I have more than one dark addiction demon in my computer life. (Really though, the blog sites are my faves.)

And I cannot, will not forget about Skype. That is how the kids and I talk to number one hubby – for free – everyday. It is a little piece of communication addiction that I embrace.

2.  What material thing/place (not a person) do you think you’ll miss the most when you’re in India?

Hmmm. Since you said not a person, you left open the door for other creatures. I am going to say my little cat Queso. She sits with me at the computer almost every minute that I am here and gives me scratchy cat kisses. She also purrs really loud. It’s going to be hard to top that. But the place would be my neighborhood and my newly renovated house. I love them both and it is very hard to tear myself away from home. I will also miss my double oven. Apparently my new oven is a large toaster oven that actually sits on the counter.

I am also a horrible creature of habit. So, I will very much miss my very comfortable routines.

3.  What everyday thing do you wish you could eliminate from your life forever?

This one is easy. Laundry. And the cat litter. And dishes. Okay – I will just say chores in general. This elimination might actually occur in India. If I can put the control freak in me aside and let others (literally) do my dirty work. Oh yeah, and I would not mind throwing mean or manipulating people out with the trash. No time for that. Maybe they could be recycled. Hey, I guess that could happen in India too – I understand they believe in reincarnation.

4.  Describe the first date you ever went on (in your life).

It was with Donnie. We went with his parents to Godfather’s Pizza. They sat way across the restaurant (with a direct view of us). And we sat at our own booth. It was very uneventful. We went on this date while he was on a break from his long-time girlfriend. They got back together – they honestly probably got married. At least they should have.

My best date was when hubby beat me home from work and made dinner. He locked me out because he was not done ironing the table cloth yet. (He has never done it since – and I really wouldn’t want him to – it would ruin the memory of him frantically ironing my grandmother’s tablecloth while I am banging on the door to get in.) I don’t remember everything he made but I remember being so mad that he locked me out of my own house. Then I felt horrible. It was really great.

5.  If you had to have one song playing constantly on a loop in the background for the rest of your life, which one would be the least likely to make you want to kill yourself?

I have a hard time making choices – it’s easier to say what I don’t want than what I do want. (You should see me at the Cheesecake Factory with its 500-page menu – all the possibilities – I almost end up in a straight jacket every time.) I would not want the hookie pokie (although we did play it and dance to it at our wedding) or the macarena (I never learned out to do it). But I have learned from my parenting experience that any song played over and over is not a good thing. Repetition is the fastest way to ruin a love of musical things – be it Barney or Beethoven.  It would have to be something without words – but definitely not No More Words. Maybe it would be a cd of Queso purring. Or the theme song to St. Elmo’s Fire. My younger brother learned to play that on the piano for me because I loved the song so  much.

Okay now you have me thinking – it might be Picture by Kidd Rock and Sheryl Crow – I love the way they are both thinking about what they have given up and how sad they are not to be together – but I hate the way they refuse to admit it – then they finally do in the end. It reminds me to (try to) not take number one hubby for granted. Even if he locks me out of the house.

Your turn – Wanna play? Post a comment here saying so (you can still comment here if you don’t want questions). Include your email address if it’s not built into your commenting settings. I’ll send you some questions. Answer them on your blog, and pass it on.

The Scarlet “T”………

UPDATE: After hearing much discussion from my neighbors about the letters they have gotten re: their trash not being appropriately located – well, I jumped to assumptions on this one – it turns out that the person who was on my property is not on the HOA board and is apparently not employed by the HOA board either. (That might lead to another blog about why he was here, but probably not.) So, I apologize for making assumptions and I pledge to better place my trash can – I cannot promise anything on the Halloween decorations though. I do my best.  Really, I do. I am sure to get a scarlet letter of one sort or the other but it will not be an A (ever) and it apparently won’t be a T either.

You know I am always trying to look at the bright side – so I will say this – our HOA is attentive – they read my blog after all – they may not be fans – but they read it – at least once.