Taking a Breather


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Today I checked this blog, feeling…you know…guilt. I had ignored it so much lately. I was clearing my spam filter when I read this noteworthy internet junk statement: “You are my inhalation. I possess few blogs and very sporadically run out from to brand.”

Wow! Inhalation? I had provided air to a junkbot who…uh…like doesn’t breathe. I’m glad to have provided some form of resuscitation. (Hey, but don’t spam me to death!)

Taking a deep breath is important before you plunge into deep water or step out onto a stage before a crowd…or even say ‘I do’.

I’ve been taking many deep breaths lately and ‘breathers’ (note my blog absence).  My book is 3/4 complete. I have some truly excellent critique partners who have supported me every step of the way.

I used to think that such support was not needed…that writing was this magical process where it just ‘happens’. Yeah….rigggghttt.

DISCLAIMER: Helen is about to go ‘other-worldly wise’ on ya.

In the movie “The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension (yes, I’m about to quote this obscure, odd, and bad movie), Dr. Bonzai, who is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician, makes this statement, “No matter where you go, there you are.”

Huh? What the???????

That line fits writing. Wherever you are in a manuscript, there you be….and you draw forth from all the back info and the character relationships to create a new now for the cast in your book.

Whew! Heavy.

Well, actually, Dr. Bonzai did not brainstorm that line himself. It’s a quote from Confuscious who also wrote the following bits of wisdom which fit so well with the writing journey:

  1. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.  
  2. When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
  3. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
  4. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  5. If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself. (Critique partners are soooo important.)
  6. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

That #6 is a favorite….because writing is an awesome endeavor…and I am blessed!




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Yes, I’m still around! Just spooky busy! Let’s end the month of October with a bit of a Halloween mystery. Nothing really scary about it…no…it’s just a poem I memorized in second grade. In fact, all my sisters learned the poem courtesy of Mrs. Gilmore, the best elementary teacher ever. We recite it yearly to each other.


Tall black hats
Coal black cats
Elves and witches, too!

Grinning faces
Going places
They may call on you!

Doorbells ring
Still no one is there

Ghosts are out
Goblins about
Halloween beware!

The author is unknown. Every year at this time, I search for the who and the what of the poem. The closest I’ve come to solving my Halloween poem mystery is a newspaper article published in The Daily Messenger, Canandaigua, New York. Written in 1949 the article lists local school news. It refers to a second grade class, too.

….Victor School Notes Grade 2–Miss ‘ Colligan: Tall black hats, coal black cats, elves and witches, too. are rapidly replacing our brilliantly painted October flowers and trees….

Mrs. Gilmore really was a wonderful teacher. I learned to read like a maniac because of her. She had an amazing black beehive hairdo with decorative pins stuck in it and cat-eye glasses. Her dress went ‘swoosh’ when she walked on her black pumps. She brought unusual things to school for her students to see, taste, touch, and smell….like canned octopus. Boy, was it stinky! And don’t get me started on the chocolate coins and candy corn. Yummy!

Have a Happy Halloween!

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Living in Tandem


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Sunday afternoon I sat at my usual spot writing. It was bliss. The hubby had disappeared to watch a football game. The house was quiet. The dogs were snoozing. The front windows were open, and a lovely breeze stirred the sheer drapes.

I was in the zone. Words were flowing from my fingers. Then I heard it….a horrible squeaking and grinding. At first I ignored it. I didn’t want to put a wham-mo on my writing mojo. But after a few more seconds of the irritating noise, I went to the window and peeked.

This is what I saw – a man and a woman in their fifties, huffing and puffing, as they pedaled a tandem bike with obvious brake-rubbing issues up the hill in front of my house. They weren’t looking at the bike pedals. Nope. Their heads were up…focused on getting to the top.

I couldn’t believe it! The noise was horrible. The drag to the wheels from the brake pad compounded with the hill itself made their effort herculean. But they kept on pedaling! Heck, I would have gotten off and pushed the dang thing!

I watched them disappear, still huffing and puffing. It was my Sunday afternoon life lesson. Oftentimes, we are faced with impossible tasks. We have to stay on task, ignore the screeches, and keep our eyes on the end-goal. This applies to writing, work, and relationships. Note the two were working as one…that’s the relationship thing. (That is an inadvertent love arrow to my hubby.)


  • Pen two chapters to ODS.
  • Nip and tuck the murder mystery dinner script with the fabulous Ms. T.
  • Prop lists…prop lists…prop lists.
  • Costumes solidified.
  • Research minor characters in Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Walk every morning and pray.
  • Keep my eyes focused on the things that matter.
  • Drink more coffee, laugh more often, and savor the chocolate.

Spam Graboids


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Internet spam can be very entertaining and irritating. As I was clearing my spam filter on WordPress today, I burst out laughing at the following bit of ‘net junk:

I will right away seize your rss
feed as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink
or newsletter service. Do you have any?
Kindly allow me understand
so that I could subscribe.

What triggered my chuckling? Examine the first threat of the spam:  I will right away seize you rss (feed).

My eyes played a trick on me, and I thought rss was a##. Oh, my….I felt as if I was about to be virtually graboid-ed (word?). After I had wiped my eyes of the happy tears, I grinned from ear to ear. What a start to a Monday!

All I can say is, “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! But, alas, you can not grab my rss.”

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Yep…I’ve been AWOL.  I have not been posting….please pardon my absence. I received my comeuppance by having to delete five million-jillion spam comments from my filter.



Ahem. Pardon my use of the word toilet. Sometimes I forget my genteel upbringing.

I have been writing. Nine chapters on a new book!  Woot woot! I’ve been bwahahaing with a writing buddy. That is code for penning a new murder mystery dinner. (Wink! Wink!)

And you can catch a post I wrote for the A to Z Challenge site at:


It’s about ‘Blog Block’. I know. Art imitates life. Go figure.

I will return to regular postings anon. Be warned. My inner hoochie mama writing self will run amuck.  Wear protective eye coverings. 

colleen moore 3


Gas Powered Again!


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This post was first published in May 2013. Enjoy!

Today’s post really is not about writing nor anything related to writing. It’s about….gas.  Not for your car. Not the gas in neon signs. It’s about the other kind. The embarrassing kind that whistles and zips when you least expect. The kind that can stop a conversation or a charging bull moose. No one wants to acknowledge that ‘passage’ has occurred. Most people suddenly begin to ramble about ‘Great Aunt Sue and her begonias’ when the trumpet sounds, but there are times when being flatulent is a good thing. So the tale begins with….

I went for a bone density  several weeks ago,  and the tech was totally obnoxious.

She kept giving me info in minute detail about the procedure, her training, bone loss in older woman, why  bone loss occurs, etc. It was overkill and not because I have a medical background. It was just too dang much. Plus she talked about the patient before me, sharing a few private details. HIPPA, baby.  Not good.

When I requested a thyroid shield, she argued with me about the need for it.  Peering over her bifocals, she said,  “Mrs. Jameson, I am exposed  to radiation every day. I wear this meter.  Believe me, you get more radiation on a hot summer day than with a bone density test. You have nothing to worry about.”  Blah. Blah. Blah.
 I explained that I always use a thyroid shield because I have a history of thyroid disease. It’s just a  little heavy plastic thingie with lead inside that you drape over your neck. It is no big deal to put on or take off.
She told me I didn’t need it.
I told her that I did.
She told me again that I didn’t need it.
I told her once more that I did.
 On and on.
Finally she gave in and reached around the corner and pulled a thyroid shield off a nearby shelf and handed it to me with quite a bit of attitude. I said thank you and draped it on my neck as I assumed the appropriate position for a bone density test. I was flat on my back with my legs bent at the knee and placed on a giant foam block. I also had to assure her that I had no metal zippers anywhere and that I had no calcium for breakfast.
The test itself is very short, but it appeared that I needed further instruction.
“Mrs. Jameson, your scan in 2010 showed osteoporosis in your lower spine. Were you aware of that?”
“Have you done what is needed to prevent further loss and fractures?”
“Do you take calcium and D3?”
Yes and yes.
“You know what will happen if you do not follow the doctor’s directions?” (This was said in a very aggressive/doomsday tone.)
At this point I wanted to yell, “Hell, yes, I do! I’ll turn into bone dust, and someone is going to have to sweep me out the door. Let’s check my fragile bones out right now. You want a piece of me, baby!” but instead I said very politely, “Yes, I am following my doctor’s recommendations.” (My mama raised a lady, and  I am not supposed to curse or use expressions  like ‘shut your pie hole’.)
“Well, good,” she said, and she pushed a button. A beep sounded and the scan was completed. Then the time came for me to get off the exam table and leave.
DISCLAIMER: This is when I talk about ‘gas’. If you have phartophobia, you might want to stop reading. BTW that is a real medical term from the Merck Manual used by health care professionals. It was an online source, and everything you read online is very reliable.  You can trust the internet. 
As I stood up to receive my final instructions concerning when my doctor would receive the results, I passed gas…loudly and badly. Not intentionally. It just happened. It was a tremendous  flutter-blast with a sky rocket whistle as a punctuation point.
Suddenly, the woman was speechless.
I said politely, “Pardon me. What were you saying?”
She pointed to the exit and told me to take a right.
I could not help but smile a little ornery grin as I walked away. It was  a case of legume justice.

Goodbye to Mr. Williams


I’m breaking my ‘I’m-not-a’gonna-post-anything-until-September’ pledge. I can’t help it. I was very sad when I heard of the death of Robin Williams. He is the reason I love rainbow suspenders. He made me laugh. He made me cry. At one point in time I even wanted to do stand-up comedy because of him.

In the early 80′s a friend of mine  pulled me to a TV set to watch a guy do a comedy routine about sperm and a diaphragm. I practically busted a gut laughing.  Yep, it was Robin Williams. He could take any subject/object and morph/whip it into a chuckle machine (just like his friend Jonathan Winters).

I have favorite movies…Popeye, Patch Adams, The Fisher King…Mrs. Doubtfire…The Big White…I could on and on.

But I really love this video by Bobby McFerrin with Mr. Williams in it. The song title is “Don’t worry. Be Happy”. Sometimes when a person is in the depths of despair and the blackness is eating away at the soul, it’s just not possible. So long, Mr. Comedy. Goodbye, Mork. Na-Nu Na-Nu!

Cinder-hella and the Bad Mop


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I’m taking a leave while I work on projects….shall return September 1.  I have selected some of my favorite posts to reblog which were my biggest chucklers. Enjoy again (or for the first time if you are a new subscriber).  Scribbles!  Helen

Once upon a time Cinder-hella decided to mop. She hated this task with all her heart, but it was a necessity due to:

  1. Grime build-up on the palace kitchen floor.
  2. Toddler drips and splats beneath the feeding throne.
  3. Approaching visitors from the North.

Reason #3 was foremost on Cinder-hella’s mind. It was  Labor Day weekend in the Kingdom. Relatives would soon knock at the door. A fine feast of roast beast was planned. Of course, Cinder-hella waited until the last minute to mop because she hated it so.

She gathered the bucket. She heated the tap water which she laced with a fine-smelling lemon carcinogenic cleaning solution and bleach.

She stripped off all her clothing because she did not wish bleach to hurt her fine ballgown. She always mopped au naturale. No one was present in the house. No husband. No children. Cinder-hella was alone with a bucket and her mop. (Do not dwell upon her nakedness. That would be unseemly.)

Here is MOP.
Well, not the real mop.
Its brand will remain unsaid.
Just note that it was an old sponge mop, well-versed in evil.
It searched for an opportunity to belittle and harm Cinder-hella
much like the evil Step-sisters in the original story.

Cinder-hella swept the kitchen floor in preparation for the cleaning. She did not use an old-fashioned broom but a fine Swiffer given to her by her handsome prince. This brand is named because it is true and good… unlike MOP.

The princess decided that she would approach the task with a positive attitude. She ordered the Royal Pandora Musicians to play Christmas songs. Carols filled the air. She commenced the mopping with gusto and a smile.

She was amazed at how fast the work was going. MOP was cooperating. Hopefully, the floor would be dry before the relatives arrived.

Little did Cinder-hella know that MOP had heard the opines of Cinder-hella which were spoken to the Prince days before the Royal Mopping.

“Oh, handsome man, I beseech thee. Purchase for your royal dame a Swiffer Wet Jet. I will throw nasty MOP away and live the life of a true and gentle princess.”

MOP plotted and planned to exact revenge on the red-haired princess. At first MOP  cleaned and shined the floor, but evil was lurking. MOP waited until just the right moment…and THEN ……

MOP snapped at its base, and Cinder-hella slipped and fell.


She lay on the wet floor, a puddle of naked flesh. Fear not! The fall was not hard only humbling. Cinder-hella was able to save herself from major hip or back injury by riccocheting off a wall. 

MOP lay by her, sneering.

“Ha ha ha! You fell on your royal a##!”

“I hate you, MOP!” Cinder-hella yelled. She also spouted some very un-royal words which shall not be penned to page.


The doorbell rang.

Yes, it did.

Crawling on her hands and knees to the nearby dry floor, Cinder-hella hot-footed it to her royal sleeping chambers and donned her ballgown. She did have an ouch or two where the corset pinched, but otherwise she was in good spirits and free of broken bones.

The guests were warned to stay off the wet floor, and evil MOP was banished to the trash can.

So ends the tale of a princess and a mop.

The Moral of  this story is:
To thine own mop be true or you shall be black and blue.

NOTE: The above tale is true. Cinder-hella does exist. I wear her glass slippers. This post is dedicated to a certain fellow writer whose children nicknamed me ‘Hella’.

Tremor me timbers!


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Yep, I said ‘tremor’ instead of ‘shiver’. Today I had an adventure at the local health food store. I love going to that store.  (Can you say organic ‘chocolate covered almonds’?)  But the clientele can be a bit odd. I’m not picking on anyone. Heck, I’m odd. No discrimination intended.  Here’s the deal:

I was perusing the B12 vitamins for my vegetarian daughter. (I’m a carnivore. She’s a vegetarian. Go figure. I probably traumatized her with a medium rare steak.) The area where I was reading labels was right by the cash register. A very nicely dressed woman of my age was placing cans and packages of flour onto the counter. Her conversation with the clerk was sprinkled with bits of this and that. And then she suddenly started talking about ‘sink holes’….in great detail…in her own view of what was causing these horrible house-eaters.

“Something is coming out of the sink holes. Something from deep below,” she said. She was very dramatic about this.

The clerk nodded and replied, “Maybe gas. Like a giant belch?”


“No,” the woman stated. “And it’s not because of fracking…I’m talking ‘things’”

I am not making fun of the woman. She is entitled to her views, but….

What the heck? 


I began to think of the movie Tremors. I almost interrupted the conversation by adding my two cents that it had to be Graboids, but I didn’t. I stood there shaking. Images of Kevin Bacon whooping up on a giant nematode were racing through my thoughts. I couldn’t help it. Needless to say I had to exit the store fast before some of my favorite lines from Tremors escaped my lips.

Valentine McKee: Roger that Burt, and congratulations. Be advised, however, that there are two more, repeat, two more motherhumpers.

Valentine McKee: This valley is just one long smorgasbord.

Burt Gummer: Broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn’t ya you bastard!

I ran to my car and immediately called my oldest daughter who loves Tremors also. I do believe I became healthier from all the laughter.

(NOTE: I will be sporadically posting until mid-August…a bit here…a bit there…unless the Graboids get me. Then you won’t hear a thing from me. Scribbles.)



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