Art Show Update

Last Thursday I challenged you to share something good about yourself. It was wonderfully inspiring to see people respond to the challenge. I encourage you do it again this week, tell me something good about yourself, or if you still find that too difficult, how about this, tell me something good about a friend of yours. Pick  just one  friend and tell me all the wonderful things you love about that friend. We can do another friend next week.

I want to tell you about my friend Laura Salas. If you don’t know Laura’s books or poetry, you should. Her website is full of kinds of all fun stuff as is her blog. I met Laura years ago in an online critique group and while we have only had the pleasure of being in person together twice (once at the Chautauqua conference and once at KidLit con) we have maintained our friendship via emails and Skype calls. She’s an awesome cheerleader to have on your team and terrific critiquer as well. If you already know Laura, you know of her generous heart and unending support of poetry. She wants poetry to be easy and accessible for everyone and she works hard to make that happen. For the past, shoot, four or five years (Laura, help me remember here) she has done a Thursday poetry exercise called Poems of 15 Words or Less. Every Thursday she posts a photograph and invites people to share their poetic responses in the comments. The only catch is that it has to be 15 words or less.

I can’t believe how long she has been doing this and that every single Thursday, she comes up with something to say about the photo she posts. I have participated on and off but I confess, sometimes the pictures don’t inspire me and I just have to let it go. But for a while there I was doing the 15 Words or Less on a pretty regular basis. I saved the photos to my computer, along with my poems, knowing I didn’t want to lose my words but I didn’t know what else I might do with them.

Then I started art journaling and I knew that my collection of 15 Words or less poems would be perfect in an art journal. I had so much fun creating art pages and then adding Laura’s photos and my words. I ended up with a lovely fat book that still surprises me when I turn the pages.

But the story doesn’t end there. As some of you who follow me on Facebook might know, last night I participated in my first art show. One of the pieces on display was my Laura Salas inspired Art Journal! I can’t even put into words the thrill of standing at one end of the gallery and peeking down toward the other end and watching complete strangers flipping the pages, nodding their head at something they read.

Thank you, Laura, for the idea of 15 Words or Less inspiration, for the dedication to keeping it going, week after week after week (even when life is trying its best to beat you up) and for being the wonderfully supportive friend that you are.

I had eight other pieces in the show as well, from a series called “Notes From a Life”. I’ve included a few pages from the art journal and the individual pieces in the photos below. And it looks like I may have already sold my first piece.

Click on any photo to see it larger.

Your turn, tell me something wonderful about a friend of yours.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012|Categories: Susan's Art|Tags: , |20 Comments

Tell Me Something Good, About You

When I woke up this morning I knew I wanted to write something about how quick we are to see the negative in our lives and in ourselves and how seldom we celebrate ourselves or feel bad talking about something that went well for us. We can shout it from the rooftops for family or friends but all too often we can’t do the same for ourselves. Many of us have negative loops that play in our head, telling us we’re not as good as we think we are, telling us that book we’re trying to write is a waste of time, that piece of art isn’t really art, and that meal you thought came out so well was boring and overcooked. I’m all for changing the tape on that background noise. How about you?

Here’s the new chorus I want to hear in my head. I’m forcing myself (I’m saying “force” because it’s not a habit yet.)

  • I’m good at writing. Not just writing in general but I’m good at writing the kind of stories that get under your skin and tug at your heart and sometimes make you cry.
  • I’m good at taking every day moments, like something that happens in the garden or an observation of my dog or a teaching moment in the classroom, and writing about them so that most people can relate to the situation and the story.
  • I’m good creating a home that is welcoming to all who come to visit.
  • I’m good at reading fast.
  • I’m good at supporting my friends and kids and encouraging their dreams.
  • I’m good at listening.
  • I’m good at making other people feel at ease.

This isn’t an easy thing (for most people) to do. I know I’m good at other things but when it came to actually putting them on the list I found myself hesitating. Maybe next week it will be easier to add to it. I also stopped myself from being snarky and saying how good I was at doing things that were bad for me because I don’t think that goes with the spirit of the exercise. You don’t have to qualify your talents. You do have to accept them.

It takes practice for most of us to be able to talk about what we do well so here’s your chance. Tell me what you do well. Don’t counter it with I do this but I stink at that.  Trust me, I had a corresponding negative thought for everything I posted. Start each sentence with “I’m good at . . . ”

Ready, set, go!


Today, in some parts of the blogsphere, it is known as Thankful Thursday. Thankful Thursday was started by writer L.K. Madigan, an amazing woman whom I met on Livejournal.  Today is also the one year anniversary of Lisa’s death. Jama Rattigan has a wonderful tribute to Lisa on her blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2012|Categories: Random|Tags: , |38 Comments

Dinner With Papa

It’s Thankful Thursday and I just want to give a shout-out to all of you have been reading along with my daily poems and who have left supportive comments for me. Also to everyone who read the poem I wrote for Jama’s Poetry Potluck over on her blog yesterday and responded there.

So often many of us (myself included) read a post and think we don’t need to comment, or someone else already said it, or we just don’t know what to say. And sometimes we just don’t have the time. I know. Been there, done that.

But for those of you have commented this month, thank you. What you have helped me remember is something reminded me of recently when she said that I was at my best when I was open, honest and vulnerable. The comments you’ve left me have helped me remember that truth.

Not everything I write is happy, pretty writing and my kind of writing isn’t everyone’s kind of writing and that’s okay. I write to make sense of my world.

Thank you for reading along.

I’ve decided to add the poem here in case Jama closes off her old blog.


by Susan Taylor Brown

I follow Papa everywhere,
copying his walking, stomping across the wooden porch,
sliding behind him into the space beneath the house,
pushing away cobwebs and nosy spiders to hand him a monkey wrench,
standing beside him at the kitchen sink while we wash
(up to our elbows) for dinner.

Papa eats what Papa wants.
Meat and potatoes (every meal)
with one slice of white bread, lathered thick with butter.
Vegetables (sometimes but not always)
and something sweet to finish every meal.

My mother (and Nana too)
eat like they are never hungry.
Grapefruit for breakfast, cottage cheese for lunch,
small helpings at dinner, and sometimes, no dessert at all.

Most of the time,
our meat comes from Mayfair Market down on Salvio Street.
Chicken. Pork Chops. A pot roast for Sundays.
But the best meat comes from Papa himself, after a day of fishing or hunting.
Catfish. Pheasant. Sometimes deer.
And my very favorite, duck, baked in the oven until the skin is cracker crisp.

My mother (and Nana too) peel off the skin, cut the duck into tiny pieces
then say they are full after just a few bites.
I mimic Papa and pick the duck up in my hands,
gnawing it like the wild thing he claims I am
until the juice from the greasy skin dribbles down my chin.
Papa says it’s good luck to get the piece with the BBs left inside the meat
but every time, luck favors my mother most of all.

After dinner, Nana and my mother pile dishes in the sink
then wash them all by hand, chattering like the best friends they are.
Papa grabs the evening paper and sets himself in the easy chair.
I listen to them but watch him,
waiting, waiting, waiting,
until he looks up and pats the space left on his lap,
the space that is just the right size,
for lucky me.

© 2011 Susan Taylor Brown. All rights reserved.


Thursday, April 28, 2011|Categories: Listen to Me Read, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I thankful for my CAPS (Creative Action Planning & Support) group. This is a group my artist friend Lori and I decided to start because we wanted some help meeting goals (accountability and all that) and we wanted some camaraderie with like-minded creative individuals. We started last July and have met once a week, every week, since then. There are nine of us though not everyone makes it every week. Between us we have painters, collage artists, quilters, photographers, sculpters, cartoonist and yes, a writer or two. At first I wasn’t sure how useful it would be for me because they are all artists and I am all writer but the blending of spirits is wonderful. You can’t meet once a week with folks and not be changed by the experience.

I am still looking for an in-person writing group (though I love my one-on-one connections with other writers) but this group fills a very special need for me. It’s helpful for me to announce to the group what I plan to get done in the coming week and then, if it isn’t done, to hear myself explain why I missed the mark. While it’s easy to lie to myself with a lot of excuses, it’s much harder to do so to a group of supportive friends. As a result I am more focused and able to finish more work.

I am also thankful that I finally got everything (and boy, what a lot of everything that was) over to the fine folks at Winding Oak for my new website. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! It’s been quite an ordeal but through the process I have become reacquainted with my writer self and it was a very nice meeting.

So hey, CAPS girls, I can finally cross all that website stuff off my list!

Edited to add:
I just remembered one more thing I’m grateful for this week. For much of the week every time I got a negative thought or a thought that threatened to pull me into the past, I’ve been able to note it and then let it go.

Thursday, January 6, 2011|Categories: Random|Tags: |2 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thank for my wonderful husband.

Not only does he do all the cooking around the house, which means he also does all the grocery shopping, but he drives me all over the place (not just the South Bay) looking at things on craigslist. When we buy something, no matter how big, he always manages to fit it into our four-runner. He does all the moving and lifting and carrying and lets me supervise. He never complains, even when we drive a couple of hours for something we don’t buy.

Thank you, my dear.

Thursday, June 10, 2010|Categories: Random|Tags: |11 Comments

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for a great many things today – family, friends, health, ability to be home writing – but I wanted to speak specifically to a single recent experience.

Earlier this week I went on a retreat with a few writer friends and a few writer/artists strangers who are now friends. We gathered at the beach mostly with solitary intentions and yet, it seemed, the magic of where we were and the creative energy of those gathered had other ideas.

We came with no agenda, no speakers, nothing that absolutely had to be done.

Groups of two and three started to form. Individual work turned into freeform group writing fun. Books and art were shared. Gifts were acknowledged, praised. We were validated as professional creatives. Meals stretched for several hours as we lingered over coffee and tea. We sat by the fire and talked long into the night. We laughed (and some of us cried) and took a great many pictures.

Our backgrounds, our journeys to be writers, were of course very different.
Our passion however, was very much the same.

I am so grateful for the time spent with these fabulous and talented women. You have to understand that it isn’t because someone took me aside and said a particular thing to me. It isn’t because of anything we saw or ate or did. I think it might be because of what they didn’t do.

They didn’t say “do this.” They didn’t say “don’t do that.” They just listened. And accepted.

It rocked my world from the inside out.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. Thank you for all the times you read my blog. May your bellies and hearts be full of everything you need.

Thursday, November 26, 2009|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |13 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Well I got up this morning thinking it was Wednesday, all set to post my Of Dogs and Writing Post, and then I realized it was Thursday. I lost a day this week.

But I have much to be thankful for:

  1. A strong and loving marriage
  2. Good friends
  3. Relatively good heath
  4. Cassie
  5. A home of my own
  6. A job I love

For you writers and illustrators and musicans out there, all you creative types, I’d love for you to go check out

‘s post today on how we stay connected to the true purpose of what we do. Warning, it will make you think.

Thursday, October 8, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |0 Comments

Thankful Thursday

There has been a recurring chorus from a few special friends in my life of late. They tell me things and I refuse to believe them and then they tell them to me again and I push them away and they keep telling me these things until I’m ready to cry because I don’t see the person they see and eventually I start to feel like maybe they might be telling me the truth which just blasts all my old preconceptions about myself right out of the water.

I am so grateful to have friends like these in my life.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |8 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful for little things today. After last week’s Coke spilled on the keyboard fiasco I had to go back to using the old HP laptop with the fan that never shuts up. I’m very thankful I had it to fall back on while I wait for my new computer to arrive. (Yes, they can clean and probably keep the old laptop running but I will not trust that it won’t burn something out after the episode so hubby is taking my old one and I’m getting a new one.)

But laptops are still heavy to haul around, especially when traveling, and I get nervous taking all my data away from home so I also bought a littlle netbook. I’m thankful for it today and I know I will grow more thankful for it over time.

From LJ

It’s a Samsung NC10-14GB 10.2 inch and weighs in at mere 2.8 pounds with a 6 cell battery. The goal is to leave the main laptop in the office at the end of the workday and use the netbook at night on the couch when I’m blogging and emailing and stuff. 

And speaking of offices, now that I am spending more time in mine there was some tweaking to be done there. I am thankful for my new shelves that are finally up. (I bought the materials 9 months ago. Sigh.)

From LJ

The top shelf is just what I wanted for plants and bits of inspiration and some of my writing and reading figurines. The shelf below hides a room air conditioner and is long enough for four big baskets. And if you’re nosy like me and you want to look closer at what’s on the shelf, you can see a bigger pic here.

And most of all today I am thankful for people like Bobbi Miller who help me recognize that I am on the right path with my blog and let me know. Bobbi made a comment in this post of mine that took me to her website where I found this page with some words about me.

"Reading her LiveJournal is like taking a class in inspiration, persistence, and motivation, even as we follow the adventures of a dog named Cassie."

I read that yesterday, just when I really needed to hear it. I’ve been going through some thoughts about blogs, well about my blog in specific, still trying to figure out where I fit into the kidlitosphere. The balancing act is hard for all of us. Not enough time to read, respond or even post as much as we might like. At my level (as in "not famous") one never really knows if blogging is reaching people so I am really thankful to hear when it does.

Thursday, September 3, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments

Thankful Thursday – A room with a view

I thought I would try a themed Thankful Thursday today….one around my office. (Been in here for over 3 hours so far today.)

I am thankful for this wonderful job I have, playing and working with words, a job that allows me to work from home in a beautiful office filled with books and paper and all the touchy feely things I love best.

I am thankful for the new roof we put on. A stone coated steel roof. My office has a high beam ceiling and the old shingles were just piled on top of that. No insulation. In the summer the room was an oven and in the winter you could feel the columns of cold air drifting down. But since they put the new roof on it is pleasant. The AC is running on the house but even then I used to sweat in the office. Not now.

I am thankful for all the fun pieces of old office furniture and accessories I have been able to gather here to give it warmth…the old oak teacher’s desk, the antique library table, the ancient file cabinet that matches the desk. The old botanical prints that are waiting for me to hang them on the wall. The old oak recipe box that holds my plotting index cards and all the little knick knack dust catchers that make me smile.

I am thankful for the ergonomic setup that helps me hurt less – (though today something is funky and my neck hurts) the chair that adjusts a gazillion different ways. The roller mouse keyboard that is no strain on my arm and should. The keyboard tray that lets me use a negative tile which reduces the strain on my wrists.

But I think today I am most thankful for the view outside my window. From the computer desk I can’t quite see the bird bath or the bubbling rock (which means there is another water feature in our future) but I can see the birds swooping down as they race the length of the yard and come in for a landing. I can see them up in the Japanese Maple tree flitting from branch to branch, looking for bugs. I see the mourning doves, three of them, who have decided under the young Ironwoods is a nice place to take a nap and a fourth one wandering the path like an old man in search of his lost glasses. There’s a cabbage white butterfly that’s hovering over the monkey flower just at the edge of my view and an orange skipper resting on the coffee berry. The carpenter bees are working the tall yarrow at the back fence and the hummingbird is darting from the fuchsias to the twinberry and back again.

Life is good.

Thursday, August 13, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that have the opportunity to do the work I love.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Thursday, August 6, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |3 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Though I am thankful for many things today I thought I would pick just a few of the practical ones.

I’m thankful for my air conditioning. I’m a total hot weather wimp (opposite from when I was a kid) and need to keep the house at a cool temp for me to even be able to function.

I am thankful for mosquito fish who have gone to work on all the bugs in the pot ponds.

I am thankful that my husband, who works as a contractor, is still gainfully employed in this time of great financial unease.

I am thankful that I am able to be home writing, after my own layoff, supplementing my oft-sparse writing income with speaking and teaching and my work with Children’s Literature Network. I don’t think I ever formally announced this but I am now working part time for Children’s Literature Network and Winding Oak as a web editor. I love that it is connected to children’s literature and that it allows me to keep up with some web work which was the best part of my old day job.

I am thankful to[info]laurasalas  for the intro to the job at Children’s Literature Network and Winding Oak.

Thursday, April 23, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |7 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for all the people who read my blog, whether they comment or not, I appreciate you spending a little time with me.

I am thankful for people who take the time from tto interview me and help spread the word about me and my books. This week I was interviewed by Carma Dutra, of Carma’s Window. Thanks, Carma! 

I am thankful for the many people who have come together at Shelter Covenant Church in Concord to support my son Ryan. Ryan was baptized on Easter Sunday. He shared a little bit of his story, of his depression and fight with Muscular Dystrophy, in a video on his blog. Ryan doesn’t realize how strong he is or how many people love and support him, but I think that day he got a bit of an idea. To the folks at Shelter, I haven’t met any of you but I love you all for loving my son as much as you do.

Thursday, April 16, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for Nicole Geiger, my editor for Hugging the Rock.

I recently shared some of  MTLB (MG verse novel) with her and then sat by the computer waiting impatiently for her response. 

When it came, I couldn’t have been more pleased. No, she didn’t offer a contract on the spot or even imply such a thing. What she did is what made working with her on Hugging the Rock so wonderful. She pointed to the holes in the story in such a way that I can now view them as a challenge rather than a failing on my part. She said good stuff too, like her heart was already breaking, but I am so grateful for an editor who can show me the weak spots and yet not make me feel weak in the process.

I hope every writer gets the chance to work with an editor like that at least once in their career.

Thursday, February 19, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

thankful Thursday

Today I am very thankful for friendship.

Some friends are old friends that are growing even more dear to me in time. Some friends are long known but I am now getting the chance to get to know better. Some are friends that I kept too long in the category of acquaintance, only recently coming to realize how very treasured they are.

Some years back when I was struggled with those darn moody days I would have told you that I didn’t have many friends.

How wrong I was. How blessed I am.

Thank you, my friends.

Thursday, February 5, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for peanut butter.

Now this might seem like a silly thing to be thankful for but if you knew my dog Cassie better, you would understand.

Cassie is still a puppy which means she’s like having a 70pound toddler running around the house. When she’s awake, it’s all about play, all the time. She doesn’t play fetch so I can’t tire her out that way. Sometimes I have to find a way to get her to give me a little quiet time so I can work. If she was a baby, I’d put her in a playpen. If she was a toddler I’d open the Tupperware drawer and the pots and pans cabinet and let her have a field day.

But she’s a dog. A very smart dog who needs to be constantly challenged.

She is also a very spoiled dog. She has a lot of bones. As in, oh, 20 or so. She gets a new one once a week and the old ones stick around until they crack from playing bone hockey (she bats them around to slide on the tile floor.) Every so often I gather them up and boil them in hot water to make sure nothing icky is growing in them.

When I need to get some work done I gather up all her bones and put a dab of peanut butter inside each one. Then I take her into the hall bathroom and put her into a stay while I run all over the house and hide the bones. I release her and she spends the next hour looking for bones and licking out the peanut butter.

Yes, peanut butter is my friend.

Thursday, January 29, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: , |7 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for my garden.

I am thankful that I have some dirt to call my own, a place to dig, to water, to watch life renew itself. It doesn’t take much time, 5 minutes of pulling weeds, gathering seeds, and I am more at peace with my place in the giant world.

Things that make me smile in my garden:

  • Flowers still in bloom – Flax, Yarrow, Chinese Houses, Lupines and Monkey Flower.
  • The wildflower seeds are popping up all over the place even though they were just sown in the mulch and not dirt.
  • It looks like the Carex Pansa lawn is starting to take.
  • The ribes are full of buds waiting to burst into bloom.
  • The Sambucus Mexicana that had broken broken branches might have new life. I stuck the branches in a pot and forgot about them. No special treatment. Now they are all rooting.
  • Last night I heard a frog next door.

Life is good.

It’s Thursday so don’t forget to go try your hand at poems of 15 Words or Less with Laura Salas. It’s quick. It’s fun. It wakes up your brain. Laura also has an upcoming online class on Writing Children’s Nonfiction Books for the Educational Market.

Thursday, January 8, 2009|Categories: Random|Tags: |2 Comments

Thankful Thursday

1. Excedrin Migraine. It works on my sinus headaches enough to dull it painful but almost bearable.

2. I hit the deadline to get my critique in for our conference submission. Considering how long I have not been writing regularly this was huge.

3. I turned in several work-for-hire assignments and picked up two more.

4. Being laid off. I know I have said it before but I am really, really, really thankful to be home. It is going to take months still for my body to absorb all these changes but it is the right thing for me. I know it.

5. Friends who don’t give up on me even when I am a major flake about things.

6. A husband who does it all – cooks, shops, cleans – and lets me work toward creating the literary life I crave.

I’m a lucky woman.

Thursday, December 18, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |3 Comments

20 Things That Make Me Happy Today

Okay, almost always willing to follow the crowd, here’s my version of 20 Things That Make Me Happy Today in no particular order except for the way I think of them.

1.   Chai. Specifically chai from Sun Chai in Santa Cruz that you can only get on that side of the hill.
2.   Wonderful husband who indulges and spoils me.
3.   Cassie, my beautiful, exuberant dog.
4.   Growing friendships with Eileen, Becky and Debbi.
5.   The fact that we can afford to keep the house as warm or as cool as we like.
6.   Doves coming back to the yard now that there are plants.
7.   Things blooming the yard today – lupines and chinese houses.
8.   Seeing all the cool rocks we got yesterday just waiting for me to move them around the yard.
9.   Digital cameras.
10. Shopping online.
11. Writing friends who are willing to brainstorm and/or read for me.
12. Books.
13. The new tree bench my husband is putting together.
14. The wine barrels I scored on craigslist for dirt cheap so I can do pot ponds.
15. The new bright red computer that is sitting over there waiting for me to install my programs and transfer things.
16. Memory foam mattress pads.
17. Opportunities that have come my way allowing me to make money by writing more than just my own novels.
18. The dog crate
19. Being laid off.
20. All the seeds for native wildflowers waiting to be planted.

Thursday, December 4, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |7 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Supportive husband who cooks and gives foot massages and spoils me rotten.
Puppy kisses.
A home of my own.
Words and the ability to use them.
Friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thursday, November 27, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |12 Comments

thankful Thursday

I am thankful for the time spent at the day job, the job that is now done. It taught  me a lot about people and about myself.

I am thankful for the rain that is drizzling slowly outside. Grow, plants. Grow.

I am thankfor for the bonus check that ended up being bigger than my original calculations.

Thursday, October 30, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |8 Comments

Thankful Thursday

This is a random edition of thankfulness.

I am thankful I had dental insurance in order to have the dental surgery earlier this week.
(I hate hate hate that I needed it but glad I was able to do so.)

I am thankful for my wonderful husband who is excellent at taking care of me when I am under the weather.
(I wish everyone had someone like him in their lives because he is so very nurturing.)

I am REALLY thankful that I only have 5 working days left in a cubicle.
(I can’t believe that they are dropping Microsoft Outlook and going backward to Lotus Notes for email.)

I am thankful to smokingtoaster because she is arranging a goodbye lunch for me at work. It’s one of those awkward things because of course my big fear is what if no one wants to come? But if not, smokingtoaster and DB and I will just have a nice lunch on our own.
(The ONLY thing I am going to miss about this job are a few really great people.)

I am thankful that we have had the money to put in our native garden. It’s not done and the plants are still small but seeing green stuff beginning to grow is so exciting.

I am thankful that I will be home and be able to tend the garden by hand, water by hand for a while, weed, and just bask in the wonderfulness that is nature.

Thursday, October 23, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |2 Comments

Thankful Thursday

First off, I have to say one thing I am not thankful for. I am not thankful for DHL losing my new computer and for Dell saying they don’t believe DHL (or me) and that I have to continue to wait until which time Dell will decide if it is really and truly lost at which time they will begin to rebuild the new computer and it will be sent out again, probably via DHL. Grrr.

I am thankful that I only have 9 more working days in this place that is sinking faster than the proverbial lead balloon.

I am thankful for the foot massage my husband gave me last night which relaxed me enough to allow me 7 hours of wonderful, solid, sleep.

I am thankful that Yerba Buena nursery has a delivery service. Tuesday I faxed over my order and today, for a mere $30, they are delivering more plants. What a deal!

I am thankful that Thursday is my Friday and I have three days off.

I am thankful for the glorious weather we are having which is just perfect for working in the yard!

Thursday, October 16, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful I only have 17 more working days left until I am out of this blasted cubicle.

Really, that’s all I can think about anymore.

Thursday, October 2, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I am sososososososo thankful that I only have 24 working days left at the day job. Today was goofy, crazy, insane with the stuff they expect to have done by the time I am gone. I am doing my job. I am being professional. But I am not going to give 150% to a place that doesn’t want me anymore. Sheesh.

Thursday, September 18, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Thankful Thursday – ch…ch…cha…changes

I have been sick with a coughing, sneezing, can’t get enough sleep sort of cold and can’t seem to manage much of a post yet so I’ll just be short and sweet and very thankful.

I am thankful that I was part of the huge layoff at my dayjob. Yes, thankful!

I am thankful that I am on a delayed depart until the end of October.

I am thankful for what lies ahead.

Many, many changes coming and I hope to post more about them soon. It’s all good.

Oh, and I am very thankful to beckylevine  for picking up the phone Tuesday night and being just what I needed just when I needed it most.

Edited to add – sorry folks. I should have made it more clear. I am VERY HAPPY about this.
Over the moon, as it were. It’s the best possible news….well, next to a book contract.

Thursday, September 11, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: , |26 Comments

Thankful Thursday

There are so many things for me to be thankful for today. Here are just a few.

Puppy kisses and puppy antics that never fail to bring a smile to my face. We can never have too much laughter in our life, can we?

A husband who, on the long weekend when I was so sleep deprived, got up at 6am with the dog and took her downstairs, kept her busy, took her for a walk, fed her breakfast and let me sleep until 10 am each day. Then, once I got up, he went back to bed.

That same husband who after getting up the second time of the day, worked by himself (in the hot California sun) setting stone by stone the new patio in the backyard. With my bad shoulder I can’t offer much in the way of help so I supervise and approve the placement and spacing between each stone. I did, however, vow to plant all the plants in-between the stones when the patio is done.

I am thankful beyond belief for changes happening in my life and in myself.

A change of attitude, from victim to woman in charge of her world.
A good friend or two or three.
Doors that open and close.
Possibilities that abound if one only dares to dream, then dares to put dreams into action by jumping.

Hope really is the thing with feathers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |21 Comments

Thankful Thursday

Last night we went to go look at a second German Shepherd dog to possibly add to our family. His name is Cullen and he was pulled from the pound after being picked up running on the street. He had tags and the owner was contacted. The owner said no, I don’t want him anymore. Just put him to sleep. This guy was just a big old teddy bear who wanted nothing more than to snuggle up next to a human.

Today I am giving thanks to the great many dog rescue groups and their volunteers that go into the shelters and pull good dogs like Cullen from the shelter and try to find them a new home with loving owners. If you want to add a dog to your family, please consider going to a rescue group or check out You can go to the pound too but here’s the advantage of the rescue groups – most of them place the dogs in foster homes with experienced dog handlers. The foster parent can give you a lot of insight into the dog before you bring it home. Yes, rescue dogs are often older and a lot of people think that means they won’t bond with their new owners but that’s not the case. And while puppies are cute and cuddly they are a lot of work. There’s a lot to be said for adopting a slightly older dog from 9 – 18 months.

If you want a specific breed, as we did, you can go to a breed specific rescue group. The AKC maintains a list of breed rescue groups around the country. Sure, it might take a little while to find the perfect dog (or not) but it is worth it. 

So thank you dog lovers and rescue groups everywhere.

Thursday, August 21, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

Thankful Thursday

In my typical random order – 

I am thankful that we found a dog trainer that I think is a great match for helping us work with Cassie.

I am thankful that the company we are merging with is doing it all very quickly. There will be a HUGE layoff when the deal closes, which will be painful no matter where I land, but it will be done quickly. Those that are still employed will know the layoff is done and shouldn’t have to have the threat of more layoffs hanging over their head month after month after month. Those that lose their jobs (or have delayed departures) will at least know where they stand. I won’t know what happens to me for another month but in another month, it will all be over. Considering that for the last 2 years we have lived in constant fear – this will be an improvement.

I am thankful that the blasted water pipe is finally fixed which means the pavers can finally be put back in place.

I am thankful for puppy kisses because they are so good for everything that is not right in my word.

I am thankful that for now, at least, Thursday is my Friday and I have three days off.

Thursday, August 14, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |2 Comments

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that the cement demo crew is starting today, two days early, because I am at work and won’t have to listen to the bulk of the noise. But more than that, I am thankful that soon, very soon, all the cement around our place will be gone and we will have a little bit more dirt for planting. Our yard is teeny tiny so I rejoice in any dirt that will let me garden a bit more.

I am thankful that a crew of 4 will show up on Friday to take out as much of the Bermuda grass that they can from the back yard. 

I am thankful for our local water district that is offering a nice rebate for people who take out thirsty lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant alternatives. (Ours will be, of course, 100% California native plants and no, that does not mean cactus.)

I am thankful that tomorrow starts the first day of my vacation/shut-down. Our company is shutting down next week so I will have 10 days at home to write and work on the garden and sleep in past 5am.

But most of all today I am thankful for my husband. Last night I was watering a patch of Bermuda (to make it easier to extract) and I pulled the hose a bit closer and managed to snap the water pipe. He was just getting ready to start cooking dinner but instead had to spend an hour or so running to the store for parts and fixing the broken pipe. Never once did he get upset with me. After that he had to help me move the close to 100 pots on the courtyard plus all the other assorted pieces of junk that live there. And then we had to move all the stuff on the sideyard since that is being removed too. And through it all he kept on smiling that smile of his, the one that made my heart go flip-flop when I first met him. The one that all these years later, still makes my own heart skip a beat.

May you all have a day filled with gratefulness.

Thursday, June 26, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |10 Comments