Friday, April 30, 2010

Not quite what I had in mind ...

So, we're studying texture in art design this week. We've had some fun projects, like showing fur on a sketch of an animal or painting paper different colors and cutting them into shapes. The other day our project was to cut out some flower shapes from old magazines. The images from the pictures were supposed to give the flowers texture. So, I work along with the boys to guide them a little and the above picture is the effect we're going for. I told them they could make trees if they didn't want to do girlie flowers. The following is what happened ...

I swear, boys are so different than girls, especially when it comes to art projects. My girls used to spend hours on their work, making everything completely perfect. And then I had the boys. Sheesh! Nathan pointed out that their pictures are still textured and made sure I noticed how he even made one of his people's head shaped like a tulip. They crack me up.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is Kitty ...

Kitty's life began kind of rough. She was born of a stray cat outside in an old, rotted woodpile near my house in California. As she got older, she would hunt in our yard. Pretty soon she was hanging out there all the time. My girls took a liking to her and started leaving food out for her. She was skin and bones, so she would eat anything. She eventually got to where she would let the girls pet her. Right before we were planning on moving to Montana, the girls started keeping Kitty inside. They didn't want to leave her, so they were hoping she would be tame enough to bring her with us.

The picture above shows how she is now -- a content housecat! She is still pretty skittish, but she's gotten so much better from her feral days. She doesn't like to be held, but that doesn't stop the girls from trying. Both of my girls are in Florida right now. Nicole is in college and Nichelle is visiting Disneyworld with her grandparents and aunt. So, guess who Kitty has found as her mommy replacement? Yep -- me. She's on my bed sleeping now. She will not let me hold her, but if the mood hits her, she will curl up on my legs. Early this morning I woke up to purring in my ear. The next thing I felt was a paw on my face. I guess she wanted some attention. Anyway, she's hanging out with me until May 8th. That's when Nichelle is coming home, so she'll be back in her room. For now, it's nice having a kitty on my bed again.

In other news -- my Facebook is all messed up and I can't access my profile page. If you're trying to reach me there, I probably won't see it until they get it fixed. I have sent them two messages already, so I hope they can figure out what's wrong. I can view the News Feed, but I can't see my own page. If you need to leave me a message, feel free to contact me here or you can send me an email me at: -- thanks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blah, blah, blah ...

I need to catch up on reading blogs sometime today. I tried to do that the other night, but every time I left a reply my computer would have a glitch and it would open up window after window after window. I think it had something to do with the cookies -- whatever the heck those are. So, if you haven't heard from me on your blog, blame it on my cookies. Oh, by the way, I took this picture the other day. The weather has been whacky, so I haven't seen many flowers yet, but I saw these when we went for a bike ride. There is a bee flying between them. Kind of hard to see unless you enlarge it.

I'm sitting here in bed, with an empty coffee cup, wishing I didn't have to get up to get a second cup. It's raining pretty hard right now, which is nice. I like rain this time of year. I don't like it in summer when it brings thunderstorms because those bring forest fires. But this time of year when everything is just getting green again, the rain is nice. But then again, just as I've been typing, it's started snowing too. It's too warm for it to stick to the ground, but between the rain, the wind, and now the snowflakes -- I don't think it knows what it wants to do.

I spent most of yesterday working on a new website. It's not up yet, but I will let you know when it is. Initially, I was going to make it more child-like to go along with my books. I planned to remove the photography stuff and make it more bright and cheerful. Well, turns out I went with a black & white format instead. So much for bright and cheery, but I think I like it. I'm not sure if I will make anymore changes yet. I stayed up late working on it and then woke up way too early with it stuck in my head. I need more coffee ...

Thanks to everyone who took the time to watch my book trailers. I'm sorry I've had to change them so much, but it's tricky finding music that's free to use. I think I have it so I'm not breaking any copyright laws now. I loved making the trailers. I could really get into doing that some more. Hopefully, I can get more books published so I can! I also wrote the first draft of a picture book yesterday. It's another alphabet book, so that makes the fifth one I've written. And, I have another picture book idea stirring around in my head, so I'm not sure when I'll start on that. It seems I write in phases. I either have no ideas whatsoever, or I have too many that I can't get them down fast enough. Blah, blah, blah -- I know I'm rambling. Okay, I'm off for that second cup of coffee now ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Run, run, run ...

Here is the trailer for my next picture book, The Marshmallow Man. I'm not going to post it directly here because last time I did, it was off centered. Instead, just click the link below to watch it directly on You Tube. I've also redone the trailer for A New Job for Dilly, if you want to check that out as well. In addition, I have links to my book trailers on the right side of my blog.

As for The Marshmallow Man, we don't have an exact release date yet. It shouldn't be too much longer though, so I will let everyone know when I hear more. It's a fun story and Stephen Macquignon did an excellent job at illustrating it. I can't wait! Anyway, here is the book trailer ...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Do you ride?

The boys are really getting into riding their bikes again. It's kind of a seasonal thing in Montana, compared to being able to right year-round in California. I thought it would be fun to take our bikes to Grand Teton in June, so I got mine down from the rack and looked at it. Oh my gosh -- the poor old thing! I thought I just might have to replace the tubes, but turns out the tires were shot. It used to have a gel seat, but that had turned rock hard. There were a few other things broken as well. We figured it would cost just as much to fix as it would be to buy a new bike. So, rather than shooting it and putting it out of its misery, we took it to the pound instead. Maybe someone at the Salvation Army can get it in shape again.

I think we bought it in the early 80s when the girls were babies. It still had the thing on the back where we used to hook up the girl's bike seats. It was an old bike. However, considering I haven't rode that much lately, I didn't want to spend too much on a new one. We went to Target today and I was planning on buying one of the $99 mountain bikes I had seen there. I ended up with this one above, which cost about twice as much, but it seems like a good bike. I read some good reviews anyway. It's a Schwinn Clear Creek and it's teal green. I haven't ridden in years, so now my legs feel like jelly. I think we're going to go on a ride tomorrow by the Swan River, so hopefully I will survive! I'm sure my legs will be mush by tomorrow night though.

How about you -- do you ride much or like riding?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Twenty-nine years ...

Today is the 29th year anniversary of my first date with Rick. It's amazing to think it's been that long. I met Rick in my second year of high school. I had just turned 16 and he was 17 and about to graduate. Oddly, we had been at the same school for nearly 2 years, but had never seen each other until then. I was standing by the pool, ditching my tennis class, talking to my friend Amy. She was an aide at the pool, as was Rick. A few days later, he asked me to a local tennis tournament dance and I said yes. That was April 24, 1981. It's funny, but I remember that date vividly. I remember what I wore and what Rick had on. Sadly, I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday. We dated for 7 years before getting married in 1988.

Yesterday Rick came home from work early with 2 dozen long-stemmed roses. I didn't have my instant messenger on, so I missed the note he was coming home early. It totally surprised me. The roses didn't surprise me as much because Rick's always been wonderful about remembering this date, even better than me. Anyway, this picture is of the roses, taken looking down on them without a flash. You can't tell, but they are long-stemmed. I could barely get them all in the vase. They smell wonderful as well!

In other news -- I want to thank everyone who took the time to watch my book trailers. I really appreciate that. I had a lot of fun making them. Yesterday I spent a few hours working on one for my next picture book, The Marshmallow Man. I don't have it uploaded to You Tube yet, so I can't share it, but I hope to soon. It's probably my favorite of the three because I'm starting to understand the program a little better. As soon as I get an okay to post it, I will. I'm so excited for The Marshmallow Man to come out, as are my boys. They had a lot to do with me writing the book after we spent a week studying various versions of The Gingerbread Man. Nathan & Neil pretty much helped me bring The Marshmallow Man to life. And finally, thanks to the new people who are following my blog. I'm looking forward to following your blogs as well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Book Trailers

Yesterday I spent some time making a book trailer for Lemur Troops & Critter Groups. Mind you, I'm no filmmaker and it's not very good, but it's a start. I made it using PhotoShop Elements 8, which I barely know how to open, more or less know how to use. By some miracle, it not only worked, but I was able to upload it to You Tube. Here it is ...
Lemur Troops & Critter Groups trailer
After I finished it, I decided to mess about with my old trailer for A New Job for Dilly. I found out that was impossible because we had changed PS programs since making it. In addition, Facebook refused to let me keep it up because of copyright issues with the song. You Tube took the music off as well. I was trying to get permission from the person who owns the rights to the song, but it's been more trouble than it's worth. So, I changed the trailer and used a different song. Here it is ...
A New Job for Dilly trailer
I have edited this post since doing it originally because I change the trailers again. So, instead of posting them directly, I'm putting up links instead. Who knows ... maybe I'll get better at this with time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Turtle x3

Rick took this picture when we visited the National Bison Range awhile back. I wish I could say I took the picture, but he had the good zoom that day. Not that I'm bitter or anything. I cropped it though, so that has to count for something. Right? If you click on the picture, you should be able to see them close up and better.

I love turtles. When I was really little, my brother and sister found a turtle by our house. It was covered in tar or something and all I remember is them trying to get it off. Other than that, I've never owned a turtle. Nicole once said that she wanted to get a turtle and name it Turdy. After all, she has a cat named Kitty. Sounds logical to me.

I'm pretty sure the turtles in this picture are Painted Turtles. They're found in ponds, marshes, and lakes. These particular ones were in the middle of a pond near a trail at the Bison Range. They're called Painted Turtles because their skin has red and yellow marks that looks like it's been hand-painted. Here are some more interesting facts about them ...
  • Painted Turtles are the only species in the Chrysemys genus.
  • They are the official reptile of the US.
  • Painted Turtles hibernate by buying themselves in mud.
  • They can submerge in 3 feet of mud under 6 feet of water.
  • Painted Turtles can survive without oxygen up to 5 months.
  • They eat insects, worms, tadpoles, fish, carrion, and aquatic plants.
  • Turtle eggs are preyed upon by just about everything.
  • Predators for adults are alligators, raccoons, eagles, osprey, hawks.
  • Painted Turtles can live up to 30 years in the wild.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Critter Pics ...

We've had a great time hosting Critter and want to say thanks to Christy for giving us the opportunity to show him around northwestern Montana. He's been in the snow, gone to Glacier National park, went on a 3-mile hike to Holland Lake, seen all sorts of critters, homeschooled with the boys, and even read my books. Critter has been a joy to host!

Christy is looking to see if someone wants to host Critter before he goes off to the Virgin Islands with Bish. If this person is unable to do it, I still need someone to host him before he goes on his island adventure. I am sure he's looking forward to some time in the tropics, especially after being in the mountains of Montana. Thank you again, Christy, for letting us host Critter!
*** UPDATE***
Cynthia Leitich Smith has offered to host Critter next. From Cynthia, he will be sent to Bish so he can visit the Virgin Islands at the end of May. Thank you, Cynthia and Bish!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Kate at Trees Are Not Lollipops has graciously given me the Beautiful Blogger Award. Check out her blog if you can. She has some wonderful stories and a beautiful drawing of a numbat on there. I wrote a picture book about a numbat awhile back. They're adorable little critters found in western Australia. They have long, skinny tongues, eat termites, and kind of look like squirrels. The numbat in my story is named Mallee -- he's just a baby.

In order to accept the award, I am to pass it onto ten other bloggers. This is always the hardest part for me because I follow so many wonderful blogs. So, here are ten in random order ...

Stephen @ Nikon Sniper
Ginger @ Gingerpixels

Please check out all these blogs because they're all worthy of the Beautiful Blogger Award. If I skipped your blog, I apologize. Feel free to smack me upside the head. There are so many fun blogs out there. Also, check out Bish's blog because as soon as she reaches 100 followers she's going to have a contest. I can't wait to see what that will be. And finally, thank you for giving me the Beautiful Blogger Award, Kate!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Critter went hiking!

Rick and I took Critter on a hike to Holland Falls yesterday. It's about a 3-mile hike round trip. I dressed Critter in his raincoat because it was raining when we left the house. By the time we got to Holland Lake, the sky had cleared up and it was a beautiful day. Holland Lake is about an hour south of where I live. I believe it's a privately owned lake. You can camp, boat, fish, hike, ride horses, and do all sorts of things there. It's still early in the season, so the campgrounds aren't open, but we were able to make it to the falls.

Critter enjoyed the hike, especially with the weather being so nice. He saw lots of squirrels, two snakes, some deer, some elk, a woodpecker, some loons on the lake, lots of other birds, some butterflies, and even some dogs walking with their people on the trail. When he reached Holland Falls, he got to sit on the rocks and eat GORP. For those who don't know what GORP is -- Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts. Critter enjoyed his snack.

I still need to someone to host Critter next. I know Bish wants to take him to the islands when she goes back home and I think he'd really love that. After his time in the mountains, a tropical island trip is just what he needs. I think Bish goes on her trip at the end of May, so we need to find someone in the meantime. If you would like to host Critter and feature him on your blog, please let me know here or through my email -- thanks.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Satyr Comma

The other day Nathan yelled, "I just saw a butterfly!" It was the first one he's seen at the house all winter. Yesterday we went to Glacier NP and the crazy things were everywhere -- in the air, on the ground, on trees, in the road, on Rick's shoe, and on my back. I got a few pictures, including the one above. This one was content sitting on Rick's shoe for about 10 minutes. I think I've identified it as a male Satyr Comma butterfly.

I love taking pictures of butterflies. They're so skittish, so it's not easy for me to photograph them. I guess that's what makes it so challenging. In California, the butterfly we saw most often was the Monarch. I believe we have those in our county here in Montana, but I don't think I've seen any yet. I took some pictures of a Western Tiger Swallowtail a few years back and one of those was published in Rural Montana Magazine.

What is your favorite type of butterfly?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Critter went to Glacier!

We took Critter into Glacier NP today. It was kind of crowded, considering only 8 miles of the road is open so far. Not only that, but it's National Park Week and admission is free, so that added to the extra people. I wish I could take Critter further up the Going-To-The-Sun Road, but they've just begun plowing and it won't be open for a few months. The summit is where Glacier is really spectacular, but it can have up to 80 feet of snow on it, so it's a huge feat to plow it in the spring. It's also where the mountain goats are commonly seen. However, the road is still covered under gobs of snow, so we could only go as far as Lake McDonald Lodge.

Critter had a good time though. He posed in front of the lake with the mountains behind him. Do you see those horizontal white lines on those huge mountains? THAT is the road I'm talking about. And I don't just mean the one white line you see at the low point. Look for a line on the very upper right of this picture. THAT is the road! It's one freaky drive! Critter also posed by the Glacier NP sign with my goofy looking boys. And then he relaxed a bit on the rocks next to the lake. He was searching for the flat ones for the boys to skip into the lake. He had a good time, though I wish I had requested him further in the season so I could take him more places.

Part of the condition of hosting Critter is to find someone willing to host him next. So, if you would like to be Critter's next host, please leave a comment here or email me. I'll be posting a few more blogs with Critter soon. In the meantime, if you'd like to have him visit you, please let me know. While we were in the park, Critter spotted a Common Loon in the lake as well as a Columbian Ground Squirrel. These little critters hibernate most of the year, so it's fun to see them when they're out. Critter wanted to get his picture with him, but you know how snobby squirrels can be!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another cutie ...

Here is another adorable picture. This is Darcy holding a pickle and my book, A New Job for Dilly. Michelle at her blog The Innocent Flower posted this picture awhile back when she ran a contest offering a copy of my book. Little Darcy picked the winner. I believe it was someone from Japan, if I'm not mistaken. Michelle was so sweet to do this contest and Darcy is absolutely adorable.

I swear, I have the nicest friends. I know some of you have taken my books to your kid's schools and have read them to their classes. Others have bought copies for their schools or taken them on trips with you. I love hearing your stories and really love seeing your pictures. If anyone else has any they'd like to share, please send it to me. Let me know if it's okay to post on my blog as well as the book's fanpages on Facebook.

You all are so sweet -- thank you!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Critter Fans!

Okay, I'm a little biased here, but isn't this the most adorable picture? Niki posted this picture on her Wool'Nuts blog recently, after winning my contest for a copy of Lemur Troops & Critter Groups. I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy seeing pictures like this. They totally make my day! I was honored to send the book all the way to New Zealand and I'm so happy Niki and her children are enjoying it. Pictures like these are what it's all about for me. Thank you, Niki, and thanks for allowing me to post it here. If anyone else has pictures, I would love to see them!

I also want to say thanks to Hilary Wagner and all the new people following my blog. Yesterday Hilary posted an opportunity for bloggers to tell about ourselves, our blogs, and so forth. Hilary writes MG/YA and has a book coming out in October about a colony of rats. Dilly and I are really looking forward to it! I am also looking forward to getting to know those of you whom I'm now following, and I thank you for following mine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nicole!

Today is my daughter's 19th birthday. Sadly, Nicole is away at college in Florida, so we don't get to spend the day with her. Also, she has limited Internet access and won't get to see this blog until she gets home. She's excited about summer vacation though and has just a little over a month to go. I spoke with her last night and she was really happy about getting an A on one of her English exams, so that was pretty cool. She seems to be enjoying college, though she misses home a lot too. She'll be home toward the end of May and already has her old job at the lodge waiting for her. It's going to be a busy summer for her.

Happy 19th Birthday, Nicole!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maneki Neko

A long time ago one of my pen pals from Japan sent me a Maneki Neko figurine. That would be the one with the yellow eyes on the left of this picture. I love cats, so this was a fun addition to my collection of cat figurines. Later on, I found the one in the ceramic basket at a yard sale. I think I bought it for a quarter. It says Japan on the bottom, but I have no idea where it was originally purchased. The little tiny one was given to my by my sister-in-law and the biggest one I bought at a Barnes & Noble bookstore here in Montana. These four are all I have in my collection.

Maneki Neko means Beckoning Cat, but is also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, or Fortune Cat. It's common in Japanese art design and you've probably seen these cats at some point. The cat is probably a Japanese bobtail and is usually sculpted with one paw up in the air. Everything on these figures has some sort of symbol or meaning. If the left paw is raised, it is believed to help bring in customers. You might have seen these cats in restaurants or gift shops. If the right paw is raised, it is believed to bring wealth and good luck. The collar, bib, and bell all have meanings too. Click on the click above if you'd like to learn more.

Anyway, since my last post was pretty depressing, I wanted to write about something a little more pleasant. As I said, I only have four Maneki Neko figures in my collection right now. I keep them in my china cabinet along with a slew of other knick-knacks. I don't come across these little figures too often, especially in Montana.

Does anyone else have a Maneki Neko figurine?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

See, speak, hear ...

There's a lot of talk in the online world about bullies in schools, especially with the recent case of Phoebe Prince taking her life after being picked on by classmates. There are quite a few pages popping up on Facebook too. Some of them seem pretty determined to help find a solution. I have joined a few of them. The most recent one, however, seems only determined to get people to join and hasn't posted much of anything on the actual subject. That got annoying pretty quick, so I took my name off.

I was just edited from a comment on Facebook and my reply was removed. I didn't intend to sound mean, and I'm sorry if it came off that way. The person posted a letter that someone had written, apologizing for her bullying behavior towards a certain girl at school. I thought it was a great letter, to be honest. However, my reply said something to the effect of not being able to understand what the writer was feeling, but that I could certainly relate to her victim. She deleted my comment. I guess victim was too harsh of a word.

But that's what it is, isn't it? How many people do you know that were bullied in school? If you were, do you remember it, or have you simply let it slip your mind? I remember. I think back on my school days with very few fond memories, if any. All those bad memories come rushing in, especially the ones about being picked on by other students, and in my case, teachers too. It's hard to forget. For many of us, it stays with us our entire life. So, maybe the word victim was too harsh for her, but that's how I feel. I didn't mean anything bad about the writer or the person who posted her letter.

I hope she feels better getting it off her chest after so many years have past. I suppose that would be hard to live with, especially if she has children of her own. But the fact of the matter is, it never should happen in the first place. No one person is better than another. No one should be bullied or picked on. Confessing it many years later might make you feel better, but I am pretty sure it doesn't help the victim. They might forgive and forget, which is what they should do, but it doesn't take the pain away. I know I sound bitter; I am. This person wanted to clear her conscience, which is a good thing. I respect that. But, for those of us who were picked on, we can forgive, but it's not so easy to help pat yourself on your back.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Me and my book ...

I was looking through some photos tonight and saw a few of myself with my book, A New Job for Dilly. It occurred to me that I never took any with Lemur Troops & Critter Groups, so I decided to take a few tonight. I posted it on the Critter Groups page on Facebook too. Yep, silly self-portraits, what can I say. Whenever Rick takes my picture, he always makes me laugh and I end up looking even more stupid than usual. Not that I don't look stupid here. Totally stupid. I figured half of my face was better than all of it.

I love this book. I've had it sitting on my bedside table for awhile, but I've been hesitant to pick it up these past few weeks. The page with the cats features my kitty Belle, and my girl's cat along with Nikki's cat. I was afraid I'd lose it if I looked at that particular page and saw Belle again. I finally did today and I'm okay, but damn, I miss her so much. She was ALWAYS in my bedroom and it just feels so empty. She always slept on me too and I really miss that. The slideshow I made of her really puts it into perspective when I realize just how long she had been in our lives. My girls were tiny when we got her and now they're all grown up. It feels like a lifetime, and yet, it also feels like just yesterday. It just isn't the same without her here.

Anyway, it's late and I don't have much to say other than whining about missing my kitty. I wish she were still here with me. CJ too. All I can do is hope and pray that they're together again and waiting for me. I loved it when Bish said that CJ and Belle are comparing notes right now. I sure hope that's the case. And to Nikki -- thank you for including Belle in our book. I didn't realize how important that was going to be to me back when you first suggested it, but it means so much to me now. Thank you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

In Memory of Belle ...

It's been two weeks, today, since we lost Belle. It feels like a lifetime. As snooty as that cat was, and as mean and ornery as she has always been, we sure miss her a lot. Things just aren't the same without her with us. Rick made me a really cool slideshow of her on CD that plays to Elvis' song Moody Blue. I don't know how to get it up on Blogger, so I made another one on Slide. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the many faces of Belle ...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Making Amazing Art!

Back in February I found two craft books on sale at our local drugstore. I blogged about the first one here. That one is geared for younger kids, but I've found my boys enjoy the crafts in it. For them, simple is better.

The picture above is the second book. It's called Making Amazing Art! by Sandi Henry. It's geared for kids ages 7-13, but I think younger kids can do some of the projects as well as older kids. Adults might even have fun with it. The book features 40 activities using the 7 elements of art design ...
  1. line
  2. shape
  3. form
  4. color
  5. value
  6. texture
  7. space

We haven't done any of the activities yet, but I am scheduling them for next week. I think we'll start at the beginning and study the element of line design. Some of the projects include making a spider web, grid drawing, showing motion through lines, and kaleidoscope lines. If you're looking for a book that teaches about art design, this seems like a fun one. It's published by Williamson Books.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I've been itching to go back to Grand Teton National Park. I realized that we haven't been there since 2005. We moved to Montana in 2006 and have been to Yellowstone several times, but haven't made it further south to the Tetons. Of all the national parks we've been to, Grand Teton is my favorite.

Grand Teton has it all -- beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, amazing lodges, lakes, rivers, and great campgrounds. Sadly, the majority of people skip GTNP on their way to Yellowstone. They might stop at a few scenic pull-outs, but many just drive through the park. Whenever we've gone, we've stayed at least 3 nights before heading into Yellowstone. Now that we're 6 hours from the West Entrance, we can go to Yellowstone a lot more. Grand Teton is further down though, so it will take us awhile longer to get there because we have to drive through Yellowstone. It's hard to drive through Yellowstone and not stop.

However, I've really been wanting to go back there. We always see moose in Grand Teton along with grizzlies, black bear, deer, elk, bison, eagles, and so forth. It's kind of funny now because we see those animals so often in Montana. Back when we lived in California, our annual trip was usually to the Teton/Yellowstone area, so seeing the wildlife was a big thrill. It still is to me and hopefully we can plan a trip there this summer.

Do you have a favorite national park?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Grizzly dreams ...

I had another one of my famous bear dreams last night. Actually, it was probably early this morning. I dream about bears a lot and it's really starting to trouble me. I know it's because we have bears in our neighborhood. They walk through the yard at night and sometimes even during the day. We haven't seen any in awhile though, but I'm sure they're out there. If not, they'll be waking up soon enough.

This dream was weird though. Usually, in my dreams I'm trying to get inside to get away from the bear, but something doesn't go right. I usually can't get the door shut or the windows locked. Last night's dream was odd because we were outside and I saw a big grizzly coming up. I yelled at everyone and then Rick ran up to take it's picture. The bear took off running. Next thing I know, I'm on this pole and the grizzly is slashing at my legs. Bizarre. Out of all the dreams I've had about bears, only 3 or 4 of them have included the bear actually touching me. Or as it was in this dream, slashing me to shreds.

I took this picture yesterday at the Fish & Wildlife Center in Kalispell. This is a grizzly, though he's dead and stuffed. They have all sorts of stuffed animals there. The boys did a little scavenger hunt trying to locate animals in the building and got a few prizes for their efforts. Of course, it's much better to see the animals when they're alive. Well, that is, unless they're in my dreams and slashing me to bits!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nathan the Novelist

My ten-year-old, Nathan has been working on a story for the past few months. He's hand written it in a spiral notebook. He finally finished it the day before last. All of yesterday he reminded me that he was going to read it to me, which he did last night. It's called Wild Conflicts.

It's about two boys named Jack and Bob who run away from home and end up lost in Ottawa, Canada. They get ahold of a Jeep and manage to drive around the US, avoiding being caught by the police. Somehow they get involved with an army of deer, who ironically, carry MP-40 machine guns. And, as with any great story, there's a big battlescene. Finally, their mom finds them and brings them home to New York just in time for Christmas. A few parts made my laugh out loud, such as this one during the battle ...

"You idiots! You destroyed my fleet, my army, and most of all ..." Everyone paused. "Scared me for a moment!"

Such a funny kid. He's been using maps and the globe for reference as to where the kids in his story travel. He even mentions state capitals and famous landmarks. The story is 23 pages long and has 9 chapters. His writing is tiny too, so I'm kind of curious what his word count is on it. Maybe I'll type it up for him someday to find out. And of course, he wants to get it published now. Who knows -- maybe someday he will.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

For those who celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful day. For those who don't celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day, as well. We're having a quiet day at home. The boys colored eggs last night and sadly, Nicole isn't home to eat them. She and I are the only ones who really like hard-boiled eggs. Too bad I can't mail her some.

I also wanted to share a picture of these beautiful sunflowers. My friend Gale sent them to help brighten my day after losing our cat, Belle. Gale lives in California and we've never met in person, but have been friends for several years through a message board. She's an absolute sweetheart. Thank you, Gale. The flowers are beautiful. Your thoughtfulness and kindness is very much appreciated.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chomp, chomp ...

This has to be my favorite non-religious cartoon for Easter. I don't know why, but it cracks me up every time. It always makes me want a chocolate bunny too. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Big question now ...

When you eat (or the last time you ate) a chocolate bunny, do you bite the ears off first or the tail?

Thank you, also, for all of your support, comments, and prayers for me and my family this past week. Losing our kitty, Belle really sucked and our lives won't be the same without her. Thank you all for being so understanding.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Critter is in Montana!

We received Critter recently from MG Higgins and are honored to have him visiting us here in Montana. We're looking forward to taking him to Glacier National Park as well as seeing the other sites around here. In case you're wondering who Critter is ...

Critter is an interactive art piece created by Ian Sands. Critter fancies himself to be the mascot of Children's Lit Bloggers. He has already visited several children's authors, illustrators, and writers. Critter has 8 more visits to go after ours. When he returns to Christy, he will be auctioned off. The full amount of the highest bid will go to St. Jude. Here's how you can help ...
  1. Follow Critter's Adventures and blog, tweet, or FB about Critter.
  2. Offer your blog to host a Critter visit.
  3. Suggest his FB page to others.

I took this picture Wednesday morning when we woke up to some new snow. It's mostly all melted now, but Critter thought it was cool and wanted his picture taken. He was funny because he just wanted to pose in front of the snow, not in it. Maybe he didn't want to get his little Critter feet wet. Anyway, we're looking forward to his visit and we hope he gets to see lots of Montana critters while he's here.If you'd like to host Critter on your blog, please let me know because I have to send him off soon. Stay tuned ...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My apologies ...

I am sorry to not have been around much and for not visiting your blogs recently. I hope to get back into some sort of schedule soon. We had to put Belle down on Friday and then all this week is Easter Vacation for us, so I'm even more out of my routine than normal. Rick keeps saying I need to get back on track, but it's been hard for me. I've spent most of the week lying around in my pajamas, feeling sorry for myself.

I'm usually pretty good at faking things and putting on a happy face when I need to. I noticed how hard that was yesterday when I went out. I had a doctor's appointment and when she came in and asked how I was doing, I responded as best as I could. She sat down and looked at me for a few silent moments before saying, "Are you sure?" Then when I was at the pharmacy picking up some antibiotics, several ladies were commenting about another lady walking by with her dog. They were laughing because the lady's hair matched the dog. One of them goes, "Well, you know, they say we start to look like our pets eventually." That comment made me stop and think for a minute. Then the lady at the register was as sweet as she could be to me, telling me to have a nice day and hoping I had a nice Easter, etc. I responded to everything she said, but I think I disappointed her with my lack of smile. I don't know. I'm just not feeling that yet.

It sucks not having Belle here. It really does. I think I hear her every now and then. During the last few weeks, she had been sleeping behind a chair in my bedroom. There was a pillow back there in the corner and that's where she was most comfortable. Sometimes I hear noises in the office directly below me and it sounds like it's coming from that chair. She has always been in this house with us. In fact, she's been in 5 different houses with us. It's just surreal that she's not here. Coming home sucks. She was always there to greet me. I haven't slept well because I'm so used to her sleeping on me. I haven't been eating well either. Like I said, I've mostly been lying around feeling sorry for myself. Now that I can do well.

Anyway, I apologize for being a slug and not visiting your blogs and such. I've been on Facebook a little lately and it was nice to see everyone's comments there. Today, however, sucks because it's April Fools Day. I hate this day. The Yellowstone site on FB left a comment about some bears being shot in the park over a pick-a-nick basket. It was a joke, obviously, but not a funny one. I don't know and maybe it's just better I stay offline today since I'm not finding any humor in things, more or less a reason to smile. And to top things off, a truck drove by me yesterday and kicked up a rock into my windshield, leaving a pretty good crack. Not sure if it can be fixed or if the whole thing needs to be replaced. And if that's not enough, the antibiotics I'm on make me feel sick as a dog unless I eat, which has been hard for me. In addition, my recent surgery might not have corrected the problem, so now I have to be rechecked in 3 weeks and possibly put on another medication. Hell, might as well change my name to Schleprock. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and please bear with me as I continue to wallow in self-pity ...