Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today is the Small Kindnesses Blogsplash


Last week I blogged about the upcoming Small Kindesses Blogsplash which has been organized by Fiona Robyn who is an author, founding partner of Writing Our Way Home, and an all-around sweet person. When she was spreading the word of the event, she wrote these words: Kindness is a very good thing. Even teensy compassionate acts help the world go round. Let's celebrate these Small Kindnesses.

My novel 'Small Kindnesses' will be free on Tuesday the 27th, and we'll be writing about our own small kindness on our blogs or elsewhere - will you join us? Find out more here: http://www.writingourwayhome.com/2012/11/what-small-kindness-do-you-remember.html
 
It might be an extra-thoughtful Christmas present you've never forgotten, or the unexpected kindness of a stranger, or a small gesture that rescued you from a dark place. It might have happened this week or twenty years ago.

It might be a simple list of the small kindnesses you've received this week, or today. It might be a small kindness you've been inspired to perform. Follow your inspiration...

Well, there are many kind things that people have done for me through the years, and I try to do the same for others. To give you an example of how a small kindness can stay with you for a long time, I have decided to tell you about something that happened to me a very long time ago...back in my childhood. Oh, yes....THAT long ago. I must have been about 5 years old, six at the most. My mother had taken me to Rosenberry's (a grocery store that existed in my town at the time). My family consisted of my parents, myself, my sister, and my three brothers, so when mom went shopping, it took some time. As it is with children at this age, I became bored. I told her I was going to go to the horsey.

Photograph by Martine Wagner/Courtesy of PhotoXpress
 The horsey was situated near the check-out line (you know, one of those kiddy things where you put a coin in and ride it). It was a shiny brown horse and a big horse at that. I could barely get up on it myself. After a few tries I finally managed to get myself in the saddle. Since I had no coins (I think it only cost one quarter or maybe just a dime at that time...yeah, I am dating myself with that comment) I just sat on it and pretended it was moving. I rode that horse through fields of wildflowers, through small streams, down dirt trails through the woods, and back again.
An old man came along with his grocery items. He didn't have much. He put the few items on the belt at the checkout next to me, got out his wallet, and then turned to me. I don't remember his face exactly but do recall he had many wrinkles on his face, white-grey hair, and he looked kind of sad. More than that, I can't recall. Hey, it was almost 40 years ago. But what I do remember is that he asked if I'd even ridden the pony. I replied "once and it was fun". He asked if I would like to ride it again. Of course, I said yes. He then gave me a coin in my hand and another he put in the coin slot. Soon the horse began to move and I trotted and galloped through more fields and through more streams and down dirt trails. And I smiled and giggled and waved at the man as he left. Now he didn't look so sad. He was smiling.
I am not sure how long those rides last now, but back then they were long. Or at least it seemed that way. Perhaps it was just the perception of a young mind that made it so long. But after that long ride I took the extra coin and put it in the slot, just like the old man did, and I held on tight as the ride began. I was riding that beautiful brown horse when my mother arrived. She was quite surprised. I told her about the man. At first she wasn't too happy that I talked to a stranger, but after she realized it was such a brief encounter (he hadn't asked my name or done anything that could be perceived as "iffy" behavior) she seemed more worried about if I said thank you or not. I am sure I told her I did. And I am sure I probably didn't. I was too absorbed in sheer delight of riding. Yet, I think that man knew from my reaction of pure joy that I was thankful. And looking back I realize that he was thankful he could bring a bit of joy to my day. Kindness is like that. Not only does it make the recipient happy, but it brings happiness to the one giving the kindness. And sometimes that kindness, even if it is only the small kindness of  making a battery-operated kiddie ride possible, might be remembered for a lifetime.
So why not go out and do something kind for someone today? And tomorrow. And the next day. To family, a friend, neighbor, or stranger.
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~Henry James
Whether one believes in religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion. ~ Dalai Lama  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Good gobble gobble time



It's that time of year again! That glorious day when one can stuff themselves silly. THANSKGIVING! I came across a cute Thanksgiving cartoon earlier today. To see it, CLICK HERE. (Okay, that says something about my sense of humor, doesn't it.)

Whether eating turkey or tofurkey or something entirely differently, I wish all my friends and family in the United States a wonderful Thanksgiving feast and a great day of togetherness.. We celebrated last year but this year we celebrated St. Martinstag at the beginning of the month. It only seems fair to alternate traditions. I did, however, bake some sweet potatoes last week. They were tasty.

I also took part in a Gratitude Quilt created by Laura over at Shine the Divine: Creativity is a Spiritual Practice. She asked people to tell her what they are thankful for, right there at that moment, and she strung them all together for Thanksgiving. Over 222 people (from every continent except Antarctica) have taken place. To see it, CLICK HERE.

If you are reading this, I am thankful that you stopped by. I'll be double thankful if you leave a comment. Tell me what your menu is today or what you are doing today or what you love or hate Thanksgiving or a special memory of Thanksgiving or your favorite food on this day or what you are thankful for or...well, you get the idea. Tell me whatever you want related to Thanksgiving and then go have a good gobble gobble time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blogsplash


On Tuesday the 27th of November I'm joining the Small Kindnesses Blogsplash and writing about a special small kindness someone paid me in the past. Would you like to join me?

The Blogsplash is organised by Fiona Robyn to celebrate the release of her novel 'Small Kindnesses' which will be free on Kindle on that day. All you have to do is write something about being kind - a memory of someone who was kind to you, a list of kindnesses over the past week, or something kind you did for someone else. It'll be a celebration of kindness in all its forms, especially those little kind acts that make all the difference.

To find out more visit Fiona's blog (http://www.writingourwayhome.com/2012/11/what-small-kindness-do-you-remember.html), or join the Facebook event (http://www.facebook.com/events/226720897457793).

Do ask your friends to join you, and feel free to copy this blog onto your own to help us spread the word.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Day full of Surprises

Today is a cold, rainy November day in my area of Germany. BLAH! I spent most of the morning and afternoon away from home. Upon returning I had a few surprises.

I hadn't read my email or FB messages yesterday. Also, I hadn't checked the prompt for the November chapbook challenge that I am participating in this month over at Poetic Asides. Each day Robert Lee Brewer (n poet, editor at Writer's Digest, and all-around nice guy) posts a new prompt and you write a poem to it. This year the prompts are being offered by former participants/poets around the world. After November is over, everyone has time to make revisions and submit the best of his/her work as a chapbook. Each year Robert picks a winner and several runners-up. If this sounds like something for you, CLICK HERE to go to the Poetic Asides website. It's not too late to join in on the fun.You'll need to register, but it is free and you'll meet a great bunch of people.

Anyway, I decided to go online. The first thing I did was check email. The first email I opened was an acceptance for one of my poems for an upcoming anthology. Well, how awesome is that! The second I opened was a message from Robert notify me that he used my prompt for today's prompt in the chapbook challenge. That figures. It's the first day I didn't go to read the new prompt right after my morning coffee. I had no idea. But after some time I decided to go there anyhow. And (cringe) I found a typo. And it wasn't Robert's fault. It was mine.That wasn't a good surprise. I had debated on which word to use part of the sentence and left an XXXXX. I had intended to go back and fill that in with a word, but somehow is the hustle and bustle of the day I must have forgotten before pushing the send button. DUH! So if you are also participating and were thinking "what the heck does XXXXX mean?" it means that Linda's brain is slowly beginning to fizzle :-)

Then I read my Facebook messages and quickyl scanned the many posts I've missed the past 48 hours. I am taking part in a poetry contest from Painted Bride Quarterly called Sidecar 15. The winner is determined by the number of Facebook "likes". I never really liked that method for contests. Call me crazy but I actually prefer when an editor is the judge. That is not to say that I don't think other people can make good decisions on what is well-written. I think most of the people voting are writers, so they have a clue. But I prefer being judged by someone who does it on a regular basis and not peers. I, as a peer, hate judging. I feel bad if I don't "like" someone's work because as a writer myself I know that each little poem (or whatever it is you are writing) is like your very own baby, all grown up, being set out into the world. A cruel world at times. Though I've been published, I've had my share of rejections. Some I take with a grain of salt, but others sting. To me not pushing the "like" button is like a rejection, and I'd hate to be giving that sting to someone else. In fact, I "liked" several of the other "competitors" poems because I honestly liked them. However, I know other poets (not going to name names) who would never do that, because they want to win. Badly. Doesn't everyone who enters a contest want to win? But that's not my style. If work is good, I acknowledge that. In fact, there was one poem  I really liked which didn't have many votes. I "liked" it and left a comment for the author. Would she do better if judged by an editor? Who knows? Maybe. Maybe not. These things are always subjective. Like I said, I just prefer it that way. Call it personal preference and nothing else. But the judging is by "likes" and so it goes. I don't make the rules. I just need to follow them. That said, I am doing well anyway. Most of the votes are from women which isn't very surprising because the character in the poem is a woman. It deals with a problem we all face sooner or later. Aging. I had been in second place standing for a few days and in checking out the event page I saw that I am currently in the lead. I am not getting my hopes high though. One man (a FB friend of mine) has written a wonderful "found poem" using several political texts. It must have been time consuming to write, and it turned out well. There are others with good work as well. I am not sure when voting ends. I didn't notice that in the rules anyway. Maybe I overlooked it. I guess that will be another surprise.    

Another nice surprise is that when my husband called his parents, he learned that the package we sent arrived. We'd sent one earlier which they never received, went out and purchased the same items again, and sent the package insured. It costs me and arm and a leg which is not good if one is a writer (yeah, I know, that's a really, really bad joke) but this isn't the first time a package has been "lost". Christmas presents never arrived last year either. These were the first instances in almost 12 years of overseas shipments that we ever had a problem but it certainly is frustrating when one take the time to fine "the perfect gift" for everyone and then they are lost, not only due to the cost but also since some of the items can no longer be replaced. So I was very thankful it arrived.

All these surprises have made a gloomy rainy Saturday seem so much nicer. In fact, my teenager daughter has been in a good mood all day and right now my husband (who is totally awesome) is in the kitchen making homemade beef stock. Now if only I would win the lottery then I could fly to the states to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I don't get back home much due to the expense. But that's life and I am thankful for all these little things along the way. And tomorrow is Sankt Martinstag in Germany so I do get to enjoy a meal of duck, bread dumplings with mushroom sauce, and red cabbage. What will you be doing tomorrow?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mindful Writing Day 2012

Today is the first Mindful Writing Day. To join in, simply slow down, pay attention to one thing, and write it down. To find out more about this event (including information on how to win a free book), please click here.

The day is almost over and I am thinking about all the things that happened today and which thing to highlight. The day started at the movie theater. Yep. That's right. When this day began I was sitting in the cinema with my husband and daughter watching the preview of the new James Bond movie. There were showings in several rooms beginning at 11 PM, 11:15, and 11:30. We booked the nice cushy seats in the lounge section. They were so comfortable and we could see everything perfectly. My daughter got sweet popcorn. I got the cinnamon popcorn, and my husband got some gummy treats.

It was the first time our daughter saw a James Bond films, and I honestly wasn't sure if she would like it. She did. When we walked out of the movie theater at 2 AM, we were surprised to find it raining. At sunset the sky was a rich pink color, which usually indicates good weather to come. But I guess Mother Nature had other ideas.

When we got home, we weren't tired at all. So we sat and talked about the film, checked email, watched a cooking show on television. Eventually, we all went to bed.

My husband was the first to wake up. He had planned to go bike riding, but it was raining again. He figured he'd let me sleep in a bit. I woke up (very late) to find him in the dining room, drinking coffee and working on his laptop. I woke our daughter and my awesome husband made cheese omelets, bacon, and toast. Then we showered and began our day (what was left of it. It was nearly noon).

In the afternoon the weather turned out to be wonderful. It was warm enough to wear a short-sleeved shirt. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. We went to a friend's house. His son has an important presentation to make in English (we live in Germany so it is not his native language), and we helped him correct sentence structure and grammar and made suggestions. We were rewarded with...(Fiona, if you are reading this, you will love this) CAKE. Specifically, a cheesecake with mandarin oranges and apple muffins. And coffee, of course.

Today is a holiday in Germany and we had asked our daughter yesterday what she'd like to eat today. She said coq au vin. So when we arrived home, we needed to start cooking. My husband chopped onions and garlic then started to skin and flour the chicken while I prepared the mushrooms and shallots. Cooking together certainly cuts the prep time, and it is fun. As the coq au vin cooked, the smell of onions and wine filled the air.

We enjoyed a nice meal together, talked, and had a few laughs as well.

The day wasn't very productive but then again, that is the whole point of a day off from work--to relax and enjoy it. And there is nothing better than spending time with people you care about, eating good food, drinking wine, and just having fun.

It is nearing midnight and looking out our back window I see little other than a distant street light, part of a house, and darkness. But if I listen I can hear rain coming down.

**************

My observations:

Charcoal-like smudges are beneath her eyes and black streaks run down her cheeks. Hiding her face, she curses cheap mascara and movies with sad endings.

It's nearly midnight. I can see nothing but darkness outside, as if someone has pulled a giant black curtain across the sky, but I can hear it--the soft, steady beat of rain hitting the ground.





Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Join the first Mindful Writing Day on the 1st of November

 

This Thursday the 1st of November is the first ever Mindful Writing Day, organised by Kaspa & Fiona at Writing Our Way Home.

To join in simply slow down, pay attention to one thing and write it down (making a small stone). Read all about it here.

small stones are easy to write, and they will help you connect to the world. Once you've started, you might not want to stop... You can read more about small stones and find out about Lorrie with pea-green eyes in Fiona's free ebook, Write Your Way Home.

If you visit Writing Our Way Home on Thursday you'll find out how to download your free kindle copy of the new anthology, 'A Blackbird Sings: a book of short poems'.

You can also submit your small stone and see it published on the blog, and be entered into a competition to win one of five paperback copies of the book.

There's a Facebook invite here if you'd like to invite your friends, and do feel free to copy this blog onto your own blog. You can also tweet this:

Connect with the world through mindful writing - join the first Mindful Writing Day on the 1st of November: bit.ly/VjzRKe #smallstone

See you on the 1st!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I will be taking part? Will YOU?

Come join me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pests

Today at my other blog I posted a series of pictures. To see them, go here. Becca at Everyday Life read it and forwarded a link to me for Monday Haiku. This Monday the topic is pests.

I've always read Becca's haiku on her Monday posts but never took part in it. I also hadn't realized it was a contest. You can submit two for judging. The person who wins the contest gets to be the host for the following week and provide the new prompt. That's pretty cool. So, I figured...why not? Here are my two pest haiku for the day. (oh...and for any of my friends who do haiku, I know that 5-7-5 is not standard anymore but this contest follows the old rule so make sure to count your syllables if you want to participate).



thin circles of silk
spider decorates my car
driving me crazy

Ok. Technically that wouldn't qualify as haiku. There is no season word, unless spider counts. But hey, I was going for something punny.




Now, one with more thought.





dementia crawls in
thoughts weave themselves in circles
like pesty spiders

Yeah, I know. That probably wouldn't qualify either because it uses the word "like" in it and is more of a comparison than an observation, but that's what I've got. Anyway, I think they allow more leeway here. It's just for fun.

I wonder if anyone does a tanka contest like this. That would be cool.

If you want to participate, the blog post is here.

Please note:Work needs to be posted at the hosting blog site today.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Say Hello to the Bun

If you've been following my post lately, you know that during the month of August I took part in the Poetry Postcard project. It forced me to write every day. And I'll be honest. Some days my writing was not up to par. I am a terrible first draft writer. I tend to write. Then revise. Then put in away. Then get it out a while later to revise again. With time I either produce something worthy or it goes in the "probably never amount to anything" file. I have lots of works in that file, and that's okay with me. Sometimes I can pull a good line or even a stanza from the work and use it in another piece. Others are just destined to stay in there forever.

On Monday I sent out my last August poem. Somewhere out there, people are receiving my work in the mail, good ones and not so good ones, on a postcard. I hope some of them sit back and enjoy what they read. And to those who received my not-so-good-day works, I hope they realize that these are rough drafts and that I can produce decent work.

So far, I've only received 8 postcards. The overseas mail must be extremely slow lately. Every morning I run to the mailbox to see if any surprises are waiting for me.

Also, I came across another postcard poetry project. But in this one you don't need to write anything. You just tell the literary journal which poems you like that they've published and they will send you a postcard with some of that poem on it. To anywhere in the world. For free. Just for fun. And they look like beautiful postcards. It is called The Handwritten Project and is from Cha Literary Journal. If you are interested, CLICK HERE for more information.

 
I decided to take a break from writing after the August Postcard Poetry project was completed. After all, school is starting and I have a family and other obligations (and tons of wash and ironing. How that always happens, I just can't understand. You'd think an army lived in our house.) But then Robert Lee Brewer had to go and do this! Say hello (or hai) to the 'bun. Robert is challenging everyone to write a haibun. As always with Robert's poetic form challenges, if your work is picked as the winner or even a runner-up, it might be featured in an upcoming issue of Writer's Digest. Soooooo, I guess I will be writing a haibun this week.

Haibun is a form I've been wanting to try. One of the women in my writer's group is very good at haibun. (Yes, Terri French. I am talking about you and you damn well better enter this, girl!) I could name some others who are excellent are Japanese forms (Cara, Kathy, Josie...) So, depending on who enters, the competition might be fierce. I probably don't have a chance. But I don't care. I really want to try this form. It is like a prose poem with a little haiku hanging on to it. It can be lean or meaty, so to say, depending on who long the prose part is. So I'll probably give it a try and then take a break. Maybe just work on revisions in the meantime.  

If you are interesting in learning more about this form and entering the contest, CLICK HERE to go to the post. And good luck.


   

Monday, September 3, 2012

A New Book

The past week seemed to get away from me. I intended to do a super post with a link to a contest. Now the contest is closed. Sorry, guys. Call me names. Throw a chair. Get a permanent marker out and write FAIL across my forehead.(sigh) But I am going to post anyway. Better late than never, right?


Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1 by E.J. Wesley Cover 
Author E.J. Wesley was throwing a blog party to celebrate the release of his new book cover (with contest that is now closed.) I haven't read the book yet but have seen enough of E.J.'s writing to know he can write well. I am so happy for him and hope he does well with his first book (and those that follow...and there will be more).
Here's what the cover looks like.
 The cover work is by Sketcher Girl, LLC - http://sketchergirlstudios.com/ 

Pretty cool, isn't it? I love the eye in the upper righthand corner. It makes one wonder who or what that eye belongs to. And why is it watching the girl?
So what is this book about?
Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried. She wears loneliness like a comfy sweatshirt. By the age of twenty-one, she was the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thought…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying her history with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

BLOOD FUGUE by E.J. Wesley, is the first of the MOONSONGS books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes. At fewer than 13k words, BLOOD FUGUE is the perfect snack for adventurous readers who aren’t afraid of stories with bite. Available wherever fine eBooks are sold September 2012. 

To find out more about E.J. you can go here.

The Open Vein, E.J.'s blog - http://the-open-vein-ejwesley.blogspot.com/

E.J. Wesley on the Twitter - https://twitter.com/EJWesley



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Origami Lotus Post

Hey, everyone! Kathy over at Origami Lotus Poetry has chosen me as one of her featured writers/artists for her August Blog Bash. She asked me for two pieces to share--poem, haiku, story, photo, artwork, craft, whatever. Instead of a poem, I selected a photo and a non-fiction story I wrote a while back for a competition. And today is the day.

I sort of wish I'd chosen a different photo. I think I have better ones but was feeling sort of sentimental that day and somehow drawn to this one. So it goes. It matches the mood of the story.

I'd be happy-dance happy if you would check it out and leave a comment.

Check it out HERE.

And while you are at it, don't forget to read some of the other features this month.

Speaking of features...

Someone I know has his first book coming out. I'll be writing about it next week. Monday, I think. Be sure to stop by then.


Combining Colors and Verbs

In my last post I told you about the August Poetry Project and explained the problem with overseas mail. I had only received two or three postcards two weeks into the project. Well, I got four more. For my response poems, I used the topic from one, borrowed a phrase from another, and took a word from the title of the third as prompts.Tomorrow I will write in response to the last one, and hopefully I will receive some more postcards soon. I am enjoying getting snail mail once again and the surprises that come with the project such as Who will the next postcard card from? Where do they live? What will be pictured on the postcard? What topic is the poem about? Do I like the poem?

One of the new postcards I received was from Phillip Brown. Guess what? He made his own postcards, too. Thinking about my store-bought cards, I felt like an under-achiever. But then I figured, hey, it's summer and I am busy and I'm also participating in the 100 Days of Summmer Project on my other blog and...  Oh, well. Let's get back on topic.  

What I thought was really neat about Phillip's postcards is that he paired colors with random verbs as a starting point for each poem. Mine was the color yellow and the verb thread, and he worked them into his writing very well and so descriptively that I could picture it all as I read it.

Did you ever read something from someone new and know right away that you would like to read more of that person's work? Well, that is how I felt after reading Phillip's poem. Lucky for me, he also wrote his blog address with his signature, and I couldn't wait to check out his work at The Camera Poetica. I am so glad I did. I really like his style. Some of my favorites are Gold/Wade, Cerulean/Hurtle,Green/Collide, and Blue/Varnish. Why not go check it out? You might find something you like as well.

As for me, I seem to be two poems behind and I need to buy more stamps. So I'd better go now.

Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Postcards

I left it sitting on the kitchen table next to the other mail. I'd only had a chance to quick read it before stepping out. When I came home, my husband was home. He'd seen it. Not only was it the first August postcard, but it was handmade.

I hadn't told him anything about the August postcard project. In fact, I only stumbled across it the day before it began. I like poetry. I write it. I like travel and postcards and sharing. So, I emailed the person in charge and asked if it was still possible to participate. Luckily, he agreed to add me.

The August Poetry Postcard fest works like this. Each participant receives a list of 31 names and addresses of other poets and each day in August you write a poem on a postcard and send it to the person that follows your name on the list.


So that first postcard had arrived. Ironically, it was from my home state. Pennsylvania. It was made from cardboard with a nice poem on one side, a abstract painting in gentle hues on the other side. I felt bad, because the first six days of August had already passed. All the postcards I'd sent were store-bought, and this person took the time to not only write a poem but personally craft a postcard for me. Well, in my defense, I did try to buy interesting postcards. 


As we're taking our evening walk, as we do almost every day after dinner, my husband mentions that he saw the postcard. I explain the postcard poetry project to him and recognize that look in his eyes. I know what he is thinking. So, I say, "Think of it this way. It could be worse. Some men marry nerds who spend their time taking part in poetry projects. Others marry women who spend their time and money shopping." He responded with something like "Yeah. You're a nerd but I love you anyway." He said it jokingly and probably in the back of his mind he added rather a nerd than a bitch or a ho. Okay, maybe. Maybe not. Who knows what goes on in the male mind? Or in any other person's mind for that matter. And, sure, he'll probably never "get" poetry. And I'll probably never "get" some of his interests. So it goes. But as much as we love spending time together, we also need our time apart doing things we love. So each day I write my poem, put it on a postcard, and mail it to the next person on the list.

Today I received my second postcard. It, too, was handmade. What is wrong with these people??? They are making me look bad!! I really wish I had the time to make my own. I'd print postcards with my photographs on them.

One other aspect of the project I haven't mentioned is this. The idea is to respond to a postcard poem you receive but send the response to the next person on the list and the others on the list will do the same. Unfortunately, since most of the people on my list are located in various states in the U.S. (I also have an address in Ireland) by the time most of the postcards travel overseas, August will be over. It is already August 14th and I just received my second postcard. So while I can write a responding poem based on this one, many of the others are just written to a prompt I find online or based on something from my day. They're rough drafts, so they aren't my best work. But it does get me writing and thinking and I can either revise them later or expand them into stories. It's a starting point.

*and a note to all my poetry friends...please don't be offended by the nerd reference. We all know the stereotype and I am using it here jokingly.  You know I love all of you.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daisy and daisies and more

Thanks to all of you who commented on yesterdays post or sent me a personal message regarding the loss of our little Daisy. It means a lot.

Yesterday one of the poems I submitted to Jellyfish Whispers was published online. Even though this is more my "language blog" I didn't want to post it here yesterday after losing Daisy. Ironically, the title of the poem is Daisies after the Storm. But it is really about more than just daisies. If you want to read it, press the link below.

 http://www.jellyfishwhispers.com/2012/07/a-poem-by-linda-hofke.html

Here is the photo that was taken the day I wrote it. You can only see part of the damage from the hail storm.


Here is a picture of the hail that accumulated around the roots of one of our bushes.






And the lawn was littered with big balls of hail.





It was the second time. First in June shortly after the daisies were planted. Then when they'd finally become nice and full again, another unexpected hail storm came in July. I wasn't happy, but while looking at all the petals on the ground I knew they were just flowers and they'd grow back. There are much greater losses.

Those losses that I talk about in the last stanza, they're not mine. They are those of several dear friends of mine. These are the losses one never forgets.

Daisy Cupcake

See this beautiful little creature. This is our Daisy. Well, actually Daisy Cupcake, though we just said Daisy.


                A dwarf hamster is so small that it fits perfectly in the palm of one hand.



The life expenctancy of a dwarf hamster is roughly 2 years. Our Daisy lived to be three years and three months old and perhaps would have lived even longer. She got an eye infection and had a reaction to the prescribed medicine. It made it worse and the infection spread. She became very ill. This morning when I went to change her water, she looked so bad. We took her to the vet again. We were told we could try something else but she'd already lost the eye and with her age, the chances were slim. She had been eating and drinking but very little. And she didn't go on her wheel the past two nights.She seemed so fraile and lifeless. One could see how she was breathing harder and though she came to say hello when I filled her dish, licked my hand as usual, it was a tired lick. And her eye socket was visibly a painful issue.

Before going to the vet I told my daughter she might be forced to make a decision and that's just what happened. Though the chances were slim, we could try a different medicine for 3 days but if that didn't work, we'd need to put her to sleep. Considering her age and the obvious suffering she was in, my daughter decided to let her go now. She wanted her to be at peace. With tears running down her cheek, she told the vet she wanted to be with her until she took her last breath, then she would take her home and give her a proper burial. And that's what we did.


Daisy was a hamster with a great personality. She was always friendly and social, never bit. She liked to climb up my daughter's shirt, sit on her shoulder, and nuzzle against her neck. 


And she would lick us to say hello and then crawl into our hands. She loved attention. And she was a sporty one. She could go on her wheel for long stretches, day or night. Often instead of using the ladder to get to the next level in her cage, she would pull herself up and over. Hamster parcour. And she loved the wooden "jungle gym". One thing she really loved was toilet paper rolls. As soon as you put one in her cage or playpen (yep, we had a big wooden hamster playground with seesaw and tunnels and things for her to go in-under-around-over) she would crawl in it and go crazy. Her chewing instinct would kick into high gear. She looked vicious. Then she'd come out and be our sweet little Daisy again.



We will miss her company. She brought us many smiles. She was my daughter's first pet and being an only child, Daisy was a sort of substitute sibling. When she was angry with us or when she had a bad day and didn't want to talk about it yet, she'd go in and tell it all to Daisy who, of course, was a good listener.

But all living things die. My daughter is lucky enough to have all grandparents yet and no one she is near and dear to has ever died. In the vets office she said to me, "this will be my very first funeral". 

Another thing she said, after much debate, was "This is hard. So hard. I don't want her to die but somehow I feel it is the right thing to do. She isn't getting better. She can barely walk. She is suffering." And I told her that lots of things in life will be that way. We are faced with decisions all through life. Sometime the right choice is what is easiest to do.  Sometimes it is what is the hardest. And other times there is no clear distinction. And then we sat in the vet's office and cried.

I'll have good memories of Daisy. She was a perfect pet. One thing I will remember fondly is how her fur would change in the cold months. She would get white on her chest, chin, and above her eyes. It almost looked like she grew white eyebrows.



Rest well, Daisy. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Win a Book!

Do you have a young daughter who likes to read? Maybe even a son who likes magical tales? If so you might be interested in the book The Taste of Snow by Stephen V. Masse.  In this book an 11-year old girl  is given a magical candy cane. After that, things start to happen. Some good. Some bad.

If this sounds interesting to you, you are in luck. Becca over at Everyday Life is giving away a copy of this book. To find out all the details, just click HERE.

I've just entered. If you decide to do so, I wish you luck. There's nothing better than winning books. Well...okay...maybe winning the super-dooper mega lottery. Or a free two-week vacation in Malta. Or free chocolate for life. But winning books is still cool, right?

And even if you aren't interested in the book, be sure to stop by Becca's blog some time. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sharing summer sentences


Graduation was the theme of the latest haiku contest at Caribbean Kigo Kukai. And guess what? I just found out that I tied for third place. To see the results (and read my haiku) click here. It was the first time I took part, so I am thrilled.

Some of my friend's children in the U.S. graduated this year. Others have a few years yet. But they all have already started their summer vacation. Most have been enjoying the past month at the pool or at camp, on vacation or just hanging with friends at home. Not so in Germany. My daughter still has three days of school yet. She can't wait until school vacation begins. And my husband doesn't need to work for the next ten days. For more about that, click here. Yipee! That means I can annoy the hell out of them.  :-)   Just joking. I am very much looking forward to spending time with both of them, so if I don't post often in the next week or two, you'll know why.

One of the things I like about summer is grill parties. Barbeques. Picnicks. Whatever you want to call them. I am a big fan of grilled vegetables. Grilled steak or chicken. Corn on the cob. And salads. Green salad. Pasta salad. Broccoli salad. Pepper and feta salad. White radish salad. Potato salad. Can't go wrong with salad. Of course, there are the fresh summer fruits. Watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches. Ah, yes. Summer is a great time for food and wine and relaxing with friends.

What do you think about summer? Below are four sentence starters. Your task is to complete them and post your answers in the comment section.

1. One thing I like about summer is...
2. Something I hate about summer is...
3. My favorite place to go in summer is...
4. A summer memory from my childhood is...

Okay. Here are my answers.  

1. One thing I like about summer when there is a slight breeze in the evening and the fragrance of our jasmine bush fills the air. It's even more perfect if fireflies are flying around and flashing.

2. Something I hate about summer is mosquitoes. Luckily, there aren't as many at my home now as there were in Pennsylvania. Those suckers treated me as a five-course meal. I spent many a summer looking like I had measles.

3. My favorite place to go in summer is ANYWHERE. But if I have to pick one place it would be Italy. To reach the northern tip is only about 3 1/2 hours, maybe 4. Gargnano, which is a quaint little village we adore directly on Lake Garda , is about 6 1/2 hours. My daughter enjoys going to the ocean. Lido di Jesolo is about an 8 to 9-hour drive. Of course, from there one can take a short ride by ship to Venice. Great weather is summer. Delicious food. Wonderful hearty wines. Culture. Yep...Italy rocks.

4.  A summer memory from my childhood is when my friend Kathy and I put on a talent show for our neighborhood. We planned and practiced and sold tickets to our show. There was singing, dancing, gymnastics, twirling, comedy, and a magic show. Everything went well except the magic show. Probably because neither of us knew any magic. Somehow we thought the skills would magically come to us. But they didn't. Luckily, that failed attempt came right before our closing act, the song that helped redeem us in the eyes of the other kids that were watching. We sang "The Candy Man" and as we came to the last few lines, we plunged our hands into two giant bags filled with an assortment of sweets and then tossed them in the air. The other kids went home with handfuls of candy and smiles on their faces.

Now, it's your turn. I want to know your answers to these questions. C'mon. Don't be shy. It's only 4 questions. And if you answer, I promise to never perform a magic show for you.

Abracadabra...and now I will disappear.

POOF!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Less than 100

Can you tell a story in less than 100 words? Okay. Maybe not a complete story with beginning, middle, and end. How about a story that tells about an event or that describes a place or a person's character? Now what if the theme had to come from an usual picture? That's exactly what I did yesterday for Day 14 of the 100 Days of Summer creativity project.

To read my very short story, click here.

Now, I challenge you to do the same. Use one of your photos (or if need be, find a picture on the internet) and write a story of 100 words or fewer and post it on your blog. It would be neat if you could link to this post as well, but it isn't necessary.

Go ahead. I dare you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why all the Happy Dancing?

Whenever I have a piece of work accepted by a journal (or if my friends have work accepted) I joke that I am doing my happy dance. I don't really do it, because--trust me--no one wants to see that. But I've been "dancing" quite a bit lately.

I recently learned that my poem Badak Api (which you can read at Bolts of Silk) was selected to be used in an upcoming anthology to help raise money for rhinos. The rhinos, many species of which are severely endangered, need our help. This anthology is non-profit. Proceeds of sales go to rhino conservation projects. I love animals. Love helping causes. So this is perfect. I'll let you know when it is available.

Last week I received notice that a "shorty" of mine will be featured in twenty20 journal, and yesterday a short poem of mine was featured in Four and Twenty. To read it, click here. The really neat thing is that several others from an online writer's group I am in (Marie Elena Good, De Jackson, Dr. Pearl Ketover, Claudette Young) as well as a FB friend (Kathy Nguyen) are also in this edition. So, how cool is that?

And yesterday evening I got a reply from Microw regarding my submission for their upcoming "home" edition. I had sent one poem and several pictures for consideration. They are publishing my poem and using four of my graphics.

Here is one of the pictures they didn't take. This is a typical German window in my area at this time of year. Isn't it pretty?


(For more of my photos, go to my other blog at Linda's Life on the Other Side.)

So despite the headache, chills, and drowsiness I am dealing with today, figurately I am feeling great.I hope you are all feeling great, too. (figurately and literally)

Go out and enjoy the day.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Photos and Poems

I am taking part in the 100 Days of Summer Project. It started on July 5. For 100 days participants are posting something artistic on their blogs each day. Some are creating their own music, poetry, or paintings. Many, like myself, are posting photos. I usually post a tiny description with mine. If you'd like to follow my posts, click HERE to go to my other blog. (And thanks, Becca, for already noticing and posting comments. You're so sweet.)

I seem to be taking part in lots of projects/challenges this year. In April I took part in PAD (a challenge to write a poem a day for poetry month). I've been doing that for a few years now. Through that challenge, I've met lots of nice people and some of us have a private group on Facebook. One of the members, De Jackson, came up with the idea of doing SAD for May (submission a day). Though some decided to do SAW (sub a week) instead. It was fun to share information on literary journals and e-zines, and we all cheered each other on when an acceptance was received.

My poem Badak Api was published in the online literary journal Bolts of Silk. If you'd like to read it (and maybe leave a comment) then click HERE.  I have a few other works that will be up soon or in print journals. I will post links when they are available.

I know many of you are busy vacationing, so thanks to any who reads this post. Unfortunately, my area of Germany has two more weeks of school yet. My daughter can't wait.

Enjoy your summer!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Falling into the gap

Recently, after being asked a question I was unable to answer immediately, that old commercial went running through my head. You know, the one that goes fall into the gap. Why? It's not because I wanted to go to GAP. Nor did I want to go shopping. I had once again stumbled into territory that even professional translators dread. I had fallen into a lexical gap.

If you are wondering what the term lexical gap refers to, the Online Dictionary of Language Terminolgy offers this simple meaning:

The phenomenon where a word that exists in language A does not exist in language B.
For example, Romanian lacks the word shallow. Therefore, the English phrase shallow waters has to be translated with something like ape puţin adânci, not so deep waters, or apă mică, small water. 


I turned to my friend and replied, "Gemütlichkeit in English? There isn't a one word equivalent." She eyed me suspiciously to determine if I was pulling her leg or not. "Wirklich!" I said. "In Englisch gibt's es wirklich nicht." She sighed, knowing that the only way to translate a lexical gap is to explain it. That's not always an easy task, because many of them describe feelings or states of being. One needs to use several words, phrases, or even examples to convey the actual meaning.

Let's take the word Brückentag as an example.Brücke means bridge. Tag, as you might already be familar with from the expression Guten Tag!, means day. Translated literally, Brückentag would be bridge day. That makes one think of a holiday were people celebrate their local bridges. Why not? We already have Mühlentag in German. Mühle means  mills and on this day we celebrate our historical oil/water mills. However, a Brückentag has nothing to do with bridges.

winter day at Herrenmühle
Then what is a Brückentag? you might ask. These are days that extend a weekend if a holiday falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday. Therefore, if you take off work on Monday or Friday, you now have a four day weekend. The Monday or Friday off serves as a "bridge" over the weekend to the holiday. In America, Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday. However, the next day is not a holiday. But taking the Friday as a Brückentag, you have just extended your weekend. Four day weekends are perfect for visiting out-of-town friends or family or enjoying short trips by car or plane. 

Another word that if difficult to translate is Gemütlichkeit. Though some describe this as togetherness and the sharing of moments with friends that is only part of it. Gemütlichkeit is actually a state of being. It is the mood/atmosphere/comfortable feeling one has while doing it. There isn't an English word that wraps all these things into one. Even "hanging with friends" or "having a good time" falls greatly short of the actual meaning. Beyond that, there isn't any more than I can say to help define it. Come visit me. We'll go to a Fest and you can experience German Gemütlichkeit first-hand. Experiencing is understanding.

There is nothing better than time with friends. On Tuesday evening I spent the evening with three other woman. We were sharing funny travel stories. One of them starting telling a tale about her mother's weekend bus trip many years ago. Another implied, "Oh, war es ein Werbefahrt?" Oh, was it a...a....Werbefahrt.  

Werben as a verb means to advertise. Werbe as a noun obviously means advertisement (or in British English an advert). An advertisement trip? This is something my husband's grandmother (Oma) took part in often. The Dictionary of Travel and Tourism defines a Werbefahrt as: sales tour - has a specific meaning in Germany and some other European countries. An inclusive tour or short holiday package where the focus of the trip is selling something, such as art. Oma had pots and pans and all sorts of things from these trips and most were top quality products. Usually the first morning she was required to attend a conference where the products were introduced and one could purchase them at a discount price. Many times products were given away free as part of the package. The rest of the trip could be spent as one pleased in the vacation spot. These trips provided a cheap and easy alternative form of travel for many seniors at one time. I haven't heard much talk of them lately but maybe when I am a senior, I'll "be in the know".

And now you are in the know. You know what a lexical gap is and several examples. Here's one last one: Feierabend. Feierabend can be used to mean the time at which one leaves work and/or the time at night when one decides they are finished doing all the things that need to be done and now it is time to relax and do only the things they want to do. And somehow "quitting time" and "time to relax" don't seem to be adequate translations. Think of that inner peace and feeling one gets while talking with neighbors and friends while sipping fine wine, when enjoying an uninterrupted candlelight bubble bath, or when "chillin" in front of the tube without a care. That is Feierabend at it's best.

It's almost 9 PM in Germany right now. I've washed and ironed, cooked, cleaned. I've written this blog post for the Language/Place Blog Carnival. Now, it is Feierabend. I am going to enjoy the company of my husband and a chilled cocktail outside in our garden while the birds sing their evening songs. The only gap I'll be falling into this evening will be the indentation in my pillow.



Found a Man in a Tree

Hi, everyone.

After a four week stay, my in-laws have returned home. I hope to have time to blog once again. My first post since my break can be found on my other blog (The Gathering of Stones). Please join me there. All you need to do is click this link.

http://thegatheringofstones.blogspot.de/2012/06/like-being-watched-while-my-family-was.html

Also, I took part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week. Blogger went all crazy on me and the colors are a bit funky but... to see my answers, click below.

 http://lindas-life-otos.blogspot.de/2012/06/wednesday-hodgepodge-june-27-2012-thank.html

I wish all of you a wonderful weekend.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

I think by year's end I might earn the award for The World's Laziest Blogger. However, I have been writing. In fact, I recently took 6th place in a tanka poetry contest. Click here to see the announcement. Also, today I received a copy of the May issue of The Poetic Pin Up Revue in the mail. My poem, The Possibility of Brackets, is featured in it. Also, I've had work included in an anthology. No word yet on the publication date. So, really, I am not avoiding writing at all. In fact, I have started work on bigger projects as well.

Plus, I like to spend time in the "real world" with my husband, daughter, friends. At the present time I am busy preparing for a visitors. My in-laws are coming soon and staying with us for four weeks. Therefore, if I don't post frequently, you'll know why. I'll be entertaining.

I do hope to host a blog contest in the near future where you can win a copy of the book Prompted which has two of my poems in it. Stay tuned for details. I hope to do that by the first week of June.

Oh, I almost forgot...in honor of poetry month the lovely and talent Cara Holman decided to host a Poet Showcase spotlighing several poets and asked me to take part. You can see my page here. Now how cool is that?

I guess my husband is right...if you don't send your work out, you can't be accepted. LOL. I've started submitting more of my work and it is going well. In fact, I took part in a "write a poem a day" challenge in April. I hope to revise and polish those and find some homes for them.

I remember one of the first poems I wrote was for Mother's Day. It was an assignment in elementary school English class. I don't really remember the words but we had to finish the lines "Roses are red, violets are blue..." Sooooo....why don't you humor me and finish those lines for me. Write something silly to make me laugh. Post your poem in the comments section. And if you can't be funny, then sweet will do.

"petals and pistils " by Linda Hofke


Here are some flowers for all you mothers out there. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!





Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hodgepodge 75

Here are my answers to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge which is hosted by Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. If you'd like to take part, just click here


1. William Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated on April 23rd...when did you last read Shakespeare? What's your favorite Shakespeare play? 

Honestly? The last time I read a book from Shakespeare was in high school. I am not sure if it is the way it was presented in school or just the difficulty of reading a story in Old English, but I never caught the Shakespeare wave, so to say. If I had to pick a play, perhaps it would be MacBeth...gotta love those witches with their "bubble, bubble, toil and trouble."  

2. What food(s) would you recommend a foreign visitor try when they visit your home country?
I feel that when visiting a foreign country (or even just another state or region) it is important to try the local foods. Culinary specialities are one of the cultural aspects that make a place worth going to, and I have an adventurous palate. For those who also enjoying trying new dishes, I could make a long long list of German foods to consider. In our region, a few items would be Maultaschen (a filled noodle that can be prepared in various ways), Flädlesuppe (pancake soup), or one of my favorites--Zwiebelkuchen (onion tart). And one can't forget the Swabian specialty that all kids (and grown-ups) love--Spätzle. These are homemade "noodles" that many old Swabian might argue are not really noodles because they are scraped into boiling water instead of rolled out and formed beforehand. One can eat them as a side dish on Sunday with a roast and gravy. One can make Kässpätzle (with cheese) or they can be fried in a pan with onions and egg. The options are really unlimited.
Other German foods include the Brezel (sort of like a soft pretzel but so much better) or other breads. The baker has so many different ones to choose from, and they are all delicious. Also, I enjoy Christmas time in Germany, because the cookies are spectacular. My favorites are Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), Spekulatius (a pressed spice cookie) and, of course, the well-known Lebkuchen (gingerbread spice cookies). 
I could go on and on, mentioning all sorts of main meals, side dishes, even condiments. Let me just say, if you have a broad palate, you won't be disappointed with German food. And be sure to wash it down with some red wine. Many people know of the vast vineyards and excellent wines of Germany, because we don't export many of them. The Germans are smart and like to keep some of the best for themselves.     

3. What's a lie you often tell yourself?
I have no time for (insert whatever task here). Sure, my life is busy, but as they say, sometimes you just need to make the time instead of making excuses. 

4. What's something you're good at that might surprise us? Remember this is a family friendly blog!
Hmmm....I'm not sure. I tend to think I am awful or mediocre at most things. So I asked a few people and got these answers: taking photographs, being a friend, writing poetry, making people laugh. However, if I were to ask my teenager daughter, I am sure the reply would be "Annoying me".   :-)

5. Who is your favorite animal character from a book?
I'm not sure I have an absolute favorite animal character. However, I recently finished reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. Not only had my mother sent the book to me saying it was a great book, but my friend Nancy (who is a wonderful writer herself and has a blog where she reviews books she has read) recommended it. It only took me two days to read the whole book. I love that the book is narrated by the dog, Enzo. What a smart dog he is! Funny as well. If you love dogs or racing or life or just a good book, you should read it. Though it hasn't made its way here yet, I hear it was made into a movie. But read the book first. The book is always better. Right?


6. April showers bring May flowers...do you have a green thumb?
Not green and not brown. Somewhere in between. My orchids are forgiving, never failing to bloom again. They are beautiful on my window sill.

7. Speaking of rainy days...which one of the following activities would you most want to spend time doing on a rainy day?

sort photos and create albums
bake cookies
read a good book
hold an all-day movie marathon
organize closets, cupboards, or bookshelves
try a new recipe
fix something that needs fixing
Well, that's a difficult question. Why do we just have to pick one. Why not try a new recipe, perhaps in the Crockpot, and while it is cooking I can read a good book while the hubby fixes something?
8. Insert your own random thought here. 
Yesterday I took part in a blogsplash called My Most Beautiful Thing. To see my post, click here. Every day life is full of good things. One thing I always enjoy this time of year is the chirping of birds. I often wake up to their sweet song. It helps me start the day, especially when the weather is bad. We have a few nest in the bushes in our garden, and the bird sort of get used to me being around, watching them from afar. Last week one hopped over, within about 4 feet of me, cocked his head, stared at me for about a minute. As is often the case on a nice day, I had my camera by my side. I slowly removed the lense cap, brought it up to my eye, focused and CLICK! Then, instead of flying off, he just hopped over to the other side of the yard, started picking for worms in the lawn. Here's the photo. I hope you like it.
 

Splash!

Sorry for my lack of posting lately. Today's post can be found at my other blog (Linda's Life on the Other Side). To read it, just click here.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 8 Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge for February 8, 2012




The following questions are from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. Every Wednesday she posts random questions to answer. Anyone can take part. If you are interested in taking part, go check it out.   

1. What is something you are loving right now? 

Last week I was loving the lemon cake my 13-year old daughter made from scratch as a surprise for my birthday. I am normally not a big cake eater, but it was delicious. I ate way too much of it.

This week...I am loving the warmth of the fire by our woodstove. Without it, I would be miserable. It is -17 C here (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and I am not a cold-weather person. We don't even have any snow to play in or even to cover the ground and branches in beautiful, white shimmer. No. I am not loving this weather. But this morning, even my daughter noticed the wonderful full moon that the full moon which looks like a sepia-marbled ball in the sky. That I love...and the fact that right now little chickadees are outside my window, singing their hearts out...so nice. Love it! But mostly I am loving my peeps. I have a great husband, cool kid (when she's not being a typical teenager :-) and awesome friends. I love them all.  

2. Paris, Venice, New York, and Rome are considered four of the most romantic cities in the world. Which one would you most like to visit? 

Well, all of these places have something that draws people to them. New York is full of life. So much to do there. Paris has art and culinary delights and memories from my college days. I'm not sure Paris would be the same without the old clan. Sooo...and this will be no surprise to any of you who know me well...it would have to be Venice or Rome, because my family loves Italy. I am sure if I asked my husband this question, he wouldn't hesistate in giving Rome as an answer. My daughter might pick Rome, though she'd probably opt for Lido di Jesolo so she could swim in the ocean (which is fine with me if that hot waiter is still around) or more likely Milan so she can go shopping. I'd prefer the nice little town of Gargnano, a favorite summer retreat for us, or even Florence but those aren't listed above. So I guess I'll pick Rome. It is the only one of the four where I haven't been yet. (and yes, I realize that was a rambling answer)      

3. Are you a romantic?

Sometimes. 

4. What's your favorite love story made for the Big Screen?

I don't like "mushy" love stories. I prefer romantic comedies. I still love When Harry Met Sally. The Proposal was great. The combination of cutie Ryan Reynolds, girl-next-door Sandra Bullock, and the hilarious Betty White can only produce a winner. Two weeks ago I watched Definitely, Maybe for the first time. I enjoyed that one a lot because it was more than just the romance story. As far as classics go, An Affair to Remember is a great one and don't laugh but I still think Doris Day was brilliant--The Man Who Knew Too Much and Glass Bottom Boat are charms.   (yep...rambled on that one, too. It's a ramblin'-kinda freeze yo a$§ off-kinda winter day)

5. Everyone loves Pooh bear and friends...which character are you most like and why?  

I think I've got a little of all of them in me.


 

6. What's the best chocolate something you've ever eaten?

I don't eat much chocolate but here are the top choices. My mother's chocolate cake, Ritter Sport Trauben-Nuss (raisin and nuts) or Milka nougat, and, of course, Landliebe Schokopudding.

7. Share a favorite quote about love.