Saturday, July 31, 2010

Music challenge day 4 - Ready for a good cry?

Day 4 of the Music Challenge, hosted by criticalcrass at Quirky Pickings. I'm still hanging in there. Today's question? A song that makes you sad. There were three that made the cut, but Skeletons by Rickie Lee Jones is probably the song that can make me cry every time I hear it. The arrangement is gorgeous, her voice so full of emotion as to be almost unbearable. I couldn't find it in my usual source for my playlist, but I did find a beautiful video on You Tube. The lyrics are printed below.



  • written by Rickie Lee Jones

    She was pregnant in May
    Now they're on their way
    Dashing thru the snow
    To St. John's, here we go

    Well, it could be a boy
    But it's okay if he's a girl
    Oh, these things that grow out of
    The things that we give

    We should move to the west side
    They still believe in things
    That give a kid half a chance

    When he pulled off the road
    Step in a waltz of red moonbeams
    Said he fit an APB,
    A robbery nearby

    And he go for his wallet
    And they thought he was going for a gun
    And the cops blew Bird away

    Some kids like watching Saturday cartoons
    Some girls listen to records all day in their rooms
    But what do birds leave behind,
    of the wings that they came with
    If a son's in a tree building model planes?

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Song Challenge Day 3 - Let's get happy!

Day three of the Song Challenge, hosted by criticalcrass at Quirky Pickings. Todays choice is a song that makes you happy. This one was easy. Anytime I'm feeling a bit down I just crank up the volume on this little gem. If you can listen to this without a smile on your face or at least tapping your feet, you need to check your pulse.

Sing, Sing, Sing by the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Can't you just picture all the guys and dolls swinging to that wild beat! It's at the top of my playlist for today, give it a listen. Bet you're smiling before it's over.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Music Challenge Day 2

It's time for Day Two of our 30 day Music Challenge, hosted by criticalcrass at Quirky Pickings.

Yesterday we got to pick our favorite song. Today, we have to pick our least favorite song.
Oh brother, from the sublime to the - well, not so much.

My least favorite song, hands down, of all time is - - - - drum roll please --------


And as Forrest said, that's all I have to say about that!
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Alphabe Thursday - Rainbow Red

Summer Session has started! Time once again for Alphabe-Thursday, The Sequel, taught by Mrs. Matlock. If you haven't been to class yet, it's ok. Mrs. Matlock makes all of the "newbies" feel welcome.
This week, we start essays on the colors of the rainbow. We start with red, which is my favorite color. But I've been super ridiculously busy, so I had to reach back in my archives and repost about our town's annual Red Poppy Festival.

Every April, our little town hosts the annual Red Poppy Festival. There is nothing more fun than enjoying a fun outdoor festival on a beautiful Texas spring day!

Georgetown claims the title the Red Poppy Capitol of Texas. When we first moved here, this little celebration was held on the first weekend in May and was called Mayfest. Several years ago, they moved it up to April and renamed it the Red Poppy Festival. What started out as a small community celebration of spring has turned into a 2 1/2 day festival filled with a parade, music, food, art and fun. This year we had over 30,000 visitors!

The best part of the festival this year? DH's band was asked to play on the main stage. They call themselves "Borrowed Time" because they are all a bit long in the tooth to be starting the whole rock star thing :) 4 of the 6 band members met each other because our kids were all in band together. They discovered that they all played instruments, and starting playing together for fun. A friend of a friend recommended that they be asked to play the Poppy Festival. They didn't earn any money, but they had a great time. And they went over so well that they were asked to play next year as an opener for the Friday night street dance - for pay!

Now stop by and read Mrs. Matlock's rules. Then get cracking helping her to read this week's essays!

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Music challenge - day 1


I'm participating in a new event hosted by criticalcrass at Quirky Pickings. Just what I need in my life right now, another meme! But this is a 30 day music challenge. If the subject is music or writing, I can't possibly refuse! Is there a 12 step program for this?

Today's challenge question is "what is your favorite song"

Good grief! How on earth to choose? I decided to pick the song that tends to pop into my head at the most unexpected moments. It also is a big part of the "soundtrack of my life"
I love, love, love Van Morrison. But "Into the Mystic" is the song that stays with me constantly. One of my favorite memories is rocking Caitlin to sleep with this song playing in the background. I love everything about this song. The lyrics, the arrangement, the horns (of course my favorite song had to have horns lol) I can hear this song during the most stressful of times and immediately start to relax. Give it a listen. I've posted the lyrics below and the song is at the top of my playlist. Enjoy!

Into the Mystic - Van Morrison

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don't have to fear it

And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will flow into the mystic.

When that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don't have to fear it

And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will flow into the mystic
Come on girl...

Too late to stop now...

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Kat's Choice

Kat's Choice

Happy Monday Everyone! First off, thanks for the sweet comments on the new blog dress. I was getting tired of the old layout. It was starting to feel cluttered and disorganized, so I simplified! Secondly, I would like to introduce a new feature at the top of my blog. There are so many wonderful blogs out there that sometimes a really special post gets lost in the shuffle. So I have started Kat's Choice. If you click on this, you will be taken to a link for a post that I thought was exceptional. I hope to update this weekly, although some weeks there may be more than one post featured. I hope this will introduce you to some new blogs or to a post you may have missed. And if you feel so inclined, please mention that you found the link from my blog.

One of my favorite things about blogging is the sense of community we all feel. I'm just trying to do my part to share the love!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Centus - An Unusual Homecoming

Time once again to get those creative juices flowing and join Jenny Matlock for Saturday Centus. Our lovely hostess provides us with a prompt, and we then struggle to write a story that thrills, amazes and uplifts. In 100 words or less. Try it sometime, it's not as easy as you might think. Especially if you were vaccinated with a phonograph needle, as I apparently was. Anyway, on to this week's prompt, provided by our very own Tom at Sophisticated Lunacy. A nice LONG prompt this week. Tom gets his revenge for all those torn up babies :) You have to read this post to understand that last statement. Go ahead, I'll wait. Ok, now you get it!

Here is my contribution for week 12. The prompt is in bold font.

Driving six hours is a long time on the road. Six hours spent singing car-aoke and taking in the picturesque scenery, but mostly reminiscing about the good times. But those days were long gone and my mind was in a different place now. Or was it? My pulse quickened as I passed the road sign which read "Medford 27 miles."

Glancing at my watch, a shiny silver reminder of the normal life I'd just left behind. I should make it to that cursed place well before sundown.

Funny, I had always loved sunsets, as if God was painting that giant canvas just for me, with brilliant, broad strokes that evoked awe and wonder. Now, nothing but dread at the thought of that burning orb dropping below the horizon.

A quick check to make sure the supplies were hidden. That silver stake would surely raise questions.

Slowly exiting the highway, to finish what had been left undone too many years before.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alphabe Thursday - Alphabet Soup week

It's the very last Alphabe Thursday! I can't believe that we've been attending Ms. Matlock's class for 27 weeks! I hope that the class stays together for summer session :) This week, it's Alphabet Soup week. We can rewrite a letter, repost one of our alphabet posts, pretty much do what we want! Hey, kind of like recess. I decided to re-run one of my favorite letter posts, R. Mainly because I want to expose as many people as possible to one of my favorite authors. Hope you enjoy. And don't forget, we will be having a summer session using the colors of the rainbow!

Time for my favorite class, Alphabe Thursday. Don't be late, Mrs. Matlock loves punctuality! This week, we are to write about the letter R. I thought about rabbits, but I'm allergic. Rapunzel, but we all know that story. Rock - n - roll, but I wrote about that last week. So I thought to myself, how about a favorite writer? Rick Bragg immediately came to mind.

Rick Bragg is the Pulitzer Price winning author of several books, a former journalist for the New York Times and currently a writing professor at the University of Alabama.

Rick's writing is strongly rooted in the oral story telling tradition of the South. To quote the man himself:

“My grandfather on my daddy’s side and my grandma on my momma’s side used to try and cuss their miseries away. They could out-cuss any damn body I have ever seen. I am only an amateur cusser at best, but I inherited other things from these people who grew up on the ridges and deep in the hollows of northeastern Alabama, the foothills of the Appalachians. They taught me, on a thousand front porch nights, as a million jugs passed from hand to hand, how to tell a story.”

The first book that I read from his collection of work was "All Over But The Shoutin'". His stories of growing up dirt poor in Alabama rang so true. It covers his discovery of the love for story, and his escape from the dirt scrabble world he lived in to become a writer. And what a writer he became. One of my favorite passages from the book:

You begged the sky for a single cloud. The sun did not shine down, it bored into you, through your hat and hair and skull, until you could feel it inside your very brain, til little specks of that sun seemed to break away and dance around, just outside your eyes. It turned the shovel handle hot and baked the red dirt til you could feel it through your leather work boots, radiating. Your sweat did not drip, it ran, turning the dust to mud on your face, soaking your T-shirt and your jeans, clinging like dead skin. The salt in it stung your eyes, until your lids were bright red and the whites were bloodshot like a drunk man. Every now and then you or some man beside you would uncover a ground rattler, and you would chop it to little pieces with your shovel or beat it to mush with rakes, not just because it could bite you, kill you, but because it got in your way, because you had to take an extra step, to raise your arms an extra time, under that sun."

What would I give to be able to write like this! I swear, after reading this you feel like you need a big tall glass of tea. One of the happiest memories I have is of meeting this man at the Texas Book Festival, and one of my most prized possessions is a signed copy of this book.

"Somebody Told Me" is a collection of his newspaper stories. Read "Where A Child on the Stoop can Strike Fear". But be warned, once you start reading, you won't be able to stop.

From "Ava's Man" to the "Prince of Frogtown", we meet the people and places that shaped this amazing writer. His writing is so evocative. You can feel the heat, smell the dust, see the landscape and the people that formed him.

If you've not read Rick Bragg's work, give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I've attached links to his facebook page in case you are interested in seeing what he's up to now.!/rickbraggauthor

Now get to class and see what everyone else has chosen for Alphabet Soup Week!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Centus - My Worst Nightmare

Saturday Centus time once again. This is a great little writing exercise hosted every week by the fabulous Jenny Matlock at Off On My Tangent. A simple premise, take a writing prompt provided by our lovely hostess and add 100 words or less to make a story. Sounds simple, but it's not as easy as it seems!
After the shake up last week, I was terrified that we were going to have to write a Western! But no, back to our normal program, with this week's prompt being provided by Sami.

This week's prompt:

Somewhere over the rainbow...

And my take on the prompt:

Why had I listened to the girls? A lark, they said. Totally out of character for you, the class bookworm. Worse case scenario? Feeding lines to giggling girls or a small part as a munchkin. But this? Had Mrs. M lost her mind? 30 years of trying to coax talent out of hordes of hormonal teenagers had finally pushed her over the edge!
Looking at the audience from the wings, my stomach rolled. No salvation there. A full house. Wobbling into the spotlight in those stupid red heels, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and opened my mouth.
Somewhere over the rainbow...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alphabe Thursday - Z is for ...

It's Alphabe Thursday, time to run to Mrs. Matlock's class and turn in our essays. Can you believe we've reached the letter Z already? Time flies when you're having fun. Since I started playing, I mean studying, in Mrs. Matlock's class, our daughter has graduated from college, my husband lost his job and we started our own business. Good grief, I wonder what Color Summer School is going to bring!

Make sure to attend class today. Z should be a really interesting letter.

DH and I took a little photo safari this past weekend. And in honor of Jenny, we chose to go to the Zilker Gardens in Austin! The gardens are located on 30 acres in the heart of Austin. There are several themed gardens, including a beautiful rose garden, Japanese garden complete with koi pond, a butterfly garden, and the favorite of Austin children, the Hartman Prehistoric Garden.

As we entered the park, the first thing I spied was this old settler's cabin, moved from it's original location. Can you believe an entire family lived in this tiny one room cabin?

Next we can see an original one room schoolhouse. This was also moved to the gardens. Can you imagine? And these days we gripe if our kids don't have laptops!

On to the butterfly garden, my favorite. Everything was blooming and so lush and beautiful. The butterflies were everywhere, even lighting on our arms and heads as we were shooting.

Isn't this the cutest bench you've ever seen? There are several of these scattered throughout the butterfly garden grounds.

A lovely waterfall in the Japanese garden.

The Koi pond in the Japanese garden. These were the biggest Koi I've ever seen. And they followed us around like puppies, I guess they thought we were going to feed them!

This little guy made a break for it as we came down the path. Guess he's not used to such early morning visitors!

The waterfall at the entrance to the Hartman Prehistoric Garden.

This garden is a favorite of kids, and you can see why. Do you spy what's on the "island" in the middle of the pond? Click to enlarge for a better view. This part of the garden is full of plants and fossils that would have been found in the Central Texas area during prehistoric times. Some of the stepping stones on the path have casts of dinosaur tracks found in the area in the center of them. How fun!

Now skip on over to Mrs. Matlock's room and help read essays. And wait until you see what she has planned for us next week, it's going to be fun!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Centus - It Takes a Thief

Time for Saturday Centus. One of my very favorite weekly events, hosted by Jenny Matlock at Off On My Tangent. This is a great weekly meme that forces us to tighten our writing and learn what really makes a story work. We are given a writing prompt, and then build a story around it using 100 words or less.

Did I say this was my favorite? Well, until this week it was. Ms. Jenny decided to shake things up a bit. This week we get 200 words. I've had comments saying they wanted more than 100 words, so our wish has been granted. But you know the old saying "be careful what you wish for"? Truer words were never spoken. Because this week, we have to write our story in the style of a Harlequin Romance! WHAT? I've never read a romance novel in my life. As I told Jenny, not even when I was a lovestruck teenager. The closest I've gotten would be The Thorn Birds. Oh come on, admit it, you've read it too. So anyway, here goes nothing. This week's prompt

When I turned around I was startled to meet a green-eyed gaze..."

Here's my take on it

I crept slowly down the ink black hall, my eyes finally adjusting to the gloom. My rubber soled shoes made no sound. If I was caught, there was no reasonable way to explain my presence at this hour.

I had been sent by a man I'd met only once. His intensity and passion woke something in me that had lain dormant too long. The mission was perilous, but the prize too precious to ignore.

But where was it? Suddenly, I heard a whisper of sound behind me.
When I turned around I was startled to meet a green-eyed gaze....there it was, in all it's glory. The portrait that had been missing for so long, stolen from my contact's family by the Nazis so many years ago. I quickly cut the canvas from the gaudy frame, rolling it carefully and stashing it in my messenger bag.

Running down the rain slick street, I imagined the reception I would receive. My heart racing, I burst into his apartment, glowing with victory. His arms opened and I tumbled into them, knowing full well where this was leading. As I gazed into his green eyes, the same eyes that stared at me from the portrait, I knew that I would risk everything for this man.

Ok Jenny, are you happy? Make sure to stop by and read all the links, I think you will find some of them very, um, interesting! I almost skipped this week, but the prize is truly too good to miss (thank you Miss Coralei) And besides, once a challenge is laid down, I'm darn sure going to attempt it. Sorry if this wasn't "chest heaving" enough, but this was the best I could come up with! And judging from some of the comments, the theme next week might need to be a "cozy" murder mystery. Poor Jenny! Sigh...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alphabe Thursday - Y is for

Thursday, my favorite day of the week (well, in blogland at least) Time for class ladies and gentlemen. Run to Mrs. Matlock's room and join in on Alphabe Thursday. This week we have been assigned the letter Y. I've been waiting patiently for this one. I knew what I was going to post for Y clear back at the start of term! You see, my maiden name is "Younger", so it was a pretty easy choice :)

Ok, let's get the true confessions out of the way. Yes, I am related to this wanted man. My darling Cait made sure to get this picture for me when she visited the Crime and Punishment Museum in DC. Gee, thanks sweetie.

On to the present. We'll take a short jaunt down Younger Road...

To the old farm .....

The old milk barn still stands, patched with campaign signs....

This beautiful homestead was started by my grandparents, Roy and Charliee Fondren Younger

A couple of their children ...

Just a few of their grandchildren

And a few of their great grandchildren!

There are a whole mess of Youngers, impossible to get everyone in one picture! Hope you enjoyed my contribution for the letter Y. Now make sure to swing by and help Mrs. Matlock read this week's essays!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Saturday Centus - The Artist

I'm joining Jenny Matlock for Saturday Centus. If you aren't familiar with this great weekly event, it's really quite simple. Take a prompt, provided this week by Sami of Sami by the Sea, and write a short story of 100 words or less. Sounds easy, right? It's not, but it's a great way to exercise your writing skills. I always seem to end up with 102 words every single week, and trying to decide which 2 words are going into the trash is hard work my friends.

This is my contribution for the week. The prompt is in bold font.

Wind whipped the flags on the tents as the clouds built menacing forts in the sky. I had been looking forward to the festival all year, scrimped and saved to purchase just one of his amazing works. An entire year of clipping coupons, PB& J lunches, Folgers instead of Starbucks. And now I had to outrun the fickle coast weather.

I turned the corner into a maze of booths as disorienting as an Escher drawing, the artist finally coming into sight. Even in the failing light, the glow from the glasswork called to me like a long lost friend.

"Are you sure that's the one you want?"

I felt a little lump in my throat as I peered down at my choice, held tightly in my hand. I didn't think this would be so nerve-wracking. Was I making the wrong decision? I couldn't agonize over this any longer.

I took a deep breath before managing to say, "... Yes, it is."

Interested in joining? Stop by Jenny Matlock - Off On My Tangent for a list of the rules. The link stays live from Saturday to Saturday, so you still have time to join in the fun. And while you are at it, stop by and visit Sophisticated Lunacy. Tom has posted some of the unwritten rules. I promise you will be howling with laughter!