Love, Laughter, and Life

The Writing Life of a Woman Who Might Be Missing a Few Brain Cells


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Throwback Thursday: John Smith

This talking-to-myself post originally aired on April 21, 2012.

It was warm outside and Captain John Smith was looking a bit washed out…

I crack me up.

Hello, Captain John Smith, toy of my daughter from years past. He was just hanging around, catching some rays. Now we know how many years plastic figures last.


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RV Life: 4 Household Necessities

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Welcome to the RV life.

When we decided to sell our stick house and move into an RV while preparing to build a small home, we knew space would be an issue.

In an RV, storage is calculated in square inches. Each tiny fraction of space is required, necessary, pondered, and strictly enforced.

Take, for example, my enjoyment of the toaster. On those days I want a toasted bagel or whole grain bread, I want it evenly browned, not charred in some areas and barely tan on others. The normal toaster from the big house (our old house, according to the grands) would not even fit in a cupboard. Hence the knowledge of charring and tanning acquired when using the method of a gas flame.

I also knew we would not be happy without a coffee pot. But our huge clunky version did not a) fit in a cupboard, and b) fit on the counter. I considered pour over, but was saved by a shopping discovery.

Yet another ‘what can we not do without’ moment was centered around the stove top where there really is room for only one pan, occasionally a tiny second pan. Cooking space was in high demand.

Humidity. The fourth requirement. As in DE-humidity, also known as dehumidfying. This need became increasingly evident as the winter embraced our valley, temperatures dropped, and snow began to fall. One can wipe down the windows only so many times without sinking into despair.

Should you ever be in need of RV advice, feel free to get in touch! Here are four solutions I’ve found to the above problems. While not perfect, each contributes significantly to our RV lifestyle.

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Mini-toaster. I love this! It doesn’t perfectly toast our food, but it works just fine. And like I said, charring over the gas flame does not work.

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Mini-coffee brewer. This four-cup beauty fits beneath the sink and makes a decent cup of joe. Check that off the list.

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Small electric skillet. One of the first things my mother-in-law told me was to get an electric skillet. I forgot that advice in the hustle of selling, packing, and moving. Once my stove top frustration built to a respectable level, that bit of advice popped right back. Works just fine other than needing to always be counting the total wattage of energy use at any one moment to avoid blowing the fuses. This took practice.

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Small dehumidier. We caved. It’s better to spend some bucks up front and get an electric dehumidifier than ruin the inside of the RV with mold. We have this plugged in all the time, moving it back and forth from the table to the counter. It doesn’t remove every drop of humidity, but it helps. We also employ disposable containers of Damp Rid. Looking forward to warmer air and open windows.

We picked a fine year to move into an RV. Record breaking snow fall, long damp wet winter, and a steep learning curve made some days a little tense. But now with the spring sun occasionally peeking through (snowed ALL day yesterday), we can see the (sun) light at the end of the winter tunnel. Drying out and deep cleaning are our spring goals.

I find it necessary to add that we are still married. To each other. Despite storms of frustration inside the RV.

How about you? Any favorite RV appliances or necessities? Let’s help each other out. Maybe you have a suggestion that would enrich our tiny living lives. Thanks!

 


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Visual Learner? That’s Me

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It has recently come to my attention that I have strong tendencies towards being a visual learner. I think visually and that impacts the things I do and how I do them.

Take for instance, my desire to learn French. This is what initially made me consider my bent towards visual learning. I love the French language. I adore seeing text – signs, words, symbols, and books in French. But hearing is a part of language learning, and I realized I can’t really hear what is being said and understand the different words. I kept thinking to myself If only I could SEE the words, I’d be able to comprehend what was being said.

Visual learner, yes I am.

Another example that points towards my tendency to acquire knowledge through visual means or to impart something visually is the way I plan for teaching. In my classroom, my displays – bulletin boards, posters, learning centers, student work, general decor – are of the utmost importance. I can’t rest until the room is visually arranged and attractive.

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Some other habits I’ve noticed:

~ In the teaching plans I write, I nearly always include suggestions for visual impact – displays, table decor, posters, signs, and room arrangement. Rarely do I include hearing-only activities. Good thing to notice right? Now I can make sure to suggest activities that lean towards the hearing and doing types of learning.

~ Photographs. I love taking photos of everything thing I do and every place I go. These photos become a visual diary of my pursuits.

~ Instagram. I love this app! Pictures and text inform and delight my visual brain.

~Pinterest. Same reason. Pictures and visual clues. I don’t often read the original post or seek out the origins of the image. I glean by reading the pictures, and my imagination goes from there.

~ Reading. I LOVE reading, and reading requires visual skills. I’d be happy if I could live in front of a fireplace sipping hot cocoa and reading a great book while snow piled up against the eaves.

The visual learning list goes on.

Do you think you are a visual learner? Check out this post I found that lists 10 Characteristics of Visual Learners here. I’d say I nailed it!

Of the learning styles, which are you? Visual, auditory, kinesthetic? I’d love to hear. I mean, see your name and comment in print. Wink, wink.

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Hoping for spring flowers. But first, the snow must melt.


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Coffee Like Papa

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As I was recently pouring cream into my coffee, adding just enough until the creamy clouds billowed up to the top breaking the surface of enticing black, I remembered my Papa. He liked his coffee the same way, at least when I was serving. I realized that I had adopted the same habit and method of adding cream to my coffee.

“Just pour it in until it swirls back up,” he told me. For the coffee was always hot or brewing at Grandma and Papa’s, usually available with some choice of sweet dessert. And evaporated milk, punctured open and sitting beside the sugar bowl, was ever at the ready.

Now my personal choice is half and half. But back then, that little red and white can was perfectly fine. Because we were sipping our brew together and catching up on the news of the day.

Cone on over and we’ll have coffee. Just like Papa.

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Throwback Thursday: Old Words

Note: I originally posted this long, long ago on February 24, 2016. Hah! I know. It was only last year. But I do so love old books, newspapers, and things, I deemed it worth bringing into the future. And now I remember how much I miss my claw foot bathtub.

 I was preparing to take a relaxing bubble bath in my claw foot tub last night when I saw a wadded up log of newspaper on the floor.

 

The paper log was actually old newspaper. Old 1949 newspaper.

 

It was super dusty and fragile, so I didn’t undo it, but went ahead and enjoyed my bath, contemplating the sudden arrival of newspaper in the bedroom.

 

This morning, long after honey had gone to work, I noticed the newspaper had been carefully unrolled and somewhat flattened.

 

That was when I saw the date on the antique (or is it vintage?) Seattle Times. Sunday, March 27, 1949. Fascinating.

 

I do love looking at old newspapers, especially the ads. Odd, I realize, but the price comparisons between then and now are amusing and sad. The articles in this bundle also told tales of the times – fashions, comics, businesses, and even child rearing and feeding advice.

 

This was no ordinary newspaper. It was mystery newspaper that had been recycled to provide padding for an old wood and woven jute chair. We didn’t even know it was stuffed. Look at how creative folks were at repurposing way back before the word was even in use.

 

Now we know more about the chair (it is older than both of us) and the news of the day from several decades ago.

 

Words are valuable. No matter how old or in what format they are discovered.

 

What are some words that are valuable to you?

 


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How to Simplify and Authentically Grow Your Blog Without Spending Money

Blogging is now a viable career option and there are endless examples of bloggers who have monetised their site to the point where they can quit their 9-5 job and live the dream. Consequently, the …

Source: How to Simplify and Authentically Grow Your Blog Without Spending Money

Hello, friends! This post is for those of you who are bloggers. Suzie has some great strategies. I love her low cost approach! Penny pincher, that’s me. 🙂


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A Valentiny Story for You: Jello Did Not Like Valentine’s Day

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Jello did not like Valentine’s Day.

True, the holiday was fine. For everyone else. But for Jello? No one ever remembered to deliver a valentine specific to his – ahem – tastes.

“Jello,” shouted Hatchback. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Strawberries, a favorite of turtles. Disappointing. Putting on a smile, Jello croaked, “Thank you.”

“Hey, mellow Jello,” squawked Licorice. “Will you be my valentine?”

Corn, a crow’s go-to meal. No surprise. Jello belted out, “Thank you.”

“Ssssay, Jello, old buddy,” called Slinky. “Rosessss are red, berriessss are blue. You are my friend. Here, jusssst for you.”

Speckled eggs. Eww, shells. Pasting a pleased look on his face, Jello gulped, “Thank you.”

“Hi-de-ho, Jello,” chortled Twitch. “My heart belongs to you.”

Dandelions, and I’ve no rabbity teeth for gnawing. Jello grunted, “Thank you.”

“Sweet as honey, Jello,” roared Buzz. “BEE my valentine!”

Sticky honey. Ugh. It glued Jello’s mouth shut. Jello bellowed, “Thank you.”

 

No one indulged Jello with his favorite treat. Valentine’s Day was a bust.

 

“Jello-pie,” croaked Jiggle. “True love of mine, you’ve wiggled into my heart!”

Jello gasped! A valentine, just for him! Pink tasty worms. Perfect for his – ahem – tastes. Beaming, Jello barked, “Thank you!”

Maybe Valentine’s Day was not so bad after all. Jello shared his valentine treats with his friends.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Written by Angie Quantrell (214 words)

 

The Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest: by Susanna Leonard Hill

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone confused (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to submit more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!


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Love and Chocolate

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All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

~ Charles M. Schulz

 

Love comes from many places: a spouse, parents, siblings, children, grands, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Don’t stop there. Call it what you will, but I know my cats give me love, dogs give love, and pets of all sorts show attachment to owners. Living, breathing people and animals give love. Love is not easy to understand, is sometimes challenging to offer, and this side of Heaven is totally imperfect. It can’t be forced but it can be reciprocated. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to love, as difficult and trying as it sometimes is. Just trying counts. Hoping tomorrow I can do my part in spreading the love. And some chocolate.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love and dark chocolate.

 


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Picture Book Writers: Fun Contest for You!

(Hope everyone enjoys the blog title nod to Music & Lyric’s fictional band PoP 🙂 ) Roses are red Violets are blue Valentinies rock And so do YOU! Hang onto your chocolate everyone! It’s time for . . . The Second Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!! Valen-tiny because the stories are not very […]

via PoP Goes My Heart! The Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest Is Here!!! — Susanna Leonard Hill