Other Trains of Thought

First of all, thanks to everyone for the excited well-wishes on the Wall Street Journal front page article. It is awesome to get a tremendous national spotlight shown on what we do as skaters who continue to compete no matter what their age is. I know that Betsy McKay had a plethora of information to go through — more than can be truly distilled down and fit into one single article. Betsy, thank you for pursuing this story and introducing the public at large to our passion.

There are so many stories of competitors who participate in Adult Nationals in spite of tremendous obstacles of serious disease, injury, and economic struggles. All skaters spend a tremendous amount of energy, effort, creativity, and income on this sport like many a golfer or distance runner might do. I suspect there might be a few more articles about our division of the sport of figure skating in the future.

Terryl Lee Allen, Betsy’s eyes lit up when I introduced you to her and she found the magic of you… and now she has one of your glorious medals. As they state, “For your passion to skate and your courage to compete.” I can’t speak for Betsy, but I can’t think of a better token that encapsulates the spirit of our competition.

I am proud to call figure skating much more than an outlet for a costumed two-minute spot of creativity. This frozen sport has provided me with a broader community of people I would’ve never met and cherished if I stayed in my own narrow circles of work and location.

I would be missing an entire facet of my life — and for that I’m eternally grateful to those pioneers of the Adult Skating program for getting together 20 years ago to form this ‘convention’ of national competition, a special yearly celebration of our love to skate. Those pioneers should never be forgotten for their trail blazing efforts.



So having a birthday in Spring around this time of year gives a certain affinity for things.

I think Peeps rock!  And I did before I knew about Lisa Yee’s Peepy’s antics  in her blog (just to let you know I’m not trying to copy, just a fun coincidence.)

There is just something about the ultra-brite being made out of marshmallow and sugar that is captivating…  So maybe all of us who love the Peep – Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Buddhist, or all of the above or none of the above… share a common bond, a very sticky one.

I share this link with you today : http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/04/how-to-make-smeeps-smores-plus-peeps-easter-candy.html

And when you eat a smeep, just smile and think of my idea for a new picture book and a holiday for those of us on the West coast, that are always jealous that the East coast gets everything live and we have to wait for “previously recorded” and hope for no spoilers…Happy Wester and a Merry Passoverunder! (sorry, I can’t resist word play – even if it is word roughhousing.)

(For those of you with East coast feeds on your Satellite, this won’t apply)

I figured since I got older today, that I do a tribute to my blogging namesake:


The best part about this is that when Nostradamus wrote he had a little “help” from nutmeg.  Spices can be a powerful tool for writing inspiration… So, I’ve got a whole non-verbal itinerary planned for today, but maybe I’ll get some predictions for the future from my morning cappuccino.

Busy is a word reserved for the few, the proud, the busy.  But when you are so busy, you cannot pursue your complete pursuit of happiness…  Sometimes you have to change the order of the to-do list.

Easier said than done, when the government has deadlines, and bill collectors have their deadlines, and publishers have their deadlines.  When they all converge at once, it sometimes helps to apply that old test-taking philosophy:  Do the easy questions first, then go back to the hard ones if you have time at the end of the test.

So, after doing the fun, but tiring things (like volunteer for ISU Skating Worlds), and the pressing things (like finishing up work on “Breaking Bad”), my April Fools Day was spent doing taxes.

I also managed to fit one more thing in– a revision that I am actually  happy with on my manatee picture book.  I have been wrestling with the concept of this book for years, going through many critiques from fellow writers and editors alike — and I am going to declare that I found it’s voice.  It’s truer to me now, and I know there will be editorial revisions in the future, but finally to me the story is clear.  It hit me as I did the dummy on it, and with the non-verbal “editing” skills that I use at work with ease, I cut and pasted my way to the heart of the story.

Thanks to Alexis O’Neill and the blank book from Santa Barbara retreat, it has been my work horse.

When I got home from my taxes appointment and flipped on the t.v. – this is what I saw:


I have gone to several Writer 2 Writer events here, and was thinking of doing a birthday detour to it this Sunday…I hope the bookstore and everyone who worked there can survive something as freakish as this.   My sympathies go out to those hurt and to the families of the victims of the crash.

Query, Query, Query,

I must confess – I love writing them too!


Jill’s compiled a fabulous set of links for the not-so-quey-eyed writer.

Rock On Jill!

So, as we all go through “the change” today, some things don’t change – like having to get back to the reality of work and bills.  I’ll have my take on the Santa Barbara Picture Book Retreat later, but I thought I’d share the poem I wrote in Joan Graham’s electric language presentation.  She read us many examples and gave us randomly selected words to include in writing  an impromptu poem, here are the words:  time, dark, sweep, voice, wonder.

Here is my poem:

Over time, a dark voice booms out

calls to glory

ricochet off locker doors

and hit the hearts of the players.

No wonder they will sweep.

He told them too.

If you have some poems from the weekend feel free to post them here…

Thank you letter from the great Thomas B

Thank you letter from the great Thomas B

Today was one of those days – a stepping out of the comfort zone day.  A do stuff for myself day.

My comfort zone is all about giving gifts – either giving my thoughts or time or  money to others.  I was so touched by this thank you from my friend’s son for a package that I sent to his family in the mail, and equally moved by his mom’s card as well:  Real Paper, Real Scribble,Real thanks.

Change is in the air again, and I felt it.  My pup was acting more rambunctious as usual.  I had a very eye-opening discussion about selling my condo.  There is a real possibility of a short sale, and since I am a short person I guess it is fitting…

Then an earthquake.

But there is more than a short sale going on here, it is my cleansing; getting rid of the part of myself that is too generous to others.  I often spread myself thinly on my own bagel, and give the heaping gobs of goodness to the others of my life.  But I’m simply not into self-preservation here, it is self-redemption.  Getting myself stronger and secure so I can get back to helping others without the total self-sacrifice.   The past few years was part of that strengthening process: 2007 was the year of being a volunteer, since the writer’s strike left me income-less, my job became volunteering.  I knew what it was like to really retire, not the kind of retirement where you sail around the world in your yacht living off the interest of your investments.  No, this kind is the living on Social Security kind which lots of us probably won’t get to experience.  It was in 2007 that I started to train for a Marathon.  2008 I completed my first Marathon, and it was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done.  2009 is about getting my finances in order (horrible timing!) but is also about accomplishing the hardest mental thing I will ever do:  to let go of everyone else and really take care of myself.   Admitting that I’m a writer and exposing people to my true passion.  To live a life without suppression or subjugation.  The thank you from Thomas showed me that I love to excite the minds of children.

And another admission – Last year I did my first book signing, and my first book was SELF-published.  I hadn’t discovered SCBWI or knew the process of getting legitimately published yet, I just want to dive in head-first and do it for myself.  There are self-published wild success stories, and mine is not of them, but I think it served a greater purpose.  I donated a lot of books, and just wanted them in the library to touch the hearts or funny bones of kids.  Yesterday, a friend that I gave the book to for Christmas said his 4-year old absolutely loved it.  That made me feel so great, that’s why I’m spending my non-existent money and time on this children’s lit thing, although my favorite author is the “grown-up” Albert Camus.  Maybe I’ll still be a “stranger” to being legitimately published, but here’s a review of my self-published book that leads me to believe that I’m being pointed in the right literary direction:


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