Sunday, March 17, 2013

Planning To Go Back To School. Really, I Am!

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything here.  My latest update is that I’ve decided to go back to school and pursue my Bachelor’s Degree.  I haven’t been in school in over twenty years so I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to absorb anything.  But I heard that every time we learn something we grow dendrites in our brain.  Research suggests that the more active we remain not only physically but mentally, the longer we can prevent Alzheimer’s (which I fear more than death). So back to school is the plan and try to keep the brain from becoming a “couch potato”.

I’ll be pursuing an online degree because to be honest if I have to sit in a classroom after I leave work at 6:30, then travel 1 ½ hours to get home, I’ll experience burn out in the first semester.  I’ve been speaking to several College Advisors but I found out that CUNY and SUNY also offer online degree programs and the cost per credit is less, so I will go this route instead of Kaplan, Phoenix, Ashford, or Argosy University.

Researching schools, filling out the FAFSA, and trying to find scholarships is exhausting.  All in all I’m a bit overwhelmed.  I have to submit a writing sample with my application.  I shouldn’t have a problem with that, right?  Well, it’s kicking my backside. 

You see, if the writing sample could be on anything I want, it would be no problem.  I would write a brief story about the vampire who loves the girl, but the werewolf is in love with her too making it a love triangle and the twist is that she loves them both.  So what if that’s Twilight?  The Admissions office wouldn’t know, would they? 

Of course, that’s not what they’re asking for.  There are a series of questions that I must answer in essay format.  Boring! I have difficulty writing in that style.  I’ve drafted something but I’m terrified because it’ll be a determining factor in whether I’m accepted or not.

I took stock of all I’m feeling and have determined that I’m 60% terrified and 40% excited,.  The two emotions are sort of twisting together like two snakes in love.  So basically  this makes me terri-cited!!!  In addition I missed the deadline to start in May so I won’t be able to start until September.  Bummer!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Diva Strikes Again!

I came home to discover another book package from my friend, The Diva.  She's on a mission to get me to read different genres this year.  And with that mission in mind, she sent me Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  She's right, I would never buy this book.  But now that I have it, I must read it because somehow there's an unspoken acceptance of her challenge.

Now, I've heard of the book before.  The fact that everyone is raving about it didn't stir me.  Even though it's on the New York Times best seller list, it still didn't move me read it.  Of course, once I received the book I had to call The Diva, tell her how naughty she had been by sending me another surprise book.  The next thing I did was call one of my girlfriends who works with me and tell her about the book.

In an unprecedented turn of events I've been given a mission, which I have accepted.  My mission is to read the book to the girls at the office during our lunch hour.  I will do my best when reading it aloud so that the girls may absorb all that the book has to offer.

Well, it's been told that in order to be a writer and write well, a writer should read - a lot.  I don't know the first thing about writing romance and I know even less about writing erotic romance.  So Fifty Shades of Grey has now become research.  I might learn a thing or two...about writing, of course.  

One last thing before I go,

Diva, the ladies thank you.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gifts From A Friend

On Friday, I stayed home from work.  I've been feeling fatigued and with the bug that’s going around, I thought it would be best if I rested.  And so I did and didn't get out of bed ‘till lunch time.

It felt great to lounge around in my pajamas sipping coffee and relaxing.  That was nice - wish I could do that every day. 

By 2:30 I decided to check if there was any mail.  When I opened my front door, there was a flat, rectangular brown paper package that was shoved into the gate.  The address label told me right away from who it was and a smile lit up my face. 
After I slid the package out, I saw a small box on the steps.  The box was also from the same person.  I got more excited! 

I opened up the flat package first and it was this Woodland Faeries calendar.  I love faeries!

Next, I opened the box and inside was a book.

It made me so happy to receive these gifts.  Now, normally I don't like surprises but this surprise was very nice.

It’s a beautiful thing to be blessed with friends who are wonderful people.  I'm surrounded by people who are uplifting, positive, supportive, and won’t hesitate to give me a verbal scolding if I need one.  I love them very much.

Today, I’m especially referring to my friend, The Diva.  I assigned this moniker to her because I see her as strong, feminine, intelligent, charming, gentle, compassionate, loving, and fierce when she needs to be.  

She has been very supportive of my writing.  I like Fantasy.  I read Fantasy, I write Fantasy, I daydream Fantasy.  I'm not much into Romance unless there's a vampire, wolf or some other kind of otherworldly character involved.

The Diva has suggested a couple of times that I try reading a different genre.  I usually make some non-committal comment.  Well, this time she wanted to ensure I gave a new genre a try and included this note inside the box that the book came in.

I had a chuckle when I read this.  She got me this time.  I started reading the book.  

The Diva always has some eloquent tidbit to impart on numerous subjects that she may be contemplating.  So, I sort of persuaded her to start a blog.  And she did.

But somehow, she was discouraged from writing.  Sometimes I wonder if she believes that in order to blog she must be a great literary writer.  I’m trying to make her understand that blogging can be an outlet of expression for all of those thoughts, opinions and ideas that circulate within her mind.  I've checked a few times to see if she’s added new material on Sterling Street, but she hasn't.   Maybe she’s reluctant of sharing her inner thoughts in a public way.  It can be a bit scary.  I understand that, it's not easy for me either. 

Maybe blogging isn't for everyone, but I sure hope she changes her mind.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Projects I Worked On

Since I didn’t blog in November and December, I kept busy with a couple of projects.  The first was a simple curtain that I made to divide the living room from the dining room.  The second was a table runner, place mats and a runner with tassels for the radiator cover in the dining room.

I took this picture with my cell phone, so the picture is quite dark.  The fabric is a burgundy taffeta.  It was an impulse buy.  The taffeta was on sale for $4.99 a yard (it usually sells for $9.99 a yard) and the trim was $1.99 a yard. The trim is ivory and burgundy and although you can't tell in this picture, it complemented the fabric well.

I had a bit of trim left over and decided to make tiebacks with it.  I improvised with a bit of gold craft wire (which I already had) to make the hoops that would hook unto the wall bracket.  I used picture hanging brackets (extra ones I had laying around), which were small  but were very effective in holding the tiebacks in place. 

 In the end I was happy with the results.  Overall, I spent about $40 to make this.  I felt it was a bargain - a frugal way to decorate.  You see the fabric was about 60" wide.   Although that isn't unusual, often fabrics will come in widths of 36" or 45".   The 60" wide taffeta allowed me to cover more of the entryway without having to purchase additional yardage.  I made two panels to cover the same space that would normally require four panels.  So I saved money.  And even if I hadn't, making it made me happy and THAT is pricelesss!

After this, the endorphins were flowing and I immediately set to work on the next project.  When I was at the fabric store, I found this beautiful autumny bolt of fabric.  It was on sale for $1.99 a yard.  How could I leave the store without it?  I was high on the euphoria of my previous success!

The design has metallic thread and I love it so much.  It's upholstery fabric but I decided to make a table runner and placemats instead.  

The runner is squared off so it doesn't have those cute points at the end, but I did make it long enough to drape over the side of the table.  Aren't those little pumpkins adorable?



Did I mention that it's reversible.  Same design on both sides.  I loved it so much I wanted to see it twice!

My table is oval and sits six people.  Here it's set up with the runner and placemats and some candelabra.

The curtains in the dining room are white.  The radiator cover in the dining room is white.  I felt there was too much white and since I had some fabric left, I set out to make a runner for the radiator cover.  I'm telling you it was like an obsession because this time I wanted tassels.  So off to the fabric store I went in search of tassels.  I know, I'm insane.

There.  A touch of color broke up all that white.  I felt much better.  I was in the midst of decorating for Christmas, so I only had Mr. and Mrs. Snowman.  Love them! I've had them for years.

I've never made a runner or a placemat before but thanks to YouTube I can find videos for just about anything I want to make.  And just between you and me, I made tons of mistakes.  Luckily,  the pictures don't show them.  It looks almost as if I knew what I was doing. My motto is "Make It Work" and I did!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year's Resolution for 2013

The first week of the New Year has come and gone.  It’s time for the yearly tradition of making resolutions.  I don’t know about you, but I had several things I wanted to improve on last year.  Sadly, I didn’t manage to accomplish what I had set out to do.   Many people experience this and give up or they stop believing that having a New Year’s resolution is even something they should do.  Perhaps it’s subjective but I’m not ready to give up yet.

I think part of the reason I wasn’t successful with last year’s resolutions is that I had several things that I wanted to work on at once.  It was too much.  Life is always throwing curve balls and while we’re trying to avoid those we may inadvertently step into one of life’s potholes.  Curve balls vary – some hit harder than others.  Potholes vary too – some are deeper and wider than others.  I find potholes to be worse than curve balls because they’re harder to recover from.   Curve balls may hurt but you can brush it off and keep going. Potholes on the other hand, can bring all sorts of problems: sadness, despair, depression, etc.  Last year I had a spicy blend of curve balls and potholes.  I just finished climbing out of the latter.  
This year, I’ll concentrate on the most important things first, and if I’m able to accomplish those then I’ll see what else I can work on.  The most important thing to me this year is my health, so that will be my priority. But I don’t want to just concentrate on a health regimen, I want to pamper myself too – give myself the opportunity to feel pretty. 
As a mom, I’ve put myself and my life on hold to care for my family.  I don’t remember when was the last time I pampered myself – gone to a salon, had my nails done.  Well, that neglect is now over.  2013 is for taking care of me.  This is my New Year’s resolution.  If you’ve been afflicted by the “mom” syndrome, I hope that you add pampering yourself to your New Year’s resolution.  May you have a wonderful year!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ALL HALLOW'S GRIM Blog Party 2012! Today's Story is called: The Necklace

Waxen rays of moonlight filtered through the gauzy clouds casting shadows across the graves.  Dave was having second thoughts.  He shouldn’t have accepted the dare but, Mason could be quite persuasive in that forceful compelling influence that only a bully can pull off.  All he needed to do was find the necklace that Mason had stashed among the statuary.
His only tools were a flashlight whose battery threatened to die out and the hand drawn map that Mason had given him.  Kicking himself for not being stronger he replayed the memory in his mind.
“Relax chicken shit.  It’s just a Treasure Hunt.  Haven’t you ever been on a Treasure Hunt?” and with that, he shoved the crumpled map into Dave’s chest – the force pushing him back a couple of steps.  Mason’s eyes bore into Dave daring him to do something.
“Alright, fine. I’ll do it.”  What else could he say? If he didn’t agree, Mason would rearrange his face with his corpulent fists.  He didn’t have a chance against him.
“Good! You have an hour to find it and bring it to me.  Otherwise, kiss your chances with Mindy goodbye.” Mason sauntered off chuckling.

A hooting sound in the distance snapped him out of his reverie, and reminded him that he didn’t have much time to find the stupid necklace and get it back to Mason.  If he could, if only he were strong enough, he would shove the damn thing down Mason’s throat.  He moved forward, darting from grave to grave aiming the flashlight this way and that.  He was farther into the heart of the cemetery than he had wanted to be and so far, he hadn’t found it.   Mason hadn’t given him a description of it and he had never thought to ask.  All he could do was hope that the necklace reflected the flashlight’s beam.
The cemetery was creeping him out.  He had never been afraid of them, but it was completely different at night. The darkness gave the myriad obelisks, Gothic Angels, age-worn tombstones and archaic mausoleums an eerie substance that contradicted the peaceful essence it emanated during the day.  He wasn’t sure if the effect was caused by the feeble moonlight that occasionally made its presence known or the pallid streams of light his flashlight emitted. 

He felt as if the watchful eyes of the Gothic Angel statues disapproved of his trespassing.  He couldn’t help but look at them twice keeping the flashlight directed at their faces for longer than necessary, just to ease away the feeling of being watched.

Dave made one more effort to figure out Mason’s basal attempt at cartography. His rudimentary writing skills left no doubt in Dave’s mind that Mason was a prime example of why socially promoting kids should be outlawed.  The artless drawing showed a clumsy arrow indicating to turn left at the Jacob Frankel grave.

Dave turned swinging the flashlight from left to right trying to cover as much ground as he could.  A shimmer in the distance caught his eye and Dave hurried in that direction which took him even deeper into the cemetery. 



After several steps continually pointing the flashlight in the direction of the shimmer, he came to a mausoleum, dilapidated with age or neglect. And that’s when it happened. 

He knew that red eyes are always a bad sign and in a flash he replayed in his mind every horror movie he had ever seen. The first thing he did was run, his legs moved of their own accord while the rest of his body wrestled with the confusion of either being frozen in terror or releasing his bowels in ardent fear.  Dave shrieked like a banshee running in the direction of the shimmer, somehow not forgetting the darn necklace.  After all, he didn’t know what he was more afraid of – the undead or Mason. 

He could see a mound of dirt where a fresh grave had been dug.  Next to it was the statue of a weeping angel, kneeling on a marble base, wings spread and hands covering her face.  Chest heaving, heart pounding and legs trembling Dave stood in front of the angel.  His eyes focused on the glint of the tiny crystal embedded on the center of the necklace’s locket. 

The crystal must have been what was reflecting the flashlight’s beam.  Now that he had found it, he convinced himself that he had imagined the red eyes he saw. The necklace was out of reach and Dave had no choice but to climb on the marble base.  He was sure he could get it and leave the cemetery before he hallucinated again. 

He stepped onto the base, grabbing on with one hand and holding the flashlight with the other.  The necklace was wound around the groove of the angel’s fingers, so Dave had to hold the flashlight with his mouth while he held on to one of the wings and simultaneously worked the chain of the necklace off the angel’s hand.  The cemetery’s quietude was blatantly loud.  The eerie silence engulfed him until all he heard was the beat of his heart booming in his ears. His hands shook but he finally managed to remove the necklace. He shoved it into his pocket, took the flashlight out of his mouth and started descending from the base.  His foot slid off, but he recovered quickly and carefully climbed down.

He did it, he had found the blasted necklace and now he was going to hurl it at Mason and show him what he was made of. He was going to stand up to him. Tonight was the last time Mason pushed him around.  

Feeling pretty good about himself, Dave took a step back not realizing the freshly dug grave was behind him.  His foot slipped, his arms flailed, he screamed and she caught him.  At first, he froze in surprise.  Long dark hair moved in a windless night, pasty skin, high cheekbones and almond shaped red eyes captivated him, while she gripped his hand at the edge of the grave. Her cadaverous beauty was unblemished and her delicate form belied the strength she possessed.
“Stay with me” She told him, her voice an enchanting whisper that promised hidden pleasures.
“I, I can’t” Dave barely managed to stutter - an involuntary whimper escaping his sweat beaded lips.
“Stay with me or death in the grave – choose.” The proposal uttered in a siren voice didn’t leave him much choice.  He didn’t want to die.  As much as he feared Mason, as much as he was scared shitless right now, he didn’t want to die.
“Okay, I’ll stay.” He panted, his chest heaving.  She smiled – a slow almost demure smile as she pulled him effortlessly away from the grave.
“A deal has been made.  It must be sealed with a kiss.” Dave still too close to the grave’s edge couldn’t back away from her embrace. His innards recoiled, his fists clenched, and his breath rushed out culminating in a blood curdling scream as her lips neared his.
Later that night, Mason woke up to the rapping sounds against his window.  He hurled the sheets aside and shuffled his hulking mass to the window which he opened with unnecessary force.
“Watcha want dumb-ass?” He slurred with grogginess.
“Brought the necklace” Dave answered blandly.
“You’re late, shit face. Give it to me.” He glowered, his menacing look no less threatening in his drowsy state.
“Fine, I’ll give it to you.  Let me in first.” Dave countered and Mason frowned at his sudden display of back bone. But Mason was all brawn and no brain, so he didn’t bother to think it through.
“Get your ass in here, dweeb.” He bullied and stepped aside crackling his knuckles - ready to backhand him across the room.  Dave’s expression didn’t change as he leapt swiftly into the room.

The following morning, police cars were parked outside Mason’s home – the emergency lights beaming red and blue.  Uniform officers kept nosy neighbors behind the barricade. Crime scene tape marked restricted areas and the flicker of flash bulbs quietly confirmed the gathering of evidence.  The detective shook his head, jotting notes, sharp eyes looking for clues throughout the room – finding none.

In the end, he took one last look at the bed where the mangled body of Mason lay contorted.  His eyes were open wide frozen in terror at the time of death. The gold chain of a necklace hung from his unhinged jaw and draped over his chin. The locket buried deep in his throat.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Invitation to Magaly's Party

Hello everyone,

Join me at the ALL HALLOW'S GRIM Blog Party that Magaly from Pagan Culture is hosting. She has a great blog, is loads of fun and throws great parties.  So, on the 25th hop on over and check it out.

Monday, October 15, 2012


It’s been a while since I've posted anything.  A lot has happened.  I finally found a cocktail dress and went to my friend’s wedding.  Within the same time, another friend passed from this world.  There were electrical problems in my house, which lasted five days.  So there have been a few ups and downs in my life.

But I’m not the only one who experienced changes.

My cats have experienced some ups and downs too.  It’s my doing. I have two cats: a boy, Loki and a girl, Jade.  I love them, but they drive me up the wall.  They’re fully aware of what they're not supposed to do and make sure to do just that when I’m not watching.  For instance, they’re not allowed on the couch.  When I’m about, they don’t go near the couch.  When I go to bed at night, however, they go to bed too – on the couch!  In the morning, when they hear me come down the stairs they jump off.  You’d figured that cats being nimble and all, would jump off the couch light as a feather and soundlessly land on the floor.  Not my cats.  I hear the loud thump as they land on the floor and scatter.

Finally, I said enough!  I’m tired of cleaning hair off the couch.  It takes a long time and I don’t like doing it.  I've bought citrus scented sprays because I read somewhere that cats don’t like it.  Well, it only works while the scent is strong, but it doesn't last all night.  Eventually, I gave up on that.

I went on line and read that cats and snakes don’t get along.  I said: Aha!  So I embarked on my quest to find a snake prop that would deter my cats from getting on the couch.  At first, I thought I would get some cheap two dollar rubber snakes.  But I figured that once the cats realize that the snakes aren't going to bite, they would jump on the couch.

I kept searching until I found a motion activated snake prop.  It was more expensive than what I was ready to spend but decided to give it a try.  The moment it arrived, I removed it from the package turned it on and put it on the floor in front of the couch.  The cats immediately went to investigate the object in front of the couch.  Loki was the first to get close to it.  And that’s when it happened.  The snake activated and made a snapping motion with rattling sound.  Loki jumped straight up in the air and Jade scattered.  I have to admit, it was very funny to see my cat fly in the air like that.  But they’re learning not to get on the couch without chemicals or other harsh substances.  I've named the snake, Sheldon.

Here’s a clip I found on YouTube of the snake I purchased.

At first glance it seems mean, but I'm trying to train them from lounging on the couch. I've heard it takes longer to train cats than it does to train dogs.   So far, this method has been effective.  Yet, Sheldon has become annoying because every time I walk by it snaps.  But, if I don't have to clean hair off the couch, it's worth it to have Sheldon rattle and snap when I pass by.