For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Friday, April 30, 2010

Recently read: Terry Taylor’s Artful Paper Dolls

This winter I became enamored with paper dolls—both for themselves and as a viable component of a piece of art. Through an Amazon search, I stumbled (not literally) on Taylor’s works, and find his books inspiring. In this one, subtitled “New ways to play with a traditional form,” Taylor explores the evolution of paper dolls from ancient times to now. He provides ideas, instructions, and examples from 24 artists, including himself. Beautifully produced, the innovative artwork furnishes a wealth of ideas for collage and mixed media artists.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Search Engines for readers

My search engine when I was an undergraduate in the 1970s was the University of Illinois library.

It’s not just students, writers and researchers who love search engines (yes, I know others do, too, but those are the people I know best). Readers themselves can use them. The web site for Online Colleges posted a marvelous list this winter titled “50 Cool Search Engines for Serious Readers. It contains sites for a range of items such as e-books, rare books, reviews, sites to swap books and others. Check it out at

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oklahoma! At the Lakewood Cultural Center

This weekend, Carl and I went to our first performance at the Lakewood Cultural Center, a splendid performing arts theater that is part of the community’s Heritage Culture and the Arts organization. The performance was fun, colorful, and just the thing we needed to cheer ourselves up after a day spent mopping water from under our kitchen sink—apparently the result of the two days of pouring rain followed by about six inches of snow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recently read: Alexander McCall Smith’s The Miracle at Speedy Motors

I love Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and their gentle little world in Botswana as depicted by Smith. Here we get to be present as Mma Ramotswe muses on how to protect Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni (her husband, of whom she always speaks in the formal way) from the greed of a doctor promising a miracle cure for their daughter’s paralysis. Also on her agenda is finding the family of a client who was adopted. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, is happily anticipating her upcoming nuptials and may have been a bit careless in leaving the new matrimonial bed outside when it was delivered. I never tire of this series.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Submitting art is like submitting writing queries: you just gotta persevere

The artwork I submitted was a mixed media collage.

In February, a friend and I submitted artwork to be considered for Patti Digh’s latest book, Four Word Self Help. We both heard last week that our pieces were not chosen. Nevertheless, I felt great when I created the piece and sent it in; and I still feel great about the whole process. I sent out a lot of queries before I started getting published, and the process for artwork sure feels familiar! For information on Digh and her books, and to sign up for her newsletter, see

Friday, April 16, 2010

Moving Tips: Budd Van Lines--an excellent choice

Chris and Sharpie bonded quickly (photo by Leslie Norris)

You hear horror stories about moving companies, but the only experiences I’ve had were fine. Until I experienced Budd Van Line and my experience went from fine to EXCELLENT. The driver, Chris Delorenzo, and his teams (there was a separate team to pack and a different team to unpack) were not only efficient, careful and organized, but watching them was like watching a well choreographed ballet. Each member knew what to do and did it. And went beyond the expected with service (even providing doggies with plenty of doggie treats). For more information, see

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The 79th Annual Writer’s Digest competition

There are ten categories in which to submit your work to the Writer's Digest contest:
1. Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
2. Memoirs/Personal Essay
3. Magazine Feature Article
4. Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
5. Mainstream/Literary Short Story
6. Rhyming Poetry
7. Non-Rhyming Poetry
8. Stage Play
9. Television/Movie Script
10. Children's/Young Adult Fiction

Prizes are awarded in each category. And if you win the grand prize, you’ll receive 3,000 cash and a trip to New York City to meet with editors or agents. If you even get an honorable mention, it is still an honor.

The deadline is May 14, so be sure to check the contest guidelines and rules at

This has always seemed to me to be the zenith of writing contests. What originally began as a single magazine is now a publishing empire, a college, and a force to be reckoned with in the world of writers. I’ve entered the contest on a number of occasions over the past 20 years. I am proud when I have a piece that I feel that is good enough to submit. This year, I haven’t written anything since last summer, so I have nothing to polish up and send off. There is always next year, though!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recently read: Thomas Perry’s Vanishing Act

I hadn’t read any of Perry’s books before, and just loved this one featuring Jane Whitefield. A Native American, Whitefield helps people disappear. When a man turns up at her house in upstate New York, she is her usual professional, suspicious self—characteristics that have made her a reliable connection in the shadowy network of victims, criminals, and all the others who need to start a new life quietly. She lets down her defenses, however, and too late realizes the man is not who or what he says. The plot takes us on an exciting journey as Whitefield uncovers the truth, which unfortunately leads her to the wilds of a desolated area of New York. Feeling a victim now herself, Whitefield turns to her Seneca skills and the woodcraft of her ancestors. Excellent read and I can’t wait to start on Perry’s other books.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April is National Poetry Month

Get your daily poem from

Time continues to get ahead of me as I spend my days rustling through boxes. However, there’s still enough of the month left to get in on the Daily Poetry Blast from the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College. Sign up by emailing to get your daily poem through the end of the month. Today’s poem is by e.e. cummings, titled “i carry your heart with me.”

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Moving tips: sometimes things will slip through the cracks

We took a sightseeing trip to Boulder this weekend. I hadn’t been to the city since the 1970s. We’ve so adjusted to the mild Denver weather that we about froze once we reached our destination—only 20 miles away (those miles, however, were UP). We wandered Pearl Street briefly, and then sought shelter in the Boulder Book Store, an independent bookseller. After lattes and a good browse, we were warmed up enough to fight the wind and snow flurries the three blocks back to our car. We had noticed as we came into town that Boulder posted signs that cameras will be taking photos of car license plates, but we have no guilt and generally obey the traffic laws. When we hopped into our Ford Explorer after our quick tour of downtown, Carl noticed a ticket on the windshield. The cameras had spotted our expired Wisconsin license plates and an officer was duly dispatched to fine us $50. We are usually so on top of things like that, but this time (perhaps understandably), renewing our Wisconsin plates or applying for new Colorado plates had truly slipped our minds! Maybe a checklist of tasks would have helped . . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

Recently read: Jeffery Deaver’s The Broken Window

Another in Deaver’s series set in New York City featuring Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic investigator, this one is, as always, a page turner. In this thriller, Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, his assistant (and girlfriend—yes, he’s not ENTIRELY paralyzed) match wits and technology with a truly scary data whiz who steals identities, commits crimes, and frames others through creating data and technological evidence that seems impossible to refute. One of the people whose identity was stolen and who now sits in prison is Rhyme’s cousin. As Rhyme and Sachs and the NYPD struggle to unravel the false clues about others and themselves, Rhyme and his cousin have some longstanding family issues to resolve as well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Moving tips: Use a real estate professional

I’ll be posting some tips on moving as the mood strikes. One of my pet peeves is people who think they save money by not using professionals, whether that means contacting a lawyer, using an accountant, or avoiding a real estate broker so they don’t have to pay the commission. Even though Carl is a licensed real estate broker (he has never practiced, but it is useful because he works in the housing/energy field), we have always used a realtor® every time we bought a house. This time we had two: one for Wisconsin and one for Colorado. They both were delightful to work with, have become personal friends, and more than earned their commissions!

In Wisconsin, our realtor was Lonnie Larson ( ). He sold our house within eight weeks of listing during an economic slump. Because he is a full-time realtor with a network that extends over two states, he was able to connect with a family from St. Paul, Minnesota, who had always wanted their own “park.”

In Colorado, our realtor was Sheila Weaver ( ). She spent some long days with me (and we had such fun!) showing as many as 13 houses in a day, and then rapidly handling all the paperwork involved when we bid on one house that failed its home inspection and within a week we had an accepted offer on our current house.