Nature Needs Noticing

Tuesday morning a baby cotton tail rabbit stopped by for another early morning visit whilst I enjoyed my morning cup of brew before work.

Clean feet are essential in the morning.

Clean feet are essential in the morning.

He sat on the patio grooming. So I captured his picture with my phone.

The visit lasted for ten minutes before he raced off for an important date. Or maybe he was late for school. Or he left the gas on. Or our Cooper’s hawk returned for a bit more breakfast.

Ten minutes with nature well spent.

If a rabbit’s foot is carried for luck, what happens when it’s attached to the entire rabbit?

I consider myself four times luckier meeting him.

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The Mushrooms of Springtime

Mushrooms celebrate spring with the rest of us. Mushrooms commandeer our yard. Mushrooms attract squirrels. Notice the nibbled portion of the pictured mushrooms.

Mushrooms celebrating the morning sun. Wouldn't you?

Mushrooms celebrating the morning sun. Wouldn’t you?

Spring fever overwhelmed my brain this week making it difficult to come up with a post. Spring happens.

If it rains, I’ll have a longer post next week.

What was your shortest post? Leave me a link in the comments.

Thank you for visiting.

Ciao,

Fannie

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The Enchantment of the Inner Child

A few years ago, a close friend mentioned I’d lost my sense of enchantment.

It made me reconsider. Gray hairs—not refundable. Dime store magic only masks the problem.

Now I take my inner child out to play. Respite care. It saves me from the days I could wake up storming like bridezilla or going to bed in a chocolate coma.

During my well spent youth, the girls in my neighborhood formed the Park Royal Dynamite Club, named for our neighborhood—and the magazine we read.

Defenders of the imagination.

We built forts in the woods, raced hippety hops down the street, pitched tents in backyards.

On a warm summer evening, dew mellowing the fresh cut lawn smell. No moon. The stars twinkling between the hemlock branches. Frogs singing their lullaby. We packed into the tent, youngest to oldest. Ages 6 to 10. Sleeping bags, pillows, security blankets, flashlights, and Pringles.

At 10-years-old, I slept near the tent flap protecting us from marauders.

Mrs. B., the responsible adult, said, “Do not completely zip the tent flap in case someone needs to make a potty run. The back door will be unlocked. The bathroom light’s on. Sweet dreams, girls.”

I woke up sometime after the frogs settled down. Something long, dark, and thin climbed the desert-sand-colored tent flap—inches from my nose. I found my flashlight. A six-inch-long, dark-brown slug clung to the flap. Five of his best buds sprawled across my sleeping bag.

My gut twisted into a giant pretzel. A blood curdling scream burst from my lips.

When ten little girls sleep in a tent, and one screams, what do you think is going to happen? Mass hysteria. The youngest cried.

My best friend—the most level headed nine-year-old-in-a-crisis—tossed me a can of Pringles.

“They have salt. Scrape ’em off with a chip and toss ’em in the yard.”

We repelled the slug invasion, did not wake the adults, went back to sleep.

When the sun rose, I peeked through the flap.

The largest slug wrapped itself around a chip and feasted like Superbowl Sunday—writhing. The others, dead.

We celebrated at breakfast telling Mrs. B. how we would save the world one can of Pringles at a time.

Enchantment.

Our group evolved, some moved away, other moved back, new members joined. Marriages, children, grandchildren, divorces, loss.

We gather once a month for our inner children to play.

And this month we make Shrinky Dinks.

What would your inner child's Shrinky Dink look like?

What would your inner child’s Shrinky Dink look like?

“It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.” Jean-Luc Godard.

Nourish your soul. Remember to play.

Ciao,

Fannie

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What Do You Do With a Fourth Blogiversary?

Bloggiversaries happen before you even noticed you're there.

Blogiversaries happen before you even realize you’re holding hands.

Today we celebrate Fannie Cranium’s fourth blogiversary.

Welcome new followers and welcome back friends. Thank you for the likes and comments.

Wdydfae from What Do You Do For an Encore sent me the instructions for his blurb generator algorithm.

Why don’t we start the celebration with a few fun blurbs.

*Fannie puts on her geek goggles. Crank the handle three times. Hmm, seems easy enough. Leaning forward she cranks once, twice, thrice.  The generator clanks. Chugs. Coughs. Smoke billows. The first blurb spews from the slot.*

This blog is . . . Gauchely adroit. . .glumly jovial. . .cunningly cacophonous. . . .

*Fannie hits the emergency stop button. She wipes the soot from her nose and cheeks with a hanky.*

Sorry folks, that didn’t go the way I expected. Wdydfae makes it look so easy.

*  *  *

This journey started because the story teller in me wanted a place to practice writing fiction. This resulted in 166 original short stories about Richard and Fannie Cranium.

Several someones have read “Have You Seen My Pocket Trout” at least once a week for the last four years. I wrote it before I learned the meaning of show versus tell. Thank you for keeping one of my first stories alive.

Then there’s the joy of being part of a blogging community. And part of a group blog. Thank you to the crazy, funny bunch over at the Blog of Funny Names. You guys rock!

*  *  *

The universe loves sending opportunities dressed as obstacles.

I spent several guilt ridden, exhausting, life changing, wonderful years caring for parents with dementia. The last three—twenty-four, seven.

The Roman philosopher, Seneca, said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

The short stories are on hold while I finish a book proposal on Alzheimer’s home care. It is taking longer than I planned, but dreams are worth the work.

To keep my sense of humor in tact, I may sneak in a semi-colon for the sheer joy of it. It’s not fiction; who’s going to notice the invisible pair of black stilettos behind the sentence—unless you know to search.

A world without stillettos; a world with lower insurance premiums.

A world without stilettos; a world with lower insurance premiums.

Thank you for writing your thoughts and sharing your thought.

“With our thoughts, we make the world.” ~ Siddhartha Gautama.

Ciao,

Fannie

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John Hinerwadel and Syracuse Salt Potato

Fannie Cranium:

This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names. John Hinerwadel, entrepreneur and restauranteur.

Originally posted on The Blog of Funny Names:

Today’s post is brought to you by the words eponymous and synonymous. And not just because they sound good together.

A little history first. The majority of the salt used in the United States before the 19th century came from Syracuse, New York—dubbed “the Salt City.”

Between 1845 and 1852, during the Irish Potato Famine, an estimated one million Irish died from famine. One million more emigrated from Ireland to other parts of the world. Many of them passed through New York looking for work.

If you were a miner arriving in New York where’s the closest place you’d look for work?

Which leads us to an enterprising restauranteur, John Hinerwadel, owner of the eponymous Syracuse clambake company. He noticed the local Irish salt workers boiling their lunch—potatoes with skins on—in large vats of salt water.

In 1914, Mr. Hinerwadel added salt potatoes to his menu. With their rapid…

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A Special Edition: Ever Had One of Those Weeks?

Greetings from the land winter forgot. Spring started in February in the Pacific Northwest.

The non-stop tree orgies spread the pollen pox everywhere. Cars. Streets. Air you can chew.

Rain, shine, rain, shine, the thermometer reads 70. Rain, shine, rain, shine, weeds are everywhere.

Last weekend, I spent time in the garden digging out a three foot strip of weeds. My better half—whom I’m still not convinced isn’t Superman—cleared two-thirds of the yard in the same amount of time. It looks gorgeous. We’re sore.

Between March 31st and April 1st it snowed ten inches in the mountains for the first time in months—closing Interstate 90. The lowlands celebrated with thunder, lightening, and hail that was frightening. And the temperature dropped twenty-five degrees.

Between the allergies, the wild weather, and work, the thought of writing a post this week slipped my mind.

I must be Madeline Kahn tired.

Since this is a special edition, Madeline, why don’t you take us out.

Next week we’ll celebrate this blog’s fourth blogiversary.

Until next week.

Ciao,

Fannie

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Perseverance

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~ Newt Gingrich

Last week we explored semi-colons and rejection and learning.

This week let’s look at rejections and perseverance.

My first manuscript flew from my mind through my fingertips onto the page because my muses mainlined Ritalin. I printed all 65,000 plus words so I could edit my world altering master piece.

I rolled in the writer’s high.

Butterflies dance the Electric Slide in my stomach and adrenaline pumped my veins.

Time to set my art free.

After a trip to the library and perusing Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents, I sent out my first snail mail query letter per the agent’s instructions.

Every day for five weeks I raced little Ralphie to the mailbox looking for my Little Orphan Annie decoder ring so I could inspire the world with my novel.

The letter arrived on a Thursday.  A white envelope with the agent’s logo. My hands shook. My palms reached first-date-with-your-high-school-crush sweaty.

I raced inside the house. Stumbled over two cats. I shouted, “It’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” My voice squealing like a twelve-year-old birthday girl winning Bunco at her slumber party.

My better half and I sat on the living room sofa. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders. I slit open the envelope. And pulled out a form letter.

Thanks so much for your query. Unfortunately, though, I don’t believe I’d be the right agent for your work.

My gut twisted into a butcher’s knot and lodged in my throat.

A humbling beginning.

I keep my rejection letters. Everyone one. I view them as earning my sentences. I go back and re-read them. My most recent query contained a personal note of encouragement from the agent, not a form letter. I know I’m getting closer.

Sometimes, I meet the agents who wrote them at writer’s conferences.

An early rejection form letter came from Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen/Pomada Literary Agents. The theme of the letter: “Assume we are wrong. Persevere until your books reach the goals you set for them.”

Two years later, I met Elizabeth Pomada and her husband and partner, Michael Larsen.

Michael stands about five feet and four inches tall. Thick, manicured gray hair. Tailored suit with vest. Conference attendees buzzed around him the way mosquitoes feast at a June picnic.

While standing next to me in line at the dinner buffet, he offered to read my first page and give me some advice.

I handed him the page. He looked up, a politician’s smile fixed his lips.

He liked the opening hook. But the first page sucked. My words, not his.

He said, “Persevere.”

During an interview with Gerry Swallow, a.k.a. Dr. Cuthbert Soup, over at the BoFN, I asked him for advice for up and coming writers, he said, ”. . . be relentless.”

The Book Doctor emphasized craft.

In baseball, baseball players who hit the ball 25 percent of the time make it into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

But only one percent of writers achieve traditional publication.

So if you work hard. Improve your craft. Be relentless. And persevere. You will succeed as a writer.

And carrying a big stick couldn’t hurt. Or giving yourself a bouquet for luck.

Perseverance and floral enthusiasm caused tulips to bloom in March.

Perseverance and inspired weather helped tulips bloom in March.

 

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