A Special Edition: February 20th is only Six Days Away

In my small town we support a YMCA.  Three years ago one of the janitors fed me a gym secret.

I’m going to share . . . again.

 * * *

We’ve all done it, made a resolution.

January 1st, we put our resolution into action. Feeling the enthusiasm, joy, trepidation of a kindergartner on the first day of school.

January 22nd hits. Some of us fell off the resolution joy ride, while others continue strong.

The staff at your local gym are marking off the days on their calendar. That special day when the last of the irresolute “resolutioners” fall off the resolution joy ride.

It’s the same day every year.

There are only four days left until that special day when the gym staff can take a coffee break. And the janitors no longer pull double duty cleaning the locker rooms.

February 19th.

Let’s mess with their heads. Let’s make it a strong finish. Let’s all show up on the 20th!

TO FINISH IS TO WIN. (Yes, that's me on the right at the finish line.)

TO FINISH IS TO WIN. (Yes, that’s me on the right in orange at the finish line and it started snowing.)

For those of you who make it to February 20th, how about the Chariots of Fire Theme by Vangelis.

Until next week.



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A Special Edition—One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Revisited

My uncle was coming to the close of his life. In and out of the hospital, experiencing a part of life he never imagined. Taking him to cancer treatments. Watching him struggle to breathe.

One Monday, he asked me why I was helping him, what’s in it for me?

I said, “Making memories together.”

Many of my family members suffered with dementia, are still suffering. What is really important to me are the memories. The funny mistakes, the oops. Laughing so hard we snort beverages out our noses.

The good memories stay, the bad ones drift away.

When my own father was disappearing through Alzheimer’s Disease. He no longer remembered my sisters or me, but he could still repeat his favorite stanza of a nursery rhyme.

“Wire, briar, limberlock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east,
One flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”

The last line becoming the title of the book and movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

A fitting rhyme for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

My father passed. His not remembering me will fade. What remains: Blowing bubbles in our milkshakes, fishing on the open ocean and puking up our lunches—and reciting nursery rhymes.

At the end of of your life, what will you remember? Will you remember the things that made you laugh? Will you remember the things that made you cry? Will you remember the ones you love? Will you look back with regret, with pride, with joy?

What will you find within yourself?

“Wire, briar, limberlock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east,
One flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”

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Chicken Alaska, Doesn’t that Sound Delicious? Anniversary Edition

In celebration of six years with the BoFN, we’re revisiting Chicken, Alaska.

The Blog of Funny Names

Greetings Funny Names Fans! Today I’m celebrating a milestone—six years of contributing to this wonderful blog. So what better way to celebrate than revisiting my first post on the BoFN. Without further ado, take it away Fannie of six yester-years ago.

Chicken, Alaska, not to be confused with Baked Alaska, is a town of no large proportions and a delicious name.

There may be other cities in the US in which Chicken appears in their name, but none so elevated as Chicken, Alaska, located just north of the 64th parallel at 1,621 feet. Sandwiched between the the towns of Eagle and Tok (pronounced Tōk). I’m making no judgement here but the brownies may be delicious. Settled in the late 1800’s by gold seeking miners near the south fork of the 40-Mile River before the Klondike Gold Rush.

With a scarcity of food back then they took up eating the ample…

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Tornado Damage Olympic National Rain Forest

Something to distract us from the winter weather.

Old news . . . last summer a tornado touched down in Olympic National Rain Forest. The twister, twisted up cedar trees with six foot wide trunks tossing them like match sticks. Smoke from forest fires drifted through the area.

This is what it looked like at July Creek.

How strong did this baby have to be to snap 500-year-old trees?

Farther down the trail, the Forest Service cut the tree blocking the path giving us access to the end of the trail.

These sections were five feet in diameter.

The tornado’s path covered the length of two football fields before the destruction disappeared.

I wonder what it will look like next summer after a long winter’s rain? Will we find new plants or graffiti or both?


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A Special Edition: Updated Tools for the Writer’s Toolbox

Hi everyone! Every once in a while I talk about writing craft. When my stories sag in the middle or cliches pour through my fingers faster than a gunslinger in a Louis L’Amour novel, I sometimes need a writing prompt to prevent my prose from derailing at Dead Man’s Curve.

Several years ago I discovered a wonderful blog over at Blogspot called “The Bookshelf Muse.” Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi filled their blog with thesaurus-like entries on emotions and using body parts—such as lips or eyes or hands and posts on writing craft. They became part of my writer’s tool box. They grew up and moved to WordPress at Writer’s Helping Writers.

They published their first book compiled from the list on their site and turned it into The Emotion Thesaurus. I have been a die-hard fan ever since, even creating my own fan photos for one of their book releases of the Urban and Rural Settings Thesauri using my copy of the Emotion Thesaurus.

My copy now resembles a grandmother after a big party, wanting to take off her girdle, using paperclips for pin curls or in this case, holding the pages together. It’s full of love but getting tired.

Today’s an exciting day because I’ve been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret: what the next book in their thesaurus series will be.

It might seem strange for an author to not tell their readers about the book they plan to release…unless their names are Becca and Angela. They are known for writing books on showing, not telling, and couldn’t pass up a chance to do just that by waiting for the cover reveal, which is today!

So without further ado, I give you…

The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition!

You might have heard of The Emotion Thesaurus before, or even have a copy. The original released in 2012 and quickly became the go-to guide on expressing character emotion. The book’s lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 unique emotions made brainstorming character expressions and reactions so much easier.

In this second edition, the authors have added 55 entries, bringing the total to 130 emotions.

That’s not all, either. This book is almost double in size with lots of new content. You can find a full write up for it HERE and a list of all the entries (plus some samples!) HERE.

Plus, this book is available for preorder! You can find it on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books (iTunes), and Indiebound.

One last thing I wanted to mention…

Angela & Becca are giving away a free webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion, so head over if this is an area of struggle for you. It might really help!

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Full Moon

Once upon an evening drive, when I did not have a camera with me, we saw this full moon come alive above the Puget Sound. When it crested the Cascade mountains, the night sky turned bright like the setting sun.

My ancient iPhone suffers from night blindness, this was the best I could do.

Imagine the magic that happened this night.

Have a wonderful weekend.



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All In The Family

One hour after sunrise on Sunday morning, my better half asked me on a coffee date. We’d had a huge storm the night before. Sixty mile-per-hour winds, fallen trees, spotty power outages, flashing traffic lights and power lines draping across the main drag.

We were routed down a side road. The clouds parted. Sunshine filled the sky. We noticed some movement ahead of us. A family of raccoons, larger than the Brady bunch, walking along the fallen brush on the sidewalk.

They turned onto a driveway and disappeared from view. By some miracle, the storm missed this house, they had no damage. But next door an uprooted pine landed on the neighbor’s roof. When we pulled in front of the driveway this is what we saw, minus 3 raccoons who scrambled under the porch by the time I snapped this photo.

Clearly they were checking on the neighbors making sure they survived the storm. Now that’s what I call keeping it all in the family.

Have a great weekend.




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