Week 5 – Summer Short & Sweets – How To Deal With Road Rage


Yeah! I’m over the hump. It’s Week 5 of Susanna Leonard Hill’s, Summer Short & Sweets challenge.
Sorry, still no sweets.

Badge created by Loni Edwards

Susanna’s rules:

“First, choose an emotion. Second, choose an animal that emotion makes you think of – either similar or opposite.

Pick an adjective that compares/relates/associates your animal to your emotion (e.g. if you chose angry and cat, you might choose hissing, spitting, or twitchy for your adjective)

Write an action filled phrase describing how the animal moves (e.g. if you chose cat you might say slinking, slitted eyes shifting suspiciously)

Write a phrase telling where the animal lives (e.g. if you chose monkey you might say in the crown of the rainforest)

Write a phrase that either tells readers why the animals acts the way it does, or possibly how others react to it (e.g. if you’re writing about an angry monkey you might say screeching for the baboon’s banana)

Put it all together like this:

is [a/an/the] adjective from #1 animal
action filled phrase from #2
phrase telling where animal lives from #3
phrase telling why animal acts that way or how others react to it from #4”

Yesterday, (Friday morning), Week 5’s challenge sat in my inbox.
I rubbed my hands, eager to give it a whirl.
A client called agitated, insisting she needed help choosing fabric.
I’m agitated.
When am I going have to time to write Week 5’s challenge?
There’s no way I’m finding myself at the bottom of Susanna’s list, again.

I showered and dressed (good thing).

Grabbed my decorator’s toolbox.

Lugged it, storming to the car.

Revved the engine and backed out.

Clunk, clunk, clunk.       

Jammed the gear stick into park.

Released the latch on the hood.

Shoved open the door.

Hopped out.

Stomped to the front of the car.

Raised the hood. (Ready for my challenge?)

And what did I find…but

An agitated, stiff-necked, red squirrel

Chest thrust in a challenged stance

Flicking a bushy-tail

Barring teeth sharper than a razor

Nattering like an old woman

Atop a carpeted, grassy drey

Wedged between steamy pipes

Under the hood of my BMW

Guarding winter’s walnut stash

Talk about road rage.

Okay, there was no red squirrel under the hood, but I chucked at least fifty walnuts into the field and yanked out a withered nest. I don’t have a photo of an agitated, red squirrel, and in my agitated state I forgot to take a photo of the walnuts piled under the hood. So this morning, I snapped a pathetic photo of chewed walnuts.

And to think I was agitated because I couldn’t stay home and write Week 5’s challenge.

What agitates you? What agitates your children? How do you react?

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Do You Pay It Forward?


During the past year, I’ve connected with many wonderful writers and authors in blog sphere who inspire and encourage me.

Today, I’d like to pay it forward and help Vivian Kirkfield, teacher and author, promote her new book.

Show Me How!

“Show Me How!” will appeal to home school mom’s. And of course to mom’s with children attending main stream schools.

I’m also reblogging Vivian’s post. Take it away Vivian.

The school bells are already ringing, announcing the start of a new school year.

Here at Positive Parental Participation, we are joining the celebration.

We believe that building self-esteem is of critical importance. Do you?

Studies show that children with a positive self-image:

Are more likely to take on new challenges
Have greater school success
Make friends more easily
Do not become bullies or the victims of bullies

Many children are in school for eight hours a day. Little ones in daycare facilities while their parents are working may be there for even longer periods of time.

Isn’t it important for teachers and other child-care providers to have the best resources available to succeed in this important task?




Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking

Not only an award-winning parenting resource…it’s also a wonderful addition to any classroom bookshelf.

“It will be an excellent resource for our Family Literacy Center’s programs” – Rhonda Cooper, Program Director, Literacy Volunteers of Leon County, FL

Many local teachers have purchased their own copy to place in their classrooms…there is even a copy on the shelves of the teacher-education department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

“We will add it to our collection in support of our Educational Studies Program.” – Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Show Me How! is a book that every nursery school, preschool, kindergarten, first grade, KinderCare and other daycare facility needs to have for their teachers.

“It is a great tool to help our children become successful.” – Mary Newquist, Assistant Principal, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Selma, TX

“Show Me How!” is a framework of carefully crafted, multi-sensory lessons that will promote a willingness to try new experiences.” – Peggy Hicks, MA, Special Education Teacher, Pikes Peak Boces, CO.

What school would you like to see receive a copy of Show Me How?

If you’d like your favorite school to win a copy, just leave a comment on any blog post at Positive Parental Participation this month.

On September 8th, National Literacy Day, Vivian will announce the twelve lucky winners.

“This book is an incredible resource for fostering a child’s sense of self-worth.” – Jodi Harap, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Chicago, IL


So hop over to Positive Parental Participation for more ideas on how to be a positive role model.

I’ll be back later to post my Week 5, Summer Short & Sweet challenge.

Week 4 – Summer, Short & Sweets – West of Wimple Willow Way


Phew! Week 4. I`m half-way to the finish line when I realize I’m supposed to say something about sweets. I’m on a continual diet. Sorry, no sweets for me.

Badge created by Loni Edwards

Here is Susanna Leonard Hill’s challenge:

Take it away, Susanna.

“Pick a letter – any letter! – the first letter of your name, a letter you like the shape of, a letter you like the sound of – any letter!

Got one?

Now, pick a name that starts with that letter.  This will be your character.

Now, write us 50 – 100 words (more if you like, but 50 – 100 will do of a story about this character. But here’s the challenge: you have to use as many words as possible that start with the letter you chose!  Nouns, verbs, adjectives, people, places, descriptions, actions, and things – see how many words that start with your letter that you can work into your story. It does not have to be a complete story (although it can be if you want), just get started and see where it goes. You might be surprised at the directions you go trying to use words that begin with your letter!”

One wild and windy Wednesday

Wayward Wally whale wavered

Winding up in warm waters

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Wee Wanda wobbled to the wharf

With her whirl-a-wig a whirling

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Wiry Willy waltzed toward the waif

Whittling weird Walnut wood 

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

A wicked weasel Willy was

Wielding his Walnut weapon

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Wanda winced when Willy wanted

Her whirl-a-wig a whirling

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Wattlebird’s warbled witty warnings

Wally whale whacked the water

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Whoosh! Whitecaps wiped out Willy

“Waa!” he whined and wailed

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Willy waded waterlogged through weeds

While Wally whale winked at Wanda

West of Wimple Willow Way


One wild and windy Wednesday

Wee Wanda waved and wondered

Would wayward Wally Whale windup

West of Wimple Willow Way?

(180 Words)

Oops, over by 80 words. Coming up with words beginning with the letter “W” proved challenging.

This story needs work, but an idea to fluff up this story popped into my brain.

I would’ve preferred to include different lettered words and use more dialogue.

An example might be: “Down at Wimple Willow Bay.”

If you have ideas that would help me expand on this story, I`d love to hear from you.

Have you ever seen a whale? Can you relate to Wee Wanda? Did Wiry Willy receive his just desserts?

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Summer, Short & Sweets – Week 3 – Are You Up For The Challenge?


The 3rd installment of Summer, Short & Sweets was tougher. At least for me.

Did I harbor thoughts of backing out?

No way. But I admit it’s taken me longer to come up with something half decent. I’m blaming it on my wacky, whirlwind, weekend.

Now then, are you ready for this week’s Summer, Short & Sweets?

We’re on the honour system again—no scrolling down the page.

Wait! Grab a pen and paper, and then we’re off.

I’ve posted Susanna Leonard Hill’s instructions, hoping my non-writer and writing friends might be tempted to jump in the ring and give it a whirl.

Take it away Susanna!

“Write down the following things in a list bearing in mind that everything below is supposed to be related so it can hang together:

1.  A noun (you know, a good old person place or thing)

2.  A color that describes that noun or some part of that noun you’d like to highlight (e.g. red, or, lavender, or, cerulean)

3.  A comparison to that color (in the manner of simile or metaphor e.g. summer sunset, or, shadowed snow on a January evening)

4.  Something that belongs to your noun written as adjective, adjective noun (e.g. wide, feathered tail, or, slim, brown limbs, or brass ratcheted gears)

5.  A verb ending in -ing that is something your noun could do (e.g. soaring, or, stretching, or, grappling)

6. Another verb ending in -ing that is something else your noun could do (e.g. sailing, or, reaching, or, frowning)

7. A place written as: preposition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun (e.g. over [a] broad green valley, or, across [the] shimmering shining stream)

8. A description of something your noun could do in relation to something else, written as:  verb ending in -ing preposition adjective noun (e.g. scouting for silver salmon, or, basking on sun-baked sand, or, digging up acorn jewels) – (yes, I realize “for” is a conjunction, not a preposition, but you can use it if you want.  The reason I didn’t put conjunction is because the others – and, or, nor, but, yet – won’t work.  But use “for” if you want.

9. Repeat #8 with another description (e.g. plunging toward immovable earth)

10. Repeat #8 with a final description (e.g. hoping for sweet success, or, diving for delicious dinner)

11. A simile for the action in #10 (e.g. like a rocket ship, or, like a bow drawn across singing strings)

12.  Your original noun from #1

Okay! Got your list? What we are accomplishing here is part Madlib, part poetry, and will hopefully result in lots of descriptive poems (ha-ha – like how I tricked you into writing a poem?) that will also serve as story sparkers by giving all the devoted readers specific, detailed, poetic descriptions of characters, settings, or objects that they could use in a story! For those of you who write picture books, there are a lot of similarities between picture books and poetry, so this is good practice.

So do you get the idea?  You may of course tweak a bit.  If you need a different verb form or fewer adjectives or an extra word or one less line or two colors, etc. feel free to change it up.”

Use the template below, type in your poem, and then post your comment on Susanna’s blog.

I am [a/an/the] noun from #1
Color from #2 as [a/an/the] comparison from #3  
With [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #4  
Verb from #5, verb from #6
Preposition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #7  
Description from #8
Description from #9
Description from #10
Like [a/an/the] simile from #11
I am [a/an/the] noun from #1

Here’s my example:

I am a gymnast

Brighter than a twinkling, yellow star

With muscular, lean limbs

Leaping, lunging

Before cheering, crazed fans

Striving for the elusive, glimmering gold medal

Tumbling toward the Olympic dream

Nailing tough, bare soles

Like a hammer driving in a stake

I am a gymnast

I couldn’t find a photo of a gymnast wearing yellow. Oh well.

I’m sure you can do better than this. So join in the fun.

And if writing isn’t your cup of tea, please leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post.

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Are You Ready For Week 2’s Summer Short & Sweets?


Welcome back to the 2nd installment of Summer Short & Sweets.

Before I reveal what I’ve written, I need to clarify that I wasn’t late last week. Susanna Leonard Hill said as long as the entry is posted on her blog before next week’s round is announced we’re good to go. What a relief. I’m now three days late, but that’s only if you go by last week’s rules.

Badge created by the incomparable Loni Edwards

If you’re up to participating, here are Susanna’s rules and regulations for Week 2. No, Susanna isn’t a drill sergeant. But if you don’t follow the rules you’re cheating.

Today’s Short & Sweet will work best if you don’t peek. I’m not sure quite how to accomplish that on a blog post, so let’s go on the honor system – no scrolling down yet!

First, pick a number from 1-10. Got it? Write it down.

Now pick a number from 1-10 again and write that down.

Now do it again.

And now, one last time.

It’s okay if you pick the same number more than once.” 

You should have 4 numbers between 1 and 10 written down. For example, I chose 7, 3, 5, and 1.

Susanna continues:

“Use your first number to select from this list:


  1. A pirate who likes to sing
  2. A little girl who doesn’t want to practice her violin
  3. A zookeeper with a lost animal
  4. A 5 year old girl with a rainbow umbrella
  5. A homeless child
  6. A boy whose father is a Navy SEAL
  7. A monster who is afraid of thunderstorms
  8. A disobedient robot
  9. A sailor who is far from home
  10. A six year old boy who can’t ride his two-wheeler

Use your second number to select from this list:


  1. a museum
  2. a national park
  3. a playground
  4. a big city
  5. a birthday party
  6. the porch of an old farmhouse
  7. an enchanted forest
  8. a fancy restaurant
  9. the moon
  10. Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Shop

Use your third number to select from this list:


  1. first day of school
  2. the Fourth of July
  3. during a thunderstorm
  4. in early autumn
  5. sitting down to breakfast
  6. bath time
  7. the first warm day of spring
  8. during church
  9. a winter evening
  10. after a fight

And use your last number to select from this list:


  1. something embarrassing has just happened
  2. someone feels like giving up
  3. someone has to keep a secret
  4. an important decision has to be made
  5. someone has lost something
  6. someone has found something
  7. someone’s pride has been injured
  8. something is where it shouldn’t be
  9. someone has been chosen for something
  10. something has made someone mad

You should now have a randomly selected character, setting, time, and situation/challenge – everything you need to prompt a story!

List the 4 you got and write 50-100 words of whatever story they suggest to you! Don’t agonize! Don’t over-think! We’re all among friends. Just write! All we’re doing here is priming the pump. If all you can squeeze out are 50 rusty words, that’s fine! You wrote 50 words in the middle of your hectic, busy day! But maybe, just maybe, 25-50 more will trickle out a little less rusty, and maybe after you’ve written your 50-100 here you’ll find you’ve got a gush of clear water rushing forth and a whole new story will well up and land on your list of accomplishments for today!

Oh, and if you find it’s too hard to include all 4, it’s okay to just use 1, 2, or 3 of the prompts you picked – the exercise is just to get ideas and words flowing.”

To recap, I chose numbers 7, 3, 5 and 1. So I’ve written my story based on:

Character #7 – A monster who is afraid of thunderstorms

Setting #3 – a playground

Time #5 – sitting down to breakfast

Situation/Challenge #1 – something embarrassing has just happened

Drum roll, please.

Morley scanned the playground. Deserted. His shoulders slumped.

A sonic shock wave cracked and a lightning bolt lit up the sky the way fireworks exploded on July 1st.

Morley’s fur stood at attention like toy soldiers. Rain pelted his body. He pounded the gravel. Cowering beneath the plank that led to the slide, the wood creaked. I should run home. His paws turned to lead.

He fished a peanut butter and jelly clump out of his shirt pocket. Maybe mom’s breakfast will help. He’d scooped his toast off the kitchen table and lumbered out the door. He didn’t have time to sit down for breakfast. He hoped his girlfriend might be at the playground.

He stuffed the gooey morsel into his mouth and chewed. Thunder rumbled. He shivered. A tear leaked and dribbled down his cheek. Samantha didn’t even know she was his girlfriend and mom’s breakfast didn’t calm him one bit.

The plank rattled again.

“W-who’s there?” asked Morley.

“Boo!” Fuzzy, purple braids tied with silk ribbons dangled over the side.

He gulped. “Samantha?” Heat flushed his cheeks. Certain he was redder than his raspberry jelly, he pinched his arm. Why did I let my voice crack louder than thunder?

“Yup. It’s me. Climb up so we can dance in the rain.”

She’s asking me to dance? Morley wasn’t about to let a thunderstorm ruin his chance at happiness. His chest puffed out. He gripped the plank and swung his legs up. Leaping to his musty feet, the board bounced. Samantha teetered like the see-saw. He grabbed her warm paw. She giggled.

“Ready to dance?” he asked. She offered a nod. He twirled her faster than the merry-go-around.

“S-slow down,” said Samantha, gasping for air.

Morley chuckled. The rain tapered off.

Samantha flipped her soppy braids, smacking Morley’s face. “Oops. Morley, look.” Her glossy, pink fingernail pointed at the sky.

A rainbow bowed.

Morley’s heart jumped for joy. Thunderstorms didn’t terrify him anymore. Because…at last, Samantha was his girlfriend.

“He who has hope, has everything.”

Arabic proverb

Okay, okay. So this week, I’m over by 230 words. But hey, I had fun.

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