Category: Other

Lessons Learned From NaNoWriMo


  • Despite writer’s block, walls, road blocks, power outages, and more, it IS possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days. (Whether or not those 50,000 words resemble a coherent novel is another matter!)
  • When the words and ideas are flowing, take advantage of it!
  • Sometimes no matter how much you want to tell a story, you can’t write it until the time is right. 
  • First drafts really ARE crap!
  • For the sake of the NaNo challenge, it is okay to have characters that need developing, holes in your plot big enough to lose a semi in, and no real ending.
  • There are times when writing out of order is necessary to find clarity in your story. 
  • Until you remove real distractions, you don’t realize how distracting they really are. 
  • Characters are complex beings and sometimes they actually behave! (But most often, mine do not!)
  • It’s okay to step away from the screen when you are struggling with the story, as long as it’s not for too long. 
  • Writing daily really is the way to go, even if it’s just a few hundred words. It is the act of sitting down and writing that can keep you on track. 
  • Never underestimate the positive influence of a writing buddy. I couldn’t have gotten through this month without Kris’s constant support!
  • If you don’t reach 50,000 words, you are still a winner. Making the commitment to write 50,000 words in 30 days is daunting and anyone who enters this arena should be commended. If anything, not reaching that goal for six consecutive years made this win all the more satisfying! It reminded me that I CAN do this- even with my crazy every day life interfering!!! 

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo! Regardless of your word count, you are all winners and should very proud!


P.S. I did it! 


Let’s Hear it for the Eyes!

A not-so-funny thing happened two weeks ago. When I went to my much anticipated follow up appointment for eye procedures done 4-5 months ago, looking forward to the all-clear from the doctor so I could…., well, proceed with more eye procedures to correct my vision problems, I unfortunately found myself having another unexpected laser surgery for another retina problem. While my eye seems to be recovering nicely, I am sitting here one eyed- due to the recovering eye being dilated for today’s follow up appointment. Whereas for years my eyes would respond to dilation by being slightly sensitive to light, this past year has found me with compromised eye sight for a good part of the day dilation occurs. This latest unexpected road block has caused me to stumble when it comes to writing, taking photographs, reading…. I’m hoping to bounce back or at least get two somewhat functional eyes to use VERY soon!

Take care (and be sure to get your eyes checked if you find yourself having any problems seeing!)


A Post About Nothing

By hook or crook, I steal the time. Sneak off to a calm, quiet place where I am immediately at ease. I scout out the perfect spot. I locate my favorite musician’s music on my phone to insure a successful writing session. I even get the ear buds in the correct ears.

This is no small feat because locating the minuscule L and R imprinted on the sides is nearly impossible and once I make out a speck that could be an L or an R…maybe…I have to squint at it only to find out that it resembles more of a Q! These troublesome eyes!

After a handful of unsuccessful attempts to force the Q to morph into an L or an R, I reach for my reading glasses, which might or might not help me focus. Unfortunately I quickly realize that I left my glasses at home. Sigh.

I give the Q another go and after I close one eye and tilt my head to the left, I can make out the letter. Sure enough, it’s an R!

I secure the ear buds in the correct ears and turn on my music. I have a few anxious moments as I adjust the volume and test it by taking the ear buds out to ascertain that everything is plugged in properly, and that I’m not sharing my favorite trombone music with everyone who came here hoping to find their own peace, and finally that the music is not loud enough to cause that annoying sound that happens when a person’s music leaks out of their headphones, loud enough to be heard as noise but not loud enough to identify the song.

Finally, I’m ready. I ignore the person directly to my right slowly working her way down the shelves of books coming closer and closer to me. I open my journal, click my pen and stare at the blank page.

It is very bright and very blank except for the lines. Although the pages are actually a pale creamy color, they hurt my eyes.

And I sit here listening to a random cough or a rustling sound as the person behind me shifts in his chair. My music is paused because I saw that a text had come from my sister and I forgot to unpause.

The brightness of this page begins to aggravate my eyes and I find myself squinting to cut down on the glare. I look up at the lighting and silently curse my eyes. And the lights. And my inability to focus.

I find myself shielding my eyes. I sigh again.

I decide that this is not working.

I’m three pages and a half hour in and I haven’t written anything yet.

The List

Just a little fun on Friday-

Sometimes a person just needs to escape the stress of their every day life and fantasize a wee bit. Goodness knows I’ve had more than my fair share of stress in the last few months so I hope you’ll indulge me while I daydream about my favorite fantasy guys.  It’s all innocent and all in fun.

Even if you didn’t watch the television show, Friends, you get the idea. Ross has his list of five famous people he’s allowed to…you know… if the opportunity arises.

Over the years my friends and I have frequently referred to our lists. I feel safe engaging in this fantasy because I know that if I were ever to “run into” the three who are still alive (and yes, I do see the problem with having two on the list who are no longer with us….) I’m fairly sure that I won’t show up on their “5 Flaky Moms” lists.


Harrison Ford has been a crush of mine since the first Star Wars movie was released 40 years ago. Wait, did I really admit that out loud?! (And in case you’re living in a cave, I mean the first movie that was released- now known as A New Hope , not the first in the series, The Phantom Menace  and did I just include that clarification? For real?) He has been that “older” guy who I just couldn’t resist (in my head). Finding out that he is a fellow introvert simply endears him to me even more. I picture us having quiet time just enjoying- well, the quiet!

Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries) caught my eye from the very first episode of Vampire Diaries. I had read the entire series of books but I didn’t care what they changed as long as he played Damon Salvatore.  He makes the list not only for his beautiful eyes and quirky smile but also because his role as Damon is so bad boy. I don’t know if he’s like that in real life but I like the image. He’s the most recent addition to my list and the youngest. Honestly, if I even ran into him, he’s the one I would most likely just smile, blush, and smile some more after I fan myself because I’m blushing some more. I confess that he does remind me of my first love, in some ways, and I’m sure that’s why he makes the list.

I swooned at the sight of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, and let’s be honest here, who didn’t? I watched him in every movie that he was in for years and was heart-broken when he was gone too soon. Every time I see him as Johnny Castle, I become that young awkward girl again dreaming about dancing with the rebel Johnny. Ah, the dancing!

Blackie Parrish. If you don’t recognize the name, I’ll make it easy- John Stamos. I remember crushing on him at first sight when he played Blackie on General Hospital in the early 1980’s. He’s also close to my age, which gained him brownie points. (I’m not sure why that even mattered but it did.) And he has aged soooooo well that he couldn’t get kicked off my list if I tried. He seems like such a nice, genuine guy and I feel like we grew up together.

And then there’s John Lennon. What can I say about him? I love the Beatles and he was always my favorite. The more I read about him, watched interviews and performances and “got to know him”, the more I knew that he had to be on my list. I would love to talk to him, hear his thoughts on everything from music to the world…. just everything! Besides, considering my love of music, I needed at least one musician on my list.

So there you have it- it’s all been a quite innocent way to pass a little time….and escape for awhile. Teen Kat has been grumbling that her list is slightly different (and much more interesting). I suspect she is going to be sharing her list sometime in the near future. (Sheesh, teenagers! They think they know everything- even who is cuter/hotter/just plain more than their older, wiser self!)

Who’s on your list? I can’t wait to hear!



Little Ol’ Me

Day 2 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge by Live, Love, Simple is 20 facts about me. I’m not really comfortable writing about myself so this might be a challenge. Of course, typing this might be a challenge in itself because I’m not sure if I ended that previous sentence with a period or a comma. They both look the same to me at this moment!

So here goes-

  1. I’ve been married for a long time. My husband didn’t ask to be part of a blog so I keep his life private.
  2. I am the mom of three incredibly awesome kids who went and grew up on me!
  3. I am the proud Nonna of two little guys- CJ and Beej. They are currently eight and three. They keep me pretty busy and I’m happy to have them in my life.
  4. I’m the proud mom of an LGBTQ kid, and I am an ally and supporter of the LGBTQ community.
  5. I am fortunate and blessed to have my parents still alive and living a few miles away.
  6. My dog, Ari, has been known to write a few posts here on my blog. (She really wanted to write this one because she knows that she is much more interesting than I am.)
  7. I was born, raised and have always lived within an hour of Chicago. Although the weather is not always that great and has grown to be more unpredictable as the years pass, this is where my people are and this is where I will be.
  8. I’m a compulsive reader. If there are words, I will read them- I can’t help it. I’m drawn to them.
  9. I’ve always been writing something- whether it was stories or notes about stories, this blog or random thoughts. Writing is my sanity tied closely with music.
  10. Music plays a big part in my life. It began as a child when my father exposed me and my siblings to all kinds of music and I carried on that tradition with my children and now the little guys. I listen to all kinds of music!!!
  11. I am a band mom, through and through. I spent many years shuttling kids to rehearsals, sitting at concerts and being a booster parent. My kids were all band kids and one went on to study music.
  12. I’m very quiet. Growing up in a family of four children, the others being much louder than me, I found it easier to remain silent than fight for attention that I really did not want.
  13. I’m also shy and prefer not to be the center of attention.
  14. I am loyal to a fault. When I have your back, I won’t be swayed.
  15. I have no time for unkind people.
  16. Platitudes really bug me.
  17. I feel much younger than I thought I would at this age!
  18. I cry when I watch the beginning of Up and Toy Story 3– every time!
  19. I will say that my favorite color is purple and yet I am more often drawn to blue, pink and orange (depending on the shade)…. so maybe it’s not purple at all!
  20. The Beatles are my favorite group- hands down. They are my go-to guys when I need a lift and they never fail to cheer my up.

Thanks for making it to the end of my list!


Thinking About Dandelion Fuzz

The other day I was running errands. car window rolled down, music blasting and enjoying the day when I realized that I was singing along to the Frozen soundtrack, specifically to the song that contains my blog’s name- Dandelion Fuzz- in the opening lyrics. It got me thinking about the name of my blog because this song was the inspiration. Four years ago, I wrote about my love for dandelions and some of the research I did while participating in a blogging class in The Birth of a Name or why I named my blog after a weed. But the seed that grew into this blog came from hearing that phrase in the song- “Bees will buzz, kids will blow dandelion fuzz…”

At the time that I chose this name, I liked it a lot. I felt that it was fitting. But did it have staying power or would I be changing it a few years in? Four years later, although my blog has gone through a few changes, it still feels like Dandelion Fuzz to me so it will be.

It was only as I was well into the song that followed the dandelion fuzz one that I realized that I didn’t have the little guys in the car and really didn’t need to be listening to this CD at all. Such is life!


I have decided to challenge myself for the month of June via Live Love Simple 30 Day Blogging Challenge.   Thanks to Sally at Hot Dogs and Marmalade for bringing this challenge to my attention!