If You Are a Writer... Write!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Second

One extra second for 2008...

Peter Whibberley, a senior research scientist at Britain's National Physical Laboratory, said the Earth's erratic rotation meant an extra second needed to be added.
"The difference between atomic time and Earth time has now built up to the point where it needs to be corrected, so this New Year's Eve we will experience a rare 61 second minute at the very end of 2008 and revelers... will have an extra second to celebrate.

And what can be done with this extra moment...

  • Pet your cat in that one spot he adores.
  • Smile really big.
  • Kiss your sweetie.
  • Run outside and gaze at the stars.
  • Take a really deep breath.
  • Hug your kids, heck... hug any one.
  • Read one perfect sentence.
  • Say I love you.

Just some ideas, I still have 3 hours, 29 minutes and 48 seconds to decide what I will do with my one second. What did you do with your extra second?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Miraculous Game

Four weeks ago I would not have believed this possible. But my boy's... the San Diego Chargers... will be going to the play offs.

On Sunday night we played the Denver Broncos. They had lost their last few games to put us in the position for this game to be a go on or go home situation for both of us.

And the final score SD 52 - Den 21.

We left no doubt. Rivers was 15-of-20 for 207 yards. Sproles had two touch downs, LT three and Hester had one. We played an all out offensive game and our defense stepped up and played like the team I knew they could be.

So we will be playing Indianapolis at home next weekend. And you know at this point, anything is possible. It has been a bizarre and sometimes miraculous season.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

All four of the goofy kids in one place at one time. Yea!!! All I really wanted for Christmas. We had pancakes, sausage, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and milk & juice, I love huge breakfasts and kids all sitting at the table. Left to right... Mitchell, Jessica, Matthew and Aimee.

I got new slippers, a new fuzzy pink robe, a big squishy pillow, a nice bag for my laptop and a lovely griddle from the kids. Some great gifts this year and the slippers are lovely warm. Hubby got me a little video camera that is too cute.

Did you get anything great in your stocking?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Happy Holiday

(For those who may have had enough warm and fuzzy happy merry holiday)

A Season of Death

The summer sun had done its worst, drying the earth and creating the ready tinder for flames that had come so near. Great drifts of ash had covered every living thing and still the flames marched on seeking to destroy until they licked at the very edges of our remote outpost. Then came the rains hard and stinging. Water meant to heal the earth yet it fell too heavy and fast, soaking the ground until the mud began to slide. But we held on, clinging tightly with every fiber we could, we held on against the deadly flow and it did not take a one of us. The winds of a desolate winter began soon after that. Winds so very cold they made us think of nothing but survival as we stood our ground. We stood as the heavy snow grew deeper and we stood as the icy cold winds slowed the flow of our life blood so that only our very hearts held a spark of any warmth. And those of us who had survived this all before knew. We knew this was the season of fear. This was a time of death. And so they came.

One by one they marched toward us with weapons held at ready. Horrid they were to behold as they brandished their sharpened instruments of destruction. They hunted us, so very quiet in the cold and heavy snow; they lurked and stalked as each of them sought one of us as a victim. Again and again they came and we thought surely they would bring about our annihilation. There was no escape from the devastation of their weapons of war.

The first of them struck swiftly against the oldest of us. We watched as the ancient one trembled in those brief moments before death. And when the greatest of us was gone we wept tears unseen by our enemies. Then they began to take our young, those who had not yet even reached their prime. Those so young we called them babies still and naively thought them safe from this enemy. And I thought then that my heart would surely break. I prayed again and again, a simple prayer, to have one more chance to see the sun, and to feel the rain fall softly and I hoped to find an answer, to know the reason for this carnage. But no answer came, only the sound of my enemy when it was, at last, my turn. I vowed to meet my death noble and brave. Yet I too trembled as the weapon was wielded against my skin. I cried out as its deadly teeth bit deep into my heart. Those who stood around me wept for my lost life. No cries of ours were ever heard.

And these were last words I would ever know, “John, I declare this is the prettiest Christmas tree we’ve ever cut down. I can’t wait to get it home to decorate.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Pictures, Poetry & Prose is a writing blog you know, you would think the creator of such a site would proof read her own work. Sighhh, this is what I get for doing things at 2 in the morning when I can't sleep. It is such a pretty banner. I do hope I inspried a bit of a chuckle. I go now to hang my head in shame.

Ok, shame done. What spelling or grammar error have you made in life that caused you to blush a bit?

(Oh, by the way, I have fixed the banner over at PP&P, but I make no promise that I won't make at least one mistake daily. Ok, maybe two. And thank you to Jim for the very gentle point at my inspriationally silly goof.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Angels

(a love poem)

Arms flung wide
his fingertips touch
my fingertips

Look up, look up
forever is there
Do you see it?

Perfection drifts
from endless possibilities
above us

Arms flung wide
breath a tangible thing
mingles, kisses the air

Look at me, look at me
lost with you in this night
this abandonment

Up arms sweep
then down again
while legs scissor

Arms flung wide
his heart meets
my heart

Look there, look there
two snow angels
with wingtips touching

Hearts flung wide
with endless possibilities
Do you see it?

Sunday, December 21, 2008


2 sticks cold (not frozen) Margarine
1 ½ cup White Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3-4 tsp Cream of Tarter (depending on how tart you like them)
2-3 cups Flour
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together the margarine and the sugar until blended. Add the vanilla and eggs, beat on medium until a bit fluffy and light colored (about 2 minutes). Add the baking soda, salt and Cream of Tartar and beat for another minute. Gradually add the flour half a cup at a time until the consistency of the batter is like very soft clay. Refrigerate for 15-20 minute until the batter is cold. Form into golf-ball sized balls rolling between your hands and then coat in the cinnamon sugar and place on cool cookie sheet. Cook for 11-13 minutes. They should be pale with only the very bottom edge getting color. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to rack.

A Little Chicken

I love visiting The One Minute Writer nearly daily. The prompts are always fun and this creativity daily (or as often as life allows) always makes me feel good. Saturday's prompt asked simply, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" It is coming up with a creative answer that pushes the imagination and makes the writer inside want to offer something unique. I was so very honored to be chosen as the Writing of the Day (for the second time), and for C. Beth, the TOMW creator, to include Pictures, Poetry & Prose on her incredible site's sidebar.

So here was my answer to the eternal question of chicken and the road crossing.

Why! Why is the only question you ask about this hero. There is so much more this story. I think perhaps we should be asking who this chicken is. For she is the one who found a way to free herself from the bondage of the cage, the horror of daily egg production, and the answer to all this was to simply cross that road.

Of course, getting run over by the car in the middle of the road rather put a tragic twist to the tale.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And I Just Sighhhhhh

Here is a bit of advice for you young moms. You will be tempted at some point to use this argument. Your youngish kid (most likely teenager) will want to do something to themselves that you do not like. Tattoo, weird hair, piercing... etc... you will think to say, "When you pay your own way, pay your own bills then you can do what you want. Until then, NO."

This is what can happen... Matt, he works hard, pays his own way, is 21... but as a Mom, I really wish I could still say NO.

So my advice, don't give them that little speach, always hold onto VETO rights. Yes, I know it will still probably happen, but at least you can be grumpy about it.


I stood before a group of strangers. The only people I knew in the room were the people sitting in the front pew, my mother and father, my two uncles and my sister, and the woman sitting on the opposite side of the aisle, my grandfather's second wife. And while the tears streamed down our faces she never shed one. I don't know if she was grieving inside and I am not sure if she cared that my heart was breaking.

I stood when it seemed I had no choice and I walked to the front of the church and spoke. I still don't know if I spoke to my family or to the strangers or maybe to this woman who seemed so cold and uncaring.

I spoke of a grandfather who is missed more than seems bearable. I spoke of the best hugs in the world. I spoke of a caring and loving man who's physical heart at last gave up, but who's heart he loved with will go on beating inside those he loved forever. I honored my grandfather as best I was able through the sobs that laid me bare, I honored him with my words and all the joy I have for the love of him and all the sadness for the loss of him. I did my best, and I think he would have been proud and pleased.

Grandpa, I love you and I miss you. I will live my life remembering all the lessons you taught me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Knew Instantly

Every hope he offered
and the world spun

Lips and hands and
caresses that
took breath away.

For a day, forever
for a moment
for this instant.

For the prompt at Sunday Scriblings.


Had my company holiday party last night. We went to a wonderful fondue restaurant that is local. It was great fun. Soooo glad they put us in the back room with closing doors. We got a little bit rowdy. They have the best mixed drinks there. I had a Love Martini - which is made with... Malibu rum, Peach Schnapps, cranberry juice and fresh strawberries. Okay, I had more than just "a" martini... like three. But it was a party and a bit of fun felt very nice.

I was in charge of the games (which I have been at our Holiday parties for the past 15 years). They may grumble and groan a bit, but every year people are laughing and having a wonderful time.

I gave each person as they came in a bell, an index card with number and took a Polaroid picture of them making a funny face.

There were four courses for dinner. Starting with cheese fondue, then salad, then the entree and ending with Oh-my-heaven delicious chocolate fondue. Each course the photos went in a basket and then got passed back around and where ever your picture ended up that was where you sat for that round. There were 3 tables so it mixed things up nicely. I think we may have stressed the wait staff out a bit, but I tipped well. And it kept the conversations fresh and fun.

The bells were a game that I did once at a baby shower with diaper pins. You got a pin and then if someone caught you saying the word baby you had to give up your pin(s). So every one was belled as they came in and you couldn't say the word NO. It was hilarious watching people get caught. By the end of the evening it was down to just a couple of people. And they were saying yes to everything. I had ten bells at one point and 30 seconds later lost them all.

The index cards was the last game, everyone wrote on their card one random fact. With twenty people the facts ran the gamut from... "I know how to milk a cow." (mine) to "I have been skydiving."... then before dessert I read all the facts out loud and they had to match the facts to the person. The two winners of the game tied at seven correct answers. But the average was three. Some of the cards were so funny and we were laughing hard by then end of it.

So that was my night. And I really had a good time. I took an Advil and drank a big glass of water before slipping into bed so really the only thing that hurts this morning is my feet from wearing the high heels.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Dark Haiku

Isn't it odd where the writing comes from on occasion? I was visiting a few blogs this morning. Just seeing what was offered in the blogger universe. And I linked from The One Minute Writer to Musings.

It was a fun little post A Russian Proverb. The proverb itself was - You cannot write in the chimney with charcoal. The imagery of being trapped and only having a bit of charcoal to leave a mark was rather strong and I thought about what you might write in this metaphorical or perhaps even literal situation. And so this haiku worked its way out of me. And there is something that feels good about letting these words out.

dark hopes leave me trapped
wishing only to escape
coal stained fingers speak

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grandpa Bill - I Miss You Already

William Athol (Bill) Layton, 84, died December 9, 2008, at his home in Thatcher, Arizona. Bill was a direct descendent of a well-known Gila Valley pioneer, being the great-grandson of Thatcher town founder, Christopher Layton. Bill was born February 13, 1924 in San Diego, California, to Christopher Athol and Laura Foote Layton. The family moved to Safford, Arizona where his parents lived the remainder of their lives. Bill graduated from Safford High School in 1942 and joined the US Navy. He served on a ship in the Normandy Invasion in WWII.

In 1945, Bill married Velma Hockenberry of Mason City, Iowa. The couple lived in Mason City for many years, then Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa. Bill and Velma had four children – Jim, deceased in 1967, Nancy (Idyllwild, CA), David (Clinton, IA), and Charles (Greenfield, IA). Bill worked for Interstate Power Company in Iowa from 1948 until his retirement in 1986. After Velma’s death in 1986, Bill returned to the Gila Valley and lived in Safford. Bill married Gladiolia Vivian Dickson in 1988 and the couple lived first in Safford, then Apple Valley, California, then moved back to the Thatcher in 2001.

Bill Layton was a life-long Freemason, a member of the Safford American Legion Post 32, and an active member of the Safford Church of Christ. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister; his son, Jim; and his wife, Velma. Bill is survived by his wife, Vivian; his children, Nancy, David, and Charles; two brothers, Charlie and Roy; three sisters, Dorothy, Carol Ann, and Joyce; four grandchildren, Laura, Sara, Micah, and Will; and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for Tuesday, December 16 at the Safford Church of Safford, AZ.

This obituary was written by my mother, Nancy Layton in memory and honor of my grandfather. He is missed more than my simple words can say.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Canon in D

When Hubby and I got married we did so on New Year's Eve in our backyard. It was perfect. Our four children, his Aimee and Mitch, mine Matthew and Jessica, stood with us and we became a family. One of my favorite memories of the night (we partied first and had the ceremony at midnight) was hearing the opening notes of Pachelbel's Canon in D and down the stairs one of the kids after another walked, me last and walking out the back door. Our backyard was lit by the thousands of twinkle lights Hubby had spent two days stringing from the house to the fence, friends and family stood for me but all I could see were the children and Hubby there waiting for me as the notes of the Canon faded.

I still tear up every time I hear this song. So in the beautiful age of the internet I can find many lovely versions of this song. But there are also some fun versions that make me smile. I thought I might share them here with you.

So here you go...

The classic version,

a unique and incredible guitar version of Canon Rock,

a fun percussion arrangement,

and to end one of the funniest uses of classical music. I just love this guy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tree Tradition

I am a bit sad this year.

We have had the tradition of going to pick out the Christmas tree in November at the tree farm with our four children for the past 13 years. Every year the nice kids who tag the tree for you take your family's picture with your tree and then about 3-4 weeks later you go back and cut your tree down and retrieve your picture. We have 13 pictures in frames.

This year two kids had to work on the scheduled opening weekend of the tree farm, one was out of town and the other... sleeping. They are 22, 21, 20 and 20... and these family traditions just don't seem quite so important to them. Oh, I could have forced the issue, made a fuss and they would have found a way. But I think that it is okay this year to let them "out" of it. They will soon have their own families (yikes!) and start their own traditions. And perhaps it is time for Hubby and me to start a new one of our own. Maybe just him and I will go and pick, not the biggest tree we can find, but a small one. Maybe we will start going again and getting a picture when there are grandchildren to chase around the tree farm playing hide & seek or Marco Polo. (Hopefully not for quite a few more years though.)

Yes, I will be a bit sad not to put a new picture in a frame this year. But also just as happy to see all the ones up there that are framed. See my children grow through each year's picture and realize that I raised happy, healthy children who have grown into strong, independent adults. I think that is a fine tradition.

* This picture is from about 6 years ago, a duplicate I had handy to grab a photo of. That is Hubby and Laura Jayne (me) and Jessica, Matt, Aimee and Mitch.


Written for the prompt at the new writing site I found this morning - Sunday Scribblings.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The What and the Why of Pictures, Poetry & Prose

I often wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. Poor Hubby, he probably can't begin to count how many times I have not so quietly whispered, "You awake?" and he grumbles and mumbles, "I had this idea," I will continue, and his grumbles and mumbles turn into groans and moans. And I tell him my idea and he kisses me says something like, "That's nice, dear." And shortly after that he is snoring again, hmmmm, not sure he appreciated the genius of my new idea about ________. I have also been know to call Kay or Mom very early the next morning with my ideas. And they always listen and never snore after. Though was that a sigh I heard just before the phone was hung up?

What kind of ideas? Oh, you know, anything... inventions, board games, party games, ways to do good in the world, ways to cook salmon, ways to inspire others, getting bikes to get in shape, ways to inspire others to do good in the world, anything and everything.

So just over a month ago it was lovely as another friend had this idea. Well, not exactly the idea that Pictures, Poetry & Prose turned out to be. He likes to take beautiful photographs, I like to write. He suggested we inspire each other and exchange the two via email. Of course, I couldn't just let that be it. I loved this idea. No wait... I LOVED this idea. Using photos to inspire writing. It was simple and brilliant. Yes, has probably been done before. But not by me, in this way. And I was already blogging. I understood the concept. I love inspiring others to write. WOW this could work. The mental train of thought is occasionally a really fast bullet train, and I just hang on for the ride.

So after waking up at about 2 in the a.m. I didn't wake Hubby this time. I turned on my laptop and outlined a few ideas and then... just started doing. Sometimes you just need to do that, just do it (sorry Nike for plagiarism there). I took my friend's idea and expanded on it, and then expanded some more.

Highlander (thus nicknamed as he is from Scotland) the friend with the idea, has a lovely catalog of photos. And I began to really look at them found several that motivated me with ideas and saved those to my own computer. But I needed a name... a name... a name... a name. His idea was the pictures, I wanted that first and the poetry and prose just fell in a nice alliteration-ish line. Images, Ideas and Inspiration, I just love the concept, this is what I wanted to offer, beautiful and unique images that inspire. My friends Kathryn and Cyndy (I was so hoping they would want to participate, and yea!! they did) also have online sites for their photos that I have always found them inspirational and so when they allowed me free access to their images I was on a fast roll down a nice creative hill. Oh, and the quote... On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. ... one of my favorites, taken from A River Runs Through It. I just love this quote. And now, a month later, people are sharing, really writing and being inspired. Photographers and artists are joining and sharing their visions and being a part of this amazing process. Every day I do a little happy dance to read and see and share and be a part of this creativity. It fills me up with pleasure.

When I was president of my writers group, Inland Empire California Writers Club, I didn't always love the administrative aspects of the position on a board level. But I adored planning and executing the general meetings. Thinking of ways to motivate people to be creative. To inspire in them even just a kernel of an idea that might grow and grow and leave them fulfilled. Now that was a challenge that I loved.

And so is this project, something I love. I am so grateful to my friend for allowing me to run with his idea. I am so grateful to all who are participating now. I do hope you will write with me, share with me, be inspired and inspiring.

Ok, off to do another happy dance.

And I promise to not wake you up at two in the morning with my ideas. I will wait until at least 4:30.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Guacamole Recipe

Over at the One Minute Writer today the question was... what food is Yuck. My choice is bell peppers. Just can't stand them. But a couple of the posts caught my eye... one said yuck to tomatoes another to guacamole. Yikes, two of my favorites. So I have been inspired to offer up this recipe... which everyone who has had, has enjoyed.

My friend, who introduced me to guacamole when I was first learning to cook, made the blandest guacamole with nothing but avocados and some cilantro. I loved her, but I knew there had to be a better way. My family loves spicy foods and over the years I have come up with a guacamole recipe that has a bit of a kick. I always have just eyeballed the spices adding a bit more and more (making my husband taste test) till it gets just right. I make this for every family get together. I tried once to show up without it. They made me go to the store and get the ingredients before they would let me in the door. I missed the first quarter of the Super Bowl, but everyone was happy with the guacamole. This recipe will make enough to satisfy most party requirements. It can be halved to make just enough for a meal as a side.

Kicky Guacamole

5-6 ripe avocados
1 Jar (16 oz) hot or medium salsa (start with half a jar and add as you like)
¼ Cup sour cream (really you don't need to measure, just put a plop)
½ tsp garlic salt
1 tsp McCormick Mexican Seasoning
½ tsp chili powder
1 dash hot sauce
2 medium-finely chopped tomatoes

Scoop avocados from their skins, discard pits. Mash avocados in a bowl with a fork or potato masher (I like to leave them a bit chunky) stir in all other ingredients.

Garnish the top with a few extra tomatoes, an extra plop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chili powder. Serve with chips or as a side for enchiladas or other Mexican favorite.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another Loss, a Nice Day Anyway

And so my boys in blue, my Chargers, (American Football, San Diego Chargers) have lost yet again. I fear any hopes for a good season have been dashed with this loss on Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons.

It was a good game, for a bit. The ups and downs of sports is something I enjoy. That is hubby and me in the picture on this past beautiful Sunday afternoon. His arm, my feet (in case you weren't sure). But in the end too many mistakes were made and mostly by a man I am ever increasingly frustrated with. Norv Turner (head coach) makes some decisions I entirely do not agree with. I do believe he may not be long for the job he currently holds. Fans are getting restless and this 4-8 season with a team that at the beginning of the season had Super Bowl aspirations does not bode well, in my mind, for his job security.

But the tailgating was nice. The beautiful winter sun was lovely. The hot dog and peanuts were good. And we had quite a few good plays that were worth cheering for. So, I am sad that my boys lost. But happy I had a lovely day out with Hubby at the game.