Autumn is Coming

Yay! It’s the Oneth of September and I’m happier than the average bear. September is the month that brings us the beautiful Autumnal Equinox which falls officially on September 22nd, my birthday.  Is it any wonder that I love Autumn? I was born for it.


Autumn signifies order and routine as the kidlens head off to school. Autumn leaves blow in the cool breeze, bringing sighs of relief from the summer’s icky heat. Rain tap-tap-tapping on the window panes always encourages me to slow down and take the time to cuddle up with a favorite book. Autumn brings thunderstorms that wash away the Old. And best of all, Halloween is almost here.

What are your favorite things about Autumn?


Today kicks off the Taboo Word Challenge created by Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog. Click the link for details and to participate!

taboo challenge

Quoth the Quirky

Following Jackie’s lead, I finally decided to take a go at La Duchesse’s TGBOL prompt for the week* because, hey, quirkiness is something this chick can totally get behind. I like quirk. And, if you like quirk, I’m happy to share mine. I hope you will too.

1/Music: Is it possible to get any quirkier than Disco? My spice and kidlens would shout a resounding No!  As a funky fairy child of the far out 70s, I would steal my beautifully hip disco-queen mom’s strappy high heels and boogie my heart out all over the dance floor that was our living room’s shag rug. To this day, my inner Debbie Harry delights in dancing to disco tunes. And yes, I can do the Hustle. Can you dig it?

Debbie Harry photographed by Maureen Donaldson, 1979.

Debbie Harry photo’d by Maureen Donaldson, 1979.

2/Food: Is sniffing heretofore new foods a quirk? If not, it should be. Look, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have the picky and peculiar eating habits of a fussy four-year-old. So you best believe that I’m not gonna put something in my mouth if it doesn’t pass the sniff test with a thumbs up from my nose. My spice, himself an amateur foodie, oft admonishes, You don’t sniff it, Micki, you eat it. Yeah well, the nose knows.

3/Fashion: I really like fashion. I really love fun. So, fun fashion is like a great big hug from the Universe. However. I’m forty-something. I’m at that age where fun fashion is fine as long as it’s tamed. I’m all for feelin’ fabulous and kickin’ it like you just don’t care, but I have a fairly conservative inner-voice that insists I dress closer to my age. At my age, dressing too fun (funly?) just ends up looking desperate. So for now, it’s simply quirky. Of course, I’m counting down the years until I’m just old enough to be considered beautifully eccentric a la’ Iris. Then I’ll really let my freak flag fly!


image lifted from

4/Speaking with my Hands: Say what? No, I don’t mean using sign language — although I did take an ASL course at our local community college in order to communicate with my wees when they were pre-verbal, but that’s another post. I mean that my hands flap like bathing birds and fly around to illustrate when I speak. I’ve always been this way. My Nonny used to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to speak without my hands. True story: she’d make me sit on my hands to keep me quiet in church. And, thank Heaven for phones that give the time. I cannot bear to admit how many watch faces I unwittingly smashed while conversing over the years.

5/Thinking with my Hands: I’m what you used to call a visual learner and thinker. Not only do I smell in color and love to read words as well as pretty pictures, but just about any time that I’m trying to listen intently to a person, I like to scribble and take notes**. I have pens and notepads everywhere; all around my desk, in my purses, in my car… Without my notes and scribbles, I tend to have to ask you to repeat yourself so that I can clarify what you’ve said. It’s not because I wasn’t listening to what you said [although, your fabulous necklace may have momentarily taken me off track] it’s that I’m not someone who is a quick auditory study. I’m the person who’ll tell you to “take a right on the second street after the QuickieMart” instead of “head west on Elm.”


**Some educators have added read/write to the mix of learning styles. Since I haven’t taught in a brick-and-mortar school for a thousand years, I’m still old school. (pun intended)

Beautiful Blogstuff

Many thanks to Franci over at BrewNSpew for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award.

One of the most beautiful rewards of blogging is the amazing community of bloggers one runs into out there in the ether. With such a plethora of personalities and no short supply of  wisdom and opinion, there’s something for everyone to savor. It’s an honor to be able to add my two cents to this diverse conversation, for what it’s worth.

5 Beautiful Bloggers Worth Visiting

I am selecting 5 bloggers who bring happiness or hope (or both) to their readers in this post. I plan to spread the love to more of my fellow bloggers in future posts.

Lorelei at Dreams Never End

lisamaria at kidscrumbsandcrackers

DTR at the little koi

jennymarie at Peace from Panic

Lydia at Oceans Never Fill

Further reading may be found at this posts permanent residence as the page Beautiful Blogstuff under Welcome.


Achieve Your Dreams in 2016

Part Two: Dream SMARTly

So, as odd as it may sound, dreams are really goals and ambitions. And, dreams are just as important in giving meaning to your daily tasks as they are when looking ahead to what you hope to accomplish in the future. Read that again. This is important stuff here. It bears taking seriously, which to me at least, means it’s time to listen to the experts.

According to the Big Wigs of Sciencey Motivational Stuff, the acronym SMART is the best place to start when planning your dreams.



I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Seriously. I knew in the third grade that I was going to be an English teacher and a writer. I sat around for years and years dreaming of becoming a writer. I created several little story books about my grand adventures in The Trails (a wooded area behind my childhood neighborhood) in which I sounded suspiciously like Nancy Drew. But the stories were for my eyes, and a few of my stuffed animals’ eyes only. I wasn’t really a writer. That took being published. I also played “School” every chance I had, teaching all of the stuffed animals on my bed the rules of grammar. But, I wasn’t really a teacher.  I was a dreamer.

So, I went to college and earned a degree in Literature and Language. I had several short stories and poems featured in academic publications. I was finally a published writer. After graduation, I began teaching high school English. I had real students. I was a real teacher! It wasn’t until I actually took the necessary steps, the appropriate actions, to succeed that I actually became the writer and teacher that I’d always wanted to be.


SPECIFIC: This is the what, why and how of your DREAM. What do you want or need to accomplish? How will you achieve it? How will you know when you’ve succeeded in attaining your dream?

MEASURABLE: For a DREAM to be measurable it must answer how much or how many. This is important to be able to track your progress.

ATTAINABLE: For a DREAM to be attainable, you must take serious stock of your own special gifts and talents. In other words, know your strengths and how you can best utilize them. Also, know your limitations, how/if you may overcome them.

REALISTIC: It logically follows that it is important that your DREAM is something you can and want to actually attain. It should be challenging enough that you feel pride when you achieve it, but not too difficult or, worse,  impossible — this will only set you up for failure.

TIMELY: Have a specific, realistic time frame within which you want to achieve your DREAM. This keeps you motivated and on track.

Once you’ve SMARTly outlined your dream, you can dig in and DO IT!

[to be continued…]

Further Reading at The Sage Alliance


Dirty Words: Finding Hope in Honest Writing

Because Good/Bad is something I think about often.

Ericka Clay

depression Photo credit: Jennifer Jones

My book is about a man who has sex with another man in a cemetery near a Catholic church.

My book is laced with profanity and the difficultly digested truth that darkness can worm its way through a weakened heart.

My book deals with piss and bleach and infidelity and marriage and drunkenness and slurred words and dried mascara and manipulative sex and co-dependent love and all those other things that would never work as a Facebook status or yearly Christmas letter.

My book is honest. It is real. It is humanity in its dirtiest form.

So how, then, can it be Good?

We’ve been indoctrinated to believe certain things about Goodness, especially about those who attempt to live in the name of it. They are close-minded, judgmental, bitter little individuals who would rather wallow in their self-righteousness than actually give two cents about you.

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Yank Their Chains: April Fools’ Day Blogging

File this one under Prankenstein’s Monster.

The Daily Post

Washing_of_the_Lions In the 1800s, dedicated jokesters printed official-looking tickets for the fake lion-washing and handed them out all over London.

April Fools’ Day is not a new invention: the first recorded instance of pranksterism is over 300 years old. In 1698, Dawks’s News-Letter reported that “several persons were sent to the Tower [of London] Ditch to see the Lions washed.” The Tower of London’s moat was (and is) lion-free, but suggesting that people visit the Tower for the “washing of the lions” remained a popular prank for several hundred years.

What does this have to do with my blog?

April Fools’ pranks abound in the media; since newspapers, radio, and television reach large numbers of people simultaneously, they’re perfect vehicles for large-scale jokes. Blogs are no different, and April 1st gives you an opportunity to inject a bit of levity (and maybe publish a highly shareable post that brings you some new readers — everyone loves…

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