Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Z is for Zoomorphic Architecture: CATS Immortalized

Final day in the A to Z Challenge.

Zoomorphism means giving animal characteristics to deities (mythology), persons (literature), arts (statues, graphics), and architecture (buildings), generally in three dimensional representation.

The cats have been meowing and meowing and meowing, trying to get me to write more about them. They wanted to take over this blog post themselves *shudder*, but I promised to get going on a “cat post” just to keep them quiet.

Coming up: Three zoomorphic cat-shaped buildings. Meow.

cat shrine Japan1. Cat Island, Japan: Cat-Shaped Camping Facilities.

First, let’s go to a tiny, ferry-accessible-only island off the coast of northern Japan, Tashirojima. Nicknamed “Cat Island,” this island has a cat population larger than its elderly human population. In fact, the cat shrines (10) and cat monuments (51) almost outnumber the people. Feeding cats, so the story goes, brings great wealth and good fortune. (Dogs are not allowed on this island!)

This island was severely damaged in the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and the tsunami that followed. People and cats escaped harm, but the destruction of buildings and fishing vessels was rampant.

Cats on this island seem to be precocious. In the past, when the silk industry thrived there, these furry critter-catchers performed a great service by eliminating pesky gourmet-silk-worm-eating mice. And not only did these furry felines excel at rodent catching, they also predicted the weather for fisherman and announced (by their behavior) the arrival of schools of fish in nearby waters. No wonder these cats were so loved.

One day, one of these beloved island protectors was accidently killed, and the grieving fishermen built a small rock shrine in its memory. That was the beginning of this cat love affair. Now there is an inn (Hamaya) on the island that welcomes guests looking for the island’s most famous cat, Jack. “Tare Mini Jack” (Droopy-Eared Jack) became famous after a movie featured his story. (Click on the link above to see some cat movie clips.)

The sign above right recounts the tale of the first cat rock monument. Notice the “Hello Kitty.” He is saying, “Welcome.” (Did you notice the Hello Kitty on my blog header? I got him on a trip to Japan a number of years ago.)

This once-dying island now has a whole new life, including zoomorphic camping facilities pictured below.

cat buildings

cat building Japan

Photos of camping facilities by Zooming Travel of Japan

2. Nekozuka, Japan Cat-Shaped Bus Shelter

cat shaped building

In southern Japan, you can find this cat-shaped bus shelter. Supposedly an old priest and his faithful cat lived in an ancient temple in Saifukuji, Japan. Unfortunately, a large rat also lived in the temple, and he often bit the priest. In desperation, the priest pleaded with his cat and its friends to capture and kill the rat. Reinforcement cats flooded in from surrounding towns to form a vigilante committee to take care of this humongous, bothersome priest-biter. The battle broke out after midnight; screeching, hissing, and grunts of the fierce encounter could be heard throughout the night for miles around.

The next morning, the priest discovered the now-dead rat as well as the bodies of all the volunteer vigilantes who had helped to rid the temple of the malevolent menace. The priest buried the dead cats at this site, and later the community built a cat-shaped bus shelter to commemorate the cat-astrophe.

Photo by pokoroto, Brian G. Kennedy.

3. Kitty Kindergarten, Karlsruhe, Germanyzoomorphic cat

What a nifty place for kids to learn and play. This kitty-shaped kindergarten was designed by Tomi Ungerer and artchitect Ayla Suzan Yondel.

What fun to go to recess by sliding down the cat’s tail to the playground from the second floor of the building.  Children enter the building through the cat’s mouth and eat lunch in the cat’s tummy dining room. Photo image from Milk Magazine.

The Last Meow.

Do you hear that racket? Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow.

That’s Zoey, the Cool Cat, owned by photographer, Russel Ray. Zoey heard it was Z-Day and wanted see what all the fuss was about. When he found out it was Z-Day, he wanted in. Anyway, here’s his stamp of approval (used with permission) on this blog post. What higher honor could I possibly get? Thanks, Zoey.  (See more pictures of Zoey in Meow link above.) Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Cat im-zoey-the-cool-cat-and-i-approve-this-post59

Y is for…Your, You’re, Y’all, Ya’ll, Yall, You All, You Guys, and Yakety-Yak

a-to-z-letters-2013Y-Day in the A to Z Challenge.  Twenty-five letters finished. One to go.

Y has been a struggle for me. I listed possibilities, but none inspired me. Here’s a round-up of my thoughts.

1. Your (possessive), you’re (contraction, you are)

These two Y words are brutalized regularly all over the Internet, but writing about them again won’t make a bit of difference. These two commonly confused words (your and you’re) are right up there with its and it’s; and there, they’re, and their. All frequently confused.

When I see these errors I think, “Are you smarter than a third grader?”  If you are, then take the time to straighten out these classic mix-ups. Of course, I am preaching to the choir now. Right?

2. Y’all, ya’ll, yall, you all.

This topic had some possibilities. Regional English.  Look at this linguistic map of the United States. It’s amazing how many different American Englishes exist.

linguistic map

I thought about giving one example of regional English, the word y’all, but checked on Grammar Girl, and she has already written a long piece about it. (Click here to read it.) I guess I can’t write about that. I could talk about my Texas relatives, and how they use y’all, as in y’all come on down and visit. That sounds nice when they say that.

Bryan A Garner, a southerner, has written almost a full page on y’all, ya’ll,  yall, and you all in Garner’s Modern American Usage (2009). He reports that y’all is the correct form of this regional (southern) usage, used even by highly educated speakers. Ya’ll is a misspelling. Yall has been used by some writers, although this spelling is not widespread and is not recommended. He also suggests the use of you all as perhaps the way to avoid raising northern eyebrows.

Serious questions arise about y’all. Is it singular or plural? If it is singular, how do you say the plural? Let it be known that there have been heated debates over this question!

3. You guys.

You guys? *shudder* Garner says this phrase is now replacing you all in urban areas outside the South and Southwest.

Garner cites Steve Blow, a writer for Dallas Morning News (27 Sept. 2002), who called the term you guys a “horrid Yankee construction.” I must say I agree with that!

The first time I heard this informal phrase, I remember disliking it intensely.  I was observing in a classroom, and a teacher called her students to attention by saying, “You guys should put your work away now and get ready for lunch.”

Are girls guys? Being politically correct these days means you can’t use the phrase guys and gals or guys and dolls. Please. That would be offensive. So evidently when speaking to a mixed sex group, in popular English, the term you guys can now be used informally.

What’s the plural of you guys? You guyzez? What about the plural-possessive form? Youse guyzes’? Or how about youse guys’s for the plural-possessive form? Who knows what will come next in our language.

Then one day, it happened.  I caught myself using the term you guys when working with a group of teenagers in a drug and alcohol rehab program. Ugh. That’s how language changes. We hear a word or phrase so many times that it slithers into general language usage, and we are hardly aware of it happening. But I was aware of it and vowed to never use that phrase again.

4. Yakety-yak.Yakety Yak...Coasters

The dictionary is handy in the A to Z Challenge. When you get stuck on a letter, you can scan the dictionary for ideas. I scanned the Y section and came upon yak (animal), yak-yak (slang for too much talk), and yakety-yak. That roused my memories of The Coasters singing, “Yakety Yak, Don’t Talk Back,” a song from many years ago. Of course, I started to sing it. My husband, off in another room of the house, laughed and asked, “What on earth caused that outburst?”

He should know by now that I am working on the A to Z Challenge, and that any weird thing I say or sing  has to relate to The Challenge.

A to Z does that to you.

Listen to Yakety Yak here.

cats bunchThe Last Meow.

Y words? Why didn’t you ask us kitties for a Y topic? We have tons of Y words. Just look up Y names for kittens on Internet, and you can find hundreds like Yo-Yo, Yum-Yum, Yanisha, Yasmin, Yassar Aracat, and Ying and Yang, and lots more. You could have done your whole post on kitty cat names. Next time, ask us for advice, would ya?

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

X Bonus: Xena, Warrior Puppy, Helps Autistic Boy

Bonus X in the A to Z Challenge. This my second X post. Click the title to read the first one,  X is for X-It (exit) Strategy.a-to-z-letters-2013

Read a  very touching story about an eight-year-old autistic child, Jonny Hickey, and his very lovable Xena 3 tdy-130424-xenaforlaura4_photoblog600dog, Xena, the Warrior Puppy.  Click on Today Health to read the full story.

The dog, who was perhaps four-months-old when he was found and brought to an animal shelter in Georgia, had been abused and was in very poor condition. Health recovered, he now lives happily with Jonny.   This arrangement has been a blessing for both of them. Get your tissues out.

Animals can be used in therapy with all kinds of special needs situations. Next week, I’ll tell you about a dog who spends his days in a nursing home where my sister lives.

The Last Meow.

Well, I guess some dogs are okay. This one seems to be a nice fella, so he can visit here on our blog. But just a visit. That’s it. The general rule is NO DOGS ALLOWED, but we will make an exception just this once.?????????????????????????????????????????????????

Meow for now.  =<^.^>=

X is for . . X-It (exit) Strategy

a-to-z-letters-2013Day 24 in the A to Z Challenge, and here we are at letter X.

I have been reading a number of AtoZ bloggers’ posts to see how creatively they have handled this topic, and I am impressed. This letter has been a challenge for us all, (what will we ever do next year?) but look at what interesting things I found.

Xantus, a hummingbird
Durty Fillums. And no, this is not a hummingbird variety, and it doesn’t start with X. Go read it and you’ll get it.

And hang on, we still have the letter Z to mangle manage.

The A to Z Challenge has been good for me in both 2012 and 2013. (See my treasured  2012 A to Z Badge of Honor?) Somehow I feel responsible to get survivor-atoz-2the letter of the day done, even if one delinquent letter spills over into the next letter territory. A to Z keeps me on task and in focus.  It keeps me interacting with other bloggers, clicking likes, and leaving short notes. This has been fun.

But what happens when the A to Z party is over?

One year ago, just before my first A to Z,  I joined WANA112 (We Are Not Alone) group organized by Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone. One hundred bloggers came together to share our beginner struggles with blogging under Kristen’s superior tutelage. Now 88 members of that original group still keep touch by sharing blogging posts, comments, support, and friendship in our own closed Facebook group. I love this group. They are the best.

And now, I have found new blogger friends on A to Z. I hope we can keep in touch via the Blogging A to Z Facebook page. But now, since this A to Z party is ending, I must decide what to do next, hence this X-It strategy post. Here are some beginning thoughts.


1. Keep blogging, but perhaps at a more sane regular pace, say two or three times a week.

2. Clean up my blog. It looks a little cluttered on the sidebar, and I want to tighten things up there.

3. Add my blogroll…I have procrastinated long enough on that. Thanks to Dawn M. Miller at Lingering Visions for sharing her thoughts on procrastination here.   

4. Keep reading blogs, liking them, and commenting on posts in WordPress reader. This is my favorite way to read blogs because they come up in a nice list and load quickly. (Going from my email to a blog post is sometimes slow.) And I like the way WordPress pulls up blogs in categories I have selected. I can quickly see what’s new in my favorite areas: grammar, writing, ESOL, English teaching, travel, photos, cooking, health, books, and of course, my all time favorite: CATS. ={^;^}= Meow.

5. Categorize my posts and publish topic lists of my posts. Along that line, I want to make headers for topics.

6. Print off a hard copy of each post (now at 93 posts). On post 100 I will post a Catalog of Cats Celebrating with me.

7. Master the gimmicks and widgets. Even after a year of posting, I still have trouble with getting new widgets in my sidebar. I think I have mastered it, then when I try to do it again, I fail. Maybe I should write down the directions? You think?

8. Get the answer to this question. WHY, WHY, WHY does WordPress flip back to an older version of my drafts when I click off to do something else? This is the most maddening thing.

9. I am sure more goals will pop into my mind as I rethink this whole process. These will do for a start.

Thanks for being my faithful readers. Now that I have stated my strategy, you will have to hold me accountable.

Now the educator in me says that I have to be S.M.A.R.T. about these strategies. Maybe another day. My head is spinning.

smart -goals 2

The Last Meow

Hey gang. It’s almost time for the BBBBIIIIIGGGGGG party. How about a little warm-up so we will be totally prepared? Meow for now.  =(^;^)     xxxxx

party cats on table

W is for Whose Woods These Are

Friday, April 26 is W-Day in the A to Z Challenge. The end is in sight. Three more letters to go.a-to-z-letters-2013

Robert FrostWhenever I see a woodsy area in Southern New Jersey (or anywhere else for that matter), I think of the first line of Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a poem I learned in 10th grade English I’m not telling how many years ago a number of years ago.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

Lately, I have thought of this line a number of times, although I have always incorrectly remembered this line as “Whose woods these are I do not know.”

Last year, on June 30, 2012, many patches of wonderful woodsy areas in Southern New Jersey were devastated by a severe wind-storm (derecho) as it hopped-skipped-and-jumped through our area. I wrote about that storm in this blog post: Blame it on the Derecho a few days later in July of 2012, and I posted pictures of the damage in and around my hometown.

This year, on various walks and rides around the area, I have looked to see how well the area has recovered from the storm.  In some places, you hardly notice the damage. Old trees have been cut down, and new smaller trees have been replanted on local city streets. But in the out-lying woodsy areas, it is a different story.

I decided to take more pictures of the area to show how long-lasting the damage is.

WalkingTrail AC 019

The tops of these pines were sheared off and left standing like telephone poles. So far, there is no evidence of recovery. The pine cones that weren’t blown away may start new pine growth, but that will take years.

WalkingTrail AC 035New growth can just barely be seen in the twinges of red buds on the still-standing trees.

WalkingTrail AC 026Trees were broken off like matchsticks at mid-height.

woodsy shots-derecho 001

Huge trees were pulled up by the roots.

cropped woods-derecho

Large sections of trees stripped bare stand next to sections of trees hardly touched.

Whose woods these are I do not know, but it saddens me still to see such devastation.

On bright note, though. There are new buds on the bushes and red twinges of buds on the branches. Hope springs eternal.

The Last Meow  

We cats love trees. Here’s the proof!cats  in trees 1

cats in trees--get down

cats in trees oops

Meow for now. =(^,^)=

V is for. . . Vampires Invade Grammar World

V-Day in the A to Z Challenge!a-to-z-letters-2013

Four days left in the challenge, but there are some tough letters yet to come: W, X, Y, Z.

Let’s have a go at V.

Karen Elizabeth Gordon, author of The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, loves vampires, demons, gargoyles, mastodons, and other dark creatures of the night.

Why? Because she thinks they can teach us about grammar.

001 (8)Originally published in 1984, a new edition of this book was released in 1993. Evidently there were more monsters to be found in the deep, dark, dank grammar cellar. Despite its age, The Transitive Vampire holds the number 53 spot of best selling grammar books on Amazon.com. Monsters do not slink away, it seems.

Gordon has a positive use for the gnarly “menange of revolving lunatics” that invade her book, and that is to teach grammar to the wary. Even her definition of grammar has demons in it.

Grammar is a sine qua non of language, placing its demons in the light of sense, sentencing them to the plight of prose.

And the lunatics? Their stories and digressions lead through a formidable labyrinth, through the dark tunnel of myths and mistakes to the light at the end of the tunnel: pure and lovely understanding of grammar. A feat not lightly accomplished.

The creatures teach about sentences. Here is a little tasty bite for your chewing pleasure. First subjects of sentences:

 There were fifty-five lusterless vampires  dismantling the schloss.


The werewolf     had a toothache.
The persona non gratia    was rebuked.

Gordon marches her vampires and demons through the parts of speech (“verbs are the heartthrob of sentences”) up through phrases and clauses, and ends with comma splices and the creation of sentences.

Go ahead. Get this book and keep it on your nightstand. Read some of it every night. The artwork and the characters will keep you turning the pages well into the witching hours, and you will have such pleasant dreams about grammar. *devilish laugh here* *wolf howls in the distance* *skeleton bones rattle*

001 (11)

Gordon also wrote The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, 19981 and 1993. This book is guaranteed to entertain as you review the rules of punctuation you learned in grammar school but promptly forgot.

The Last Meow.

monster catMonsters? Demons? Ha. We can play that game. Check us out!

Don’t mind that other kitty. She’s just a scaredy-cat.

Meow for now.  ={`;`}=

cat is it Friday

U is for Use, Usage, Utilize, and other Useful and Utilitarian Units

a-to-z-letters-2013What with all the rules about grammar, usage, and style, it’s a wonder anyone can get anything down on paper. Fortunately, native-born English speakers have internalized the rules and can speak and write from intuitive knowledge of how words work together in sentences. Any time we have a question about correctness, we can just pull our our handy reference manuals or go online to find the information we need. Or better yet, we can just let our editors fix the glitches in our writing.

What? You don’t have an editor?

Well, I don’t either, but my grammar-picky husband steps in and whacks at my writing. Sometimes he’s even right.

Grammar Reference Books and Textbooks

Good writers do use grammar reference books, and proofreaders and editors keep a large stock of them on hand. My own rather extensive collection starts with one first published in 1926. Here’s its classic opening sentence:

The Doorway to English is an outgrowth of a need of the classroom teacher of English who has been struggling long to achieve results in quality of speech from textbooks instead of making technique contribute to the quality of better speech. Almost any teacher of English can readily distribute the technique in orderly fashion through the respective grades, but few teachers are capable of allotting through a definite period of instruction the expanding qualities of good speech. L. Rader and P. Deffendall, The Doorway to English, Fifth Book, 1926.

What? Strunk and White, authors of The Elements of Style, would definitely not give this textbook writer an A for clarity.

Of course, some reference manuals vary in their pronouncements and create long-standing, hard-core devotees and crusaders, maybe even Grammar Police and Grammar Nazis.

One good example is the controversy over the serial comma, or the Oxford comma as the Brits call it. Do you use a comma after the second word in a series before the and?  Journalists frown on the use of the serial comma; academic writers adore it. Chicago Manual of Styles says yes, use it. APA says no, don’t use it. What’s a writer to do? Most writers follow what they were taught in junior high and high school, then look for evidence and authorities to support that position.

Usage and Style

Grammar and usage are different. Grammar: how words should be used in sentences. Usage: how words are used in sentences.

It’s Prescriptivist Grammar (this is the way it should be) versus Descriptivist Grammar (this is the way it is.)

Style is how an individual author puts together his or her knowledge of grammar and usage in writing.

A college professor, for example, would use a more formal, politically correct style in presenting his final report to the college president on, “The  Liberalization of the Humanities Department through the Utilization of Descriptivism in Chauvinistic Literature.”

The teenager writing on Internet uses a more informal style: mysterious acronyms that confound mature readers; pop idioms and slang; and improper spelling of there, they’re, and their, and your and you’re.

Here’s an example of a style suggestion from Strunk and White.

Avoid fancy words.

Although Strunk and White’s book does have it gallery of critics, it does offer helpful advice to developing writers. Their advice ranges from elementary rules of usage to the more hard-to-pinpoint style.

Why use a complex word when a simpler word will do? That college professor would do well to tone down his writing. The teenager will hopefully use a bit more formality in his academic writing.

The Last Meowcat editor

Hey, humans, why worry about all of this. We cats have our own grammar. The fuss that you make about these sticky details puts me to sleep. Get a life!   Meow for now.   =<^;^>=

And My Cat pic

T is for. . . Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo Needs a Pronoun

a-to-z-letters-2013Tuesday, April 23,  is T-Day in the A to Z Challenge.

For this day, I want to share a favorite childhood story, one that I have used many times in my teaching career.

Tikki Tikki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent

Tikki tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo has such a long name because he is most honored as the first-born child in this traditional Chinese family. Translated, his name means, “the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world.”

The second son in the family merited only a short name, Chang, meaning, “little or nothing.”

One day, while their mother washed their clothes in a nearby stream, first son, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, and second son, Chang, went up the hill to play.

tikki pic

Mother warned them not to play near the well, but did they listen? No.

Chang fell in the well, and Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo raced to tell his mother and the sleepy old man with the ladder. The sleepy old man with the ladder rescued Chang, and all was fine.

But did these boys learn their lesson? No.

Once again, first son, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, and second son, Chang, went up the hill to play near the well. But this time, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell in the well, and Chang had to run to mother to get help. But he had to tell her what happened over and over again because she could not hear him over the noisy stream.

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the well.
Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the well.

And Chang had to say it a third time because he hadn’t said his brother’s name honorably enough on the second try.

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo

By then, some time had passed. And then he had to wake up the sleepy old man with the ladder and repeat his message three more times til the old man understood him.

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the well.
Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the well.
Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the well.

At this point, quite a bit of time had passed. Eventually the sleepy old man with the ladder rescued Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, and all was well again.

After that, Chinese family started to give their children shorter names.


Now wouldn’t it have been easier for Chang to simply use a pronoun instead of Tikki’s whole name?

He fell into the well.

Ah, but then the beauty of this story would be lost. Part of the enchantment is the rhythm and repetitiveness of the story. Children love to chant Tikki tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo as you read the story.


Click on the next link, and you can see and hear the complete version of Tikki Tikki Tembo narrated by Peter Thomas.

The Last Meowcat and tikki tikki

Not to be outdone by Tikki, our honorable Mr. Very Handsome White Cat has recited his own version of this story. Well, at least he tried. Better luck next time!

Hey can you say this three times without messing up?

Tikki tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-cari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. . .

Meow for now. 


S is for Stats and Milestones–10,000 Views Milestone! WooHoo

a-to-z-letters-201310,000 views of my blog? Really? How did that happen?

I hadn’t really paid much attention to the stats that WordPress keeps for each blog, not realizing how broad the reach of a blog can be. So in early April, when out of curiosity I clicked on my blog stats, I was surprised shocked to see that my blog had well over 9000 views.

Getting StartedThey laughed

I laughed when several years ago my daughter said, “You ought to start a blog.”

Why on earth would I do that? I laughed.

But once the seed fell out onto the ground, it began to take root and grow, not right away, but over time.

One of my first blog posts was, “They Laughed When I Sat Down at The Piano.” You know, sort of like, “They laughed when I sat down to blog.”

wana imageWANA: We Are Not Alone

I have been blogging for a while now. I muddled around started with a BlogSpot.com blog,  titled GED Writer, in September of 2010, writing about the GED (high school equivalency testing for dropouts) and adult education topics. I realized this was not a hot topic for a blog and decided to think the matter over a bit more.

I tried again with WordPress in December of 2011, finally getting a blog going in January of 2012. I met Kristen Lamb online and began to follow her posts at Writing Warriors. I read her book, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and I joined her WANA112 group: 100 writers who wanted to get better at blogging.  Kristen advised us to use our own names as our blog titles because we needed to build name recognition as serious bloggers. She also advised us to branch out and write about multiple interests rather than just write about our primary, more narrow, writing interests.  All of this was great and encouraging advice.

In the process of building my blog, I made lots of new writer friends. Of those 100 original writers in WANA112, 88 of us still keep in touch on Facebook on our closed group page.

And more amazing than that was that I gathered followers, kind readers who left encouraging notes.  I learned a lot from reading their posts, too. Such clever people, I thought. I will always appreciate these early followers. These are the best friends I have never met:

Tami Clayton, Taking Tea in the Kasbah
Elaine Smothers, Wonder in the Wild
emaginette, Shout With Emaginette
Glenda Mills, Meet Me On The Mountain
Barbara Forte Abate, Scribbling Outside The Lines
Judythe Morgan, Voice and Views from The Front Porch
Mike Schulenberg, Realms of Perilous Wonder
Sheila Pierson, Wonderstruck
Ellen V. Gregory, to beyond and back
Jodi Lea Stewart   Walking on Sunshine
Liv Rancourt, Laughter, life and romance under partly sunny skies
Elizabeth Fais, Where the awesome begins
Sara Walpert Foster, Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition
Siri Paulson, everyday enchantments
Linda Adams, Soldier, Storyteller
Sherry Isaac, Psychological Sizzle
Sherri Martin-Hutchins, live wonderstruck
And none of us could get anywhere without advice from Laird Sapir, of Shabby Chic Sarcasm

A to Z Badge 2012 (1)A to Z Challenge, 2012

But I didn’t really get into more serious blogging until the April 2012 A to Z Challenge (to write 26 posts in the month of April). I took the challenge seriously. I decided that if I could do 26 posts in that short a time, I could probably do more. The A to Z format certainly made it easier to come up with ideas.

I finished the 2012 A to Z with a hey,-I-can-do-this-blogging-thing attitude, further reinforcing Kristen Lamb’s yes-you-can-do-it encouragement.

Of course, blogging daily is tricky to do what with all the other commitments in life, so I settled into a doable pattern of two to three blog posts a week and continued through November of 2012 before taking a break because of family health issues. When that 2013 A to Z Challenge flashed around the Internet, I was hooked again!


In May of 2012, I traveled to Tuscany and Rome in Italy for two weeks with my sister-in-law and two other friends and found many topics to writevilla-Il Cortile del Borgo about there. We rented a villa named Il Borghetto near San Gimignano and wrote about that. We visited other intriguing Italian cities, and I wrote about them: Florence, Lucca, Sienna, Pisa, aother charming towns. We traveled to Rome, and I wrote about our adventures there, staying in an old family-run hotel near Piazza Navona.

After Italy, I returned to Southern New Jersey and wrote about surprising things there: blueberry festivals, derecho (severe wind storm), veggie farms, Relay for Life, Ocean City, and a few other events of interest in my home state. And I added recipes for my favorite foods using “Jersey Fresh” vegetables and fruits.

For the 2013 A to Z Challenge, I have focused more on Writing PLUS Grammar-You-Can-See. Let’s just wait-and-see what comes along next!

Thanks, again, to all my faithful friends and followers. You truly are the best. My blogging adventure has been fun, though I must admit it has had its hours and hours moments of frustration. The learning curve is steep, but it does level off get less steep as you move along. Just keep writing!


Here’s a post from Ellen Gregory, a WANA112 friend, on her recent accomplishment of writing 200 posts. It’s so nice to see my blogger friends hit their own milestones. Congratulations, Ellen.

The Last Meow

Of course, kitties have been a big part of my blog. They always have something smart to say. They really don’t care for myTerribly Cute pic...cat attitude grammar posts, but they seem to like the rest of my blog topics. They celebrate with me on our 10,000 views. After all, that means they get 10,000 views, too. No grumpy cats here!

Meow for now.   ={^;^}=

Saturday Silliness: Where do cats sleep?

S is for Saturday Silliness (on S Day). Popular blog reposted.

Janice Hall Heck

Where do cats sleep? Like 800-pound gorillas, cats sleep anywhere they want.

Cats pride themselves on NOT being ordinary. They are creative, inventive, independent, unique creatures. They have live-and-let-live attitudes (unless you forget to feed them or interrupt their naps), and they have the most flexible bones in the world. Cats have their own point of view on just about everything.

Here are a few amusing kitty siestas spots as found on And My Cat, Petflow, Cat Swag, E-Cute, 1,000,000 Pictures, or from Internet friends.


What is the most unusual place you have seen a cat sleep? And where is your favorite place for a cat-nap?

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