Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “Blog Every Day in May”

Only Pictures: Garden Critters

Blog Every Day in MayBlogEverday[1]

Prompt 28: Only Pictures

Chipmunk Sitting on Cat

Chipmunk Sitting on Cat

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Pokey and Grumpy Cat in the Garden

Pokey and Grumpy Cat in the Garden

The Last Meow

Shhhhh. I'm watching the garden critters.

Shhhhh. I’m watching the garden critters.

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Thou Good and Faithful Servant

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May Prompt 25

Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad).

I am not a praise junkie. I tend to evaluate my own work and person perhaps more harshly than another person might. I am a bit of a perfectionist (I wrote about that here in My Top Three Terrible Traits), and I am perhaps more critical of myself and my work than need be.

But I shuffled through the pile of compliments given to me about aspects of my life, work, and relationships and remembered them with gratitude and smiles. I appreciate everyone of those comments as well as the givers who gave them to me. Then I sifted through the much smaller stack of petty barbs of the kind that we all get now and then and decided to just let them go. They didn’t matter then, and they certainly don’t matter now.

I dwelt on several compliments thinking they might be worthy of retelling. But really, what’s the point?

Instead, a comment made in church this morning caused this Bible verse, memorized as a child, to pop into my thoughts, and I realized that this is the comment I long to hear one day:

King James 2000 Bible (©2003) Matthew 25: 21 and 23
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your lord.

My hope is that one day, My Lord will say to me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

The Last Meowcat praying...3

I am not sleeping on my feet. I am praying. Be a little more respectful.

Meow for now. ={^;*}=

Auntie Rant Rant

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May. Prompt 22: Rant about something. . .

Rants. Do they really work?

When I see rants on WordPress, Blogger, Facebook, or other social media, I slide right on over them. (Well, I should say, with the exception of my fellow writers in the Blog Every Day in May Challenge which has mandated that we rant today. I am reading those!)

Looking askance at those other non-BEDM ranters, I tell them judgmentally to get a life, before I move right on to something else. Life is hard enough without others superimposing on me their negative diatribes of problems that are outside my realm of control.

People rant about a lot of things: traffic, social media, drivers who text, cold food in restaurants, long waits in restaurants, political issues, social issues, financial issues, long blog posts, hot rooms, cold rooms, late airplanes, slow elevators, ads attached to YouTube videos, vacuum cleaners that don’t work correctly. . . . The list could go on forever. There’s always something in life that irritates.


I must admit to loving grammar rants. I love to pick them apart and find their errors (stop looking for errors here, please). The errors can always be found. They rant in haste and err in haste. And in the end, what does the rant accomplish. Nothing.

Let’s all be grateful for what we have. I am thankful that the majority of bloggers I follow are generally non-ranters, but even so, their REQUIRED rants in the BEDM have made me chuckle. They are so true!

(Ha. Spell Check wants me to change non-ranters to non-renters! It didn’t like non-BEDM as an adjective, and oh, by the way, it didn’t tell me I had the wrong “auntie” in the title. Oh well, Spell Check is not perfect. And look how many ways you can write Spell Check: Spellcheck, spellcheck, spell-check, spell check, spell checker, and more. Would you call that an identity crisis? (YouTube has this same identify crisis!)

The Last Meow.

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times: You can call me anything you want, but don’t call me late for dinner!


Meow for now.  ={^;^}=

Favorite Posts from My Archives


Blog Every Day in May, Prompt 21:  A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives.

Those wonderful WordPress stats have identified my most popular posts over the past year:


Italy: It’s 4 P.M.  Have You Had Your Gelato Yet?  2012/05/30

Italy: A Visit to Tuscany  2012/05/16


New Jersey: My Home State

Got Blueberries? 2012/07/12

Easy-Peasey Blueberry Tart

Easy-Peasey Blueberry Tart

Bike MS: City-to-Shore  2012/9/30


B is for Big Brother’s Bits about Being Blind  2012/04/03

Adam cross-country skiing with Ski for Light buddies

Adam cross-country skiing with Ski for Light buddies

Social Media:

They Laughed When I Sat Down to Twitter  2012/03/22


This post did not get many comments, but it got a surprising number of views.

Q is for Quirky Dreams, Susie Q, and Prepositional Phrases  2013/04/20

The Last Meow.

And my cat....must be fed before you have coffeeReruns. Blah. I hate reruns. I’d better go take a nap.

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

Five Great Writing Blogs

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May Prompt: Five of Your Favorite Blogs

Five Favorite Blogs?
Impossible. I have five favorite blogs in each of many categories: writing, blogging, photography, travel, hiking, cooking, YA, children’s literature, nonfiction writing, and more. I collect blog links in my WordPress Reader and try to read through them as often as I can, sometimes daily.
Yes, I know, it is a form of procrastination, but it is also supportive to my writer friends. How’s that for justification?
So I’ll do several posts over a period of time (undesignated) in which I name my favorite bloggers in these other categories as well.
I’ll start with my five favorite writing blogs:
1. Victoria Grefer at Creative Writing with the Crimson League and at VictoriaGrefer.   thecrimsonleague
A New Orleans girl, Victoria has written five novels including the Herezoth Trilogy: The Crimson League (Book 1), The Magic Council (Book 2), and The King’s Son (Book 3).
While I don’t consider myself a fan of fantasy writing, I do enjoy the writing tips that Victoria posts on this creative writing blog. She writes about character development, dialogue, and plot, a well as outlines, first drafts, marketing, and so much more. Her tips help you look more critically at your own writing and can be applied to both fiction and nonfiction. Besides, Victoria loves cats, and that gives her bonus points in my book.

Here’s one of Victoria’s posts: Bloggers-Authors: The Benefits of Simple Style and Structure in Your Writing.

2. Ellen Gregory: to beyond and backEllen Gregory
Ellen, an Aussie from Melbourne, works in communications, specializing in science, technology, engineering, and specialist industry sectors. If that isn’t enough, she writes fantasy fiction. Her blog posts covers three themes: A to Z Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Chronicles, and Feeding the Muse (everyday inspiration). Yes, of course, Ellen has a cat.

Here’s a link to a Dungeons and Dragons post and another on Building Fantastical Worlds. These will make you want to read more of Ellen’s posts.

3. Tami Clayton, Taking Tea in the Kasbah
Tami is a YA and Middle Grades writer who loves to travel. I met her in Kristin Lamb’s WANA Group (We Are Not Alone) over a year ago. Here’s my favorite post on Tami’s blog: If You Give A Writer a TAmi ClaytonBrownie. And here’s another: Six Secrets Parents of Special Needs Children Have But Don’t Tell You.

Oh, did I mention that Tami loves cats? She builds their self-esteem by telling them frequently, “good job being a cat.” I can see that her cats rule the roost!

4.  Linda Adams: Soldier, Storyteller
I met Linda in the A to Z Challenge where she wrote a writing rule for each letter of the alphabet. Here are a couple of them: Rule D: Discipline Yourself to Write, and L: Never Stop Learning about Writing.Linda Adams

Linda served our country in the army for twelve years and was deployed in the first Persian Gulf War. Now she writes action-adventure-fantasy thrillers for our midnight reading habits. Her short story, “Six Bullets” can be found in the anthology, A Princess, A Boatman, and a Lizard: Forward Motion Anthology, 2012.

I don’t know if Linda has a cat of her own, but she posts a ton of pictures of cuddly felines on Facebook. These give me many smiles. Thanks, Linda.

5. Lillian C: Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons
I met Lillian early on in the Blog Every Day In May Challenge and have enjoyed her writing. I especially liked this post about her lillian c 2sons: Controlled Chaos. Her writing touched my heart with its vulnerability, sincerity, and honesty. She is a professional writer who lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons, and she writes fantasy. Her story, “On the Wings of the Wind” appears in this anthology, 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories.

The Last Meow

Phew. I am really tired. I need a nap. (Thinks, Linda, for sharing this picture.)  Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

cat sleeping

Photo: Bike Riding in Yosemite National Park

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May, Prompt 17

At Yosemite

At Yosemite

A favorite photo of yourself . . .

It’s hard to pick a favorite photo because I have so many family and travel photos that hold wonderful memories. But here’s one taken at  Yosemite National Park, August 12, 2001.

I was on a trip to Yosemite with my step-daughter, Lisa; her husband Randy; grandsons, Evan, Eric, Ian, Aron, and a friend; and niece-in-law Keely Hall.

We rented a cabin in Yosemite Valley and went hiking or biking every day.

This trip was perfect.

Weather: sunny and warm with cool nights for good sleeping.

Spectacular scenery: Yosemite Falls, Ribbon Falls, Half Dome (8842 ft.), El Capitan (7569 ft.), Tuolumne Meadows.

Good times with family. Here’s a picture of the rest of the crew. And for the record, we did not see any bear. Thank goodness for that.

001 (13)

The Last Meow.

Can I go camping, too? I’ll bring my own tent.

cat campingMeow for now.  =<^;^>=

Rough Lot. Smooth Lot. We Get Through and Learn.

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May, May 16. Something difficult in your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it.

So much has changed in my life over the years. Difficulties have come and gone, and I am the wiser and braver for it all.

Now in retirement, I can look back and put the rough patches in perspective. How did that struggle ultimately help me?

Whether the rough patches related to family issues, relationship issues, work issues, or personal/spiritual issues, the result is the same. I made it through.

That is not to minimize the difficult spots. Some were tough. The most difficult was the death of my first husband from cancer. I saw cancer up front, close, and personal, and I didn’t like it at all. Cancer caused a lot of physical and emotional pain for me and my family. But even that pain changed me. I became much more aware of others around me who suffered silently with their own pain. I have tried to develop a more compassionate and encouraging personality.

Here I am now.  I have a lot:

My-Heck-of-A-Guy (my newish husband, Ken) who doesn’t mind being teased and even reads my posts. We met fifty years ago and married eight years ago. (It took him a long time to make up his mind.)

My family. Though my family has shrunk through death over the years, we remain close. We have lost both parents, one brother, and one sister, four nephews, two great nieces, and two spouses. Several members of my family now have serious medical issues. We no longer have the mass holiday parties we used to have, and sometimes we have no party at all. But life goes on. We have grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and friends’ children. We celebrate life with them.

Mom's 90th Birthday-Kroey Krewe Family Reunion

Mom’s 90th Birthday-Kroey Krewe Family Reunion

My good friends. I have lived in a number of places in this world (New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Alaska, Hong Kong) and I have made good friends in each of those places. Moving to new places means some loss of contact with these friends. But now with social media, especially Facebook, I can maintain those friendships with a few words, a picture, or a joke.

My faith. Where would I be without this? It is my foundation and my source of strength.

Time to write. This is the biggest blessing for me. I have always been too busy working to take time to write, even though I loved teaching writing to students. Now in retirement, I can write to my heart’s content. The blogging challenges have gotten me going again, and I have met such good and encouraging writers in the blogosphere.

My lot in life now is good. My only minor difficulties are a slow Internet and changing eyesight that comes with age. I can deal with these.

I know. I am soooo cute.

I know. I am soooo cute.

The Last Meow

Don’t forget us. We have made your life pleasanter, haven’t we? I see you laughing when I do cute things. Wait. You’re not laughing at me, are you? Cause if you are, no more cute things!

Meow for now.  =<^:^>=

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May. Prompt 14:  Ten Things That Make Me Happy 

1. Singing with Julie Andrews,”These are a few of my favorite things: Whiskers on kittens…” All kittens as a matter of fact. And all cats, too. Here is a picture of me as a little girl with Thomasoulo, my father’s cat. My Mom told me once when I was a little tyke that I was terribly upset because my little brother, Bobby, was teasing Thomasoula and making him nervous!  No. Not sweet little Bobby! Never. He was Mom’s little angel.

Five-year-old Janice and the family cat, Thomasoulo.

Five-year-old Janice and the family cat, Thomasoulo.

2. Checking the flowers that bloom in the spring. It doesn’t matter what kind of flowers, I love them. I think I take after Mom on this one. She had a green thumb and could raise almost any flower. I didn’t inherit her green thumb, but I still love flowers.

Daffodils on the Appalachian Trail. Photo: Terry Bliss

Daffodils on the Appalachian Trail. Photo: Terry Bliss

3. Singing with the choir at Margate Community Church, Margate, NJ. My husband, Ken, (My-Heck-of-A-Guy) has been singing with this choir for over 35 years. I wandered in with him one day about nine years ago, and they let me stay. We have made some very good friends here.

Margate Community Choir

4. Singing old hymns at church. So many hymns remind me of my growing-up years, sitting next to Mom or Daddy, singing away in the ole Sunday evening hymn sing at Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Mom used to love, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.” (“He Walks with Me”) I think of her every time we sing this song in our Margate church. You can listen to it here.

Mom and Daddy, 1952, Long View, TX. at Uncle Bob Ellis's graduation from Le Tourneau Tech Institute

Mom and Daddy, 1952, Long View, TX. at Uncle Bob Ellis’s graduation from Le Tourneau Tech Institute

5. Eating out with My-Heck-of-A-Guy and having Cassie and Mandy join us when they can. Cassandra Heck and Amanda Heck are a barrel of fun with their unlimited imaginations and their playful spirits. This is my favorite picture of the two of them together. Don’t you just want to laugh looking at the picture?

Cassie and Mandy entertaining...

Cassie and Mandy entertaining…

6. Seeing new pictures of my grandchildren posted on Facebook. I just don’t see these grandchildren enough because they live in California, Arizona, and Tennesee.

Grandchildren climbing all over Grandpa Ken

Grandchildren climbing all over Grandpa Ken

7. Walking on the beach and getting sand between my toes, and then later walking on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ

Eating ice cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk with my grandchildren and their cousins.

Eating ice cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk with my grandchildren and their cousins.

8. Watching thunder and lightning storms in the summer. These storms remind me of all the times we sat as kids on our old front porch watching the lightning in the distance and waiting for the heavy rain to start. Something about a lightning storm is magical.

It was a dark and stormy night.

It was a dark and stormy night.

9. Traveling to new places with friends. It doesn’t matter where or when, anytime a friend says, “Let’s go,”  I am ready. Sometimes we have to wait a bit until our money coffers refill, but that’s okay, we still do it.

Christine, Inger-Anne, Jan, Carol in Sienna, Italy, May, 2012

Christine, Inger-Anne, Jan, Carol in Sienna, Italy, May, 2012

10. Looking through old family pictures. I have recently come across a new source for pictures (Ancestry.com, where my cousin, Bill Swartz, posted family pictures from ages ago). I have been posting some of these old pictures on Facebook and playing guessing games with my siblings and their children. Who remembers? This has been a lot of fun.

Grandmother Minnie E. Carlton feeding the chickens at Brewster Road and Vine Road.

Grandmother Minnie E. Carlton feeding the chickens at Brewster Road and Vine Road.

“These are a few of my favorite things…”

The Last Meow.

Of course, I have something to say!  Sitting in the sun is one of my very favorite things! Meow for now.   ={^:^}=001

Embarrassed? Moi?

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May. Prompt 10. Most Embarassing Moment

Me? Do something to embarrass myself? Well, yes. Regularly. Don’t you?

I did it almost daily in elementary school. I didn’t have the right clothes or the right shoes or the right hair cut. And I couldn’t hit the softball worth a darn on the playground. (And, yes, we played in dresses in those old-timey days.)  Kids teased me.  I was painfully shy, and every tease added to my shyness.  baseball 2

In retrospect, I have to say that those monumental moments of childhood embarrassment amount to a mere nothing at this point. Once I realized that other people’s opinions about me didn’t matter, then the teasing didn’t matter either. I focused more on other things and learned how to hit the softball better. By seventh grade, my classmates realized that I was one mean pitcher, and I got chosen for teams early on in the starting lineup.

Of course, as adults, our children have done their rightful duties by saying things or doing things at such opportune times that maximum benefit could be made out of the embarrassment. There was the time that. . . well, never mind. No point in going into all that. Besides, my children have children of their own now! HaHa.

Now, as an adult in my, ummmm, more mature years, I feel embarrassed when I am the center of attention. I have made my My-Heck-Of-A Husband (MHOAH) PROMISE that he would never, ever give me a surprise birthday party, anniversary party, or any other party where I would be the center of attention. It’s written in our marriage contract, right next to the clause where he promises to do all the vacuuming, and I promise to watch. We review this contract periodically, so HE KNOWS. You can see that our marriage is loaded with Double Happiness! (Double Happiness in Marriage, Guaranteed!)

She's got it right!

She’s got it right!

I let it go by when MHOAH told our church choir director, Glen, that it was my birthday last month and had the choir sing to me after our Thursday night practice. That error on MHOAH’s part was marginal. Noted, but not in concrete. I turned it around by announcing that MHOAH would bring cookies to choir practice the following week. Then when he forgot, someone in the choir embarrassed HIM by asking where they were. Got him there, didn’t I?

The Last Meowcat pink

What some humans do to us cats is embarrassing. A pink cat? Give me a break. This is not fair.

cat and dog cuddle

Dogs and cats are not supposed to be friends. So DO NOT tell anyone about this embarrassing moment in my cat life.

Meow for now.  ={^;^}=

A Cat, A Crab, and a Sunny Day (Blog Every Day in May Challenge)

DBlogEverday[1]ay 9. Prompt: A moment in your day

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! I walk outside for my moment, and I want to sing the song made famous by Mr. Rogers. You can listen to it here.  It brings back lots of memories.

This kind of day I call, “The Cat’s Meow.” It couldn’t be more perfect. Here’s one of my little friends soaking up the sun.


After weeks of cool and rainy weather, we are excited to have this perfectly lovely sunny day.

Further good news is that our local crustacean clairvoyant, hermit crab Mr. Martin Z. Mollusk, saw his shadow on the beach, Thursday, May 2. This means that summer will arrive one week early in that slightly wonky beach town, Ocean City, NJ.

Illustration credit: eaglestaleonline.com

Illustration credit: eaglestaleonline.com

Don’t laugh. This is a big deal. The Ocean City Sentinel did a half-page, six-column, six-captioned-photo article on this annual event. (The newsroom was a little slow last week.)

The Ocean City High School Band came out and played “Pomp and Circumstance,” while a whole host of critters and creatures (Shelly the Mermaid, Dr. Ernest Frankestein, Mr. Trash Buster, Mama Llama, Nurse Perfect, and others) paraded down the beach to the shadow-checking ceremony. You can peek at the whole crabby ceremony here.

Photo credit: David Nahan, Ocean City Sentinel

Photo credit: David Nahan, Ocean City Sentinel

Listen, when you live in a small, coastal town in Southern New Jersey, you do anything you can to lighten things up after a dreary winter. And why predict the weather in the coldest part of the winter like that Pennsylvania Puxtapuny groundhog guy (or whatever his name is).  By the way,  the word “winter” is not in the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce vocabulary bank. They say that summer unofficially arrives on January 1. But what do they know? I think they are just in denial.

This Martin Z. Mollusk shadow-checking ceremony is all serious business. Dr. Frankenstein took great care to determine Martin’s fitness for beach duty and declared that Martin was healthy and free of illegal sea-roids.

Photo credit. nbc40.net

Photo credit. nbc40.net

Now, seriously, don’t you want to visit Ocean City, NJ and take part in these shenanigans history-making events?

And don’t forget. In early August every year, you can participate in the Miss Crustacean Hermit Crab Pageant. Rumor has it that a representative of the Krabdashian family attended the bash last year. A big feature of this annual pageant is the Hermit Crab King of Klutz Race.  Better make your reservations now for this event.  Well, I bet it will even rival the Miss American Pageant when it returns home to Atlantic City this September.

Photo credit: Travel Times Magazine

Photo credit: Travel Times Magazine

The Last Meow

Oh, so what’s the big deal over there on the beach?
A hermit crab that predicts an early summer?
Give me a break. I coulda told ya that.
I have supernatural powers, too, ya know.

Meow for now.  =(^;^)=

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