A Few of My Favorite Things – #MFRWauthor

My friends at Marketing For Romance Writers came up with a challenge this year.  As writers, we struggle to keep content engaging and fresh for you, Dear Reader, and so the Weekly Blogging Challenge was born.  Each week, we’re given a topic as a prompt.  We work with a partner, and together egg each other on to post.  The objective is to blog once a week for the entire year – so look forward to some interesting posts, as I’m enjoying writing them for you.  The posts go live on Fridays.

Our first prompt is, “A Few of My Favorite Things.”

That’s a toughie – I have so many.  Just off the cuff, I’d have to say cats, yarn, coffee, books, and chocolate.  But I also like dogs, horses, words, psyanky, candles, bubble baths, tea, fine china, jewelry, crafts, friends, travel, cars, boats, really amazing recreational vehicles…

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Want to play too?  Visit WordClouds to make your own word cloud.

What about you, Dear Reader?  What are a few of your favorite things?

Happy Thanksgiving! A Blog Festival and Giveaway

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Now, more than ever, we need to remember all that we have for which to be grateful.  Our abundance will give us the strength to understand what we have the power to change, but also all that we already have.  True wealth is internal.  Freedom can be compromised, but liberty is internal.  Love is a verb.  And know this:  never be ashamed for reading what you enjoy, for relaxing and recharging your batteries, and for closing out the noise that has become much louder of late.  Reading, and writing, are radical acts.

And so, in the spirit of the holidays, I share with you my posts on The Romance Studio, and an opportunity to win our grand prize of a $100 USD Amazon gift card, as well as prizes from participating authors – not to mention, tons of great content.  Please enjoy, and remember: writers are people too, and we are emotional beings just like you.  A comment, even just to say thanks for posting, can warm hearts bruised by so much craziness.  It only takes a moment, but it’s a valuable gift that will bring a smile to the face of your favorite authors.  Trust me.  I’m one of them.  🙂

Love,

Noony

My posts for the party (will go live as they’re posted throughout the party):

Saturday, November 19, 2016

  1. Vital vs Urgent
  2. Quiet the Echo Chamber
  3. Six Weeks
  4. Simple Abundance
  5. The Artist’s Way

Sunday, November 20, 2016

  1. NaNo – Why You Should Care
  2. Consequences:  Where Story Is
  3. Writing and Mental Health
  4. Memoir, Family, Preserving the Past
  5. Recipes of a Bygone Era

Monday, November 21, 2016

  1. Cauliflower Potatoes
  2. White Bean Pasta
  3. Exercise & Holidaze
  4. Going Caffeineless
  5. The Pecan Pie Debate:  Chocolate or No Chocolate?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

  1. Introduction to Persis
  2. Why Keepers?
  3. Food in Other Places
  4. Resting in Plain Sight – Aroma Shower
  5. Take a Bath!  Salts & Oils

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

  1. Introduction to Chicagoland
  2. Travel in Place
  3. Gather Locally – Meetup
  4. Strength in Numbers
  5. Thank You

 

Write! Promptly! Writing Prompt! Free Workshop, Having Fun with Writing Prompts

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Have you always wanted to write?  Are you already a writer, but stalled in getting words on the page?  Are you a working author who needs some exercises to keep limber?  Just looking for a good time?  ~leer~

Well, you’ve come to the write place.  Join me at Coffee Time Romance, the award-winning forum for readers and authors.  For the next two weeks, June 12th through June 25th, I’ll be your facilitator for “Having Fun with Writing Prompts.”  Together, we’ll play on the page, write a lot, and just keep ourselves occupied with words.  Lots, and lots, and lots of words.

Sound like fun?  Great!  Join me!

Coffee Time Romance Forum,
“Having Fun with Writing Prompts,”
Facilitated by A. Catherine Noon

Walking In This World – Literally

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My “Walking in the World” feature is meant to be metaphorical, in terms of a “flora and fauna” report, as author Julia Cameron terms it, and not literally as a report about walking.

Not today, Dear Reader.  Not today.

In the late 80’s, I injured my knee catastrophically while downhill skiing.  I was a racer, but on that sunny Saturday, I sat down to wait for a friend to join me on the main face of the mountain.  When she skied up, I stood up.  My knee dislocated for the twelfth and, though I didn’t know it then, final time.

My parents, unhappy with the idea of a jock daughter, failed to have it properly looked at.  I was given an immobility brace for three weeks and no x-rays, and that was it.  By the time I saw a surgeon fifteen years later, the damage was done.  He seemed stunned when he walked in the room with my radiographs.  I had a small bone broken off and floating under the patella, a meniscal tear, and my patella itself was off by 16 degrees.  I had no cartilage left on either sides of the knee:  advanced osteoarthritis.

I was thirty-three.

The surgery was a success, by all accounts, and they were able to go in arthroscopically and not have to cut the knee open.  (Uh, good…?)  I had six months of physical therapy and thought that was it.  I was done.  The PT place didn’t give me any exercises to continue and I was released back to my normal workout routine.

About three years later, my husband and I decided to go on an Outward Bound Dogsledding trip for nine days in the Boundary Waters, that zone between the U.S. and Canada at the top of Minnesota and the middle of nowhere.

My doctor stared at the sheet of paper that I needed her to sign:  “Medical Release Form.”  All students of Outward Bound over the age of twenty-five are required to get one signed by a doctor.

“So, tell me about this knee of yours.”

Shit.

In the end, she did sign the form, but under protest.  She insisted the only way she would do it is if I went to Rehabilitation Institute in Chicago to see an orthopedic specialist there.  If you’re not familiar with pro sports, this is one of the places in the country they send, for example, injured NFL players in an effort to prevent them being taken completely out of the sport, or car accident victims who might never walk again.

And, apparently, me.

Six months it took me.  My physical therapist was a specialist too, with a PhD.  She and my doctor consulted, and they consulted with my primary physician.  I didn’t need further surgery, they said.  I asked if I could jog, ever again.

“Maybe,” the orthopod hedged.

“Maybe depending on what, maybe?”

“If you do everything I tell you to do.”  He shrugged and pulled up his pant leg, revealing a surgery scar by his knee that was bigger than my three small dots.  Small, but not invisible.  “I jog.”  He let his pants down.  “But it took me a lot of work.”

Okey dokey.

That weekend, I went to the zoo with my family.  We walked all over.  I wore some cute new shoes I’d gotten at a discount chain store in my neighborhood, the kind that regularly holds “BOGO” specials (“Buy One, Get One).

The poor quality of the shoe didn’t even occur to me, until the next day when my knee swelled up to the size of a Chicago softball.

When I went to RIC that week for my appointment, my physical therapist was horrified.  “What did you do?”

“I went to the zoo,” I said, and burst into tears.

When I got home, I threw out every single pair of shoes that I owned, except for the pair of athletic New Balance that the specialized shoe store gave me on doctor’s orders, (the doc even gave me a special piece of paper to take with me so they’d know what kind of shoes to give me), the one pair of office-quality shoes, and a pair of loafer-like black flats – also from the same store.

Okay, I kept the two pairs of four-inch heels, one a gorgeous, unusual emerald green leather, and the other ruby like the Ruby Slippers.

I couldn’t bear to throw them out for another ten months, even though I didn’t wear them ever again.

Okay, that’s not true.  I tried wearing them at work one day.  One day.  And I had to take them off by 11:30.

Today, I can walk.  A lot.  I can do three miles in an hour, and if I’m gentle, I can do all day at the zoo.  I can actually jog to catch a bus, as long as it’s not more than a half-block or so.  I can do squats, and just yesterday with my new physical trainer, I sat down with my weight on only one leg, while holding the other leg in the air.  I didn’t think I could do it, and I had to “spot” my injured leg, but it worked, God damn it.  Three sets of five.

Walking in this world isn’t just metaphor.  We’re physical beings.  It’s easy to forget that, when we’re on the computer and sucked into the echo chamber.  But if you’re not going to the gym on a regular basis, give it a shot.  Even if all you do is walk, it’s enough.

Tue Cent Twosday – New Age Foo Foo

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I admit it. I read all sorts of stuff. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Stuff that defies description, but after you read it and someone asks you what you read, you’re all, “Um, stuff.”

When I was about fifteen, I got very curious in the nature of the soul and the existence of God. I blame this, appropriately enough, on my parents. (Isn’t everything their fault?) More specifically, it’s my dad. See, he studied to be a priest when he was in college. Nine years of becoming a Paulist Father (they’re the order involved with the media – television, radio, that kind of thing). He dropped out two months before he was to be ordained, citing significant philosophical uncertainty in the divinity of Christ.

All well and good, except that in first grade, my parents enrolled me in Catholic school.

Sorta confusing, you say? Tell me!

So what’s all this got to do with New Age Foo Foo? Well, when I was fifteen, my dad started studying Zen Buddhism. Now, when a man with a Masters in Philosophy, a B.A. in Theology, and a classical education decides to study something, they don’t fool around. Only trouble is, my dad doesn’t speak or read Japanese. Accordingly, copies of D.T. Suzuki and Lao Tzu started showing up all over his house. I asked him, “Dad, why do you have five – no, six – copies of Suzuki on the dining room table?” “Well, I’m studying Zen Buddhism. And I don’t read Japanese.”

“Um, Dad? These are all in English…?”

“Yes, dear.”

Why, Dad? Why do you have six copies of Suzuki in English, to study Zen Buddhism, because you don’t read Japanese?”

“Those are all by different translators.”

It was then that I began to understand Zen. A little.

I’m very proud of the fact that I did not once take a nerf bat to his head.

Thought about it, though.

“Okay. You have six copies of D.T. Suzuki, all by different translators, in English because you don’t read Japanese, because you’re studying Zen Buddhism. WHY?”

“Because it’s the only way I can get as close as possible to the original language. See, it’s like this. Each translator sees the language a little differently, so they translate it a little differently. By reading them and comparing them, I can get as close as possible to the original language without actually speaking Japanese.”

Ask a stupid question…

So we started discussing Zen Buddhism. At dinner. Over ice cream. While doing chores.

And you know what? That stuff is kind of interesting! I started to ask about theology in general, and we were off. We talked about Saint Thomas Aquinas, who interpreted the works of Aristotle for the Church, we talked about religious hysteria when I subscribed for a while to a magazine called The Plain Truth, we talked about God and concepts of deity…

Fast forward to college. I got interested in different religions and went to church or temple with anyone who would take me. In college, I met some Wiccans and got invited to come to a ritual with them. I was, naturally, interested. One of the books they gave me was by a woman named Anodea Judith, a Western-trained Jungian psychologist who became interested in Eastern healing modalities. She wrote a book called The Sevenfold Journey, which is a primer about the chakras for Westerners. I loved it! Set up like a workbook, it has exercises for people to try, all associated with the individual chakras. (If you don’t know what a chakra is, hold on, I’ll tell you.) It had journal exercises, of course, but what I like about it is it has physical ones too, and music, spirituality, all sorts of things. You don’t have to change your religion to go through it, either – it explains the concepts and gives you stuff to do and think about.

A chakra is an ancient Hindu concept, which roughly translates to “spinning wheel.” And no, I did NOT read six different texts by different translators to find this out; I’ll trust Anodea Judith’s definition. The idea is that we have these wheels in our body, associated with major intersections of nerves. This makes a lot of sense to me, actually, since nerves transmit electrochemical impulses. The idea that there is an ‘energy’ associated with that transmission seems plausible, since electricity is energy. There are several chakra systems, depending who you talk to. Judith teaches about seven major ones.

What does this have to do with writing?

Good question. Judith has a number of tools in her books, not just The Sevenfold Journey, that allow a person to ruminate on themselves and their place in the universe. I figure, I’ll snag one or two each issue and share my thoughts about them. If you want to try them in the privacy of your own morning pages, more power to you.

I won’t, though, translate for you.

 

This was originally posted on my now discontinued blog, Noonsense, 07/27/2010.

Gone Visiting – Monday Road Trip, Jingle, Jangle, Jungle

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In 2014, when I participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge, they had a neat feature for the post-challenge period called the A to Z Road Trip.  Visiting other blogs in the list and commenting allowed the participant to hit blogs they didn’t get to during the challenge itself.  While I’m not sure if they’ll have this for the 2016 challenge, I figured what the hay, I’ll do it on my own.

My visit today is to a blog called Jingle, Jangle, Jungle: a blog about music, artists, and the stories behind them.

The theme for this year is “Women In Music.”  Wow!  What a neat idea.  Plus, this blogger finished all their posts in February – a feat in and of itself, I might add.  Even a death in the family and a serious fall didn’t deter from the challenge itself, and that’s even more impressive.  Sort of takes all the excuses for not writing and throws them out the window.  This is, all things considered, a good thing.

Happy blogging!

Make Something Monday – and I Cleaned Out a Bin!

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Yesterday, I got a wild hair to rummage in my craft storage bins for some yarn that I bought waaaay back when I first started to knit.  I put it away, thinking I’d make a sleeveless sweater or something for the holidays.

Only, I’d bought four skeins, which isn’t enough for a sweater.

And so it’s languished in the bin for ~cof~ years ~cof~.  I also got some very difficult, fussy eyelash yarn of an eye-catching red.  I tried mixing it with this gorgeous stuff and it looked awful.  Rather than looking like a fur border, it looked like, well, a mess.

I’m not sure what magical alchemy happened yesterday.  Mercury is retrograde; maybe it’s that.  No clue.  But in I walked to my office, let my fingers do the walking through my binventory (I made up a word!!), and voila – new project glee.

Only one problem.  What the eff do I make, if not the sweater I’d been procrastinating?

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The yarn is a lovely, skooshie Plymouth 24k in a red and gold, complete with gold flecks.  I could do a rectangular shawl with thin tassels, (once I learn how to spell tassels ~fail~).  I could do a necklace or beads.

Hmm.  That’s actually not a bad idea.  I have four balls of it; I could use three for a triangle shawl and the one remaining ball for some jewelry.

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I started with a garter stitch border and then started yarn over increases three stitches in on each side.  When I had enough of an edge to make the point strong, I started two yarn overs in the center.  I’m going to do Little Arrowhead Lace from Barbara Walker’s Volume I, and then in the center, I think I’ll do budding branch once I have enough on either side of the center spine.

Oh.  As I’m writing this, there are really two centers, one on either side of the spine.  Hmm.  I can do buds, but have them mirror each other.  Facing center, or facing out?  I’ll noodle on that, but I’m thinking facing center.

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I got pretty far yesterday.

And I did not allow Kolya to eat the yarn.  Or chew on the needles.  Or steal the project bag so he could gnaw on the plastic.

Right.  I decided to be a textile artist in a house full of cats.  Brilliant.

What are you making this Monday?