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Countdown Wednesday

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Today we are counting down things we believe.

Things Mom Believes

35. Writing is a tough job. Being a teacher was a tough job, too. And so is being a college supervisor…. The bottom line is – I guess all jobs are tough. That’s why they’re called work and not a party.

THIS is a party!

THIS is a party!

 2. Book 2 and/or e-Book 2 will happen eventually. Learning her craft, writing a lot, reading a lot, and submitting sometimes is what writers do. Getting rejected a lot is also what writers do. So, Mom is doing what writers do. Mission accomplished.

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16. Author visits are fun. Mom has 2 school visits scheduled in the next few weeks. She believes they are one of the best parts of being an author. She will talk, read, ask and answer questions, and play games. Author visits are not my favorite.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

…bye… SERIOUSLY??

Things I Believe

6. Watching The Puppy Bowl is a tough job.

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I am sure I could’ve made a hundred touchdowns, spiked the ball, the pig, the monkey, and the rubber chicken, and done the victory dance like crazy. If only I could figure out how to get inside the TV.

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Hullo…?

21. Read to a Pet Night will happen eventually. All I need to do is look cute, wait for Mom to get ready,

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be a good girl on my ParkIt Mat, and soon the kids will come and read to me.

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Mission accomplished.

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3. Snow is fun. I like walking and running in the snow, as long as it doesn’t touch my belly. Sometimes the snow gets crazy and blows my ears out like wings and makes my eyes get all squinchy. Slightly less fun, but aside from street nap weather, snow is my next favorite.

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Five Word Friday

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Today’s 5 words are from one of the stories that Mom recently finished. She will stop looking at it for a couple of weeks, and then she will start working on it again to make it better.

14. Doze – If you’re a dog like me, you LOVE dozing.

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When I doze, I dream of treats, the park,

img_3207my toys, and riding in the car. If you’re a writer like Mom, dozing is a good way to get ideas. Just be sure to keep your phone nearby so you can type them in and not forget them!

Wait... Are those giant swans staring at me...?

Wait… What? Are those giant swans staring at me…?

62. Cruising – Speaking of the car, cruising in Mom’s car is one of my favorite activities ever.

img_2505Cruising takes me to work at the VA, to play at the library, to McDonald’s for ice cream,

ice cream cone

Before…

helping eat the ice cream

After…

and of course to the park.

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7. Thankful – I am thankful for a lot of things. One of them is toys. I love these guys.

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29. Morning – Mom does her writing work in the morning on most days. I help her by staying close by and watching and listening carefully. Without me, she would not even be a writer. It’s as simple as that.

watching work

5. Cowered – When I first saw a pumpkin, I cowered in my doorway and Mom couldn’t get me past that hateful thing.

Uh-oh! Pumpkin demons...

Scared ears…

I still don’t like pumpkins very much, but I am getting braver about a lot of other Halloween decorations.

Hullo...

Hullo…

 

Work in Progress

Around my neighborhood, there are a few works in progress. This vine is definitely a work in progress – trying to grow something. Mom says, “Maybe pumpkins.” I hope not. *shiver* Either way, the flowers are there, but it looks like it needs another year (or ten) before anything will pop out to scare the daylights out of me.

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This pile of …. I don’t know what – is another work in progress. Sometimes it seems like road salt, but sometimes, it looks like mulch. I guess it’ll make up its mind eventually.

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When Mom was a teacher, she used to stamp her kids’ first drafts with a rubber stamp that read, “Under Construction.”

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The kids thought it was fun. Plus that stamp told them to work on revising and proofreading their stories for a little while longer so they would be ready to hang on the bulletin board.

This month, Mom is studying in Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class.

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Her new story is a work in progress and is under construction in a big way. Every morning, Susanna teaches Mom what to do next in order to have a finished story by the end of the month. Mom does each step and then posts it to their Facebook page so her classmates can see it and talk about it with her. She thinks it’s fun to have a work in progress that moves closer to completion every day.

Something else is a work in progress at our house. A whole box of orange snowball cakes.

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Mom is trying hard to eat them all herself. I offered to help, but she said, “No thanks.” and “Dogs can’t eat chocolate.”

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and “Your behavior is DEFINITELY under construction.”

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

~Garth Stein~

Writers cannot be afraid to lose. Rejection is part of the game plan. Rejections happen so that a writer’s work can improve. Rejections are also the path to finding the right home for a piece of writing. Rejection = wrong home. Acceptance = right home. (That goes for shelter dogs too! Just sayin’.)

My first day at my forever home.

My first day at my forever home.

Mom is not afraid. I mean, yes – she’s afraid of bugs. And spiders. And the dark. And germs. And Chinese restaurants (long story). And earthworms (don’t ask). But when it comes to being an author, NOTHING scares her.

Last week, she did a different kind of author visit. She was a guest at Disability Awareness Day. She talked to over 200 kids – a group at a time – at her table.

table

They also touched the pages of Mom’s book in Braille, typed their names into the iPad to see how they look in Braille, solved puzzles, tested their sense of touch with the objects in Mom’s Touch Box , and walked with their eyes closed using the cane to feel their way around.

Type your name at Braillebug.

Type your name at BrailleBug.

Mom signed books for a bunch of kids, teachers, and parents.

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It was a LOT of fun. Plus a LOT of talking, so Mom needed some tea with honey and a few gingersnaps when she got home. And yes – she shared a gingersnap with me!

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Last month, Mom tried to take me hiking. Talk about a losing proposition. The trail we tried was icy, muddy, overgrown, and STEEP. But did that scare us away? ….Yes!

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…But not for long. Today we tried again – on a different trail.

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It was sunny, well-marked, flat, clear, and wide. We didn’t win any races, but we are in the game. And not afraid to lose.

Hitchhiker butterfly - also in the game....

GAH! Hitchhiker butterfly – also in the game….

Old and New

Mom bought me something new.

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It’s an IQ toy that helps me be smart. I learned all my old IQ toys…

…so now I am studying my new one. It has blocks, a spinning layer, and TREATS hidden inside. Sometimes new things are better than old things.

Sometimes they’re not! My old snowman used to look like this.

Awesome snowman!

Awesome snowman!

Then he looked like this.

Less awesome snowman.

Less awesome snowman.

And now he looks like this.

Wait. What?

Worst. Snowman. Ever.

The new snowman has no rock buttons (that looked like cookies), no stick arms with twig hands, and no carrot nose. He’s barely a snowman at all.

These days, Mom is working on some old stories…

Old.

Old.

.. and some new stories.

New!

New!

She writes her new story for a while, then she yanks out an old story and punches it. I mean punches it up. She adds in some new things, takes out some old things, and moves some things around.

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That’s called punching. ….Up. It makes old things new and new things old – till they get punched up too.

Mom says, “What was I thinking?” and “This sounds SO much better.” and “GAH! Toy squirrels are everywhere!”

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

Start before you’re ready.

~Steven Pressfield~

When you’re an author, getting started can be tough. Blank screen. Blank mind. Blank look in your eyes.

Wait. What?

Wait. What?

Blankness happens to me a lot. It also happens to Mom when she’s starting a new story. She’s never REALLY ready to write. So she has to take Steven Pressfield’s advice and start anyway. She doesn’t start at the computer, though. She starts in her head. Mom always lets ideas sit up there inside her brain for a while before she starts something new. Mind-writing.

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She mind-writes while we’re walking,

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while we’re cuddling,

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while we’re decorating,

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and she even did some mind-writing while we visited Santa.

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Mom says, “It’s not about how you start.” and “It’s not about when you start.” and “All that matters is that you start….and finish.”

the end

And I say, “Maybe we can just mind-write a little more…”

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Sharing

Mom went to a school visit last week to share her book with some 5th graders.

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They were a wonderful audience and asked lots of fun questions. They are also writers and are working on writing their very own pictures books! Mom wasn’t too surprised by this because their teacher used to be one of Mom’s students, way back when Mom was a teacher. She was a smart little girl and lots of fun. Now she is a smart 5th grade teacher and still lots of fun. Here she is when she was little – she’s the one in the pink dress standing right next to Mom.

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In fact – when that 5th grade teacher was in Mom’s class, she brought a praying mantis egg case to school for show and tell and it opened up and released tons of praying mantis babies all over Mom’s classroom! And THAT’S what Mom wrote about in Humpty Dumpty Magazine this month in her story called Show and Tell Surprise.

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She shared that story with the 5th graders and gave them a copy of the magazine to keep in their classroom.

Joan and me

Mom loves sharing. Sometimes she shares with me. We share the big chair in the living room,

chair

we share the bed,

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she shares her coffee,

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and her car.

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And if I beg hard enough, sometimes she shares her food with me.

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On Monday, Mom will share ME with the 5th graders! Yes, it’s true. They invited me to come along for the ride when Mom goes back to visit them and deliver some books. Road trip!

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