Half fiinished
Celebrate the process!


Well, my goal had been to finish a novel in 12 weeks.  I’ve finished a little over half of my 65,000 word suspense mystery —35,000 words.  I could beat myself up, let myself feel like I’ve failed.  Instead, I’ll not only forge ahead but celebrate what I’ve managed to accomplish.


First, I need to thank Colin who works so hard out of the home.  He is—in every way—my art patron. Without his support, I would not be able to write.

So, I took a good, long look at what else I’ve done over the past three months WHILE working on my novel:


Mom Time 1

Approx. 500 hours of ‘quality time’ with my daughter.  Playing together, reading together, working on crafts and art projects, taking her to afterschool activities like her book club and First Communion classes (as non-Catholics) and Zumba, spa-fun afternoons, helping with homework, listening to problems and helping her find solutions, styling hair, swimming together, shopping for shoes (never ending!), volunteering on school field trips, attending special school functions like talent shows and family fun nights, planning March break and Professional Development day activities, occasional ‘home schooling’, playing board games, watching family movies, going to splash parks, planning  and then hosting her 8th birthday party (which included homemade invitations and cake), weekly trips to the library and selecting appropriate reading material, painting and ‘tweening-up’ her bedroom (a two week family project), cuddling, attending to those ‘teaching moments,’ nightly prayers.

Mom Time 2

Approx. 600 hours of taking care of my family. cooking and baking, making daily smoothies, preparing and packing school lunches and snacks, doing dishes by hand, laundry (including hanging up two loads a week), sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, grocery shopping, garbage and recycling, general tidying-up, preparing weekend picnics and family take-along-lunches, gifts for friend’s birthdays, Easter (’nuff said), costumes assembled for talent show/grade 2 production, school forms signed and Scholastic books ordered, teacher/parent communication, photographing special moments.

Mom Time 3 

Approx. 60 hours of being ‘Doctor Mom.’ General first aid, trip to the hospital, nursing a knee injury, caring for a patient with the stomach flu, administering cold medication, application of sunblock.

Kitty Mom Time 4 

Approx. 40 hours. Rescuing a kitten, bottle feeding, cuddling, litterbox training, bathing, shopping, weaning and teaching my daughter about what is involved in caring for a very young pet (3 weeks old.)

Also, in the midst of all this, my sister had a heart attack, and I did my best to support her by making her several meals and caring for my niece for a few days. I was so worried about her that I had a hard time concentrating on anything else.  She is better!  I think it scared me more than it did her.

I entered CV2’s two day poetry contest in April and gave it my all. (about 20 hours) There are six placements.  If I win even a nod?  I’ll turn cartwheels.

Add to this? Our building’s hallways are being renovating , and I am constantly hearing workmen on the other side of our door.  Picture trying to write as you hear someone ripping out a carpet.

I hope to write 10 pages a week over the summer …   This will mostly be done between 10 pm and midnight.

I’m enjoying the writing process. And I’m enjoying life at the same time.

Carpe Diem, People!


Top 50 Movies to Watch Instead of Trump’s Inauguration


Well, many of us WON’T be watching Trump’s inauguration. Some will read, spend time with family, clean out clutter, pray, weep, hit their heads against the wall,  wonder what the hell happened.
And some will be watching something else.
Why not watch a movie that peacefully protests the mocking, the grabbing, the KKK parading, the wall building, cabinet choices, the Islamophobia, the homophobia… Rent, download, look through your own movie library, call friends, have a “Boycott the Bull” party and revisit a favourite flick or check out something that you’ve always meant to see.
What follows is a list of movies I highly recommend that will validate your decision and remind you WHY you AREN’T watching as Trump slithers into the White House.

My Top 50 Recommendations

My Left Footthe-theory-of-everything
Children of a Lesser God
The Miracle Worker
Soul Surfer
The Theory    of Everything
The Horse Whisperer


12 Years a Slave
Crash (2004)
The Help
Amazing Grace
Malcolm X
The Colour Purple
North Country
Thelma and Louise
Girl, Interrupted
The Stepford Wives
The Hours
The Passion of Joan Arc


Like Water for Chocolate
Real Women Have Curveshow-dare-anyone-tell-me
Mad Hot Ballroom
Silent Light
The Vanished Elephant



The Kite Runner
American East
Slum Dog Millionaire
The War You Don’t See
Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority
Rachel: An American Conscience


An Inconvenient Truth
Black Hole
the 11th Hour
Under the Dome
Vanishing of the Bees
Unacceptable Levels
If a Tree Falls


Boys Don’t Cry
Brokeback Mountain
The Birdcage
The Danish Girl

Tell Trump he isn’t worth the time by putting him on “ignore.”


And share this list, please! Tune Trump OUT as he’s sworn in.

So, What is Creativity?


Today, I’m thinking about creativity.

As a former Early Childhood Educator who has studied child development and curriculum, I recognize that creativity is a process, not a finished project. Creativity is about forming original ideas. Creativity gives full freedom to explore both environment and materials.  Creativity, at its core, is about observation, independent thinking, innovation and imagination.

There is nothing more detrimental to children’s creative process than being shown a finished piece so that they can strive to mimic it, if not in totality, then in some way.  You will paint King Tut.  You will ALL paint King Tut.

Currently, there are many so-called art classes for youngsters that are promoted as being creative when, in fact, the instructor hands the kids a stencil and selects the paint colours for them. Only the few finishing touches (like where the eyes are painted or if the cat has black fur or brown fur) somehow makes the piece unique and personal. Um. No.

Perhaps, the instructors feel that parents put more emphasis on the finished piece than on their children finding inspiration and developing self-realization. After all, the parents shelled out $100, $200 or $300, so perhaps the instructor feels compelled to show that those dollars produced what most would view as “art” to ensure the student (customer) returns.

Thankfully, I’ve found a course that will teach my daughter some techniques, but will not overshadow her creative process by telling her what she will create. She will be collaborating on a mural with other children her age. THEY will plan and design its layout and then work on completing the art. .

As someone who writes for children, it is imperative to me that my books encourage self-expression.   One of the books which I’ve written has my main character taking art classes, and I’ve been very careful to show that she isn’t told WHAT to paint.  My protagonist slowly develops her skills and is free to produce the art that SHE sees all around her.

As a former teacher, as a mother, as a children’s book writer, I must nurture the creative process in young children the best that I can.

Am I opinionated about this?  Absolutely.  I say, colour outside the lines, paint the sky gold if you want to and if everyone else is painting King Tut, then go on, paint your platypus as big and bold as you want.

And let art come from the heART.