Saturday, May 31, 2014

Battle of the Bands ~ Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)

According to my calendar, I have something special slated here for Monday, June 2. So that means I am running Battle of the Bands one day early AGAIN. I want to give you folks a chance to vote before it is GONE.Well, not gone, but covered up by another post. You know what I mean.

And I also want to say a Huge Thank You for all of the wonderful comments on my last post. Since I wrote it, I have spent my mornings (which turns out to be my most productive writing time) on my novel. I am actually moving forward again, which feels great. Susan commented yesterday and said something about facing a similar decision. We must decide if we are bloggers who write or writers who blog. I didn't use the quotation marks because I am not sure I got it precisely right. But that is/was my dilemma in a nutshell. My blog was taking priority over my writing and I was a blogger who writes (sometimes, when I can fit it in). Now I am writing daily and I read blogs when I can fit it in. So far, it is working fairly well. I FEEL much better. Going back to the wind sock analogy... I feel free and am riding the wind. It is good.

Let's move on to Battle of The Bands.

My mom and I have been singing karaoke on Friday nights for a while now. Not every Friday night. But most. A couple of weeks ago, a guy sung this song. I knew the song, but I also knew he was singing a different arrangement of the song. So, I asked him who sang it. He told me Looking Glass. Looking Glass? Never heard of 'em. But, I knew right then and there that the version I knew was a COVER. ha! Funny the places you get inspiration for these battles.

Turns out Looking Glass wrote and sang the song back in the 70s. I could tell that from the music. You know how some songs just sound 70s? Well, this was one of them. After some digging around I found out that two covers of this song exist. They are both quite different from the Looking Glass original. I toyed with the idea of pitting two of them (Looking Glass vs Cover) against one another in this battle and then bringing back the victor on the 15th and pitting that version against the other cover. Why? Because I think all three versions are good, but I don't like pitting three songs against one another. What do you think of that idea (for future battles) when there are more than two good versions? (Let me know in the comments because I really am interested in your thoughts on this.)

The song is Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) and Looking Glass recorded it in 1972.

Let's first listen to the original by Looking Glass:

*Notice that whoever posted this video spelled Brandy with an "i" so it is Brandi. That is NOT correct. I really wish people would check spelling and grammar before they post anything anywhere.

The second version is by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is from their Live in Hyde Park album recorded in 2004.

Here is the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

*Notice no spelling or grammatical errors on this one.

And that brings us to the version that I knew. In 2006 Kenny Chesney released the CD The Radio and The Road. That is back when I still bought CDs (thank you LC for pointing out that even I have quit doing this!) and listened to them all the way through. Usually my favorite songs never made it to the radio, so it was a treat. This record has 4 Bonus Tracks including... Brandy (You're A Fine Girl). I have very much enjoyed listening to Chesney's progression as an artist. This was his 11th album and he has become freer with each one to be himself. He really likes beach/island music (not your typical country fare) and every album includes more of it. One day he might jump off the country charts altogether and live in the islands like Jimmy Buffett.

Here is Kenny Chesney:

*Notice whoever posted this video spelled Brandy correctly, but then they ruined it by spelling You Are as Your. ::shakes head sorrowfully::

Tomorrow the rest of the crew will be posting their battles for this feature. Make sure you stop by and vote at the following locations:

Now, is the time to vote. There are three versions. Please tell me which one you liked best and why. Yes, this is the time for that extensive comment you have always wanted to write.  I'm listening...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Biting The Bullet

I used to post bullet point blogs frequently. When my brain felt jumbled that seemed the logical way to sort it all out. I haven't written one in a while. Am I less jumbled? Well, not today. So, here we go...
  • My mom bought some Red, White, and Blue decorations for Memorial Day. They will probably hang until July 4, but that is A-Okay. We are NOT big decorators here, so I am talking about a plaque for the door and a wind sock, just in case you were picturing yard decorations and lights.
  • At dinner over a week ago, right after mom put the wind sock up, she said to me, "When I came home the wind sock was hanging off the roof, like it was holding on by its fingernails." That struck me as very funny. As in ironic funny. Do you ever have moments, hours, days, months when you feel like the entire country (maybe the world) is holding on by its fingernails?

  • That night I took the photograph above and then pulled the wind sock down.
  • It clung to the gutter. A bit of water caught its legs. As I yanked it down it occurred to me that maybe that is all it takes... people with initiative giving a good yank.
  • Last week, Jasmine's What If Wednesday question was this: What is your wildest dream? I wrote an extremely lengthy comment only to arrive at the conclusion that I have discarded my wildest dreams as I have journeyed through this migraine-filled existence. Perhaps the thing now holding me back from complete recovery is the lack of a dream. If you have nothing to reach for, aspire to, aim at... what are you?
  • I think I wrote here before that we can live more easily without hope than purpose. Purpose will keep us moving forward even when hope is gone. Or hanging by its fingernails.
  • Writing my novel gave me purpose. 
  • Revisions plague me.
  • The thought crept in (and continues to linger) that I am just not good enough of a writer to keep working at this project. What is the point? I read recently at Writer Unboxed that the writers who succeed aren't necessarily the most talented. They are the ones that don't give up. They get better by continuing to write and rework their story until it is good.
  • Is writing my wildest dream?
  • For years, my wildest dream was, after I found my way back to health, helping people who fell through the floor. I envisioned a website, houses, and creating an organization that didn't just offer a hand out but a help up. 
  • The problem? People with chronic pain and no tissue disorder suffer from emotional pain. 20% of the afflicted accept that diagnosis and get better. 80% insist on a surgery, pill, or Anything Else. 
  • The truth is that people don't want to clean out their emotional garbage. It is stinky and painful and HURTS to root around in that particular trash bin. Plus, it *seems* incomprehensible that broken relationships and/or emotional pain of any kind could result in very real physical pain.
  • On my HERE'S TO YOU post, Stephen T. McCarthy wrote in the comments that God spoke to him via his Inner Voice that morning. I know just what he was saying because that has happened to me. Back in 2008 God spoke to me one morning and told me that every single thing I was going through happened for a reason. It was the catalyst that would bring me to a career that would bring me more joy than I could possibly imagine. So, I needed to start meeting this journey with acceptance, rather than resistance.
  • I have been so-so with the acceptance vs. resistance concept. But, I BELIEVED that God had a Purpose for me. One that would bring me joy beyond my imaginings. Not long after My Idea (sound byted above) began to form.
  • Since Jasmine's blog and Stephen's comment I have been thinking a lot about my wildest dream and what God whispered into my ear. And I ask myself, "How can I help people who don't want to be helped?"
  • The answer became obvious. I can't. But, there are 20% who will say Yes. So, I need to spend some mental energy figuring out how to help that 20%.
  • And I want to spend time writing my novel. No, I don't think it is the Great Giver of Joy that God talked about, but I LIKE it. I will only improve with practice.
  • .... and that all leads to less time spent blogging. I can't spend hours every single day reading blogs and still accomplish these things. But if I stop doing that, the chances of my putting together weekly HERE'S TO YOU posts dwindles into impossibility. 
  • While HERE'S TO YOU gives me tremendous joy, I don't think it is what God was talking about either. And if subverting My Wildest Dream keeps me stuck in the land of migraines... this cannot be a good thing.
  • For a LONG TIME blogging gave me Purpose and I am beyond thankful that I started this site and met all of you. You are blessings.
  • In the name of pinpointing my Wildest Dream and my Purpose, I am not going to read daily. I will become more hit and miss with commenting. HERE'S TO YOU won't be weekly. It will be Whenever I Can Pull a Post Together. 
  • However, I am not disappearing. I am just going to better manage my time.
  • Like the wind sock, I was stuck. I am yanking myself down in an effort to be free and find my own flow with nature. As I write this, I see the wind lifting it and blowing through it. If a wind sock can be happy, I think mine is. It is fulfilling its Purpose.
  • I want to be like the wind sock.
Are you striving to live your Wildest Dreams? Are you willing to set aside or cut back on things that you enjoy to make it happen?

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Before we jump into what is going to be a very different HERE'S TO YOU post, I want to address the outcome of Battle of the Bands. Participation wasn't as high as normal. I don't know if that was because of the song I chose for the battle, the fact that some people aren't blogging right now, or if the moon was too full or not full enough. Whatevs. :) The song was Crazy Train and the contenders were Ozzy Osbourne (the original) versus Pat Boone (the cover). Not surprisingly, Ozzy won this one with 15 votes. Pat Boone only got 4 votes. I think I should have clarified that Pat's version was originally released on his album In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy (1997). When The Osbournes (TV show) came on they chose to include Pat's cover on their soundtrack. It wasn't an intro for the TV show or anything of that nature. Pat covered 11 other metal bands on that album including, but not limited to, Judas Priest, Metallica, and AC/DC. I cast my vote for Pat because it makes me smile, not that it makes any difference. Ozzy won it by a mile.

Moving on to HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY...

Normally, this post rolls with a video for Everyone followed by a hodge-podge variety of clips dedicated to those of you who triggered a thought of a song or clip. This week didn't work out that way. Every clip this week will be from my favorite TV show of all time... Joan of Arcadia. Plus, I am going to break my Cardinal Rule and tell you why I chose it before the clip.

Even worse, because I don't know when to just SHUT UP ALREADY, I am going to share with you something about ME and this show. In the year 2005 (the year of my separation, divorce, and immediate recovery from said divorce) I watched the first season of this show at least once (probably two or three times) back to back. Marathon watching. And I cried all the way through it Every.Single.Time. In that same year I bought the first season of the show Everwood and cried all the way through it. One could argue that I was just a drippy mess and a commercial could have set me off. I disagree. Everwood's first season revolved around the primary themes of accepting change and loss. (I was experiencing severe change and severe loss.) Joan of Arcadia revolved around the theme that God has a plan for our lives even if we cannot see it. (I needed to hear that particularly loudly right then since I was Out To Sea.) He always has our best interests and actively works in our lives, whether we choose to accept, believe, or understand it. I cannot tell you the number or times that I felt a message in an episode was meant for me to hear, see for what it was, and process it into MY life so that I could move on.

This first clip I found quite accidentally while trying to find a totally different clip. Yep, this is just part of the amazingness of how this all works. It reminded me of MY LAST POST (Getting It Right and Wrong, AKA The Holy Go) about stubbornness, determination, and standing on your principles even when the majority rejects it. It also reminds of how it feels when you DON'T do that and you can lose yourself. So, if you read that post, you should totally get this:

I was looking for a clip for Al Diaz and thought for half a minute this might be it ("eye of the tiger"), but then realized that it really was meant for Robyn over at Life By Chocolate: Robyn Alana Engel's Blog AND Yvonne at Writing My Life Away! Why? Because they are both familiar with loss, dusting yourself up as you get off, and the importance of not giving up on relationships:

If you are loving this version of HERE'S TO YOU, you can thank Red Shoes over at Red Shoe's Chronicles. He wrote a lovely blog about his friend, Scooter, and this journey that he has been on since he died. I went looking for a JOA clip for HIM and found all of the other gems along the way. So, Shoes this one is for you:

When I first started watching this one, I kept watching because I thought, "Oh good. This one actually relates to Julie over at Empty Nest Insider and her graduation post." However, in the end, I knew that this clip was actually for Jasmine over at A Yellow Rose of Texas (not to say that Julie won't appreciate it, too). Graduation is about leaving the familiar, embracing the unexpected, and accepting that we don't control everything. But, it can still be GREAT.

Stephen T. McCarthy touched my heart with his last blog bit (Battle of the Bands). The song made him think of a good friend who took his own life many years ago. My original thought was to dedicate Martina McBride's song Good Bye to him. However, when this post took the JOA turn I also had the perfect clip. If you want to listen to the song, you can click on this link...

Here is the JOA clip for Stephen:

This one is for Liza at Middle Passages. I printed her poem here during the A to Z. And that inspired her to write a post about what happened after... because of it. And that made me think of this clip. See how the circle turns:

Elizabeth Seckman posted about her 77 year old mother moving to Alaska with an 82 year old fella she met online. It is hard to know when to pull the people you love close and when to let them go. Harder still, that choice can be taken from you. You may want to pull them close, but they are ready to go. This was one of those episodes that netted a lot of crying (as mentioned in the intro of this post). For me, divorce wrenched two small children - not biologically mine - out of my life. I tried desperately to hang on and couldn't find any peace in even the idea, much less the reality, of letting go. So, Elizabeth, I feel for you and here's to you:

I mentioned above looking for the perfect clip for Al Diaz over at Dragon On A Mission. He wrote recently of seeing obstacles as challenges. It took a while, but I finally realized that this was the perfect one to address that idea and so many others that he shares on his blog:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Getting It Wrong and Right (AKA The Holy Go)

My mom directs the choir at our church and leads the congregational singing. So, she is always very aware of what the music will be each Sunday.

On Friday, we were in the car and she told me that we were going to sing the Gloria Patri this Sunday. I shot her a befuddled look and she started singing it: "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, tis now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen." As soon as she started it, I joined along and sang it to the end. Had she said, "We will sing Glory Be To The Father," I would have known just what she meant. I grew up in the Methodist Church and this was a standard. No need for the hymnal.

Mom then started laughing. She said, "When your brother was just a little guy, he insisted that the words in that hymn were not Holy Ghost, but Holy Go. We went round and round about it." I laughed, too. My brother was, and remains to this day, stubborn and hard-headed. So, I said so.

Then she said, "Well, he isn't the only one. When you were in pre-K, I had to take you to your teacher and have her tell you the correct words to Kum Ba Yah. You wouldn't believe me."

I didn't remember that and she couldn't recall the details. Guess it wasn't as funny as The Holy Go.

What I did remember from pre-K was the assembly room time when all the kids sat in chairs facing the front, the teacher would clap her hands together, and tell everyone to put their hands ON their lap. I obediently flattened my hands and placed them carefully ON my lap. I remember looking over at my neighbors to see that they folded their hands in their laps. Couldn't they HEAR? She didn't say fold your hands in your lap. She said to put the hands ON the lap. I shook my head thinking EVERY SINGLE OTHER KID in that assembly room didn't follow directions very well. This happened every day for TWO YEARS. I went to 4 and 5 year old kindergarten. Well, not summers, obviously. Or weekends. But, you get the idea.

I laugh now at this memory. Why? Because I know what that teacher meant was to fold the hands in the lap, BUT I remember thinking that everyone else was wrong. And I am a little bit proud of 4 year old me for sticking to what I BELIEVED to be the true and right thing to do, and not giving in to peer pressure by doing something that I thought was WRONG. Just because everyone else was doing it. And that takes me back to my brother and The Holy Go. For some reason, that made sense to him while The Holy Ghost did not. And he wasn't going to sing it WRONG just to make someone else happy.

Turns out we have more in common than I thought. Maybe what we call stubborn and hard-headed is not. Maybe it is just determination to do what you think is right. It only looks like stubborn and a hard head when others disagree with you.

Can you think of a time when you were sure you were right and you turned out to be wrong? Have you ever been called stubborn or hard-headed? Do you think it is a sign of determination and independent thinking or just an unwillingness to be open to the ideas of others? Have you ever stuck to your guns even when the idea wasn't popular with the majority?

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Before we launch HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY, I want to take a quick minute and remind you to vote in Battle of the Bands. You can CLICK HERE to go to that post - once you are done here, of course. I also want to remind you of all the blogs hosting their own battles today:

Okay, everyone, we are off to the races!

It is Thursday and that means it is HERE'S TO YOU day!  All in all, the best day of the week here on YOUR DAILY DOSE. Why? Because it's a celebration for YOU.

If you don't know what this HERE'S TO YOU stuff is about, let me explain.  This is a weekly event landing typically on Thursdays.  The best (or worst) part is that I am not going to explain why I chose "whatever" footage for each of you. If, you watch your footage and are scratching your head at the end, well that means I didn't do a very good job. However, all is not lost. You can email me at and ask me what I was thinking when I chose that particular piece of footage off of youtube and connected it to you. And then I will tell you. Then I will start sending up prayers that I haven't offended the crap out of whoever is on the receiving end of that Because, honestly, I will tell you right now... I admire all of you enormously so I really hope that doesn't happen.

Also, this is not an exclusive venture by any means. I hope that you will take the time to watch ALL of the footage because I don't pick bad footage:-) I also hope that you might check out the blog of the person I dedicated the footage to because they are pretty darn awesome. If you haven't figured this out yet... I pick the footage based on something that you've written or something that I've gleaned from your personality. Think on that for a while... If you are having trouble watching the entire video (meaning it is being cut off on one side), click on it a couple of times and it will take you straight over to youtube. If you click on the four squares at the bottom corner of the video, it will enlarge it to fill your screen. The escape key will bring it back to normal size. The back arrow will bring you back to my page.

Now, let's get this PARTY STARTED!!!!

This one is for everyone:

This one is for Jasmine at A Yellow Rose of Texas:

This one is for Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out:

This one is for Julie at Empty Nest Insider:

This one is for Misha Gericke at The Five Year Project:

This one is for Brandon and Bryan at A Beer For The Shower:

This one is for Roland D. Yeomans at Writing In The Crosshairs:

This one is for LC at DiscConnected:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Battle of the Bands ~ Crazy Train

I know that Battle of the Bands goes off on the 15th. Well... that is also Thursday. I PROMISED a HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY post this week. That puts me in a bit of a conundrum. I decided to solve it by going early.

Before I dig into the BOTB business, is anyone else having difficulty getting back on track? I suppose if you didn't do A to Z maybe you are just fine, but finding my feet in May has been tricky. I am typing this Tuesday afternoon and my Thursday post is not shaping up well. Yeah, I have complained about this before and then everyone writes great stuff on Wednesday, YouTube comes through, and it all works out.

The thing is that I struggled with the bands in this battle. How much time can one person waste on YouTube? Don't answer that. I am sure I exceed your best guesses. These two made my list of potential battles from Day One, but I wasn't sure I was actually going to go there. HOWEVER, I believe it was on Stephen T. McCarthy's first BOTB (click here to read for yourself) post that he discussed how different the same song can sound. And in some ways that is one of the things that makes a battle truly great. If the cover sounds like the original, there really isn't anything that distinguishes it from the original. So... why do it?

I know that some of you will HATE the cover for this song and that is fine. Even so, you must applaud it for originality... even if you don't like it.  The song in question is Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne.  Everyone has heard this song... I think. Heck, even I know this song and this style of music is not my usual fare. My ex-husband liked Ozzy and their short-lived reality show, The Osbournes. If you didn't know, you are about to find out that there was a soundtrack that was released because of the show. On that soundtrack was Pat Boone's cover of Ozzy's Crazy Train. I can only surmise that Ozzy was tickled by this cover and included it on his own record. So, before you go mental over this recording... just remember that it has Ozzy's stamp of approval.

Way back in the day when having a MySpace account was cool... one of my favorite ways to waste time was to play around with my "wallpaper" on my MySpace account. Once that was done, then I chose graphics to go with it and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS a song. Sometimes Pat Boone's version of Crazy Train was that song. And it always went with THIS BACKGROUND:

Buffy Wallpaper photo BuffySuperhero-1.jpg

Buffy photo bseason6_tabula1.gif

What I am trying to say is that the Pat Boone version cracks me up. Maybe not saying it successfully, but still trying. I think it is fantastically clever by taking something so un-Pat Boone and putting his own spin on it. I will let you decide if it is better than the original...

First up, Ozzy and Crazy Train:


Pat Boone's Crazy Train:

Keep in mind that I am early, but ON THE 15TH the following blogs will be posting their own Battles. I hope you go over and vote. If you visit F-FFF and Faraway Series you could win a CD!

Other battles can be found by clicking the following links, so be sure to visit them and cast your votes there!

Now it is the time to vote. Do you prefer Ozzy or Pat Boone? Yep,  sound off about what YOU think. What appeals to you? This is your chance to share because I want to know... in detail.

Monday, May 12, 2014

In Pictures...

If you have read my last few posts, you know that I have been thinking a lot about what my life was like back when I started this blogging experience and where it is now.

Some of the biggest changes between 2010 and now...
  •  I can't believe how far I have come in terms of my health.
  • I write this blog AND I am working on a novel.
  • My father passed away.
  • I moved - again.
  • I really didn't want my friends and ESPECIALLY not my ex-husband to read this blog. Okay, that hasn't changed so much... but now I know that the chances of it happening are slim to none. Back in 2010 I guarded this blog like it was gold.
  • In fact, I didn't put a REAL picture of me on here for the LONGEST time because I wanted to be anonymous.
  • Now, I am Facebook friends with many of you. Though I still don't want you to mention my blog here... there.
  • I've started taking dance lessons.
  • And I hate my hair... now. I look at pics of myself in 2010 and my hair was pretty darn awesome. Everything else was terrible, but my hair was great. Ha!
I think it was Tara Tyler who said something recently on her blog about how people want to see the REAL you. Of course, from her perspective, she was speaking as an author who has published books out there. It is important for a writer to have a face (unless you are Alex...:) And that made me ponder this blog. Yeah, I hope to be a published writer (someday), but that day isn't today. So... how important is it for people to SEE me?

More important, how much do I want/not want to be seen? I didn't post a picture of myself in my sidebar four years ago because I really didn't want my ex-husband to find this blog. I felt like he stifled my voice... even though I rarely wrote about him. In the cases when he did get a mention it was almost always in correlation to a discovery that I made about myself because of him and that relationship. But... not always. Sometimes, I just needed a free place to vent. After four years of not being able to get my friends and family to read this blog (even with much pleading), I realize that my ex is NOT going to just stumble into this blog. Not Gonna Happen.

That said... I am still not sure I want to put a picture of Me in my sidebar. Maybe someday.

For today, I will clear up some misconceptions. Back on my birthday (end of March) I thought I was being clever using the strike through feature when I "discussed" my age. I thought I was clear on the fact that I am NOT 29 years old. For the record, turning 30 triggered a crisis of sorts. I spent way too much time when I was 29 telling anyone who would listen that I was "still in my 20s." I just wanted to say it as often as possible while it was still true. My aunt declared she was 29 until the day she died. She encouraged me to do the same. Honestly, that sort of thing is funny when you're in your 60s and older... but not so much before that. So, LC, this picture is for you. This is me when I was actually 29:

A professional photographer friend of mine took this picture. I really like it. Ah... the good old days. I even had nice hair here. This was when I could still color my hair. Now, I can't do that because I am allergic to the hair color junk.

And this is a picture from 2010 when I really liked my hair:

I let my hair grow several more inches and then cut it off and donated it to Locks of Love. One of my friends from high school had a son with a brain tumor.  He went through several rounds of chemo and radiation and they thought it was beaten and then it came back with a vengeance and he died within a month of being re-diagnosed. I don't regret donating the hair, even though it didn't go to him, but it still makes me very sad that my friend's son died. I am also at my sickest in this picture. I weighed in the neighborhood of 100 pounds here. If it were a healthy 100 it would be different, but it was NOT.

Now, I hate my hair. About six months ago, I went to a totally new hair salon and I let someone cut it when my intuition was screaming, "Don't do it. You will regret it." And I didn't listen. And I regret it. It is just horrible. I hope that in another 3-6 months I can have someone I know will do a great job cut it and THEN I will post a current picture. It also gives me a few months to get fit with the dancing I mentioned above.

I know that this seems like a fluff piece. And maybe it is. I have revealed so much of myself on here (some of you people know me better than Anyone) that maybe it is just silly to not put up a picture in my sidebar. Some of you have pics of yourself on your profile and some of you don't. Do you struggle with the aspects of you that you want to show here?

Friday, May 9, 2014

I Swear... It Happened Just Like This!

If you are new to this blog, you might not have noticed that I am off my Blogging Game. I was supposed to put up a HERE'S TO YOU post yesterday. I didn't have one. Say what? ::gasps are heard from the peanut gallery::

I know. This NEVER happens. Yet, it did. There were so many things that got put on the back-burner during April and the A to Z and they all attacked me at once.

 If you were thinking, "OH NO! She has quit the HERE'S TO YOU FEATURE.... Relax. It will be back next week (barring any hazards). And if you don't know what I am talking about... well, you are in for a treat.

Now, I SAID that I was going to post the Battle of the Bands results on the 7th. I totally forgot that was the IWSG post day. Really, just too much all at once. I did COUNT the votes, but I actually had "stuff" I wanted to say about this battle. First, there is no way of telling if you've done a good job in choosing the "combatants" until the votes start rolling in. I thought that more of you would like the Rihanna version, because it was the original, and would be the one you are accustomed to hearing. I didn't take into account how many of you don't listen to current music on the radio. Hahahaha. My mistake. And I might make it again, but isn't that part of the fun in life???

Second, Train whomped Rihanna in this battle. Their version of Umbrella got 26 votes without mine. Rihanna only got 3 votes. CW Martin said, "If it was done in my living room, maybe Rihanna." But he voted for Train. As for my vote?  Well I LOVE LOVE LOVE Train.  Some of you already knew that. How? Your first clue MIGHT have been the series I wrote on Train before attending their concert back in 2012. Then, before I went to the 21012 Train concert in Atlanta I am almost positive I posted this picture of myself in my Train concert T-shirt. I bought this shirt when I saw them the First Time back in 2004. Rarely do I go to a concert and buy the T-shirt, so it was a BIG thing.

Me in 2012 before Train Concert

Third, Briane P. didn't like either choice and voted instead for a cover by The Baseballs. I had never heard of The Baseballs or their cover, BUT it was FANTASTIC. And had I heard it earlier, I would have done this Battle completely differently. Ah... the things we learn AFTER THE FACT.

Fourth, Dawn Malone said that she would have liked Train's version better if it didn't have all the "ella ella ella" business in it. I agree. That is why I prefer their live, acoustic version. However, it wasn't the version they RECORDED and it didn't seem fair to use it. And the lead singer, Pat Monahan, has crazy hair in the acoustic video. I love Pat, but I swear it looks like he stuck a finger in a light socket.

Which brings me to my fifth point... To let you know I do listen to you, I will share The Baseballs version of this song (thank you Briane P.) and the acoustic version by Train (this is for you Dawn). You can vote again if you want on this new match-up (or not). It isn't an official battle. I just wanted you to hear the Battle That Could Have Been.

First up Train with their acoustic version:

And the new-to-me group, The Baseballs:

I apologize for not getting around to everyone's blog. It has not been Business As Usual here and I feel very behind. I hope to make the rounds before Monday.

So, now who do you like? Train Acoustic or The Baseballs? Remember the videos are entertaining to watch, but we judge strictly on the music. Yeah, it turns out I do want to know... I will be back on the 15th with a NEW AND DIFFERENT BOTB match-up!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Ballroom Dance Lessons and Writing

During the month of April (and all the A to Z crazy) I joined a dance studio that teaches ballroom dancing. You might be scratching your head trying to figure out how that relates to writing, insecure or otherwise. Let me tell you...

I learned fairly quickly that I have a good sense of rhythm and I follow the lead fairly well. Since I can't afford daily, or even weekly, private lessons that means I have one private lesson for one hour a month. And the rest of the time I participate in Group Classes. They might be teaching dances in which I have a keen interest... and they might not. Thus far, the classes I have attended focused mostly on waltz and east coast swing. I really like both, though they are vastly different from one another. Last night I went to my first Mambo class. It reminds me very much of salsa. The instructor said it was like salsa with cha cha in some way (expression, movement, Manzi can you help with this ???) Since I don't know much about cha cha the explanation was lost on me.

I had my Private Lesson last week.... Oy. We focused on waltz and determining how well I retained what I learned in Group Class. I learned that following isn't as easy as I thought. An underarm turn can go several different ways and I have to know where by monitoring his shoulder tension. Say what??? Yep. I should be able to determine by his shoulder if I am to come all the way around or he will meet me halfway. But wait... it gets worse. Based upon where his hands are at the halfway meet indicates what he has planned next. Once again, this can go two different ways. I can't tell you how many times I thought we were going to meet halfway, but he wanted me to come all the way around and I finished at the halfway meet point. Meanwhile, he was standing to my right (where I should have been). Or I thought I was going all the way around and I crashed into him at the halfway point.

What does this have to do with my writing insecurity?

I was spotty with editing/revising on my WiP in April. Honestly, I wasn't able to juggle the A to Zing with my book (and now dance class) very well. But, when I did sit down and work on it... it felt a whole lot like that waltz session.  Turns out that feeling the pace of the plot is similar to that shoulder tension. It is subtle, but it determines everything. Sometimes I follow it well and the pacing is great. Other times, not so much and it reads like a crash or the reader feels lost in the middle of the dance.

The same goes for my characters. I really like some of the choices that I made. That is when the dance feels really good. You are on the beat. There is a perfect amount of flex in your knees. You move up on your toes and down again and the whole thing is just So.Damn.Graceful. you want to cry with the loveliness of it. Yeah, that is how a waltz should make you feel. It is big and sweeping and elegant and glorious. And then there are those character choices that feel clunky. Out of time. You step with your right foot when you should have used the left.

There is good news and bad news with dancing. The good news is that you only get better with practice. The bad news is that you only get better with practice. Yeah, it was the same news.. That is it. There is no magic wand that turns you into a wonderful dancer. Dang!!!! The same truth applies to writing. You only get better with practice. I have noticed that as I move further into my novel the writing is improving. I red penned like crazy in the first seven chapters. Some pages were so marked that very little survived the "hack." With each chapter, there is less Red Pen.

Aha, there is hope! I have been writing much longer than I have been dancing. And reading longer than that. I might actually become proficient at the writing thing before I die of old age. Not so sure about the dancing... but I am going to stick with it. Practice makes perfect!

This is part of the IWSG, the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you would like to join in the first Wednesday of every month and share your writing insecurities click HERE. The purpose of this group is to offer encouragement. If you don't want to share, but do want to support struggling writers... bless you.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Getting Found and Reflections

Did you participate in the A to Z? Have you ever participated in the A to Z?

If you read my "Z" post, you know that back when I started blogging in 2010, I was a wreck. My whole world revolved around pain medication and trying to hold on to my sanity. My migraines raged so badly that I couldn't see anything but THAT. Who I used to be (pre-migraines) was so far in my rear view that I couldn't remember that person and the future was looking too much like the present. I couldn't see this version of me, the person I am now becoming. It was too far out of my field of vision.

The worst part was that I felt useless. Without purpose. We think that we need hope to survive. I would argue that we do not. What we need is purpose. I didn't have ANY hope back then that my life would change even remotely for the better. Blogging gave me Purpose. Purpose sustained me. Each day I typed out a blog bit hoping that I would find myself. I knew that I was lost in a place called Desolation. Did it matter that the writing I was doing was read by so few people? No. Eight or nine people (and eventually more) faithfully read what I was writing and it was enough. Even when no one read this blog, I still had a Purpose. I needed a reason to get out of bed every day. Blogging was the string that kept me and my sanity within spitting distance of one another.

Since I started that journey back in 2010 my motivations changed several times. Blogging started out as a Purpose. When I started writing my first WiP (now in the drawer) I discovered other writers, agents, and more on here. It felt like coincidence... because I still do not understand how it happened. I found one writer's blog and it led me to the rest. I learned so much about the craft to improve my writing and how to submit all of that Writer Goodness to an agent. Then, totally disheartened, I shelved my WiP and deleted some of those sites. Ha! Have you ever done that??? I am still no good at "finding" blogs on here. I stumble into them or they find me. 

I remember when I found Alex Cavanaugh's blog. Yeah, the guy is EVERYWHERE and it took me years to ferret out his blog. This is what I am SAYING (about me). I followed. He followed back. He left me good comments and encouraged me to start on another WiP. I mentally scoffed. I could faintly hear Buddy Holly in the background crooning "That'll Be The Day." And then I found so many of the rest of you. Or you found me. Again, not sure how that works. And I kept stumbling into more writer sites, agent sites... AGAIN. And that desire to write surged once more. I launched into another journey of writing.

I decided to help all of you with my A to Z Theme this year by showcasing some of my favorite blogs.... so that you could find them. So many of you did. You read, you liked, you clicked over to their blog, and you followed. I learned that even while I like-love all of the blogs I featured during this to A to Z, some of you didn't. And that is okay. I can still hear my nanny in my head saying to me, "Why aren't you eating that?" I would say nothing because the truth was I didn't like it, but didn't want to hurt her feelings. She continued, "You like what I like. Now eat it." I approached this A to Z kinda like that. I thought all of you would like what I like,would want dessert, and more. Turns out that you like some of what I like.

I participated in the A to Z to find and get found. I consider this year a success. I found a handful of blogs that I enjoy very much and am now following. And I picked up a handful of new readers. I am blogging because I like it. Blogging now means connection and support and friends. Yes, I consider some of you wonderful friends that I would miss so very much if you quit or I quit. It no longer is the string keeping me in touch with my sanity. That is how far I've come.

How about you? What did you find during the month of April?

This post is Reflections on The A to Z. Yes, it is part of a bloghop.  You can sign up Here to participate or read the links.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Good morning, friends! Today is May 1 and you know what that means...

Hold up, I have some new folks following this blog (Thank You A to Z) and THEY don't know what you're babbling about.

Oh, right. Twice a month (the 1st and 15th) a group of bloggers get together and bring to you Battle of the Bands. It is two bands singing THE SAME SONG and you vote on which one you like best. You also get to elaborate in the comments about thy whys and wherefores of your voting process. All in all, it is lots of fun. So, kick back and put on your ears. It's going down now!

As you might expect, yesterday rolled around (Z) and I had not thought at all about what song to use for this installation of Battle of the Bands.  It took at least an hour to decide on something from my List. As much as anything else, the song captures my mood. And different songs appeal to me at different times. So, let's get this train rolling (pun totally intended).

The song is Umbrella. I will let the other BOTB posters dig around for something Old, Borrowed, or Blue. I am bringing you New.

First up, the original recording by Rihanna:



When the sun shines, we'll shine together
Told you I'd be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out 'til the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella

Other battles can be found by clicking the following links, so be sure to visit them and cast your votes there!

Donna Hole

The rest of this post is up to you. Your vote counts!!! Just tell me in the comments which version you prefer and why. I will be back in almost one week (Wednesday, the 7th) to report the final tally (and cast my vote). Be sure to visit the other battles listed above. You can sound off and they will LIKE IT:)