Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Who Knew!

WHO KNEW that only 7 days after my last post I would actually meet JT! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it possible. The morning of October 30th I was at the orthodontist's office with my oldest son. I was watching the news and saw that John Taylor of D2 was in town for a book signing. NO WAY - I didn't even know he wrote a book! So when I got home I googled the information and found out where and when. I am a Duran Duran follower so I went to their facebook page next. People were asking about available tickets and unfortunatley, because of hurricane Sandy, many could not make the trek. Somehow, someway, by some miracle I scored a ticket. Jennifer met me at the City Winery in Chicago two hours later and charged me only face value - which was $12.50. I bought her a drink though. Thank You Thank You! So I barely had time to get ready but had enough sense and wits about me to grab my gianormous buttons from the 80's. I think he liked them :). I loved his talk and bought 4 books. Met a lot of nice people and crazy Duranies - What a night! A night I'll never forget, even if we only talked for about 30 seconds!

More (almost as exciting:) Writing News: The PoPP poetry project and contest has expanded this year. IWC got two grants and is in 7 Lake County schools. I am anxious to see the poetry and art work from the 4th and 5th graders. And check out the latest Hoosier Horizon magazine. Write-On Hoosiers chose my photo and allowed me to design the front (and back) cover. Wonderful stories and poems from my fellow writers fill the pages inside. What a fun and fabulous fall!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some Like it Hot!

Loved that song from the 80's. Power Station: Robert Palmer and my favorite hottie: Duran Duran's John Taylor! It's fall now and the weather is finally cooler. What a summer the states had; record breaking heat and drought affected so much of the country, so many people. My heart goes out to those who were hit so hard.
I ended up taking two short vacations in Ludington, Michigan. The first was with my boys and dad in June (that's a story in itself) and then I spent Labor Day weekend up there with family and some friends. Both times we swam, fished, hiked the dunes, boated around Lake Hamlin, and admired a few Lake Michigan lighthouses. Ludington is beautiful; a perfect lakeside town. I hope to spend more time there in the near future. I spent countless hours photographing..., well, it's easier and more accurate to say -- EVERYTHING! In fact, I entered two Michigan photos in the Lake County Indiana Fair. Overall I was pleased with how I did. Four of my seven entries won ribbons.
On several occasions throughout the summer, I got to take my kids to a friend's pool. We visited Deep River Water Park three times, and I even got to Chicago for the air and water show in August. Seemed like if you were outdoors you had to be around water to enjoy anything.
Anything except running, that is. Wait? I actually like running now and don't just tolerate it? I think so. I didn't want to give into the weather and stay indoors too much this unbearably hot summer. It's not like me to sit around, so I decided to challenge myself and do something crazy. I said I was going to run 100 miles in July, and I did. (Before this I would run up to six miles a week, but not necessarily every week, and only two to three miles at a time). I said I'd run 100 miles mainly so I'd always REALLY remember how hot it was and also to get in better shape, maybe even condition myself enough to be able to do a 10K or more this fall. To accomplish my goal I had to run virtually every day, three or four miles at a time. If I skipped a day I had to run double the next. Whenever possible I would set out first thing in the morning or wait until about an hour before sunset in the evenings, but still I'd return home always red-faced and dripping with sweat. I'd reward myself and rehydrate with iced coffee, yum. Every few days I'd drive around the neighborhoods figuring out the mileage I ran pairing it with the time it took to run that far until I got a cool phone app that literally logs my runs. It figures my pace, reports elevation changes, tallies the miles, and allows you to enter data about the weather and how you are feeling. Super cool. It really motivates you to run in new places and while on vacation even. What I mean is I ran in Ludington, up and down the Chicago River Walk route, and even ran a few miles along Wells St. beach in Gary in early September just so I could see my runs on the map. You can see the path you took and send it to friends if you feel like sharing or bragging.
The longest distance I ever ran in July (well, ever) was slightly over six miles in one day. I did that a few days in a row though and ended up getting blisters on my toes half way through the month. Towards the end of my trek my right heel started hurting. But I kept going, too close to the finish to give up, and even went a few miles over. One hundred and four to be exact. I really believe I got addicted to running in some ways. I felt like a machine when I was out there beating the pavement. Not a fast machine, but once I got going I just felt mechanical somehow, like it was easier to keep going than stop. Turns out I now have plantar fasciitis and can't run much or go to step aerobics too often even after taking it easy these past two months. Even two weeks off didn't help; once I start back up the same pain comes right back full force.
No, I will probably never run 100 miles in a month again, and I am disappointed that I can't really run at all right now. Any exercise or long walk means shooting foot pain in the mornings and an achy heal for at least five days. I don't want to do any real damage so I'm resting it as much as I can without giving in entirely. I'm trying to avoid a painful shot of cortisone and/or a boot. A few weeks ago I bought some over-the-counter insoles and now I'm taking ibuprofen. Maybe that will provide some relief. I was able to do the Monster Dash this past Saturday and am feeling ok. My 14 year old son ended up coming in first in his age group (14-20) so I definitely don't regret doing it. I don't regret running the 100 plus miles either. This year and summer I trained in a way, my own way, and built up my endurance. I ran farther than ever before and more frequently and did get in great shape. I'm proud of myself even if I ended up taking steps back to recover. And the craziest part of it all: all those miles I ran in one hot month amounted to only twenty hours total. (The suffering seemed much longer at the time!) To think marathon runners and extreme athletes run twenty-six miles or more (incredible distances) twice as fast without stopping, all in one day - well, it just blows me away!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Spring Things

It is officially summer so a new post is way past due. Spring was a busy time. The 2nd Annual PoPP (Power of Poetry Project) Awards Assembly was held April 20th at Taft Middle School in Crown Point. The elementary schools that participated included: Douglas MacArthur in Cedar Lake, Lake Street and Solon Robinson in Crown Point, and Oak Hill in Lowell. Winners at each grade level received a certificate and medal whereas place winners were given an Amazon gift card as well. All winning poems and honorable mentions from the four schools (120 poems) were published. This year we included student artwork in the publication as well. ~~~ Some of the winners: ~~~ I am happy to announce I received a first honorable mention in the Oregon Spring Poetry contest. I was very excited to see the certificate in my mailbox. This is the first time I have placed in a state poetry contest. I was about to give up but it looks like I will continue to participate in state contests (for a while longer at least). ~~~ The rejections keep coming in and it is hard to not be discouraged. I have not submitted anything to children's magazines or publishers in the past two months. Instead I have been busy snapping photos. Several will be in the 2013 local Town Planner Calendars and the Lake County Fair is accepting entries as I write. I am deciding what to enter in the different categories this week. Next week I have to send in my revisions to Prairie Writer's Guild for their 2012 publication. This year's edition will include three of the poems and hopefully some photos as well. ~~~ The only painting I have done lately is face painting. I donated my time at a friend's benefit in May and it was a lot of fun. I had hope to revise some earlier drawings and painting this spring but couldn't find the time. AND the only writer's group I've been involved in with lately is Indiana Writers' Consortium. I am on the banquet committee and just developed a flyer for the annual picnic. Sill need to catch up on the quarterly report and minutes!...Not sure how this summer will be. It's been one thing after another so far with my four boys.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


From the Edge of the Prairie submissions are due now. I hope to have at least 3 poems and several photos ready for the 2012 edition in the next few days.

Stacy from the Town Calendars gave me a few photo assignments so I've been snapping away. Hopefully some will be included in the St. John, Dyer, and Crown Point editions again this year. Lake Central versus Crown Point tonight at Midwest Ice Arena. Should be a great hockey game.

I've submitted poems and activities to several children's magazines this month so hope to hear some good news later this spring. I've also entered poems in two state and one national poetry contest a few weeks ago.

Magic Hour Writers had a wonderful guest speaker at our March meeting. Check out the MHW link and read all about Shannon Anderson.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cover Story

It's been a great winter so far and a Happy New Year! I'm planning on a VERY successful one.

The Town Planners are out! I have photos in the Dyer, St. John, Crown Point, and Schererville editions - including the Dyer cover. Thanks to my friend Bill who planted a seed and Stacy from Town Planner.

(No, I DID NOT hang 5 on my fridge :), but I did get extra copies for family members.)

The Northwest Indiana Poetry Society has choosen one of my photos for the cover of their next poetry magazine. I'm excited about that too.

The Power of Poetry Project (PoPP)- is now in 4 local schools. Students in Grades K-5 are busy writing and revising. I can wait to read their poems and congratulate the winners. An assembly will be held in April and winning poems will be published! Watch the Indiana Writers' Consortium's blogsite and facebook page for more information.

Calumet Region Photography Club is having a workshop this month in Munster, IN. Spread the word!

And I'm thrilled to report NBC News Chicago liked my lunar eclipse photo from December 10th! Thanks again to Brant Miller.

Finally, I got another rejection from a children's magazine, but the editor encouraged me to keep submitting so I will. I'm hoping persistance will pay off.