Tell Me a Story Tuesday – New Job Edition

It’s time for another installment of Tell Me a Story Tuesday! I thought I would go with something a little different this time, so I’m looking for your stories about starting a new job. Did you end up with the flu? Half a day late? Did the business close the day you started? Or, do you have a story about a new employee that you were helping to bring on board? I want to hear all of them!

Old fashioned typewriter

Did you get to work & find this waiting for you? Tell me about it!

As always, the carefully handcrafted rules are in place. It doesn’t need to be long…it doesn’t need to be good…it doesn’t even need to be true (hey for all I know you could shown up to your first day wearing a bunny costume!) just tell us about your story in the comment section below. If it’s long story, or if you’d rather put it on your site, no worries just post the link.

In 3, 2,1…tell me a story!

I’m Going to be the New Executive Director!

I am thrilled to tell you I will soon be the new Executive Director for the Community Arts Center of Cambria County! I’m very excited to be part of an organization I’ve admired for years and can’t wait to get started later this month. Most of all, my family and I are thrilled to be coming home to Johnstown, PA and being part of the community in such an amazing way.

A beautiful rendering of the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center & the Log Cabin, home to the Community Arts Center of Cambria County.

A beautiful rendering of the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center & the Log House, home to the Community Arts Center of Cambria County. I’m honored to be part of the team.

My 2014 Review – From Craptastic to Possibilities in 2015

My 2014, in all honesty and to put it bluntly, sucked. It’s actually pretty hard to find the words to express the total craptastic nature of the last 365 days. (Since writing those first sentences I learned of the death in the family, so the nasty that is 2014 seems to be holding on to the last.) So I won’t.

The best part of the year was spending time at  the beach with my family. The whole year comes down to a week in August when looking for bright spots. Certainly not my best year by far.

So I am looking toward 2015 to go a little better. It’s already started actually. I may have some amazing news that will very literally change my life. I got a hint at it last week, but until things are set in stone in the next few weeks I’m keeping it to myself. So watch this spot!

I guess that’s what we do at the end of the year. We tally the losses and the gains and try to make sense of it all so we have a little more hope going into the new year. Here’s hoping there are more losses than gains on your 2014 tally sheet.

Happy New Year my friends. May it be filled with love, laughter, and most importantly — hope.


Dedicated to Jerry Bock, you will be missed.

No No NaNoWriMo

The beginning of December means the end of this year’s National Novel Writing Month. I had three previous attempts with one win (last year) with NaNoWriMo. I thought long and hard about entering again this year, and decided not to. And, while it might have been tough seeing all the updates and people reaching the goal, I think it was the right decision.

For one thing I’m still working on the novel I wrote last year. There are some parts I’m really proud of…but the ending horrible. My most recent attempt at “fixing” it included lopping off the last quarter of what I had and starting on writing a whole new second half for it. Not pretty. Very depressing. Very necessary.

There’s also a story I’ve been working on in bits and pieces for the last few years. It’s one of my sanity stories. You know what I mean, one of the stories I go to when I need to take my mind off of things and get lost in something. I truly love this story and most of the time the words flow pretty easily. Perfect for NaNoWriMo you say, nope — the novel you write can’t use previously written content. Since I already have five chapters and lots of snippets of scenes and dialogue that I really, really like, I didn’t want to start over from scratch – honestly it would feel like a waste of time to rewrite what I had rather working on what I don’t have.

Which leads me to the third thing, time. If you’re going to take on a challenge like writing over 50,000 words in a month, then you need to give everything you have to the task. My life is very different from what it was in November last year, each day is a new challenge with two kids being cyber schooled and living with my in-laws. That’s not good or bad, it just is. I knew in September when I started thinking about prepping for this years NaNoWriMo that I didn’t have the same fire that I did last year. My head and heart are pulling in too many directions for me to focus on writing for hours at a time every day.

And, I think that’s okay. In 2011 and 2012, I just pushed to write everyday and was happy that I did. Which is fine too. I knew those years that I didn’t have the kind of time I needed to get a novel written but I had the fire to write. This year I knew that my time and my heart weren’t where they needed to be, so this was the year not to push it. I think I would have felt worse not finishing this year, so why punish myself?

Would I have liked to, sure. Will I try again, probably. But I need to know that I have the right focus, and maybe more importantly the right story. This year just wasn’t the year.

Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations too to those to who didn’t make it but gave it shot, any time you get words out of your mind and out in the world is an accomplishment. Amazing effort by you all and you should be very proud no matter how many words are on the page!

Hard To Say Goodbye

A few weeks ago I posted about my dogs in honor of National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. In the post I mentioned how well our 17-year-old dog Schmoopie was doing despite her age. Unfortunately, that didn’t stay true for long.

17 year old Schmoopie is a gray dog laying down on tan carpet

17-year-old Schmoopie is just chillin’

About 10 days ago she started to take a turn for the worst, and a week ago we had to let her go. It was the right thing to do, and as pet owners that love their pets, it was the responsible thing to do. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard as hell to make that call and take her on her last trip to the vet.

As I’ve thought about it over the last week, I realized that I’ve spent more of my adult life with her than without her. She was there to welcome both of my daughters home from the hospital, and fussed over them every chance she got (she would stand on her hind legs to look in the bassinet when they would start to cry and snuggle against them when they were in reach).

Dog in a bright colored kerchief and Steeler collar.

Schmoopie look dapper in her kerchief and Steeler collar.

When we talked about our loss on Facebook we got a lot support, especially for our daughters who couldn’t imagine life without her. A lot of people said we were lucky to have had her so long. I have to say, I’m not sure about that.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a blessing to have as much time with that sweet fur ball as we did, but I think that makes saying goodbye even harder. My husband and I can’t really remember a life without her. My daughters never knew a time without that fuzzy face checking on them. 17 years is a long time to love and be loved in return.

I know in time we’ll stop looking for her when we walk through the house. We’ll stop reaching for her dish to feed her. We’ll get used to saying dog and not dogs. But right now it’s hard to say goodbye.

Schmoopie: friend, snuggle buddy and forever loved.

Tell Me A Story Tuesday – Halloween 2014 Edition

I’ve talked about this before, but some of the best stories are ghost stories. I mean who doesn’t love a scary story? (Ok, I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but I don’t mind a story that’s a little scary or raises the hair on the back of your neck.) This time of year is when scary stories reign supreme, so I thought I would give you the chance to tell me a scary story!

A ghost appears to be kneeling at a grave in a cemetary

A spooky photo from the Battery Carriage House

Now, I know this is the point where I should tell YOU a scary story. But, like I said before, I’m not a huge fan of the genre. When I try to write something creepy it usually comes out funny (like the video project I did in college that was supposed to be creepy but just made my professor and the class laugh). Not that I don’t have a few…odd…things that have happened over the years, but those are more on the personal side and this isn’t really the right forum for them. Not saying I won’t share, just not in this post.

So it’s YOUR turn to tell a supernatural story. It doesn’t need to be long…it doesn’t need to be good…it doesn’t even need to be true (hey for all I know you could have attended a summer camp where campers disappeared every year, who am I to say different?) just tell us your scary/creepy/hair-raising tale. If it’s long story, or if you’d rather put it on your site, no worries just post the link. Hey, if you want to share your scary/creepy/spooky photos with a story about where they’re from or how you got them, that’s awesome too!

I tried this before, and didn’t get a response. This year I know I have a couple of writers who stop by now and again. I also have gone from ones of readers to almost tens of readers over the last few months, so I’m hoping someone will jump in and share something. Again, doesn’t have to be big or elaborate, it just needs to be spooky!

Don’t forget we’ve got rules about these things, just to keep it real friendly like and to keep those nasty trolls under the bridges where they belong, so make sure you check those out.

Ok…so…tell me a scary story!

Lorie’s List for 10/17/2014

I’m bringing back Lorie’s List this week in honor of October being National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! I have two shelter dogs myself and can’t imagine our lives without them. Schmoopie and Princess have made many move with us (Schmoop moved seven times, Princess six), have been there when we had a bad day and made our lives better all the way around. In honor of all our shelter dogs do for us, I’m listing some of my favorite dog related stories and indulging a little by talking about my two fuzzballs.

17 year old Schmoopie is a gray dog laying down on tan carpet

17-year-old Schmoopie is just chillin’

        • Schmoopie is a 17-year-old terrier mix – that’s right a 17-year-old medium-sized dog who is doing really well all things considered; she doesn’t take meds, can still see fairly well and has selective hearing (she can hear when you talk about food but seems to go deaf when you’re trying to get her to do something). Yes, she slower than she used to be, the arthritis in the hip she had surgery on as a puppy to fix a birth defect slows her down, but she can still do her thing including dancing in the snow and bouncing around the house when motivated (did someone say bacon?). At her last check-up the vet said, “Well she looks pretty good for 12.” When my husband pointed out that was our other dog and that she was 17 the vet said, “Are you sure? Well then, for 17 she looks great!” (Bonus points if you can figure out what NBC sit-com we got our dog’s name from! See below.)
Princess is a brown and black dog sleeping on blankets

12-year-old Princess proving she’s blanket hog

        • Princess is a 12-year-old cocker spaniel mix whose legal name is Pretty Princess (named by our then 4-year-old daughter) – my husband and I decided we didn’t want to be standing out in the yard late at night calling for Pretty Princess so we shortened it. Princess tried to set fire to the house when she jumped up towards the stove trying to get at a 12 inch sub my husband sat there – instead she turned on the gas burner and caught some mail also left on the stove on fire. Luckily I was doing the dishes about a foot away and it was quickly put it out, but we invested in child safety locks for the knobs so we didn’t have any more incidents. She’s redeemed herself by waking the dog sitter and helping to scare away someone trying to get in the door in the early hours of Christmas day a few years ago – she got an extra snack from Santa that year!
        • Pit Bulls in a Photo Booth I’ve been saving this article for just such an occasion! These are some adorable pictures of Pit Bulls that will melt your heart. I don’t know that they’re all shelter dogs, but I’m pretty sure there are a few rescues in the mix.
Dog with the Washington Monument in the background

A cutie from a post on the Fairfax County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page

      • Who Loves A Shelter Dog? A whole lot of us! According to this article, more and more people are adopting pets, and more of them are bringing home shelter dogs!
      • Great Fundraisers Every shelter can use a little help, so consider making a donation to the shelter that helped you bring that furry love of your life home. If you’re looking for other ways to help, Anne Wheaton (and her celebrity nerd/blogger/host Wil Wheaton) have put together another celebrity pet adoption calendar for 2015! It looks awesome, and there are faces you’ll recognize so make sure to check out the video too. You can get all the details on Mr. Wheaton’s blog, or visit
      • Things on My Dog If you’ve ever put something on your dog just to see their reaction, you’ve got to check out Stuff On My Mutt. My kids and I love this site. If you’re looking for a giggle, or ideas on ways to embarrass your dog, this is the place to go. Make sure to check the sister site that’s of the feline persuasion.

Go adopt a shelter dog, it will change your lives and theirs. If you have a shelter dog give them a big hug and an extra snack. They can try our patients, drive us crazy, steal our food when we’re not looking, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you have any ideas or if you’d like to Guest Write The List, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!

17 year old Schmoopie laying on blue blanket

Schmoopie is laying on the porch and enjoying the day as I write this post

Think you know what 90’s NBC sit-com Schmoopie got her name from? Leave the answer in the comments below. I’ll let you know if you’re right, and keep an eye out for the upcoming post, “Did I Ever Tell You…How Schmoopie Got Her Name?”

I would love to hear about your shelter dogs, leave a comment below and/or links to information about your furry friends!