Friday, May 30, 2014

#WRiTECLUB2014 All You Need to Know: Guest DLHammons!

Please welcome my wonderful blogging buddy, DL Hammons to Life is Good today.  He's here to talk about a special writing opportunity for you.  We used to be A-Z Team mates, so our friendship goes way back.  I'm happy to help him out in spreading the word!  Should you choose to enter...good luck!

First off, I’d like to thank Tina for the opportunity to talk to you today about something near and dear to my heart…WRiTE CLUB. My modest writing contest has proven so popular that the DFW Writers Conference is now considering incorporating it into their agenda for 2015. 

For the newbies out there, let me explain what WRiTE CLUB is? It’s a modest writing competition whose inspiration was derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB. There are numerous versions of this concept around the internet, but nothing like we do it. Its essence embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top. 

Over the course of eight weeks I hold twice-weekly bouts in which the winners advance to the play-offs, which will ultimately lead to a single champion. Bouts between who…or what…you ask? Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name by anyone who wishes to take part, that’s who. The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. It’s a way to get your writing in front of a lot of readers, without having to suffer the agony of exposure. 

And the winners are determined by WRiTE CLUB readers!

To find out how to become part of the fun just head on over to and click on the WRiTE CLUB tab. 

Submissions are open until May 31st. After that date a panel of a dozen judges will read all of the entries we received and pre-select 32 of the best writing samples to climb into the ring. Those 32 participants will then be randomly matched to compete over the next eight weeks, each of them hoping to make it into the play-off rounds and moving towards the ultimate goal – WRiTE CLUB Champion. No one (other than my wife)…not even the judges being used to pre-select the 32 contestants, will see the true identity of any sample. Unless you win, of course.

Again this year, the most exciting part is the winner of the final round will be chosen by a panel of publishing industry professionals! Judges include New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author Jonathan Maberry, Agents Katie Grim of Don Congdon Associates, Margaret Bail of the Andrea Hurst Agency, Sarah Negovetich of the Corvisiero Literary Agency,Brittany Booker of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. Also included is Candace Havens, Editorial Director of Entangled Publishing Covet line, Authors Les Edgerton and Lydia Kang, and previous WRiTE CLUB winners Tiana Smith (2011), Mark Hough (2012) and Tex Thompson (2013).

Are you willing to WRiTE for what you want? Then crack those knuckles and get ready to flex that imagination. And whatever you do, tell your friends!

WRiTE CLUB – The contest where the audience gets clobbered!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

College Life: Episode 2: "You've Got To!"

For the summer, once a week I'll be sharing a story from my college days at CSU, 1984-1988. I will leave links at the end of each post for previous episodes.


"You're here!  You've got to come meet everyone!  Hi!  I'm Mary-Jo and I just know we're going to become best friends!"

She was a talker, a non-stop whirlwind of energy and gestures and I was overwhelmed.  I still needed to find some territory to call my own, unpack, and try not to freak out about leaving my boyfriend (The Engineer, by the way) behind for three months.

"Hi, I'm Tina."
"I know!  You're from Denver and that's perfect because you'll know a LOT of people here and that will help me get introduced to everyone!  We've got to do that!"

I didn't bother to tell her, at that time, that I was really not a popular person, was in fact a total nerd from a very small school, and she was out of luck if she was looking to find people through me.

"Would it be alright if we talk about some roommate stuff first?  I've got a few questions."

Family discreetly headed off to explore so that we could hammer out some co-existence policies more to my comfort.

Though her sorority girl enthusiam (no offense meant to anyone who enjoyed their sorority life, but it just wasn't something I was even remotely interested in) was overwhelming, she was actually a fairly reasonable person, and did finally understand that though I was willing to share my clothes (she had very few) and my electronics (including one awesome boom box which lasted until just five or so years ago) and my typewriter (pica font, size 14, a treasured item from Grandma Vivian), I did need some space of my own. We divied up closets and drawers.  She moved stuff.  I unpacked stuff.  I felt better.

She immediately spied one of my favorite shirts and asked to borrow it for, "Our very first dinner together in the dorms! Aren't you excited?"  Well, not really.  I was already having food issues, and hadn't really planned to spend my days in her company (read shadow) but agreed that sure, let's do that.

Family then came back, said goodbye, and I was left alone with my whirlwind.  She practically dragged me along as she introduced me to almost every person we passed, whom she'd already met during her first, "Rounds of meet and greet.  Everyone meets everyone as soon as possible.  You've got to!"

Apparently I also had to "get ready for dinner" by fixing my hair and make-up.  "It's what everyone does, you've got to!"  I complied.  I found that a lot of the time when calculating the cost of a decision involving Mary-Jo, it really was just easier to "Just do it."

Dinner was an experience, but I'll spare you. I really am going to tell actual stories, but you had to meet the players first, and this is how it happened. Next time: the cheerleader, and the boyfriends, and getting locked out...

Any stories to share?  Crazy roommates?  Bossy roommates? Good food in your dorm?

~Tina, remembering Cap'n Crunch, which became a staple of my diet, and that there was diet coke available at all times.  Even at breakfast.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day: A Thank You

THANK YOU to all the men and women of the armed forces and to all of our vets: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, for your sacrifice.  You will never be forgotten.

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Arlington National Cemetery

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rites of Passage: 8th Grade to High School

Please be warned.  This post is shameless mommy bragging time, about the one letting me brag.  The other didn't want to be recognized for the accomplishments of this year.  His are also many. His words allowed are few.

Today we celebrate OYT, Our Youngest Teen, who just finished 8th grade.  Last night we attended a picnic and slide show to commemorate the occasion. I was too far away to get any pictures, but OYT did let me take these and tell you about them.  I am grateful.

One of my favorite qualities of this young man was also recognized by his peers and today he received this peer-chosen award.

He is also most definitely a scientist, which they also recognized.

Here are his two latest achievements.  This machine is a combination of two "simple machines" as per the group project.  They combined a pulley with a wheel and axle to construct the "Nifty-Lifting Machine." Attach your object to be lifted to the hook, turn the PVC crank, and lift your thing, with a lot less force.

He also took a class called "Instrument Design". This idea came from his wobbling a piece of poster board one day and turned into this:  

Turn the crank, the thin plexiglass wobbles (he explained the difference between how the two pulleys work and how the load is distributed, etc., but let's leave it at "it makes it wobble") and produces a really, um, interesting sound. Interesting to engineers.  And to teenagers.  To writer-mothers who've had to listen to it...for a while...I'm really OK with knowing how it sounds.  From memory.

I can't ignore his artistic side though.  He had three pieces in the art show this year.

"Place Setting" where he had a picture to copy.

Love his attention to detail.

This gift, which he had planned for another occasion, he couldn't use because it was kept for the show.  Most of you know my sunflower obsession.  I think he did a great job.  It's glass, and the dirt is hardened concrete, so this thing is going nowhere unless on purpose.

I'll close with this.  His third piece from the show.  I think you've seen that he certainly knows how to do what he instructs.

~Tina, proud mom, who thanks you for bearing with her

©2014 All Rights Reserved
All pictures by me.  
Did you SEE my gorgeous new header?  It's by Jeremy, all things digital, my admin, my bro, my dear friend.  Thanks, J, for the AMAZING new artwork.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I'm Swamped! But What About the R.O.U.S-es?

I'm closed today.  I've got:

~ my OYT's 8th grade graduation to attend

~ teacher cards to write and gifts to wrap

~ my Transporter's last day of school and its associated activities

~ and Guilder to frame for it!


~Tina, who hopes she does not get eaten by the eels at this time, but will watch out for the R.O.U.S-es...

©2014 All Rights Reserved
iPhone photo by me.  Goofballs.  Lovable goofballs.

Monday, May 19, 2014

College Life: A New Series, Episode 1, Roommates

It's probably good that Momarazzi didn't come to college with me, all things considered, but I sure wish I had pictures of some of these people and events.

It's my intention that for your summer entertainment, I write a series of posts about some of the stupid, hilarious, dangerous, risky, and otherwise noteworthy incidents of my college days. Names have been changed to protect...everyone but me.

I graduated from a small, Christian high school in 1984.   We had a whopping 62 in our graduating class.  The Engineer was one of them.  We'd been dating since December.  I was off to Colorado State University, home of a good math program, and a fairly straight forward path to simultaneously obtaining a teaching certificate.  My whole life I'd known I wanted to be a teacher, and I'd always loved (and excelled) at math.

CSU was a comfortable distance from home (about an hour). I was fairly certain there would be no unexpected drop-in family visitors, yet I could easily go home for the weekend should I choose.  

The Engineer was going an uncomfortable distance away to a tiny town in Iowa, home of the Alma-Mater of both his parents, and home town of his mother.  We did not want to be separated.  However, we were reasonable people (surprising, isn't it?) and decided that we'd date others, and just see what happened between August and Thanksgiving, which was when we'd next see each other.

My entire family moved me into the dorm, which I'd chosen carefully, but not carefully enough.  I'd read the descriptions, and chosen the one with the courtyard, with suites, connected by a shared with the other room only, and NOT communal locker-room type bathing amenities.  I was on the fourth floor, on the inside, with a great view of the courtyard.

As we trudged up the stairs with all my stuff, we were greeted at the top with a big sign, "Fourth Floor Girls Have Firmer Thighs!"  That suited me just fine.  All that was left was to meet my roommate, and our suite-mates.  I was of course hoping to be first to stake my claim and all that territorial stuff, but when I entered my (oh my gosh were they small) room, I found that she'd already done so, had stuff strewn everywhere, and had something in every closet, drawer, etc. No discernible difference between "my side" and "her side."

I did not like this at all.  It was bad enough to be sharing a room, but I had NOT pictured to co-mingling of our lives quite to that extent.  She had left me the bed under the window, for which I was grateful.  Now all that was left was to meet her, and set some ground rules of co-habitation.

Meeting the farmer's daughter from small-town Iowa would have to wait though, as she was already off being the social butterfly.  She'd left me a note, though, which I appreciated.

Ms. Mary-Jo Butler turned out to be quite the, um, interesting roommate, and the other room of our suite was occupied by ONLY a junior who had earned the privilege of a single room. Meeting Ms. Cheerleader USA had to wait, too, because she came two days later.  Can you see me fitting in well with these two?  Make your predictions now.

Do you have some college stories to share?  Anyone else who writes random stuff on their blog want to join me in this summer series?

~Tina, lots of up her sleeve, but had to set the stage

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why "Reply All" is The Most Dangerous Button

When I first entered the business world, as opposed to when I was a teacher in the late 80s and no one had computers, I learned that there was a very dangerous setting in the email system.  It's "reply all".

This particular setting can be dangerous for many reasons, but the two most important ones, in my opinion, are:

- saying the wrong words to the wrong person

- saying the wrong words to someone who doesn't care one iota what you're saying, yet has to wade through your responses

Some people have their DEFAULT email settings on "reply all".  I do not understand this.  It is much more likely that what you need to say to respond to an email applies to one or maybe two people, than to the entire group the email was sent to.  It's much better to have it set to just reply to the person, THEN you can deliberately add others that you've specifically chosen to also hear what you have to say.

Using this pre-caution can save you a lot of embarrassment, and potential for putting your foot so far into your mouth that there is no extracting it.  I can think of many instances of corporate communication when the conversation veered off into complaining about a certain employees lazy habits, and yet there she was, still in the email chain, probably feeling each stab of the knife in her back as the emails rolled in, her name not taken off.

I'm not saying that those words didn't need to be said. Perhaps some disciplinary action was in order, but that should have been discussed through other channels of HR, and not in gossipy email between co-workers.

The other instance of mis-use of the reply-all button has to do with personal correspondence.  I've been the on the receiving end of too many of the following type incident.

Let's say someone is having a baby, and a list has been provided to a friend to "alert everyone" once the blessed event has happened.  Great!  Glad to be informed.  Happy for the new parents.  What I don't need though is my phone beeping for the next three hours when everyone on that distribution list chimes in with their congratulations!  

Random numbers that aren't part of my contacts keep popping up with, "That's awesome!  I bet he looks just like his dad!  Tell them all...."  For hours.  It's wonderful that you want to congratulate and communicate.  Just would you please do it with just the person who sent you the text or email or whatever form of communication it was?  I have no idea who you are.  I don't really need 27 of basically the same thing over and over again.

I know they mean well.  I know it's hard to teach some people to just hit "reply", or to start a new text to just the one person.  I'd appreciate it though, and I know others would, too.  We've discussed it.  At length.

Besides, wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry? Wouldn't you be mortified if you said the wrong this to the wrong person?  Wouldn't you prefer not to wake someone up all night long with congratulations texts?  I think you would.

So confession time.  How many of you have been burned by hearing the wrong thing about yourself, or saying the wrong thing to the wrong person? How many extraneous group reply texts have you gotten? 

Or should this have gone on Wednesdays rant about the little things that bother depressed people when they can't face the real world?

~Tina, inquiring minds want to know

©2014 All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Depression, Dust Bunnies, and World Peace: A "Just Write" Post

It's one of those "just write" days.  The purpose of Life is Good is for me to practice writing.  There are days when words flow, and days when the dam is plugged.  There are days when all the jotted topics on my list sound easy to write about, and days when none of them seem like a good idea. Today is a dam-is-plugged day, but the exercise of writing daily is a good discipline, in my opinion.  So let's see what comes trickling out of the dam as I just free was a favorite exercise in one of my writing classes in college...

Sometimes it's the tiniest of details which will irritate the living snot out of you.  There are days when the world's real, huge, scary problems overwhelm you.  There are days when you feel on top of the world and can do anything, and there are days when you can barely drag your carcass out of bed for your required duties.

It's no secret that I struggle with depression.  Well, at least not if you've read me for a few months. Depression is not knowing what you're going to wake up to, at least not with any sure-fire prediction.  Of course there are dark periods where you know you'll be in the pit for a while, and there are strings of days when you seem to be able to find that ladder after all and poke your head out, see if the coast is clear. 

However, the littlest thing can set you off.  I could list them, but if you're a mom, you probably have the same list.  It starts with why are the shoes 6" from the designated spot and not in the spot? There's a rug there.  For shoes.  You couldn't just take them off six inches further towards the wall?  It could end with why don't you just DO the work instead of wasting all this time COMPLAINING about the work when it could have been done by now?

Or there are days when little things don't hit your radar.  The situation in Ukraine has you paralyzed, because it's so messed up, and seemingly unfixable without more chaos and hurt and loss of life. Having met Ukrainians, and having your parents close friends with a lot of them from all their ISP trips is heartbreaking.  This isn't some far off conflict I can ignore while the dust bunnies make me crawl back under the covers.  These are real people who are suffering through this atrocity, and I'm helpless.

Helplessness is one of the big "feelings" of depression. There's nothing I can do, so I'm going to take a nap. Only you can't take a nap, because when you lie down you see the dust bunnies, but you can't GET the dust bunnies because of your physical restrictions, which leads to more depression because now you're helpless AND useless. 

It's an endless cycle, and unlike what a lot of people believe, just taking a magic pill isn't going to fix it. It might be the crutch or walker or wheel chair you need to get to the next place, but just as a diabetic can't fix their bodies' lack of the correct chemical production with wishing and hoping, neither can the depressed person fix the chemical imbalance in their body.

Ok, so a rant about depression, dust bunnies, the state of the world, and naps came out. Guess that's where I'm at today.

Do you suffer from depression? What are some of your pet peeves? Any ideas for world peace? I'm listening...

~Tina, just writing

Monday, May 12, 2014

Moms Come in All Varieties: Happy Mother's Day!

I thought I'd share some favorite mom pictures, not just of my mom, or of me as a mom (should I find any I'm not to Americanized too share) but of moms I admire.  

You probably recognize The Nutritionist by now. She is wearing the traditional Swedish national dress hand sewn by Farmor.  I'm really happy that Farmor's meticulous handiwork is still used today. It's another one of those heirloom/use it dilemmas. We've used this one.  When I was a teacher, I wore this for our International Day each year. Doesn't she look amazing?  I love my Mommy.

I now want to share some anonymous pictures with you to celebrate Mom's Group.  I do hope at some time you have a chance to go read the post because this group meant the world to me, and still does.

Mom of six.  We met when she was pregnant with #2.  First three are boys.  She's a wonder.

Moved away way too soon.  Mother of six. Grandparents in the shot.  Miss her daily.  I thank God for facebook.

Can't say enough about this friend.  Two of her three.  Time flies.

You probably recognize her.  It was her first Mother's Day today.  This is from a wedding she attended last fall.

OK OK OK OK.  I'm willing to play too.  Here's me in blue with The Transporter on the left, the guest of honor, our amazing friend the foreign exchange student on my other side, and since I gave everyone else anonymity, I won't point out which friend the other two cuties belong to. Not that you couldn't find out if you search for the post about the going away party...

So yeah, another milestone for me of putting a picture of myself in cyberspace.  My point, however, is that moms come in all shapes, sizes, with differing philosophies, strategies, and ideas.  Each mom is unique, with her own reasons for doing what she does. Mom's Group helped us see that, and celebrate it.

~Tina, blessed to be a mom

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Mommy friends

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Special Gift ~ To Be Wrapped in Love

I received the most amazing gift about a month ago, and I haven't been able to think of a way to tell her just exactly what it meant to me, so I thought, "Hey, you're a writer! Write her a post!"  So M. ~ this is for you.  Thank you.

M. and I met when I was her daughter's teacher my very first year of teaching.  1988.  We've been friends ever since.  Our friendship extended beyond just teacher/mother of daughter for many private reasons.  She is very special to me.  She is a quilter.  I know lots of quilters.  I know what it takes to make one, the mathematical (um, yeah...) precision it takes, the long hours, and the money invested.  I'm in awe of the skills that quilters have.  

No one has ever made me quilt before, but M. surprised me with a queen-sized "crazy quilt" in all my favorite colors.  Out of the blue.  She'd called and said she'd like to stop by because she was in town. She brought me this.

Isn't it gorgeous?

I've tried to figure out the pattern. It's, um, crazy ;-)  I asked to explain, "How in the world..." and she tried, but even my highly-trained-in-geometry brain glazed over.

The back shows the machine quilting.

Then we discussed the Big Question.  When given an heirloom like this, do you use it like a normal blanket, or do you hang it on the wall to preserve it? Or do you reach some sort of reasonable compromise so that it's used, enjoyed, yet still preserved for future generations?

Here's what I decided.  It's my bedspread, in other words, I take it off at night, fold it up neatly, and put it back on in the morning.  I do cheat though.  If I need a nap, I'll crawl under it (carefully) and snuggle up.  It makes me feel so loved and happy to be under all that wonder.  Sometimes late at night when I'm curled up with my favorite cooking show, I'll again crawl under it before I put it away for the night.

During the day, when I'm sitting on my bed writing (my favorite place to do so, great back pillow, newly remodeled, tranquil CLUTTER FREE room) (only part of the house really) (and now has my window A/C), I fold back enough of it that I'm not going to cause damage.  Then I have that splendor laid out before me as I work.

What do you do when given a keepsake gift?  Use it?  Keep it safe?  Has anyone ever made you a quilt?  Are you a quilter?

~Tina, wrapped in love, and oh so grateful

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photos by me

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Insecure? Try Something New!

Are you feeling insecure about your writing?  I have a suggestion.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Of course, that phrase has different meanings for different folks.

For me, that step happened when I was chosen to contribute a story to a book where ALL the others who were chosen were published authors.  I took a big, deep breath and decided, fake it until they stop you.

Interview.  "Hi, I'm Tina and I'm a free-lance writer...."  My definition of free-lance is I don't work for anybody.  Completely true.

Story accepted.  Book sold well, raised money, got a second printing.

Then came the invitation, "One of the recipient organizations is looking for volunteer columnists, on a rotating basis, to contribute to their newsletter...."

I've never written a column, though a case could be made for a post being LIKE a column.  I went for it. It's turned out great.  All the other authors from the book have dropped out for whatever reason, so now I'm not rotating with anyone.  I AM the columnist. Yeah!

Maybe stepping out of your comfort zone means taking on a leadership role.  We had a lot of very brave "I'm not really comfortable" people step up to be minions for the A-Z Challenge, and they rocked the town.  I bet it gave them some confidence, too.

Maybe stepping out of your comfort zone is visiting blogs that aren't in your same category.  You may discover that following a cooking, craft, photography, gaming, or whatever-is-new-to-you blog opens up new doors.  New friendships.  New circles (not the google+ kind, still don't know how to drive THAT non-intuitive model of car...)

Maybe stepping out of your comfort zone is interacting more with those who visit your blog. Make more return visits. Write return emails.  Build friendships.

You never know where your next brave step will take you, and even though it may be uncomfortable, at least it's a new place, full of possibilities.

~Tina, stepping out on a Road Trip with a bunch of "I'm not done visiting blogs from The Challenge yet" brave souls...wanna join us?

Alex “Ninja Captain” Cavanaugh  is our leader for this wonderful, supportive group. Don't forget we even have our own website now.  Be sure to check it out if you haven't already, and "like" our facebook page, too. I'm so impressed with what these talented folks are doing to promote this group! Encouragement month long is now just a click away! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

A-Z Challenge Reflections 2014 #atozchallenge

I think it's a very good practice to evaluate an event in order to give praise and recognition to those who deserve it, and also to offer suggestions for improvement to those in charge, so that they can make improvements for the future.  Welcome to the Reflections Posts!  You'll find the linky below, at the A-Z Challenge Blog, and in my tab above.

In the past, I've used analogies: sex - 2011, sports - 2012, and I've laid it all bare, just a dump of emotion -2013.  Each year has been different, and this year was no exception.

I'm happy to say that this year I did a much more timely job of visiting back, not that I'm anywhere near done, mind you.  That was probably because I wasn't over 1,000 emails behind, only about an average of 300 per day.  More people left links, or at least URL's, so quickly getting to a visitor's blog was a lot easier, and I was more intentional about seizing the opportunity right then.

Visiting more blogs led me to some great, new discoveries. There are many bloggers who are "just like me." They are immigrants writing about the cultural differences between their homeland and their new land.  I even met some whose "new land" wasn't the US.  I learned a LOT.  I wish I'd labeled them in my notes so I could share links, but I didn't. Note to self for next year: write down links that you want to share in your Reflections.

I met some incredibly brave people opening their hearts and souls for the world to see.  I was humbled by their honesty and willingness to share.  I found amazing recipes to try, saw pictures of places I'll never be able to see in person, and I read a whole bunch of amazing flash fiction.  

In other words, I experienced what we hope that you as participants experience when you join this adventure.  In the past I didn't take that opportunity as much because I was too busy with administrative duties and neglected my participant duties.  Note to self: good job. Keep getting better!

As to administrative duties, I had more time to devote this year, hence the email difference, and the visiting difference.  I planned ahead for April, cleared my calendar, and really focused.  I treated it as a part-time volunteer gig, and that mindset made me feel like I was really making a difference.  It was motivating to keep going, and it gave me purpose when yet again, health issues dominated my personal life for half of April. Note to self: planning really is good.  It's OK to be Schedule Woman ;-)

I still don't like the categories.  All you need to do is spend an hour answering the info@ emails (one of my jobs on the team) to know how much confusion, angst, anger, and mess these caused.  We will keep doing them, because YOU want them, but I just have to say again, like I did last year: pain in the buttocks for co-hosts.  

However, I was highly entertained by some of the questions I received at the info@ email address.  I won't embarrass anyone and quote, but I will say this: Note to PARTICIPANTS: there's a reason for the A-Z Challenge Blog: INFORMATION FOR PARTICIPANTS. There's even a FAQ tab. READ IT EVERYDAY. Keep reading it - we're open all year!

I know this is getting long, but I can't help but thank everyone for your tremendous response to my series. Some of you didn't miss a post.  Many of you shared your personal stories and your culture.  My comment section made me smile every day!  

Thank you to my bevy of new followers.  I'm trying to make the rounds, and I appreciate your vote of confidence in me.  It's my intention to follow back, so if I've missed you, please drop me an email or leave a comment WITH A LINK and I'll hop on over.

Of course I have to thank my co-host team (yes, yes, I hear the exit music and see the ladies trying to escort me off the stage...just one more thing...) Love to all of you.  Of course, it goes without saying that all of this would not have been possible without my minions, who got a whole post of their own on Friday ;-)

~Tina, looking forward to reading your Reflections.  I'm going to be on the look-out for some to feature as guest posts at the A-Z Blog...

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: as with all the logos associated with the A-Z April 2014 Challenge, Jeremy Hawkins of

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ginormous Thank You to Tina's Terrific Team

Well my lovely ladies, we did it!  Or I should say YOU did it.  I in all honesty could not have done this year's A-Z Challenge without your help, encouragement, funny, silly, uplifting, laugh-out-loud-spit-on-your-laptop emails, or without your immense dedication to this project.

In an ideal, sci-fi world (which maybe one day I'll get back to writing about...) I'd just wormhole or transporter or beam you all here.  We'd go to my favorite restaurant, a home town favorite, genuine one-of-a-kind place called Mike O'Shays.  I've been eating and drinking there for 23 years.  We'd get my favorite big booth in the back and celebrate. I'd buy you all dinner, and drinks, and we'd get to know each other even better.

Alas, even though great sci-fi writers have invented this technology, we cannot use it. So I'm sending you all my cyber hugs and love and an open invitation to come to Colorado and go out on the town!  I know, it's just not the same...

Readers - if you have a moment, I'd appreciate you giving their blogs a visit. They are all amazing in their own ways:

Andrea @ Maybe It's Just Me: never fails to make me laugh.  My laptop gets a regular cleaning after reading her blog

Hilary Melton-Butcher @ Positive letters...inspirational stories...: a master at research, a wiz with finding the right pictures, and always, always something new to learn each time I visit

jenn @ quirky pickings: quirky, wonderful, completely honest, you never know what she'll say but it will be the truth 

Jo @ Jo on Food, My Travels, and a Scent of Chocolate: the most regular blogger I know: 6 times a week, open, honest, and I don't know how she does it, but she's already commented almost everywhere I go. Plus a recipe every post.  Yum.

JoJo @Tahoma Beadworks and Photography: master of every craft known to society, expert photographer, funny as all get out - and always a visual treat with each post

Kate @ Another Clean Slate: though living almost the exact opposite of my life, we connect and she can always be counted on to be real, and there for you, no matter what

You ladies made my month lighter, funnier, and full of camaraderie.  Now go take a to all of you.

~Tina, truly blessed with wonderful friends