Saturday, January 24, 2015

Big Benefits in Crafts

Look at the money the big craft stores make, like Joann's, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and more on the Internet. There are little specialty shops where you can buy yarn, supplies to build rockets, make jewelry, and when you go online, there are hundreds more. Just google crafts and see how many thousands of links come up. This means that crafts are big business, but they're more than that. They're great therapy.

When you are deeply involved in doing something you enjoy, your brain is releasing hormones that keep you healthy and happy. Those hormones permeate your body with feel good. It's a healthy way to use your free time. And if you can get outside to do it, even better. Then you have the added advantage of fresh air and vitamin D.

Whether you are writing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, painting, drawing, tatting,  weaving, or building something with your hands, when you are involved in an activity that brings you pleasure, the pleasure centers in your brain are releasing happy hormones. And those happy hormones are what fight depression and anxiety.

When I sit down to write, knit, crochet, tat, or create a pattern, time becomes irrelevant. I focus on what I'm doing and what I want to accomplish. I feel good.

But it is even more than that. When you take up your knitting needles or your crochet hook, you are engaging in an activity that has had significance for generations of women and men.  It can become a connection with your ancestors.

My mother CoraBelle loved quilting.  Grandmother Hazel and Grandmother Grace both loved crochet. Grandmother Hazel taught me to tat. Aunt Eileen taught me to knit. With the basic skills in place, I learned more from books and magazines. I was never one to take classes. I had children at home, lived on a farm,  and I couldn't take the time. I learned more from books and patterns. Later in my life, the Internet was my source for knowledge. Whatever I wanted to learn, someone on Youtube was there to show me how.  Is that not wonderful? We live in an awesome age of learning.

In 2007 my love of crafts turned into a business. I began writing patterns for sale on the Internet. Ebay allowed sellers to send patterns by email until their policy changed and a physical item had to be sent instead of digital media. After a year or so of selling on Ebay,  I opened a shop on and wrote more patterns. is all about handmade and there are a lot of crafters selling their original patterns. This is my eighth year of writing and selling patterns, and I have written close to 80 different original patterns on,, and Patternfish.  It has never felt like work. It has always been fun to create something new, take pictures as I go along, and then write a pattern so someone else can benefit.

My pattern writing started with dog sweaters. We have a cute little Chihuahua who models the sweaters and I have learned that CUTE sells. It pushes my buttons when I see something cute that someone else has created, and it must be true for other crafters as well. Photography matters, and the better your photographs present your work, the better it will sell. Good marketing requires good photography. A good pattern needs good photography as well.

Along with dog sweaters in knit and crochet, I write patterns for hats, beanies, mittens,  slippers, jewelry, and clothing.

I write my patterns with beginners in mind. Simplicity is helpful. But then again, difficulty can be challenging. I guess there is something for every skill level to make it fun. It depends on what you want at the level of learning where you are.

In conclusion, what is most important is how it makes you feel. If it's fun, do it. If it's really great fun, do it a lot.

My blessing to you.....May the work of your hands give joy to your heart.
To see my patterns, go to or search for Toni Lansing on

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tales From The Frog Pond - Stories for Children Polly the Opossum

Tales From The Frog Pond - Stories for Children

- Polly the Opossum

Polly yawned a gigantic yawn, exposing a mouth full of teeth. She had slept away most of the day in her comfortable spot under the Hauschildt barn. Soon it would be evening and she would come out of the shelter where she had been sleeping all day. Her stomach was rumbling and it was time to hunt for food.
Polly wasn't picky about what she ate. She was a scavenger, and lived on whatever she could find. Tonight it was garden vegetables. She had spotted the garden full of carrots, tomatoes, and radishes when she found the spot under the barn.
Polly was pretty much homeless by choice. It was her nature to wander the countryside, seldom spending more than two or three nights in the same place. She would find a likely spot to sleep away a day or two and settle in there. She liked to sleep during the day and travel and find food at night. Polly was Nocturnal, which means she stayed up all night and slept all day.
Polly the Possum was very, very shy. She tried to avoid people and other animals, and most of the time she succeeded. She was happiest with her babies, and she carried them with her wherever she went. They stayed in a little pouch under her belly and when she walked through the countryside, it rocked them to sleep.
        The baby possums were called pups or joeys. They lived on their mother's milk, which was located inside the pouch. They were warm and happy and well fed there, and their mama loved having them close to her.
Polly had good reasons to feel shy. Often people were afraid of her, thinking that she was a rat because of her long tail. They did not realize that she cleaned the area where she traveled of grubs, worms, and pests like ticks that humans find annoying. Polly was peaceful in nature and not at all aggressive. She only wanted to be left alone to search for food and water and take care of her babies.
One particular evening just after dark, the Hauschildt boys heard their dog Beau, a black Labrador Retriever, barking incessantly at the back door. Something must be out there, thought Mike.
Mike poked his head out the back door and pulled it right back in.
"Mom, there's a rat in the yard," he called out.
"Where?" said Mom, as she flipped on the yard light near the door and peered over Mike's head.
"Over there," said Mike, and he pointed to the storage building some twenty feet from the house. They could see the eyes of the creature shining in the light.
"If that's a rat, it's the biggest rat I ever saw," said Mom. "That can't be a rat. It has to be two feet long. It must be a possum."
"What is it doing?" asked Mike. "Should we get the shotgun?"
"Absolutely not! They're gentle little creatures and they wouldn't hurt anybody or anything. It's probably just looking for someplace to sleep tomorrow. They sleep all day and hunt food at night."
"Well, what good are they? They sure are ugly."
Polly heard that and her little Possum feelings were hurt. What did he know, anyway?
"Aw, I think they're cute," said Mom. "Look at that sweet little face and it's cute little hands."
Polly felt a little better and sniffed. The mom had a little better judgement than the boy.
"Bring in the dog and shut the door," said Mom. "That possum won't hurt anybody, and will probably be gone in a day or two."
Mike brought Beau in on the porch, shut the door, and turned off the outside light.
"Mom, where did Possums come from? And what do they eat?"
"Well, from what I have heard, they have been around since the Dinosaurs. They are one of the oldest animal alive. They are marsupials. Do you know what that means?
"No, what?" Mike was naturally curious, and now his brothers Jimmy, David, and Matt had gathered around to listen.
"It means they have a pouch and they carry their babies around with them," said Mom. "They are the only marsupials on the North American continent. Kangaroos are marsupials, and they live in Australia."
"Can we catch her and keep her for a pet?" asked Jimmy.
"I don't think that would be a good idea," said Mom with a smile. "She would probably be a lot happier where she is, and the best thing we can do for her is leave her alone."
"What do they like to eat?" asked Matt.
"Well, they eat a lot of things. One thing they like is dog food. The dry food that we leave out for Beau probably smelled good to her and she came up to the house to investigate."
The boys were looking out the window, but Polly had disappeared around the side of the storage building.
"Can I put out some more dog food so she has something to eat tonight?" Dave looked up at Mom with a smile and she couldn't resist.
"Sure, go ahead, but we won't do this every night, OK? Matt, will you help your brother get the dog food?"
Matt held the big 20 pound bag of dog food while Dave filled a scoop, opened the door, and stepped outside into the dark. He dumped the kibbles into Beau's food dish by the porch and looked out into the night. He didn't see Polly but he could hear her rustling in the leaves by the shed. He decided to go back into the house and watch from there. Maybe the little possum wouldn't come up while he was standing outside.
Polly lifted her head and sniffed the breeze. The fresh dog food smelled wonderful and her little nose twitched in delight. She wished the boy would go back into the house so she could get some, and finally he did just that.
Polly waited for a while, watching the house, until she was sure nobody was coming back out. Slowly she ambled towards the door and the pan of kibbles near the porch. One at a time, she picked up the small round chunks and crunched them with her strong back teeth. If a possum could smile, Polly would have been smiling. She loved dog food, and this was really good. She didn't see Dave watching her from inside the house.
Polly saw something out of the corner of her eye and whirled to see what was there. Only a few feet from the dog pan, the head of a huge rattlesnake rose out of the Jonquils growing by the porch. Polly crouched and hissed at the poisonous snake and the rattlesnake hissed back, a terrifying sound in the night. They watched each other for a minute, neither one of them moving, and then the snake coiled into a tight ball and struck without warning. Polly jumped in the air and the snake just missed sinking its fangs into her neck. She came down on top of the snake and her jaws clamped behind the snake's head. With a violent shake of her head, she broke its neck.
"Oh man, that was awesome," whispered Dave from the porch where he had been watching. Matt was by his side and they were amazed at the little possum's courage. They ran back in the house to tell Mom and their brothers.
"You should have seen it," Matt said to Jimmy and Mike. "The rattlesnake went after the little possum and she killed it. It was so cool!"
"I've never seen that happen," Mom said, amazed that a little opossum could kill a snake. "Don't go near the snake in case it's still alive. They can be really hard to kill."
But in the morning, the evidence was there next to Beau's dish. A huge dead rattlesnake lay limp next to the flowers by the porch.
"She probably saved us from getting bit," said Mom. "We owe her a thank-you."
Polly was sleeping under the storage building nearby, and heard Mom's thank you. She smiled, curled up, and went back to sleep with a smile on her little Possum face. It was nice to be appreciated.

Facts about Opossums:

Opossums have existed in their present form since the days of the dinosaurs. Their non-aggressive nature combined with their ability to forage for their food have contributed to their survival. If Polly was attacked or cornered, she would show her teeth and hiss in a ferocious display that was meant to scare her attacker. Nothing could actually be farther from the truth. If she became too frightened or if she was hurt by an attacking dog or coyote, Polly would actually go into a seizure and become comatose. She was that afraid! She would fall down, foaming at the mouth, her eyes would roll back in her head, and she would leak obnoxious green fluid from her body.
Have you ever heard of "playing possum"? That means that someone pretends to be asleep. People mistakenly think that opossums are pretending to be dead when they actually have been frightened out of their wits. They can remain in this comatose condition for up to four hours. So if you see a possum that appears to be dead, just gently remove it from harm's way and leave it alone. It is very likely that the possum is carrying babies in her pouch and has become so frightened that she is having a seizure. Leave her alone, and she may come back to consciousness and leave the area. Don't be alarmed if when you come back to check on her, she will probably be gone. She will be on her way, happy to be free.
If you are tempted to take the possum home and keep it for a pet, please don't do that. Possums have very special dietary and habitat needs. They need to be left to roam freely, find their food on their own, and live in the wild. Their biggest threat is from cars, coyotes, wolves, and humans. They frequently get run over by cars at night when they are out looking for food.
Another little known fact about possums is that they are immune to almost all poisonous snakes. Only the coral snake is poisonous to the possum, which is another reason to allow them to roam in your territory. They just may be protecting you from the deadly snakes in your area.
They are really our little friends, and have been around since the beginning of history. They must be doing something right. All they need is a warm, dry place to sleep and enough food to sustain them. If you ever find one in your area, be kind to it. It is only trying to survive in a harsh world, and they just might do you a favor of killing a poisonous snake in your behalf.

The End

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tales from the Frog Pond - Stories for Children - Susie the Squirrel

It was early Fall, and the walnut trees by the edge of the pond in Madison County were heavy with nuts. You could barely walk under the massive walnut trees without getting hit in the head by the big nuts falling to the ground.
The pungent aroma of the big green nuts filled the air, and the squirrels from the surrounding woods loved them. They were attracted by the perfume given off by the big green fruit and they stayed busy on warm sunny days picking them up and biting off the outer covering. Hiding inside the big green balls were the harder dark brown shells which protected the delicious nuts inside.
The bushy tailed squirrels scampered in the sunshine gathering the nuts. After Susie and her friends had cleaned off the green outer shell with their sharp teeth, they ate the nuts until their bellies were full or they buried the leftovers  underground.
When the nuts had all fallen and the cold north wind was blowing, somehow they would remember where they had buried each nut and they would dig them up and have a feast.
Susie was an Eastern Fox Squirrel, and weighed just under three pounds. She had a beautiful gray and white salt and pepper fur coating over the top of her head and down her back and sides. It covered her outer legs and went all the way to her paws. Her tail, chest, belly, and paws were a beautiful rust color that was the same color as a fox. It was a blend of orange and tan that gave her a colorful appearance. It was that fox color that gave them the name of Fox Squirrels.
Susie had tiny ears that stood up, giving her an inquisitive look. She had large dark eyes that were good at seeing everything for miles. She could spot danger in enough time to quickly run up a tall tree and hide.
Her little nose was black and almost came to a point. Her paws were tiny, and she had long fingers and toes that helped her grasp, climb, and hold objects securely while she inspected them.
The farm in Madison County had trees along the fences. There were walnut, hickory, elm, oak, and butternut trees, and it was a perfect sanctuary for both fox squirrels and their gray cousins.
Fox squirrels build their nests out of leaves and branches in the trees. The baby squirrels are born in late January and early February and again in August and September. They are born with their eyes and their ears closed. They are several weeks old when their eyes open and they are able to hear with their ears.
The babies stay in nests until they are six or seven weeks old, and then they begin to poke their heads out of the treetops for their first look at the world.
Fox squirrels eat a lot of different foods, but the buds and fruit of walnut, pecan, mulberry, elm, and hickory trees are their favorites. They also like mushrooms and vegetables from the garden.
In the spring, the squirrels will fill their bellies with mulberries from the trees  near the grapevines by the big house on top of the hill where the Hauschildt boys live. By late summer, most of the squirrels are deep in the woods feeding on hickory nuts. Later in early fall, they feed on the acorns from the oak trees. Then late in the fall, they return to the pond and the walnut trees that surround it. Then they have a banquet, squirrel style.
There is a stump near the pond, and Susie selected that as her perch. First she found what she thought was the perfect walnut. She grasped it in her paws, rolling it around and sniffing it carefully to make sure it was perfectly ripe. Then she climbed onto the stump perch with her walnut and began gnawing away the green husk. She turned it over and over with her paws while she cleaned the husk away with her sharp teeth, and in about ten seconds, she had a dark brown walnut in her furry little paws. Now she had a decision to make. Should she eat it now or save it for later? What do you think she did?
Well, if you guessed that she ate it, you're right.  Her sharp strong teeth bit into the hard outer shell of the nut and cleaned away the pieces of shell until she was left with a delicious, sweet kernel in her paws, which she ate quickly and carefully, not missing a single crumb. Then she cleaned her face with her paws, removing every trace of the walnut shell and nut. She flipped her tail several times and hopped down from the stump to scamper off and find another walnut. She would find a hiding place for the next one and bury it for later.
Some squirrels follow a special route back to the woods where they hide their nut prizes in a favorite hiding place that only they know. Susie liked to bury her snacks all over the yard in random locations. She would remember where each nut was hidden when she got hungry for a walnut snack. Nobody knows how they remember where they buried the nuts, but they're very good at it.
Fox Squirrels have long, fluffy tails, which they flick up and down when they are excited. They and Eastern Gray Squirrels are alike in many ways. They have their families at the same time of year, build their nests in the same kind of places, and eat the same foods. However, Fox Squirrels prefer more open habitat, whereas Grays prefer good tree cover. Fox Squirrels spend more time foraging and running about on the ground than the grays do, and may be encountered in fields quite far from any trees, where a gray squirrel would not stray.
Both species feed on acorns, which are rich in tannins. Tannins are poisonous to many animals, including worms, but tannins keep the squirrels free of roundworms and tapeworms. You and I would get sick if we ate acorns, but the squirrels love them, and are very healthy.
Fox Squirrels accumulate another chemical compound, porphyrin, in their bones and teeth, which makes their bones and teeth pink and bright red under ultraviolet light. Here's a mystery: Gray Squirrels eat the same foods and this does not happen to them—nor to any other healthy mammal. It's another thing that makes fox squirrels special.
Susie's teeth were bright pink, indicating that she was well fed and her body had all the elements it needed for her to be healthy and happy.
Soon the days would be getting shorter and the cold north wind would blow. Susie would spend more time in the nest, where she would stay safe and warm. Fox squirrels do not hibernate, however, and you might see one any time of the year.

The End

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tales From The Frog Pond - Stories For Children - Terry the Turtle

Terry the Turtle

Terry the turtle moved in slow motion. Every step was precise and he thought very carefully about everything he was going to do before he did it. Terry wanted to know exactly where the next step was going to go before he planted his foot down. He was a very cautious turtle.

Terry was not only cautious, he was beautiful.

Terry was a North American Painted Turtle, with colorful red markings on the underside of his shell and on his legs as well as bright yellow streaks on his head.

Terry watched the boy run down the hill towards him and he felt the vibrations through his feet. When the boy got closer, Terry pulled his head back a little into his shell just to be safe. He didn't know what this boy wanted.

"Wow, a turtle!" shouted the youngster. "Come here, Jim, look at this!"

Dave was curious and he didn't see many turtles on land. Most of the turtles he saw on the farm were swimming in the pond, but this turtle was different. The  markings were unusual and this turtle was a different color. His face and his head were a different shape.

"Let's show it to Mom," said Jim.

"Do you think we should?" asked Dave.

"Sure. Just be careful and don't let it bite you."

"Why me? You pick it up and don't let it bite you," was Dave's reply.

"If I pick it up and take it back to the house, it's my turtle," said Jim.

"Fine," was the answer, "if you get bit it's your own fault."

Carefully, Jim picked up the turtle by the edges of his shell, taking care to keep his fingers away from the turtle's head. He didn't have to worry. Terry pulled his head back into his shell as far as he possibly could. Being picked up by a boy was very scary.

Jim and Dave ran back up to the house and into the kitchen where Mom was washing dishes.

"Look what we found," said Jim. "It was down by the pond. Can we keep it?"

Mom turned around and dried her hands.

"What are you going to do with a turtle?" she asked.

"It will be a pet," said Jim. "We can get a box and keep it in our room."

"I saw it first," said Dave. Suddenly he wanted a turtle of his own for a pet.  Maybe they could find another turtle and they would each have one. They could have turtle races.

"What do you need to do to keep it alive?" asked Mom. "What do turtles eat?"

The boys looked at each other. Neither of them knew much about turtles.

"We'll find out," said Dave.

"If you keep the turtle, you have to share," said Mom. "I don't want you two fighting over a turtle. Agreed?"

"Deal," said Jim. "Right Dave?"

With a nod, Dave headed for the book shelf. This was before the Internet was available with all kinds of information on everything you could imagine. Google hadn't been invented yet. If they wanted to know about turtles, they would have to find a book about turtles.

"Look in the Encyclopedia," said Jim, and Dave pulled the huge book off the book shelf. He opened the large volume on the dining room table and Jim watched over his shoulder as his brother searched through the pages until he found turtles.

"What does it say?" asked Jim. "What do they eat? What do we need to feed him?"

"Well, they like the water, but we knew that, right?" Dave pointed to a chapter in the book.

"Look here. There are pictures of different kinds of turtles. Here's one that looks like ours. It says this one is a painted turtle. It's markings are just like the one we found."

"But what do they eat?" asked Jim.

"It says here they like fish, insects, tadpoles, frogs, crayfish, snails, and vegetation," Dave replied. "But this is most important. It says they cannot swallow their food out of the water."

"What? How can we feed him, then?"

Dave grabbed the turtle and headed back to the kitchen.

"Mom, we have a problem," said Jim, following right behind him. "This turtle can't swallow his food unless he's in the water. What will we do?"

Mom smiled. "Well, let's think about this, ok?" She took the turtle out of Dave's hands and held him up to look at him closer.

"Looks like he's a painted turtle all right. See the stripes along the side of his head? It looks like someone painted them on with a paint brush. Isn't he pretty?"

Terry was glad they thought he was pretty, but he wished they would put him down so he wouldn't feel so insecure hanging in the air. He hoped they wouldn't  drop him.

"He has yellow streaks on his head and red patches on his legs," observed Jim. "He's beautiful."

"Do you boys have enough money saved in your allowance to buy a big aquarium so he can swim?" asked Mom. "He's going to need a lot of water and he's going to need a log to crawl up onto so he can get out of the water. Either that or he will need a big rock to climb on."

Jim and Dave looked at each other.

"I have two dollars," said Dave.

"And I have three." added Jim.

"Well, I think a big aquarium is going to cost a lot more than all of us put together can come up with," said Mom. "And then where would we put a big aquarium like that?"

Jim looked at the turtle and Dave looked at Mom.

"Maybe it would be a good idea to take this pretty little guy back to the pond where he can be happy and swim all day," said Mom.

Dave looked at Jim. "What do you think?"

Jim looked at Dave. "I think maybe Mom is right."

Together the two boys took Terry out of the kitchen, back down the big hill to the pond where they had found him. Together they walked carefully to the edge of the pond and Dave gently set Terry down near the water.

The little turtle watched the boys from inside his shell and when they had backed up a few feet, he poked his head out and looked around.

He was glad to be back home at the pond.

Terry slowly - very slowly - stepped into the water and slid off the edge of the bank.

Ah, that felt good to be back where he belonged. He knew where to find food here, the water felt good on his shell, and it was comforting to be home.

The boys turned and walked back to the house. They knew they had made the right decision. They didn't see Terry wave good-bye.

Turtles live a long life, and the boys saw Terry often when they visited the pond. They would know it was him from the markings on his shell.

Dave and Jim are grown men now with children of their own. Turtles live a  long time, and it could very well be that Terry is still happily living in the pond with his friends the frogs. If you see him there, wave to him and say hi.

The End

Tales From The Frog Pond - Stories for Children

Matilda the Frog
Tales From The Frog Pond
NaNoWriMo 2014

         Matilda is small and green, has big eyes and very long eyelashes. Matilda is a frog.

Now maybe you have been told that frogs don't have eyelashes, but you have never met Matilda. She is one of a kind. She smiles a lot and likes to swim in the pond in the Summer with her friends.

Who are her friends you ask? Why, other frogs of course. Frogs, fish, turtles, and tadpoles. They all live together in a big pond in Iowa, South of Des Moines and West of Interstate 35.

Now there are a lot of ponds in Iowa and a lot of ponds around Des Moines, but there is only one pond where Matilda lives. That is where our story takes place.

In the evening, Matilda likes to sing. You can hear her singing all the way at the top of the big hill where the Hauschildt family lives.

"Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit," Matilda sings her song until the wee small hours of the morning. She only knows one song, and she sings it over and over and over until she is so sleepy that she can hardly keep her eyes open. Then she turns down the little light by her lily pad and goes to sleep.

Now perhaps you didn't know that frogs have little lights by their lily pads. Well, they do. Their little lights are made of the same substance that fireflies use to light their way at night when they fly around the houses and the trees. Little blinking lights at night let you know that the fireflies are busy and all is well with the world.

One morning in July, Matilda was swimming by the edge of the pond when her friend Boris the Bullfrog popped up beside her.

"Eeeeeeek," squealed Matilda. "You startled me, Boris. You should give a frog a little warning before you pop up like that."

"Sorry, Matilda," said Boris in his deep low down bullfrog voice, "I didn't mean to startle you."

"It's OK, Boris, just give me a little warning next time. You know, like a little croak or a giggle or something, just so I know someone's there."

Boris blinked twice and smiled. Actually, he enjoyed making Matilda jump when he popped up beside her in the water. It was fun. Maybe not for Matilda, but it was fun for him. I mean, after all, how much entertainment did a bullfrog have in a pond?

So he smiled at Matilda and bobbed his head. He wasn't making any promises that he knew he wouldn't keep.

"So Matilda, would you like to go for a swim?" he asked her.

"Sure, Boris," she answered. "Where would you like to go?"

"You lead the way and I'll follow," he said, and he took a deep breath of air and ducked his head under the water again.

Matilda thought for a minute and then she knew exactly where she wanted to go. With a swirl of water, she held her breath, ducked down and began to swim deeper below the surface.

Boris followed her, and together they swam along the edge of the pond towards the tall cattails at the other end. She could see Boris out of the corner of her eye.

Matilda loved to swim, and today was a perfect summer day. The sun was shining and the water was warm. A light summer breeze was blowing, and it ruffled the surface of the water, making it sparkle like diamonds.

Boris was a strong swimmer. As soon as he figured out where she was headed, he swam on ahead of her and reached the cattails before she did. They popped up out of the water in the middle of the cattails at nearly the same time. Boris was just a little bit ahead of her.

Boris had a much deeper frog voice than Matilda. He was a bullfrog. While Matilda made a frog song that sounded like "Ribbit, ribbit," Boris's voice sounded more like "Row-boat, row-boat".

Together, they sang a duet.  Matilda was singing "Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit", and Boris sang "Row-boat, row-boat, row-boat".  It made a very nice frog song on a warm Summer morning.

Someone else was there at the pond that day. Boris and Matilda were so caught up in singing together that they didn't notice when Goldene Ray joined them on the other side of the cattails.

Goldene didn't like to get his feet wet. He didn't like to swim either. What he did like to do was catch frogs. He would hide behind the cattails until an unsuspecting frog climbed out of the water. Then Goldene Ray would pounce on the frog in a very rude way, scaring them witless. Goldene Ray didn't want to eat the frog, he just wanted to make him croak. He loved the funny little sound the frog would make when he got the wind knocked out of him. Goldene Ray was a bully of a cat.

Goldene Ray was crouched down behind the cattails and he was trying to be very still and invisible. He was super quiet, barely blinking, and the only part of his cat-body that moved was the tip of his tail. When he was excited, he just couldn't keep the tip of his tail from twitching. It gave him away every time.

It was that twitching tail that saved Boris and Matilda from getting the wind knocked out of them on that summer day.

Boris looked up out of the water in the middle of his duet with Matilda and caught a glimpse of that twitching tail.

"Matilda, jump!" he croaked, and he went "Earp!" and jumped back into the water.

"Earp!" squawked Matilda, and she jumped right behind Boris.

They swam back out into the middle of the pond and looked back at where Goldene Ray was hiding behind the cattails.

"Meeeooowww!" said Goldene, annoyed that they had spotted him before he could leap. He stood up and whipped his tail a couple of times and trotted back up the big hill to the house. He would find something else to play with there.

"Oh, Boris, I'm so glad you spotted the cat," whispered Matilda, still frightened at their close call.

"Glad to be of service, Matilda," replied Boris. "Have we had enough of a swim for one day?"

"I think so," Matilda answered with a smile. "I think I'll go back to my little corner of the pond and take a nap now."

And she did, and they napped and ate bugs and waited for the sun to go down so they could sing again.

The end.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fiber Arts Festival in Camdenton on October 18th, 2014

It's a nice cool Sunday morning and I'm writing, getting ready for a Fiber Artist's Festival on October 18th in Camdenton and relaxing. I will be giving a demonstration in needle tatting jewelry from 1:00 to 3:00 as well as selling my own craft items. I have jewelry, dog sweaters, hats, and slippers for sale. Most of my items are tagged and ready to go, and I'm making more little dog sweaters to keep my customer's poochies warm this winter. I have several sizes and all the models are different.  If I need to take custom orders, I'll be able to do that also.

As soon as the Festival is finished, I will start an outline for my favorite pastime, novel writing, in November for  You can sign up, it's free, and join me for writing fun in November. For once, I have an idea in advance.  I dreamed about a cute little monkey last week, and plan to build a story around him.  In my dream, I had been hired to deliver the little monkey to his new owner in a hospital setting, not knowing that he was going to be used in a lab for experiments. When I realized that he was going to be killed, I had to find a way to get him back.  That will be the storyline.  I will have just 24 hours to find a way to "Save Kimo".

I am scheduled to work the night shift tonight, 7 pm to 7 am, and it won't hurt my feelings at all if I'm called off to stay home.  When I left work last night we weren't busy, and I'm hoping we aren't busy tonight.  I have a lot of home work to get done.

So much for now, stay warm, and I'll talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Changing times

The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, and it is affecting everyone, patients and caregivers alike. Obamacare passed, and good or bad, it changed everything. Time will tell if it is a good thing or a disaster. I guess it depends on which side of the fence you stand on.  It is taking a bite out of my paycheck now. If we don't have patients to care for at the hospital, someone has to stay home. Last week there were only 38 patients in the whole hospital.  Only one mom and baby in OB, and I stayed home. We take turns in rotation.  My leave time is used up with low census days now, and if I don't work, it takes a bite out of my paycheck.  Soooooo, with more free time, I either go fishing and put something in the freezer or I write.

There is a writing seminar this Saturday in Camdenton to be presented by Elizabeth Simons, and I would really like to go.  I think she has a lot of knowledge to offer, and I love her sense of humor. But I'm scheduled to work. If I'm called off, I'll attend. Otherwise it will take Divine Intervention.

I read everything I can read about the craft of writing. I want to make my stories as good as they can be. I have picked up ebooks on Amazon, and more and more writers are going "Indie" and publishing their own work. Among those Indie authors are successful writers who give encouragement and information on writing.  I'm learning with every new article I pick up.  Maybe when I grow up I'll be a great writer.