Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kids and Body Noises

Oh that's FUNNY!
Ever notice that certain noisy body functions are a source of hilarity to a child? They're all perfectly normal noises that everyone makes once in awhile, and if you're brave enough to admit it, you probably think they're funny, too!

To children, these noises are pure joy. They try and copy the sounds as often as possible. It doesn't seem to matter what age a child is either. I've seen teenagers roll on the floor laughing.

Heck, by the time my children (and now my grandchildren) were two, they already thought most of them were funny.

I remember my brother, Tim, used to amaze me with his burps. He's the only person I've ever known who could burp and it sounded just like the word, 'burp'. Maybe it was something he practiced, I don't know. Can you practice a burp? Why would anyone, other than a child, even want to practice a burp?

Two Times FUNNY!
Tummy rumbles and yawns are two of the lesser funnies, but they still make kids laugh. A tummy rumble sounds like the word 'rumble', IF you say it with a deep base voice and draw the word out a little.

Yawns, on the other hand, only sound like the word a tiny bit. More than anything else, they look like what a yawn is -- a gaping hole.

Another funny noise is a sneeze. It's also a funny sounding word, but I've never heard anyone who sneezed like the word sneeze sounds. Mostly what you hear is 'ah-choo' or 'ker-choo', or variations of it.
My daughters tell me when I sneeze, it sounds like I'm saying, "Who asked you!" Not as a question, mind you, but as an all-out shout. Again, never, ever have I heard the word 'sneeze' come flying out of someone's mouth as they're doing it. I think whoever made up that word missed the boat.

Group Giggles are Fun
The word 'hiccup' isn't too bad, actually, because when you have the hiccups, they do sound pretty much like the word, 'hiccup'. Whoever named that body noise came pretty close.

My other brother, Chip, used to try and hold them in. That's not something I would recommend, because it always had an adverse reaction. It became fiercely pressurized, somehow crossed an invisible boundary and burst out as a loud (and painful) 'hic-burp' (although that name doesn't really do it justice).
By now, you're probably wondering where all this is leading. Well, it brings me to the more socially sensitive of the body noises -- and also the source of the most belly laughs.

They have many names. Some are delicate, such as 'poofy-puffs' or 'episodes'. Boys are fond of calling them 'farts'. In our house, we just called them ...

Barking" Spiders

The barking spiders all march in
just past dinnertime.
Some big, some small, they come to call
floating on the wind behind.

Each is clearly noticed,
although they can't be seen.
You're positive they're there, though,
'cause your nose is very keen.

You know you can't outrun 'em,
and a net won't get 'em caught.
Your friends laugh 'cause they're funny,
but your mom yells 'cause they're not!

So open all the windows!
Crack the vents real fast!
'Cause these aren't normal spiders.
Barking spiders are just gas.

[From the book, "Barking Spiders and Other Such Stuff", by CJ Heck]

"Writers soon learn that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How To Make a Memory ...

Golf Cart with sides down
As I've mentioned before, Robert and I are new to Florida and we're very new to the weather here during the hurricane season.

We're also die-hard adventurers. We love exploring our town, The Villages, catching an alligator sleeping on the bank of one of the lakes, taking back roads, or short cuts just to see where they go, or going for an iced coffee in town at Dunkin' Donuts in our little navy blue two-seater golf cart.

That being said, it's noteworthy to mention that we both also love rain and thunderstorms. We can usually be found on our front porch, during a storm, watching Mother Nature at work.

Yesterday, however, we had more than an ordinary adventure ...

The Storm
During the afternoon, our weather radio announced that we were under a severe thunderstorm watch until 5:45 p.m.

The clouds already looked ominous (promising). They were huge and black and they billowed thickly overhead in all directions as Robert pulled into the garage after work at 4:00.

We were both excited and watching the sky, as we exchanged our usual greetings and small talk about how our respective day had been.

Then Robert asked whether we had any errands to run, (meaning in the golf cart). He looked so disappointed when I told him I'd already picked up the mail and had just finished putting the groceries away.

Suddenly there was a huge flash of lightning. "One one-thousand, two one-thous ..." we began ... and then it thundered. We both looked at each other wearing smiles. 

He asked, "Do you want to get an iced coffee at Dunkin'?"

I asked, "Now? During the storm?"

He smiled and nodded.

The rain began just as we finished putting the sides down on our little golf cart, snapped and velcroed them in place, and then zipped ourselves cozily inside. 

We backed out of the garage, pushed the down button on the garage door opener, and took off on our newest adventure:  to test our golf cart for the first time, during a storm.

Parked in front of Dunkin' Donuts
It was all so exciting and we were like wide-eyed children again, giggling, and marveling at our biggest adventure yet. We felt safe, secure, and ready for whatever Mother Nature had in store for us.

We headed out at a fast clip down Rio Grande Boulevard toward town in the rain.

When we got to Dunkin' Donuts, the rain had tapered off a little. We found a parking spot right in front and Robert ran inside for our iced coffees.

By the time he got back in the golf cart, zipped down the side again, and we put our iced coffees in the holders on the dash, the sky had turned as black as night.

Suddenly, lightning flashed, but there was no time for counting.  The thunder came at the same time.  The storm was right on top of us. 

We backed out of our parking space and headed out into the wildest weather these two seniors had ever seen.

We soon learned that there are all sorts of little openings in a golf cart, I suppose, to give you a nice breeze if you have the sides zipped down. In a storm like the one above us, those little openings work against you. 

The rain was an impenetrable wall and so heavy that we were soaked all the way through in a matter of minutes.

The golf cart lane on Rio Grande had become a raging river as the water rushed to the storm drains. As we drove through the water, the spray shot high into the air on both sides of the golf cart, (as well as through all of the tiny openings to soak us), as we slowly navigated our way home again.

It was incredible, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time -- and it was something we will never forget. A golf cart may not keep you dry, but we sure made one heck of a memory ...

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Rainy Days of Childhood ...

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~Elizabeth Lawrence

I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder and heavy rain. As I poured my first cup of coffee and sat down at my computer, I could hear the wind playing my wind chimes.

I marveled at the comfort it brought, so contrary to the dreary mood usually associated with waking to a rainy day.

Now, an hour later, the peaceful feeling is still there and it takes me back ...

There were six children in my house. My cousin, Bill, who was like a brother, lived with us and he and I were the oldest.

There was never a dull moment at our house. I can't say we were ever bored. If anything, we all had such over-active imaginations, there simply were never enough hours in a day to fill with adventures and pretending.

In the summer, after our chores, the days were ours to do what we wanted. On most, we could be found outside playing games, riding bikes, roller skating, or up in the old apple tree building a tree house from old boards we found in the woodshed.

Today brought the memory of another rainy day at our house long ago. It also began with a thunder storm -- how we kids loved watching storms! At the first rumble of thunder, we all headed out to our wide front porch to watch Mother Nature work her audio-visual magic.

Eventually, the storm wound down to a steady rain. Someone, I don't really remember who, came up with the idea to go down to the basement and build a fort.

All for one, and one for all, we raided the linen closet and with our arms loaded with blankets and sheets, we headed down the basement stairs.

We tied string and ropes from one wall to the one across from it and we draped our sheets and blankets over them. Each of us had our own living quarters that way.

Then we borrowed Mama's vacuum cleaner hose to use as a telephone -- that was always funny, because it left a perfect dirt-circle around our mouths. Every time we looked at each other, we laughed until our sides ached.

What fun we had that day. And, like with almost all the creative projects of childhood, most of the fun was in the actual creation of it. I remember it took almost the whole day to finish our blanket fort.

Those are the days I treasure most -- those seemingly insignificant times we took for granted, thinking they would last forever. But those years bonded all of us and they've served to keep us bonded, even now.

Maybe it's why I'm still not ready to grow up ... especially when it rains.

“Our whole life is but a greater and longer childhood.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

"What is a Dad?"

My Dad, Joe Parrish

What is a Dad?

by CJ Heck

A dad is like an oak 
his roots firmly planted
in the soil of our birth 
the solid hardwood 
we all aspire to be 
strong, trusting, kind, 
the one who is 
always there 
 to guide our way.
His arms, the
 protective branches 
that reach wide
around his grove 
of seedlings
and anyone standing
in his shade
feels safe, secure
and loved.
His trunk may widen, 
the leaves above 
may pale and thin
 but he will always be 
our solid gentle oak 
the creator of our forest 
and eternally loved.

Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there.

I miss you, Daddy, today and every day ...

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Goodreads Blog Blitz: Mary T. Bradford

Author Mary T. Bradford
Hello Everyone!

My name is Mary T Bradford and I’m from Ireland.

Today I am a guest here with CJ for the very first Goodreads Author Blog Blitz.

I started my writing way back in the 1990’s. Like a lot of writers, I began with short stories. I enjoyed publication with these in magazines, newspapers and many anthologies.

So, when I was approached about a collection by my readers, I asked why not?

My 1st collection, titled A Baker’s Dozen (as there are thirteen stories within), is available in both print and e-book format. 

My collection contains a variety of stories about ordinary people that you may meet each day at work, shopping, or may even live next door to. They experience the same joys and sorrows as you and I, but how they handle those events is the difference. 

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors? Read A Baker’s Dozen to find out! Details on how to get a copy can be found at the end of this post.

Do drop by my Author Facebook Page and say hello on Twitter.

Check out  my blog and please join me on Goodreads, as well.

The link to my book on Amazon is as follows:  A Baker's Dozen.  Please leave a review if you like what you read, and thank you.

Before I go, I would like to extend a big thank you to CJ for hosting me and to Y Correa for organising the Author Blog Blitz.

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weathering Tropical Storm Andrea

Heavy rain was testing my umbrella this morning as I went out barefoot to get the paper.

I love rainy days and I poured a cup of coffee and headed to the lanai to listen to the rain and read the paper.

The lanai is our favorite room of the house.  Completely windowed on three sides, we can view all kinds of weather, tiny lizards scampering about, and watch Florida bloom and grow in our courtyard.

We both lean towards a natural look and have cultivated what Robert calls, "A neat and tidy tropical jungle."  The man who used to own the house put in a fountain  right outside our bedroom window.  It wasn't working when we moved in, but once we invested in a new pump, Voila!  It's so peaceful, listening to the sound of falling water as you drift into sleep.

We've discovered so many wonderful things about living here.  One nice thing, in Florida, anyone can have a green thumb, even me.  Whatever I stick in the ground here grows and flourishes and I love it!

I smiled as I took another sip of coffee and pulled the newspaper out of its protective plastic bag.  There, on the front page of the newspaper, was an article about Andrea, the first tropical storm of the season!  Wow!  It's out in the Gulf and I guess we're in for a lot of wind and heavy rain.  As new Florida residents, that brings a mixed bag of emotions!

I do feel very safe here in our home.  Robert and I purposely bought what's called -- in The Villages, anyway -- a 'courtyard villa'.  It is made of concrete block construction which is then stuccoed.

The entire property, even the back courtyard and side patio, is enclosed by an eight-foot wall, which is also made of concrete block and stuccoed.  The wall is gated at one end, which opens to the street out front.  The whole effect is very Spanish and elegant and very private.

Geez oh man, it's windy!  The palms are swaying like crazy!  Cleo and Kitty (our cats) are side by side at the patio slider watching the storm gear up.

I wonder what Andrea, our very first tropical storm, will bring.  She's our first introduction to the Florida hurricane season, which lasts from June to November.

This will indeed be interesting ...

"A Writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck