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Christmas Down South

I'm not sure how many of you remember this post from Christmas, 2015, when I wrote about my nosy neighbor watching me decorate my Ch...

12/28/07

Holiday Update

This is my cat, Simon, refusing to jump off the office chair Santa gave me for Christmas this year. If you're a regular reader you know that Simon and I fight all of the time, although we go way back. I was ill a few years ago and Simon lay at my feet and nursed me back to health. Now, he feels I'm in debt to him and I sort of agree. Animals are amazing, and this one did a good turn for me, so -as my regular readers know- I've put up with a lot from him, particularly this past year when I started writing again. You see, Simon doesn't like for me to sit at my computer and write. I think maybe he just became accustomed to laying beside me most of the time and he wants my constant attention.




Anyway, due to Simon's combative nature, and obvious disdain for anything attracting my attention, it looks as though my office chair will the new subject of our fights. I told him as I snapped this picture, that I was taking it in case I need evidence of his behavior. Then, he glared at me when I made him jump off of the chair and turned his back which in cat language meant, "Just leave me alone."- brat.



Plus now that Simon's discovered the chair he's invented new ways to interrupt me when I'm working. For example, he knocks something down or over and when I get up to correct him he quickly jumps in the chair. He thinks this is sneaky when it's so transparent what he's doing...

Anyway, I wanted to write a quick update to say that Simon hasn't knocked me down again. I'm alive and kicking and sorry for the sluggish holiday posting. I'm taking it easy during the holidays- or trying to anyway- writing and saving posts, in addition to making surprise plans for the coming year.

I hope everyone is having a happy and fun holiday season. If you're a new reader who is unaware of what the last year was like living with my mischievous, yet remarkable feline, here are a few links to posts about his tyrants...

My Cats Taking Over My Life
An Update On Simon Cat
My Cat Simon Will Not Let Me Write
Silly Spills And The Results (my silly spill was caused by Simon)

12/23/07

Santa's Coming To Town!



A Nice Place In The Sun's most memorable movie moment on this Christmas week-end is from the film Elf The Movie, with Will Ferrell and James Cain.

Hooray! Santa's Coming To Town!

Merry Christmas!

12/18/07

My Christmas Card And Tuesday's Question: What Is Your Most Memorable Christmas Moment?

What Is Your Most Memorable Christmas Moment Or Event?

You know this morning I realized that this is the last Tuesday's Question this year, because next Tuesday is Christmas Day and the next Tuesday will be New Years Day!

Therefore, I decided I better give out my homemade Christmas card before Christmas actually arrived. I hope you all have a happy and save holiday season.

Oh, and by the way, in case this card is hard to make out...it's my A Nice Place In The Sun icon of a mother bird in her empty nest. She's looking through the window of a house decorated for Christmas... It's a shame, but this children's picture book writer can barely draw a straight line. Although, everything in life is a trade off, so if I wanted my card to come from my heart, I would have to involve my hand- :)

Happy holidays again~

Now, to the business of Tuesday question:

What is your Most Memorable Christmas Moment Or Event?

12/13/07

Some Christmas Humor






A friend of mine sent me an e-mail entitled "Some Christmas humor" that I just had to share- Happy shopping and be careful out there!

11/28/07

The Banana Splits!



Enjoy this Banana Splits video filmed on stage at Fleeges Fast Haircuts while I write the best post I ever have! Have Fun! (and try not to steal the Banana Splits jokes there's such a thing as copyright law, you know)

11/27/07

What Was The Worst Date Of Your Life?




Hopefully, your worst date wasn't as bad as this image suggests... Although, it wouldn't surprise me if it was because I'll believe anything after what I've experienced...

Welcome to my eighteenth Tuesdays Question! I can't believe I've posted a Tuesday's Question for eighteen weeks in a row, with the exception of September 11th, a painful memory in the mind of my countrymen.

That being said, I would like to announce an idea I've been rolling around in my zany brain...for a celebration post in honor of Tuesday's Question, on or by my twenty first question.

Like maybe a contest... where I can actually give away a prize and brag badges to my readers with the most comments...and recognize those of you who have been so supportive over the last eighteen weeks, or I guess it will be the twentieth week by then...

In any event, it's not far away, and next week I'll have a better idea of where I'm going after brainstorming... I just wanted to put a bug in your ear... wait a minute...I don't mean an actual bug in your ear... yuck, that's a gross expression isn't it? Although, that would make a pretty good Tuesday's Question, "Have you ever had a bug in your ear?" Because, I actually did have a bug in my ear once ... you feel a soft buzzing vibration against your ear drum, ....oh come to think of it it's awful. It happened to me when I was a child...my mother poured alcohol in my ear and I guess it drown or something...

I'm sorry, I went off track, (maybe I've had too long a run with these questions) back to Tuesday's Question, which by the way I usually answer before requesting your comments. However, if you'll refer to my last post you'll read my explanation for running late, which is also the reason I 'll be post my answer along with your comments in tomorrows post.

I'm sorry for my rude temperamental computer, who had it's own plans this morning and forced me to post Tuesday's Question so late in the day.

I can't wait to read your comments in response to:

What Was The Worst Date Of Your Life?

Stopped For Tuesday's Question?


Stop for Tuesday's Question? I sat at my desk ready to work at 8 am my time, (crazy time) and my computer refused to cooperate . The PC box said something about needing to be up-dated and being low on memory...excuse me? I'm low on memory everyday....what kind of hair brained excuse is that? Then, as if it hadn't already added insult to injury, the arrogant box head stayed on the same screen refusing to move until I agreed to comply with it's instructions! It was war...and I don't know who declared it...all I know is that it took up my entire morning! This proves that computers are too temperamental to replace people, and cannot be trusted...ever...

In any event we've worked it out and I will post Tuesday's Question shortly....so please consider coming back in a little while? I promise it will be fun, and I haven't let you down yet, have I?

Oh ...maybe I shouldn't ask that question...

11/24/07

Happy Saturday Song From Mr Hollands Opus



I wanted to post a scene in Mr.Hollands Opus, where the character portrayed by Jean Louisa Kelly sings this Gershwin tune, but the video keep skipping- so I posted her performing it on what I'm guessing is David Letterman- the video didn't offer a clue. Jean Kelly's version is one of the best version's of Someone To Watch Over Me that I've ever heard. Anyway, Saturday's favorite movie moment is a scene in Mr Hollands Opus in which the character she portrays performs this tune.

Have a happy Saturday and I will post again before the end of the week-end.


Enjoy your day~

11/10/07

Happy Saturday Movie Classic!

I love You More


"Mommy, just how much do you love me?" a little boy asked his mother in the beginning of I love you more, by Laura Duksta and Karen Keesler. That is, it's a line asked in one beginning, because there's two sides to every story, and two beginnings to this book. Therefore, that line is in one beginning, but if you flip the book over this line is in the beginning, "A mother turned to her son and asked, "So, just how much do you love me?"

This touching tale is told from mother and son's perspective, that is with both declaring their love for each other beginning on opposite sides of the book. Their stories end in the middle on a beautiful double page spread with an illustration of the globe. The globe has this passage around it- "I love you more than anything in the world."

The illustrations are bold and alive detailing the individual characters down to the birds and trees that Laura Duksta metaphorically uses to represent the characters devotion to each other. The sing song rhythm of the verse sets a warm and happy atmosphere, drawing the reader into this mother and child's warm reassuring routine. A routine that perhaps parents, grandparents and caregivers everywhere will emulate with their children. Illustrator Karen Keesler and author Laura Duksta work beautifully together blending text and illustration into a warm and inviting tale. A story that reminds us how important it is to love each other and how to tell each other we care in a positive way.

For example, it's one thing for a boy to say, "I love you Mommy" but when he also says, "I love you quieter than the quietest caterpillar ever seen." it's another. On the other hand, (or flip side) the same can be said for Momma. Because it's one thing for a momma to say "I love you son." but when she also says, "I love you prettier than the prettiest flower ever found." it's another.


This is a fantastic children's picture book with as much to teach grown-ups as children. A real find, a great read, and a must have for all parents, grandparents, caretakers, friends, ...

Because love comes with different stories told from different perspectives ending with each other in the same place...

My hats off to Laura Duksta and Karen Keesler and Sourcebooks for sending me a review copy to review for my readers. I loved it!

11/9/07

The Laughing Azaleas


Christy, from Christy's Coffee Break tagged me with her Freaky Friday meme in September, as embarrassing as that it is to admit. It took me this long to respond because I couldn't think of one weird or interesting thing that happened to me, until I found this old picture of my grandmothers Azalea bush. This is a story I've never told anyone.

This meme was written with the option to tag, but if you have a bizarre memory I would suggest you write about it. Because I may not have remembered this experience if I hadn't been wondering what to write for this meme, and I'm glad I remembered. In addition, it would be sad to see this meme die out just because no one can think of anything. So do some brain storming and try to think of a bizarre experience that happened to you, I think you'll be glad you did.

The Laughing Azaleas


My grandmother’s house rested behind a circular driveway made of gravel. I remember the gravel changing the color of my bicycle tires when I was a child... Those little white shells used for driveways do the same thing, except the tires change a white chalky color instead of rusty gravel. My grandmother Nana's house and yard were paradise and to me concrete evidence that heaven existed. The three-acre wonderland was everything a twelve-year-old child needed to find satisfaction in his/her surroundings. I spent as much time in Nana’s yard as possible, although I knew she would put me to work before the end of the day. However, the sheer pleasure of being in her fabulous yard was more than enough compensation for picking up sticks and raking leaves all afternoon. My siblings and I found pure joy in everything we did there. Whether we were playing games, climbing trees, or working, it was an environment perfumed with the intoxicating smells of magnolia blossoms and azalea bushes. In addition, within the branches of the trees lay the excitement of whatever new Louisiana wildlife creature we had recently decided to adopt. After all, everything has to eat and the yard belonged as much to the animals as the rest of us.

That is for animals, because I didn't feel the same way about insects, even if they are living things, and I wished they didn't populate bushes. Especially since Nana’s job for me meant rescuing the azalea bushes from the honey suckle vines suffocating grasp. Suffering from agoraphobia in the South was a nightmare within itself, so I was already ear marked as a sissy because of my paralyzing fear of insects, especially spiders, by the time I became a yard worker. I spent one weekend grounded after spending the night at Nana’s with a friend. My crime was letting out a blood-curdling scream one Saturday morning, after my friend woke me pointing to the most terrifying spider ever invented above my head!


My agoraphobia was beginning to cause problems for me, especially on my job at Nana's, due to the fear of running into my spider friend again. The problem progressed to the point where every time I worked in the yard, I let out blood curtailing screams imaging spiders falling on me, no doubt a flashback from that fateful morning.

Hence, by the time I heard voices in the bushes one day, my grandmother had grown accustomed to my blood curdling screams. The day in question is the day I heard laughing from within an azalea bush under attack. It was a bush closest to the road; in fact, the bush would've been directly on the road, if not for the ditch between the bushes and the yard. Just think of everything lined up in this order: the front yard, the bushes, other foliage, a ditch, then the road.

I was supposed to pull the honey suckle vines from the bushes then carry them to an old well we used to burn weeds and sticks. But I wanted to keep as much distance from the creatures as possible, so I'd grab a vine and run in the opposite direction until it broke away from the bush- I would repeat this action until the vine released it's grip on the bush and set it free. But, every time I repeated this procedure, I could see Nana becoming more aggravated with me for making a big mess of the rest of the yard. I prayed I would get finished before she finally lost patience with me and completely let go of her composure.

This was my routine: grab a vine, turn around, and run! Grab a vine, turn around, and run!

That is until the fateful day in question, when I heard what sounded like voices coming from the foliage on the other side of the bush. Actually, I heard a child’s laugh that was so real I thought it was a friend of mine watching me from the street. Excited about who came to visit, I walked inside the foliage, which resembled a little forest, only to find it empty, not a soul was there. I shouted my friend’s name: “Ellen?” Dead silence, one of those eerily dead silences, coupled with the shivery feelings of being alone in the dense foliage. What followed was the best blood curdling screams I've summoned to this day! I couldn’t stop screaming; I was so scared I couldn’t find my way out of the foliage and onto the other side of the bushes. I could see my grandmother running from the porch, shouting, “Be still, Ann. Be still! “

She told me later that she thought I had been bitten by a snake. She also led me to some old steps three or so feet from the sound of the laugh. The steps led to a house built before Nana’s which burned down some seventy-five to one-hundred years before.

Was it the imagination of an imaginative already-petrified child, maybe, or the laughter from one a hundred years before?

11/8/07

A Magnificient Noodle


I found this magnificent noodle while cooking dinner tonight. I wonder what this could mean. This royal noodle could mean that good or bad luck is on the way... I’ve decided its good luck because it resembles a horseshoe.

This week I found a moth above my doorway, and walked through a few cobwebs... both of which mean you will acquire money, and that would be good luck.

Yep, good things are on the way, that must be what this magnificent noodle is trying to tell me. Why else would I find such a magnificent noodle?

Any ideas?

11/7/07

DONA NOBIS PACEM


I'm a part of the Mimi Writes Peace Globe Project thanks to Paula from Polliwog's Pond. I've noticed these peace globes on other bloggers blogs, but I didn't know much about the project. Until Paula offered to make a peace globe for me, and make a peace globe she did, a beautiful peace globe. Thanks to Polli's generosity and friendship I have a peace globe for my blog with the inscription of my sunshine, and one of my favorite inspirational quotes.

I copied and pasted the quote The Pilgrim for you to read along with another favorite, by Peter Straub. I think that creating and maintaining friendship is a great way to make our own personal contributions to world peace- and Polli and Mimi are doing a fine job of showing us how.

Thank you Polli, I think the globe is great and I love the inspirational quote, Peace Pilgrim

"While we watch the storm clouds gather and prepare for the storm, let us never forget that the sun still shines behind those dark clouds and may somehow break through before the storm descends. I see sunshine in the real desire for peace in the hearts of humanity, even though the human family gropes toward peace blindly, not knowing the way. "

--- Peace Pilgrim ---




I've included another favorite by --Peter Straub--

"A real soul is something you make by walking through fire. By keeping on walking, and by remembering how it felt."

--- Peter Straub --


Peace out~

Ann

What is Your First Memory? Readers Comments

Author s note and update on Nov 8,2007. While writing this post yesterday, I remarked to a friend how I wished someone would link to this special post due to the quality of the answers. Well, I noticed on technorati yesterday, that Brennan an author on Bitki Outdoor Furniture News made my wish come true. I tried to leave him a comment, but I kept getting an error message. Here is the comment I made to Brennan in reference to his post about Misty's comment. In addition, Misty's comment is followed by a compassionate remark from Sandee, an remark mistakenly understood by Brennan as the blogs author. In other words, he saw Sandee's comment so he believed her the author. In any event, they are both great comments as all of the comments in in this post.

Here's the comment I've been trying to leave on Bitki Brennan

Brennan, You have the correct link on A Nice Place In The Sun, but the comment was left by Misty with My Dogs Keep Me Sane. It wouldn't let me list her link, but it's on my post.

Her comment was followed by a compassionate remark from Sandee at Comedy Plus, and her link is on my blog as well.

I couldn't be happier and more appreciative of your post. This kind of linking was my original intention behind writing the weekly post Tuesday's Question. It's great to see one blogger offer another recognition, especially when it's in response to such a heartfelt passage.

I know both of these bloggers will be as delighted as I am by your discovery of this post.

I will link the post on A Nice Place In The Sun back to this one, as well as mention it to these bloggers.

Thank you Brennan

If you would like to visit Brennan's post here's the link.

Beginning post-




Yesterday was the sixteenth question that I've asked as part of Tuesday's Questions-a post question and link party I've been posting every Tuesday. I'm having a blast, mainly because of my readers and friends heartfelt contributions. You are in a spectacular group of people, who for the last sixteen weeks have contributed warmth and fun to this weekly post. All of you are the ingredients responsible for the flavor of Tuesday's Question. By offering honest, thoughtful, and most of all heartfelt comments every week, every reader who answers a question is helping build A Nice Place In The Sun. - a figure of speech meant to metaphorically represent the warm atmosphere created by friendship. These post questions are gracefully carried by each of you each week, and I thank you. And your charm certainly couldn't have been more apparent yesterday when I asked, the following question, What is your first memory?


I found the following comments some of the most touching I've read since I've been blogging. But, you can judge for yourself; here is my unbelievably impressive friends and fellow bloggers comments, ...well actually their post-




The first Comment is from Marja, at Dutchcorner


Oh ann what a lovely picture I like it far better than photo's taken when everybody is dressed up. and how much the boy (your brother?) on the picture looks like your son and a pretty mum you have. Your first memory was a bit scary. Mine too in a different way than. I remember my mum had too drag me over the street to get me too preschool for the first time. I completely refused. The nuns at that school just let me cry for a while sitting outside the playroom on a bench. Than I peeked into the door and thought oh this isn't that bad. Have a great day.


Misty at My Dogs Keep Me Sane

I turned two on June 26, and on July 4, my dad took me to my grandparents to live. I remember him coming around to the side of the truck, opening the door, and sitting me down. I then toddled over to my grandparents who were sitting on a porch swing. I climbed up into their laps and watched my dad pull out the driveway. I don't remember any of the other events of that day, though.


Sandee at
ComedyPlus

I remember being very little, probably around three or four, and my mom and dad (both have passed away) telling me that they could see Santa Claus in the Christmas tree. Everytime I looked he wasn't there. They were tricking me, but I loved it. This continued on for many years. I did the same thing to my son when he was little.

Great question Ann. You really made us think on this one. Have a great day. :)


Sandee's kind words to Misty;

A big hug to Misty Dawn. That is so sad. :)




Eric, from
Speedcat Hollydale Page

Great stories! I have never sat on an ant hill, and it sounds like this is a good thing.

I faintly remember the day when my real Grandfather (my mother was raised by his brother) gave me a record player. I used it until I was at least 8. Every record I played reminded me of him. It was a very special gift from a special man.

Eric "Speedcat Hollydale"

Shinade at The Painted Veil

What a lovely picture and what a lovely idea to share memories. I was so pleased to meet you in chat last night. I have heard so much about you and now I can see why. I absolutely love it here. I will definitely be visiting as often as I can.

Of course as I am blogging on the road with my hubby my visit time is limited right now. So please forgive me for not being able to get by everyday. And as I was raised in the south also. I am well aware of those horrid ant beds and their awful stings.

You have an absolutely elegant blog,
Jackie



Winston, from


Eat Your Maths

It isn't an ugly picture!!! I can figure which was you, beware, Lol!

Well mine was simple. I was about 3,and Mum was about to bring me out- she left me to take my shoes and wear them. Well, it's not such a difficult job.


However, I steadily (and confidently) slipped my teeny weeny feet into the wrong shoe! Left into right, and right into left.

My mum came to change it for me. Simple but true.


I was also scanning through (no reference to the scaner, lol!) my photos- when I was 4 and in Nursery, my mom took a photo of me pinching a girl's cheeks affectionately, LOL! Almost landed in jail. Just kiding, heh..

I wonder why, was always one of the cutest kids when I was young. SO diferent from now, lol ;p


Diamondssaphire from Nonsense, fun, Tears, Happiness & Anger All Rolled Into One

Oddly enough, I was still a baby, about a year old. (maybe a little older.) But I remember it like it was yesterday, as if I was an adult. (So this makes sense, I am adopted) I was living in a foster home, I was in my crib and I can remember a girl, she was very pretty, maybe in her late teens, with dark hair and a soft spoken voice picking me up and holding me like she was never going to let go.

Even as I think about it now as I type, she seemed to have alot love radiating from her and very angelic.

I could never really understand it and and up until I was 17 I kept it to myself. I remember telling my mom about it and I can still rememeber the look on her face and she all she could say was "That was the foster mother's daughter."

To this day I don't know why I remember it, my mom thinks it maybe the first time I felt love, but even at 31 years old, when I think about that one memory, I feel calm and at peace. It's weird, very weird, something I still don't ubderstand and probably never will.

Patois from Whee! All The Way Home

Outing myself as 46 with this memory of nearly 44 years ago. We were in Massachusetts. My grandmother and mother were both crying. I'd never seen such a sight. My older siblings and I were placed in front of the TV to watch some children's show. I don't know what. All the adults were quite distraught. John Kennedy had been assassinated.

Dawn from Twisted Sister

Ann that is lovely family photo!
I'm not sure what my earliest memory is... I remember the smell of arrowroots and apple juice in Kindergarten... oh and the smell of wet clay. I remember my mother teaching me to cross the street alone and feeling so grown up. It's hard to pin point an actual first memory though. Great question!


Thanks again to all of you!

11/6/07

What Is Your First Memory?


What is your first memory?


My immediate family is going to kill me for this picture! And I hope you will forgive me for all of these old black and whites I've been posting lately. I've been going through my mothers old photos, baby books, graduation pictures, wedding dresses, etc...

My father popped into town a few weeks ago and surprised me with a new scanner and it's wonderful. My other scanner died and went to live in scanner heaven, and I was sad, but now, I'm happy again thanks to a really great Dad. This is a picture of my first memory, only kidding, but, it is a picture of my family caught off guard one morning by a local photographer. My mother was furious because it was so early in the morning she hadn't had time to get us all dressed. Incidentally she will kill me for posting this picture.

Anyway, I thought it would work nicely with this Tuesday's Question which is;

What is your First Memory?

In addition, I wanted to make a few announcements before I quickly answer the 16th Tuesday’s Question! I cannot believe I’ve asked sixteen questions since starting Tuesday’s Question. When I went through my archives last night to make sure I wasn’t duplicating a question I was floored when I saw what number we're on.

Therefore, I decided I need to thank my loyal contributors by doing three things in your honor. First, I’m going to make an honorable mention link list or blogroll for the bloggers who have faithfully participated in Tuesday’s Question since the beginning. Second, I 'm making an ongoing honorable mention list with its very own page, and link to each blog. And last (I have to figure this one out) I’m going to add a suggestions form for suggested questions. I thought that after sixteen weeks we needed a change to keep the party going.

What do you think? I know you can't answer this fragmented question or any other question "live" in real time, but feel free to discuss it in comments with each other and me. Because Tuesday’s Question belongs to all of you who stop by and leave a comment every Tuesday, thereby making the question more fun to answer.

Here Is My First Memory:

I was three or four years old:

My brothers ran ahead of me all of the time when we were outside playing. I guess they were trying to lose their "bad" little sister. We lived at the end of a dead end street, with a circular drive at the end, which we referred to as "the circle." "The Circle" was an empty lot with trees and dirt on it, like an island in the middle of a street. One morning, when my mothers back was turned, I followed my brothers out the door and down the street on their way to the circle. I ran behind them as fast as my legs would allow, but the meanies lost me anyway. I remember sitting down on the island dirt and noticing my legs turning red from running, and I wondered why? Then they started stinging and I couldn't understand why or what was hurting me. I began slapping my legs trying to make the stinging stop, and screaming with my eyes so full of tears I couldn't see where I was ... I remember feeling terror, followed by relief, when I felt my mom scoop me in her arms, and carry me to the hose on the side of our house.


Evidently, I sat in an ant bed! I've never known which event was my actual first memory. Was it my brothers running ahead of me, noticing my legs were red, or the ants? However, none of them are particularity good memories, are they? Well, at least my mother realized I followed my brothers and came looking for me. And now years later I put her picture up on my website, that was taken before she'd had her morning coffee. Motherhood is hard.

What is your First Memory?



11/5/07

Happy Monday! A Favorite Movie Moment Returns




This past Saturday I played this favorite movie moment from Notting Hill with sound was down. I thought something was wrong with the video so I replaced it with Micheal J. Fox's Back To The Future skateboard scene. Many of you thought you were losing your marbles when you returned to find a different movie. Well, I've had a few special readers ask what happened to this clip, so I decided to see what would happen if I played it again.

Happy Monday and Smile! I hope you enjoy it!

What's Behind A Smile? Is It Real Or Fake?







Can you tell the difference between a real and fake smile? And what's going on in the mind of a person when they're smiling?
While sitting at a reading table in the children's department of Barnes and Noble yesterday, I noticed an employee watching me out of the corner of her eye.

She acted as if she had to keep an eye on me, because I had plans to rob the place, and had a getaway driver in the parking lot. Then she walked over to where I was sitting, flashed a fake smile, and began to wipe the table. There was something about this employees fake smile that made me think of my third grade teacher Miss Keysler, and the picture I posted the other day. I was surprised at how kind and sweet Miss Keysler looked in the photo. The picture reflected a different Miss Keysler than I remembered. Was my memory playing tricks on me?

I couldn’t tell whether Miss Keysler’s smile was fake or genuine, although when I got home and magnified the picture, there was no doubt, it's genuine. I guess my ten-year-old perception of her was off, especially since she made me stand in the back of the classroom after I blew Dexter’s whistle. Incidentally, I left Barnes and Noble, and gave up reading Puff the Magic Dragon, after a few more fake smiles from Miss Thundercloud. I thought about Miss Keysler’s smile in my car on the way home. What was I picking up about Miss Keysler from her body language and smile in person, that wasn’t reflected in the picture? What I mean to say is, her smile in the picture is a reflection of how she was feeling or thinking when that picture was taken. Therefore, our smiles are a reflection of how we are feeling and thinking inside but not necessarily saying aloud. I guess that’s what they mean by a photographers eye or insight into the perfect moment or camera angle. According to the BBC Science and Nature web site I looked up when I got home, most people cannot distinguish between a fake and genuine smile. The web sites article states; “it may be easier for people too get along if they don’t know how others are feeling,” so maybe that's why people can't readily tell the difference between a fake or real grin. I read this in the article posted after a test to see how well developed your fake and genuine smile radar works, entitled Spot The Fake Smile. I scored 16 out of twenty, which I think is good. Therefore, I think that many people can tell when a smile is fake or genuine.

The BBC Science and Nature web site gives clues on how to distinguish between a real smile opposed to a fake one, in addition to suggesting that our subconscious and conscious mind play a key role. Here is their suggestion:

“Fake smiles can be performed at will, because the brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract.Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion.”

I thought of this passage when I zoomed in on my classmates smiles...
When I copied the picture the other day I didn't notice their expressions, so I didn’t remember the other children as well as I did when I zoomed in on their faces. It's as if they were stuck somewhere in my sub-conscious...

You can tell our personalities by the look on our faces, or how we may have been feeling that day. I know you can find the mean girl and Dexter looks angry doesn't he? And me, I look like the sun's in my eyes, but none of our faces look fake. If anything, they just look like we all want to go to recess, with the exception of Miss Keysler, of course...although on second hand... she probably wanted to go to recess more than we did.

In closing how well can you judge a fake or genuine smile? Here’s the link to the test, let me know how you do, o.k.? Remember if someone smiles at you quickly it's probably fake, whereas if it's spontaneous it's real, I think. Take this test it's really cool. I can't wait to see how you do. Thanks for reading, and have fun!


11/3/07

Happy Saturday! A Favorite Movie Moment with Michael J. Fox



I haven't officially announced this but you may have noticed that every Saturday I've been posting favorite movie moments, while I recharge my creative battery! I hope you enjoy this scene from
Back To The Future when Michael J.Fox takes some bullies on the ride of their life!

Thank you for stopping by and I'll have an exciting week of fresh posts here for you when you return. Again, I hope you enjoy the video. Have a great weekend.

11/2/07

I Have A Picture Of Dexter, My First Crush


Me Mean girl in yellow Dexter
(Get a load of my hair)


This is my third grade classroom, the scenery of my first post(after "read more" below) to receive a lot of comments. The popularity of the post has remained consistent throughout my months of blogging. Maybe because it's about a first crush, even if the theme is recyclable. I guess people can relate because we never forget our first crush. I noticed when I read the comments that we seldom forget our first loves name, others things , but not their name. For example, I forgot what Dexter looked like until I went through my mothers pictures last weekend looking for him.

I decided to repost this post to celebrate and thank google for my first report card.(PR page rank) You know, third grade, report card, I know it's corny, but I also bought a new scanner and found a picture of Dexter. In addition, I wanted to publicly thank my best friend Christy, from Christy's Coffee Break for encouraging me to blog and for letting me in on the good news from Google. If you're a beginning blogger be sure and check out Christy's Blogging tips every Tuesday, it pays off. I've been lucky to have more experienced bloggers in addition to Christy, take me under their wing since I first signed in on blogger. For instance, Sandee at Comedy Plus, and Dawn at Twisted Sister's friendship has been an invaluable treasure while launching, A Nice Place In The Sun, including all of you that visit often and comment every day. Thank you for your support and friendship (I hope you know who you are) and you most certainly have mine in return.

I've been checking and rechecking the toolbar all week, and I'm grateful to google for such a nice report card. Although it isn't as valuable (sorry google) as your friendship and the support of my readers. Alright I'll stop with the mushiness, and let you go to meet my classroom or read the comments, unless you're out of time now from the length of this post. I've encircled some of the characters in the post with the exception of Mrs. Keysler, of course, you can tell who she is without a circle.

Please enjoy my memory of Dexter, my first love, the mean girl who called me dumb, my third grade teacher, and a whistle.



Do you remember your first childhood crush? Mine was on a boy named Dexter, in my third grade class.

I don't remember much about him, or what he looked like, except that he loved to draw, and drew a perfect Charlie Brown. Dexter sat across from me in class, so I watched him draw everyday, while I thought about other things instead of listening to our teacher. When our third grade teacher lectured, all I heard was a voice reminiscent of the adult voices in the Charlie Brown television specials. In other words, I heard, bloc, bloc, bloc, roll off her tongue most of the day. To me, she just rambled a bunch of jumbled grown-up words, that we "bright-eyed and bushy tailed" third graders, hadn't the slightest interest in. Her name was Mrs. Keysler, and she wore those cat-eyed sixties glasses with a chain that jangled when she walked, so we could here her coming at recess. Anyhow, one day while Dexter was drawing, and I was staring at him, my heart thumping around in my chest, I noticed a new shiny whistle on the top of his desk, and when I asked him if I could look at, he put it in my hand. Our teacher continued speaking in the background, bloc, bloc, bloc, bah, bloc… as I turned the whistle over and over in my hand. Then I took the whistle, put it up to my mouth, and blew it as hard as I could! The room fell silent.

After which, I heard the hushed sound of children’s voices fill the empty silence, followed by that snickering sound children make before they start pointing fingers! It's such an annoying tactic among tattlers, whose goal at this time in their life, is to retire as the teachers pet! I could feel the stares, and of course, see their self-serving tattler fingers rise to the occasion, and point in my direction! I heard one little girl cry, “She is sooo dumb!” I just sat there, horrified, as my face grew hot and flushed with humiliation. I thought of this story when thinking of what to write as part of an “about me” profile for a writer’s social community. I was thinking of why I became a writer…, which is another post, that lends a reference to how important a role I think teachers play, in helping us shape our self image; so I guess I was thinking of my teachers, and for some reason Dexter popped into my head!

Anyway, that's what I remember about my first crush; one of those funny to me now, not so funny then, experiences, especially since my teacher made me stand in the back of the classroom the rest of the day!

After that, Dexter (who may have turned out to be an illustrator) looked at me with a cautious look on his face, for what seemed like the rest of my life, and the girl who called me “soooo dumb”, turned out to be one of my closest friends! We never know what our children are going through in a day, or experiencing with their first crush, do we?

I’ll have to ask my son about his experience with his first crush. Do you remember yours?

I was so proud of the comments I received from this post. Here's the link.

10/31/07

Happy Halloween!




This is Taylor, my son, when he still went trick or treating with me. He is lucky Luke in the bottom picture, and obviously Superman in the top one. That's me in my witches costume in the tip top picture. Taylor is now 21 and refuses to go Trick or Treating with me anymore. So now my Halloween's are more about tricks, than candy and stuff. That is if you don't count the times I really wanted to go, and went on my own. I actually did get lots of candy those times, because no one knew that my son wasn't at home in bed with a bad cold.

Happy Trick or Treating!

If You Could Choose A Magical Power, What Would It be? My Readers Response



Way to go Samantha! Wouldn't it be great to be Samantha, I Dream Of Jeanie, Wonder Woman, etc... just for one day? For one thing, I wouldn't have to regret the way I phrased yesterdays Question. I complicated it by including "super hero" and "magical power" in the same sentence. Which would have been a problem at all if I could "stop and start time" as Patois from Whee All The Way Home suggested as her magical power. I need to remember to stick to the original Tuesday's Question format, and ask one question every week, instead of three!

Oh well, fiddle de de dum, "I shan't think of it today, I'll think of it tomorrow" or whatever Scarlett said, another super hero of mine, besides Samantha, of course. Wait a minute... there I go again, Samantha was not a super hero, she had magical powers, geez... Although, I guess she can also be my super hero, as all of you who play Tuesday's Question are my heroes.

Anyway, If I didn't scare everyone off for next week, I plan on returning to posting one question, at a time, I promise.

Thanks to all of you for answering my THREE questions as if you had all the time in the world.

Here are my true super heroes comments with a link to their blogs. Links you should visit, if you haven't already, because you'll quickly see for yourself why I think of them/you as magical people.




Here is my first comment from my super hero as well as magical friend, From Sandee from Comedy Plus:

Wonder Woman's lasso of truth. I would love that. Can't lie to me!


Well, let me see. This is going to be a big shock, but it's Tom Selleck that I would like to take out on the town. Oh yeah!

Storm from X-Men because I like being the leader. Okay, she's hot too and that's a plus.

Fun questions Ann! I enjoyed your answers. I'd love to know more about why you chose Will Ferrel and Cheri OTeri. I LOVED those two on SNL.






Next is the hilarious and sweet Polli from Polliwog's Pond,


Fun questions Ann! I enjoyed your answers. I'd love to know more about why you chose Will Ferrel and Cheri OTeri. I LOVED those two on SNL. My answers. Superpower: I would like the ability to make anything happen by blinking like Jeannie in I Dream Of Jeannie. I loved that show when I was little! Celebrity to take on the town: I'd like to go out with my women bloggy buddies like you, Christy and Mimi. Superhero I am most like: I guess I'd have to pick Wonder Woman because she was based on the legends of the Amazon Women, and at nearly 6 feet tall, I probably look like an Amazon Woman. LOL

The funny and wonderful student and Mom, (talk about guts) Janice, from Twist And Skewer

I could answer this question many ways, but I'll stick to two. Because I am a college student I wish I had a photogenic memory. Because I am a mother to teens and a wife I wish I could have the invisibility power. Muahahahaha. :)

And of course, My buddy Patois, from Whee All The Way Home who spoke of the "stop and start time"magic I quoted.


I'm going to have to go for being able to stop and start time, including going back in time. I'll be taking Bruce Springsteen with me wherever I go. In fact, I'll spend my time back in time going to his concerts. I guess I'm most like Samantha Stevens, then, as she could go back and forth in time. (I'm recalling the colonial times, for example, when she was locked up.) Great questions, Ann.


My good friend Marja, from Dutchcorner

Hi Ann Oh what a funnie question. I always liked to have a magic wand. To change lot of things with a single touch. For example tidy my home with one tick. So a wizard would be good. I don't want celebreties to go out with. Don't know which ones are to be fun with in real life any way. You count as a celebrity so there you go.

And last, but certainly not least the hilarious Winston from Eat Your Maths. Winston didn't just wish to have powers, he acted them out!

Ann!!! Hope u got my comment... It's highly embarrassing, I dunno why, maybe it did not get through. Hmm..

Mine was Power Rangers. Full of justice, Mr Fong watched it and worshipped it when he was young, and used a stick to hit the TV, right smack where the bad Power Ranger stood. Ouch.

My parents were out, so...

I did more. I tried to spray Sprite on it (what a waste of money, LOL...), but shook it so vigorously out of anger that it exploded over myself before I could spray it on the Naughty, Horrible and Terrible Power Ranger!!!


Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy days to leave your lively and imaginative comments to Tuesdays Question. Have a fun day!

10/30/07

If You Had The Chance To Choose A Super Hero Or Magical Power What Would It be?





Hello, and welcome newcomers and regular readers to Tuesdays Question.


For those of you who aren't familiar with Tuesday's Question, it's a weekly post I started a few months ago, in an effort to connect with you, my readers, and spread a little link love. Also, I hope by posting your comments the following day it will work like a blog review. This way, while everyone is learning about your blog, we're also learning about the author behind your blogs title, which is you. That's right, I post the comments to my Tuesday's Question post the following day with a link back to the responding blogs.

Plus, I want to remind and encourage all of you to comment on each others comments as well, you know, as if we're engaged in conversation. But most of all I want you to be sure and have fun!

Although, I didn't use it for the main title, today's question asks how you would respond to three questions from a magical Wizard, which are...

If you had your choice of a super or magical power, what would it be?

What living celebrity would you like to take out on the town to celebrate your new super hero status? Or just take out on the town ?

And what super hero already created are you most alike?

My answers after the read more...





I would like to have the power pop in and out of places, like Betwitched, and take Cheri Oteri or Will Farrow out on the town. As far as a super hero I am most alike, I think... I'm probably more like Spiderman. Except, for some reason, I've related to Robin from Batman and Robin, lately...but, I'm not sure why?

Thanks for playing and have a fantastically fun day!



10/29/07

Aussie Cynics Integrity




I thought,The Little Aussie Cynic deserved its own post title, because this blog is one of the happiest places to visit on the internet. Aussie is one of my first blogging buddies in the blogosphere. I met her on blog catalog when I hardly knew anyone, and knew less about what I was doing than I do now. Can you imagine that? It was a scary experience, and the blogs author, Aussie, was so kind, reaching out to me then, as she is reaching out to me and others now, in a rare and personable manner, a manner that could put a wild boar at ease. She is responsible for a lot of my early happy memories writing A Nice Place In The Sun.

Plus, have you seen Aussie's blogs new template? The ocean colored background is warm and inviting, very much in keeping with the atmosphere the author has consistently portrayed since I first read her blog.

I hope I didn't embarrass you Aussie, I just wanted to publicly thank you for thinking of me, and I was blown away by a nomination for creativity.

Here's Aussie's post:

"After looking, reading and watching many many Blogs and bloggers I decided to issue some recognition to those fellow bloggers I feel maintain integrity in the Blogs.

bannercreator-nu-1.gif

All these bloggers incorporate within their wonderful sites, an integrity not always seen.

They share terrific stories, topics, discussions and images. All Well worth a look.

So in the spirit of Wonderful blogs

I would like to award the Bloggers with Integrity Award

to:

For Creativity

A Nice Place In the Sun

The Dandelion Tree

For The Spirit of Giving

The Santa Community Blog

For Staying True To Their Beliefs

The Painted Veil

For Social Conscience

Go Smell The Flowers

Keeping it Real

Go Paisley

So congratulations to all and keep up the fabulous work you do…. We love it!"



And Aussie we love you! In honor of Aussie's really inspiring and heartfelt gesture, I would like to award the following blogs in keeping with her format. I really liked the thought and effort Aussie put into each category, so I wanted to honor her by doing the same thing.

So without further rambling, and much hand wringing here are my choices... That is after this brief update, on Oct.30...

I would like to add that after this post was written this award made a real impact on the blogging community. It is hopping around like a cat trying to keep its balance on a slippery rooftop! After nominating Sandee from Comedy Plus in the "Spirit Of Giving" category", Aussie turned around and awarded Sandee for the same category on her blog that I nominated Aussie for in the Social Conscience category entitled, Coillision of the Willing. Now, tell me that's not some hopping around nominations. It's just like I predicted, the award is so personable blogs you know with these qualities instantly pop in your head after you read the the category. Congrats Aussie on the success of Bloggers With Integrity. And thank you Sandee from Comedy Plus for also awarding me in the category, "For The Spirit of Giving." Anyway, here is the list of my recipients...




I would like to pass on Aussie's Integrity Award to the following Bloggers...

For Creativity

Writer's Reviews
Twisted Sister
Whee All The Way Home
Jay's World
Bobbarama.com

For The Spirit Of Giving


Comedy Plus

Santa's Community Blog


For Staying True To Their Beliefs

Eat Your Maths

Dutchcorner

Revellian


For Social Conscience


First Time Dad

Santas Certified Blogs

Coillision Of The Willing


For Keeping it Real

Polliwog's Pond
Speedcat Hollydale Page

Need to Feel Like A Genius?




My brother sent me the funniest e-mail. He wanted to make me feel smarter, plus he said some of these were actually funny. It never ceases to amaze me how foolish people in the public eye can sound at times. I posted the ones that will really make you feel smart by the time you are finished...











I f you ever feel a little bit stupid, just dig this up and read it again; you'll begin to think you're a genius.

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(On September 17, 1994, Alabama's Heather Whitestone was selected as Miss America 1995.)
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,"
--Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

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"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
--Mariah Carey

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"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,"
-- Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign
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"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body,"
--Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

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"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC..

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"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it,"
--A congressional candidate in Texas.
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"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
--Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark


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"
I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."
-- Dan Quayle

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"
We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need ?"
--Lee Iacocca

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"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
--Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst. < BR>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,



"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people."
-- Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instrutor.

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"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
-- Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

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"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas."
--Keppel Enderbery




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"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their h eart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record."
--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman
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Feeling smarter yet?

Send it on to your brilliant friends.
I just did !!












Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Today's Popular Children's Picture Books

Today's Popular Children's Picture Books
Click on the titles below for the link to Publishers Weekly.com

The Boogeyman Man From Planet-Lackawanna-

You will lose yourself in the imaginative dreams of eleven year old Theodore Wilson's. Don't miss this review coming soon.

More reviews and available for purchase on Amazon .com. Just click on image of book and the link will take you there.

Thank you!

Upcoming Book Review

Upcoming Book Review
Gretchen Zufall (Author) Mike Paar (Illustrator)

Motherhood- Courage


Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons

Courage-

Courage



Humor-

Humor


Words-

Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.

Ann Clemmons

Written Phrase

Why is it that those we should know or believe turn out to be the ones we least understand? I suppose the world is an illusion until we find our way home.-Ann Clemmons

Favorite Phrase

I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense...

Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.

Jacket Flap-

Powered by JacketFlap.com
The Storyteller, by Dawn Drover

Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light

She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free

For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well

Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination


Written for Ann
~Dawn Drover~

Of The Horoscope Junkie




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Imagine

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Most of the worlds' great things were born of adversity and hardship; because these roadblocks encourage us to dream, imagine and believe.- Ann Clemmons

Favorite quotes-

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'


F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"

Mark Twain

"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."

Franz Kafka

An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.

- Mark Twain in Eruption

"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"

Mark Twain

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