Birthday Was Happy

Thank you Falcon Points for the amazing birthday gift basket!

It’s a new year for me as I turn 49 years. I spent my birthday celebrating quietly. As the clock turned over I was busy finishing a story for the Kansas City Star on  The Roasterie Kansas City Air Roasted Coffee and the amazing thing Danny O’Neill did for Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City.

Later it was lunch out and then a nice surprise when the apartments we moved into delivered an awesome birthday gift basket. Loved it, and we’ve already pigged out on most of the treats.

The rest of the day was spent unpacking, walking dogs and other odds and ends. It was a perfect day.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone!

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Second Story for KC Star

Use what you have

Tonight I’ll be spending my birthday doing what I love—writing. I have a second opportunity to write a story for the Kansas City Star. Last interview was done this morning and I’m ready to start writing.

Surrounded by boxes, my computer at least is set up and ready. I couldn’t find a note pad for the first interview so I used what was at hand for my notes… the Budget Truck rental receipt.

I try never to say no to opportunity, even if I feel unprepared. If we wait for life to be perfect, we will finally be ready when we’re dead. Obviously, that’s too late.

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Angela Poetry Magazine Contest

Angela Poetry Magazine invites all poets to submit lighthearted, humorous,
playful, and curious poems to The Monthly Lighthearted Poetry Contest.

This is a free contest, open to everyone. Published and edited by Kirk Ramdath, the publication is a project of Wax Poetry and Art. Go here for complete details.

Note: I am in no way affiliated with Angela Poetry Magazine, despite the name.

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Hooded Crow Submission Call

The Hooded Crow is inviting submissions of previously unpublished literary works from emerging and veteran writers.

They welcome submissions by new writers with special enthusiasm. Payment is $50 per manuscript, upon publication.

They do have a $10 reading fee. In return, you get a thorough, written critique of your work. Hooded Crow gives writers the opportunity to resubmit revised manuscripts with no additional fee for possible future publication.

Responses to submissions may take as long as three months, though it’s usually shorter.

For more info, check them out at The Hooded Crow.

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Meeting KC’s Bean Baron

Today I was privileged to meet (and interview!) Danny O’Neill, the creator behind the Full Vengeance coffee I raved about last month. He built The Roasterie, the caffeinated heart of Kansas City and mecca for coffee aficionados.

For once, I didn’t take a zillion photos to share, in part because I don’t need any to go with this story, but also because I was so genuinely mesmerized by the entire experience. Danny O’Neill’s accomplishments and coffee roasterie are impressive, but they pale compared to the man himself.

His enthusiasm and joie de vivre are as intoxicating as his brews. He fills the room with his presence and creates a feeling of happiness by being so unabashedly happy himself. I loved his frank, honest nature. Bottom line: Danny O’Neill is awesome.

The woman who set me up with the interview is just as amazing. Kimberly Stern, a.k.a. as Kim Dishes, is a food, travel, lifestyle and healthcare writer as well as the mind behind KSquared Public Relations. Feel like that isn’t impressive enough? She also co-hosts LIVE! From Jasper’s Kitchen with celebrity Chef Jasper Mirabile.

Pop quiz:

How was I was feeling during my interview with Danny O’Neill at The Roasterie, home of my favorite coffee?

A. Starstruck

B. Mesmerized and amazed

C. Full of gratitude and joy

D. All of the above.

Of course you chose answer D, because you are brilliant and only brilliant and wonderful people read my blog. It was quite the experience and lucky day.

As an added fun note, we all visited Boulevard Brewing Company again while we were hanging around downtown and it just happened to be the brewery’s birthday! Lucky, fun and magical day. Here’s the short post I did about the first KC visit.

And now… I have work to do.


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Digi Collage Included in Music Video

I got such a sweet message today informing me that the German musician Petra has included one of my digital collage creations into his latest video on his Acoustic Spirit Youtube channel.

The image is one of the latest I’ve created and was originally made for Poetry Is Everywhere, one of the Everly Everywhere books I write with my husband, R. A. Smith.

I’ve posted the image online at Pixabay under the Creative Commons license for free use by others to inspire creative cross pollination like Petra’s video.

I don’t speak German, but Petra tells me this is what the words mean—

“There is a soldier, in the war. Friends and enemies are dying, Weapons sang a bad song. His world is cold, black… But he close the eyes and in his dream it is summer, he is sitting with his wife at a sea…it is winter and they walked, hand in hand… He is afraid, will he be the same man as before, will he lose the picture in his head, will good dreams come back, will she love him. His world is black and cold, will his world be colorful again?”

I am honored to have anything I’ve created be included in such a beautiful song and applaud Petra for both his talent, creativity and message. I hope to see more of his work soon and have subscribed to his channel.

The image I created appears the first time at 1:26, but I urge you to watch the whole video. I can’t understand a word of it, but it it visually pleasing and sounds lovely. You can enjoy it here:

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Safe Arrival

No brake fluid? Load the car back up and take it to Firestone.

We finally pulled into Kansas City. I smelled like vomit. Mr. Smith was in hyper “geterdone” mode. He and my son had the dogs walked and the truck unloaded in an hour.

Then we discovered that somehow during the trip, the car had lost all of its brake fluid and was leaking it from a rear tire. So, the first visit together in KC was to Firestone.

I tried to help, but mostly I stood around trying not to throw up and/or pass out, all while looking helpful. When everything was situated, I realized we had no shower curtain.

A lukewarm bath really didn’t seem like a fair reward for all we had endured, but I took it gratefully. I finally crawled into bed, shivering and ill, to sleep for hours.

A safe arrival was all we asked for, and a safe arrival is what we got. Despite the unpleasant parts of the trip, we count it as a success.

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A 20 Hour Drive…

I thought it was a law that Walmart is open 24/7?

Little did we know the suffering that lay ahead… the trip started off great, except that I accidentally had my Google maps set to take back roads. I’ve only ever set it to that once, and it was earlier that day as an experiment. I forgot to set it back.

This resulted in the first hour of our trip driving down country lanes barely bigger than our truck and car caravan, with me yelling obscenities at Google and Mr. Smith telling me to calm down and watch the road. We figured it out shortly, and got underway.

I was the first driver and I started the trip by enthusiastically drinking a Five Hour Energy with a Redbull chaser. And then random snacks. Veggie Straws, chocolate covered almonds, turkey jerky… all of this was delivered via my mouth to go socialize with the pizza and BLT that already waited there. Then I followed up with another Five Hour Energy with a Redbull chaser. I was wired and drove for nine hours solid. Then I crashed…hard.

The next 12 hours I spent barfing into Walmart bags and feeling like death over the lovely country highways (meaning paved with large stones and cow poop) of Mississippi and Arkansas. Nothing against either state, but seriously? Spend some tax money on asphalt every now and then. I felt every notch in the pavement.

From left, Cheif, Dante and Bree

We tried to stop at a Walmart so I could clean myself up a bit and happened across the only Walmart in the US (maybe) that closes at 9 p.m. Isn’t there a law against that?

We stood outside of the Walmart, shivering under the burden of our first world problems, pushing against the glass trying to understand what was happening. Reality and bitter cold drove us back into the truck, denied.

We were traveling with three dogs, one of which became our least favorite as he decided to bark the entire trip. We were taking bets on which would go first, our sanity or his vocal cords. Turns out, both hung on by a thread. Mr. Smith heroically drove on through it all.

So why did a 14 hour trip take us 20 hours? Turns out a moving truck towing a car isn’t the zippiest thing on the road. We were pushing speeds of 40 mph up some of the steeper hills and got passed by a barn. Yes, a barn was faster than we were. I have video to prove it.

If the video embedded here loads too slow (like our truck), just see it on Youtube here.

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Miss You Already!

The Smiths are heading out…

I loved seeing everyone who stopped by yesterday and miss all of you already. I’m going to plan another trip in the spring which will be less hurried and more about visiting friends.

Thanks especially to the French Family of Cafe Bienville fame for babysitting Bree while we were up in KC setting things up.

I loved seeing you all, off the top of my head it was Denise, Rusty, Candice, Tom, Shari, Marni, Alyssa, Rachel and Paul… and of course the French Family and Cafe Bienville.

I apologize for the super short notice—it looked like I might not get to have a visit at all until the night before. This was all very rushed.

I’ve been craving one of those BLTs for two months now. Of all the wonderful things Kansas City has, I haven’t found anyplace here as good as Cafe Bienville in Niceville.

If you wanted to stop by and say hi and got your dates mixed up (you know who you are…:) don’t worry. I will be back, and next time it will be just for fun.

Packed and ready!

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Back in Niceville for a day!

I’ll be back in Niceville tomorrow for just a few hours and I thought it might be easier to just hang out at Cafe Bienville the whole time and visit anyone who wants to stop by.

I’ll be there from noon to 2 p.m. This is a time change. Originally I was planning to be there later in the day, but I need to go see my adult son, who is staying in Florida, as well.

Stop by and say hi tomorrow, Sunday Nov. 12 from noon to 2 p.m. at Cafe Bienville, 314 Bayshore Dr, in Niceville.

Now I need to get moving… actual moving… into the new apartment and be ready for a 3 a.m. flight in the morning.

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