Monday, January 30, 2017

The Big Purple Bubblegum

You might be wondering why this post has such a strange title. It is with a smile on my face that I am able to write that I have published my first children's story.

Wahoo! Do a little dance, twirl around and clap your hands! Okay, maybe you are not as excited as I am, but at least smile!

For years, actually decades, I have been saying that I wanted to start writing children's stories. My love of telling stories started when I was a child and I would have to babysit younger children. One of my favorite ways to keep their attention was by telling stories. As I got older and had children of my own, I told them stories. As an adult, I went on to tell stories to whole classrooms of children. I found it very fascinating to be able to take a group of kids and watch their faces as they entered into my world of make-believe and live out an altered reality for a few minutes.

The challenges of a children's book are finding a way to get them to hear "my voice" as I tell the story on paper or on their e-reader.

I don't remember most of my stories from over the years, but that is okay as I have plenty of imagination left. 

My book, The Big Purple Bubblegum is available on Amazon now for a paperback version or for download here. I personally like children's books on paper, but I understand there is a real market for electronic versions as well.

Watch out for new children's books as I explore this fun new area of creativity. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A View From my Window

A view from twelve stories up.
Today I am twelve stories up looking out over the Atlantic Ocean from a hotel on Virginia Beach. As I am sitting here watching the tiniest little dot on the horizon, I realized this is probably what it feels to be on an oceanliner out in the middle of nowhere - of course the minor exception being that I can look down and see the sand.

Yesterday was warm but stormy and the waves were too much for the surfers to even get out far enough to catch a wave. We stopped in to have dinner inside last night at a place we have been to before, Lager Heads. They have a great beer selection and fun appetizers and to make our visit perfect, we had a friendly and efficient waitress. They have a really beautiful place right on the beach.
The sun is coming out!

Today, the rain is gone and the skies show promise of letting the sunshine through this afternoon. I find the ocean calming and can sit and watch it for hours, somewhat like I do at home in front of the fireplace watching the flames. I enjoy letting my mind wander. The waves are a little brown from the rain runoff and sometimes the wind catches them as they break and sending spray flying into the air. The seagulls never tire of circling around and I notice that there are actually several different species.
When I see a cormorant or a pelican, I feel like the ocean gave me a treat. This morning a few dark dolphins swam along the beach in front of me, doing their normal zigzag in and out of the water.
Friendly seagull

The tiny spec in the distance is now just a little bigger. Since I am near the Navy Station Norfolk, every few minutes I will see or hear a fighter jet screaming through the sky overhead and I wonder what kind of a thrill is it for the guys or girls who get to fly them?

Fighter jets flying overhead
How is it they can fly two planes so close together without swerving into each other with a strong gust of wind?
There is a surfer just entering the breakwaters

I walked along the boardwalk this morning for a couple of hours and was really glad I was wearing my warm ski jacket as the damp wind was just bitingly cold, but I didn't want to have to sit inside. Landscapers were busy cleaning up after the Nor'easter. I even saw a man standing on top of a fifteen story building that was under construction and hoped he was secure as the wind was pushing me around and I was on the ground.

Man walking his dog along the beach.
Beautiful skies!
I keep thinking I am seeing eagles like we have at home in North East, with their bright white tail and head, soaring over the waves, but then they turn and I can see their underside is the white of a large seagull.
See the spray coming off the waves.

My eyes play tricks on me as I stare at the waves, watching the rays of sunlight breaking through way out from the shore turning the water a bright green - and I think I see something moving in the water but then it's gone. The horizon is a mix between periwinkle and slate gray with a blanket of puffy clouds just floating in place. When I let my gaze relax, I can sense that the whole mass is moving, but so slowly.

This town is empty. I can count on one hand how many people walked by me during my two hours of walking. They seemed to be people like myself, just enjoying the winter ocean, although there were a couple of folks just wearing shorts and t-shirts - guess the day looked warm outside from inside their hotel room window.
I love the beach in winter.

During my jaunt this morning, I stopped in at the Golden City because I was craving some broccoli and rice. I found walking there was easy enough when my Google app told me it was a 10 minute walk. Their store was clean and pleasant and my order went through quickly. My portions were very generous so I saved half for tomorrow. A little of their spicy oil kicked my lunch up a notch - quite satisfying.

See how far away he is...
I think the tanker or freight carrier that I have been calling a tiny dot might not be coming any closer. I have been watching him for over an hour and he still is barely perceptible - maybe he is heading to Nova Scotia...but three fighter jets just flew over heading towards his direction. I wish I brought my binoculars. You probably have the same feeling I just had - there could be a good story here...Two more jets just flew in that direction - possibly a pirate ship coming into our waters? Or maybe, I guess, that is just the direction of their flight plan.

The surfer is standing on the wave!
So I just looked out and there was a surfer down on the sand getting his gear on to go out surfing. He actually got out past the breakwaters and rode a wave. I tried to take a couple of shots but he was pretty far down. I was freezing out on my balcony - I can't imagine how cold he must have been in the water!

Anyhow, the dot on the horizon is still out there and the surfer has moved out of my line of vision and Eric has returned from work so I will sign off for now...