Hey, Folks!

Here’s the answer to the ONE false Random Thing: <>

#13! I was never caught in the stocks in Sturbridge Village. Congrat’s to Mary who guessed it!

25 Random Things


I know people are doing this on Facebook (and so did I) but I’m cheating and listing it here as well, since I’ve been meaning to do an entry. Life’s been busy…..

25 Random Things About Me:

1. My family nicknames as a kid were “Lulu” and “Imp.”

2. I am a decent juggler. I learned during finals in college after a fruit basket was delivered. It was late at night; I was afraid I’d fall asleep on my desk, so I got up, started trying it and by dawn, I could juggle. (Yes, I think the final went okay!) I think everyone should learn to juggle. It’s a good lesson in dealing with frustration and perseverance.

3. I married the best guy ever! We are coming up on our 19th wedding anniversary, but it really feels like a lot less time! We met at the age of 15—the age our daughter will be in two weeks! EEK!

4. As a teacher, I knew that I would love having children of my own. However, I never knew HOW much I would love being a mom. How much I just totally love and enjoy these two great kids!

5. I needed braces when I was young, but finances were an issue. As a last ditch effort, the dentist pulled 13 teeth in one afternoon (4 adult and 9 baby teeth) After receiving “laughing gas” I kept telling the doctor that “I am unique—unlike any being ever born before.” Ain’t THAT the truth, huh!?

6. I miss my Mum calling me at 9:32 AM on my birthday—the very minute I was born.

7. Originally, I was going to do this list by listing 24 completely plausible but fictitious items, with the last one being, “I like to make stuff up.” One of my cousins beat me to a similar concept—must be in the blood!

8. I absolutely LOVE the ocean. Not only the serene beauty of it but also the crashing of the waves and swirling of the salt water and all the things that go on below the surface. And with all the exotic places in the world, I still love Cape Cod and Maine the most.

9. As a child, I used to hitchhike to church.

10. When I was 12, I had a ticket to see Shaun Cassidy (eat your hearts out, ladies!) sing at the Harford Civic Center. Two weeks before the concert, the roof fell in. I never saw him sing, and to this day, have felt a deep, unquenchable void…

11. I had one of those long, fake fur coats in the seventies. Were they popular or was I the only one??? At the age of ten, I went skiing wearing aforementioned fashion statement. While riding the “J-bar” up the hill, I waited too long to “unboard.” The “J-bar” went up my back to my shoulder blades and lifted me into the air by the coat, carrying me into the woods. They had to stop the J-bar to get some guys—and a ladder—to get me down.

12. I often wake up in the morning with a song in my head. It usually lingers and usually means something; it stays there until I figure out what. My favorite song when I was eight was “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.” My husband is baffled by this.

13. When I was in the fifth grade, we went to Sturbridge Village on a school trip. I “volunteered” to go in the stocks as a demonstration. The girl (new employee) put an antique padlock on the thing only to find there was NO key! It took over an hour to find a saw and get me out. Because of our unit on the Salem Witch Trials at school, I developed the nickname “Witchy Poo.”

14. I had always wanted to watercolor paint but never bothered to try. About four years ago, I signed up for a $15 class and found that I do paintings that don’t look like I drink heavily of paint with a blindfold! Not like I’m Monet or anything, but I’ve completed several of them and I love it!

15. My son had a febrile seizure when he was three. It was far and away the scariest moment of my life.

16. My brother, Michael Eric, died from asthma when he was three and I still think of him every day.

17. “Welcome to our World” is my favorite Christmas Carol. Also, I have a very strong faith in God. It wasn’t always that way, though.

18. I have a beagle named “Bagel;” she is my favorite carbohydrate.

19. When my brother, Rick, announced he was going to law school, I loudly proclaimed, “Well, I’m going to be a prostitute!” This is one of the few times I remember my family being silent. I had confused “prostitute” with “prosecutor”—a very common mistake, I’m sure! :<)

20. For the fun of it, I write stories. For hours. And hours. And hours. Love it! Would love to publish a book someday!

21. I have over 60 first cousins.

22. I spent a summer with my Godmother, Dotsie, and her family when I was eight. It was the best summer I ever had as a kid—truly a family filled with love and laughter. They served as a model for me as I became an adult and started a family of my own. Still think of that VW bus!

23. My office is filled with color and child-like things. I have a collection of kaleidoscopes (one handmade by my aunt Margaret—my favorite!), antique gumball machines, snow globes, colorful glass balls, stuffed dolls of famous scientists and artists—my favorite of them being Albert Einstein, paintings done by my kids, pics of the people I love, and a 3-D pic of Times Square. I LOVE color!!!

24. As far as I know, I’ve never had a fever. When I was four, I had asthma and went into respiratory failure. I was placed on a machine that lowered my body temp to kill the bacteria (opposite of a fever!). I remember being able to hear everything people said but could not move, open my eyes, or speak. Very strange experience! I was not supposed to survive but I did.

25. While sledding as a child, my sled went farther than expected and I went into a river (Remember “It’s a Wonderful Life?”). My sled broke through the ice, but my brother, John, pulled me out, wrapped me in his coat, and pulled me home in his sled.

26. I once dug up the neighbor’s plants, put them in a wheel barrow and pushed them to the center of town to try and sell them. No pots or anything–just balls of dirt. A marketing genius from an early age, eh?!

27. ONE of these things is not true. Can you guess which one???

Hello all! Happy New Year!

As we all sit at the table of contents this year, let us not be spineless. My proposal is that we enter this chapter of 2009 with a strong voice, writing the wrongs of the past when we may have felt a tad double-spaced.

Be an agent of your own success; you’ve got it covered! During this period, take the utmost care of yourself so that your colon doesn’t become a semi-colon. Also, keep your appendix intact even if editors tell you it isn’t necessary. After all, to some publishing houses (you know the type) you are but an indented servant (okay—that was bad) and so your hair may not fall quite right (that was worse). But, that’s okay because our sentences as writers are short in the big arc of things—why any shorter and they would be a fragments.

If it makes you feel better, take this period to chart your progress; make a graph. In fact, make a para-graphs, if you’d like! But, above all else, I must punctuate the idea of beating yourself into submission this year. Do it…and it could be…a novel idea! :<)

Wonderful wishes to you all for the New Year! And I do apologize for this message…sort of. :<)

Yours truly,
Cal Decott

Boy Meets Girl

While on my Bowflew (which, if you haven’t seen one in person, looks like a medieval torture apparatus—and feels like a modern one!) I glanced to my left and laid eyes on what made my burst out laughing. It epitomizes what it’s like to raise a boy and a girl at the same time.

A lovely doll house, complete with a maid who vacuums (wouldn’t mind one of these for those of you wracking your brains for Christmas ideas) with giant, predatory Bionicles climbing the sides, preparing to feast on the ever-grinning Playmobile people.

Stereotypical “girl world” meets stereotypical “boy-world.” God love ‘em!


Okay, this blogging/writing is a little like having a sliver. It’s painful, but if it’s there, you have to get it out. Oh, and it may require disinfectant.

Okay, I’m holding my nose and diving in. (No, you don’t need to visualize that.) Why not introduce a little scandal into my mix here?

Close the doors.
Pull the shades.
Take the phone off the hook.
I…**whisper**… have a confession….

It is something from my recent past that I really try not to advertise. You know, because the neighbors…They ask questions. If word gets out, things could get messy. I…ready???…have written a book. (sorry to disappoint any Jerry Springer fans.)

It’s a prepublished (no contract yet—but optimistic) YA (young adult) book entitled One for the Murphys. For those of you who’ve written something for the eyes of others (not for a teacher, but because you thought it would be…fun…you know, like bungee jumping with an extra long cord) it’s kind of like ripping your heart out, slapping it on the table and asking, “So, what do you think?”

It feels like the epitome of “vulnerable” because you always—even if you don’t intend to—crawl into your own basements to write it. And then you have to sit back and wonder what others think. Truly, if you’re brave and serious about seeing your book at the bookstore, (gulp–did I just say that???) you must get to this step of putting it out there. A thick skin (titanium), a sense of humor (how can I not laugh at myself???) and an open mind (but no holes) are all going to help.

Readers of One for the Murphys have given me good feedback on it—of course, good feedback has cost me a fortune in margaritas. :<) The better the feedback, the more margaritas…or is it, the more margaritas, the better the feedback??? Hmmmm…..

I laughed when I saw the above picture. It’s totally me.

Every morning I sit down. I scan my bookshelves with the likes of Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Wittlinger, Alan Gratz, Jerry Spinelli, Katherine Paterson…And, here I sit: room mother, juggler, lint collector. I don’t know. I have to tell you, seriously, that I think it’s pretty brave to write an emotionally authentic book at all; that’s what writers (or the people supporting them) will say when they consider the odds of “making it.” I say, don’t consider the odds—or anyone else besides your living, breathing characters—just put your butt in the chair (Hi, Anita). And, if you’re like me, the journeys you take with your characters, will change your own journey in ways you’d never have imagined…

Be brave. Grrrrroooooowl…

Skee-ball Pockets

Well, as the days of summer fold themselves into our… Aw, what the hell…the summer is over and it sucks. The kids go back to school tomorrow, and I have to admit that while some parents are singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” I am disappointed. I genuinely, really love their company; I have a theory as to why.

At the heart of me, I’m still 14.

My kids are fortunate in the fact that I love all things kids—amusement parks, animated movies, Nerf gun fights, water parks, toy stores, and arcades. While I’m frugal at Shaw’s, there are no limits to the quarters I’ll dole out for skee-ball. I mean, can you really put a price on that cheap crap that you can take home for a mere 500 tickets??? I suppose the sane part of me (hold those tongues, people!) would rather not overtly ask, “How ‘bout we pay $30 for something worth $ .86?” I suppose I’m afraid that some day I’ll grow up, bristle at the thought of throwing money “up the aisle,” and do the grown up thing. Eek…

My kids aren’t any happier about school. I asked my son what he’d like to wear tomorrow—his morning attire. (He says he doesn’t care and I know he really doesn’t.) As I think about it, though, it may be more aptly named “mourning attire” although I don’t know if the black pill hat/veil will suit him…Would clash with his blond hair, I think.

As for my daughter, (a freshman in high school and, no, I’m not thrilled about that either.) she is a little nervous. So am I…but I know I needn’t be. And I know that I will not have to think about what she’ll wear. Later today, we are going out to pick up some make-up for her, and I’m going to give her a lesson. For those of you laughing out there, I want to remind you how my Chap Stick and Boston Red Sox hat compliment my natural beauty.

Anyway, it will be a nice mother/daughter bonding thing. I plan to go with the “less is more” for the make-up and the “more is more and will keep your mother off your back” for the clothes. Actually, I don’t need to worry about that—she tends to be a jeans and t-shirt girl. Where do you suppose she gets it???

So, I’ve officially become one of those people that goes on about their boring, everyday details of life. I know. I should discuss deep things…..

Deep things:

Skee-ball Pockets

And, with that, I guess I’ve come full circle.

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