Tag Archives: children

A Fall Morning in the Park

There’s nothing like getting to work in the city with time to sit and read in the park, especially on a brisk Fall morning.

A child runs in circles through the leaf piles, enjoying the crunch of his feet on the brown leaves.

Two dogs sniff each others’ butts as their owners catch up with small talk.

Music reminiscent of a Chinese Food Restaurant plays by the George Washington statue as a couple does yoga.

A mom plays with her son in the recently-emptied fountain, watching her son run in circles around the cement wall that holds him in place just as it would a pool of water.

And I sit, reading, looking up every once in a while to watch the beginning of other peoples’ morning. What a lovely way to start a day.

Underwierd

“I don’t like my underweird, daddy,” she said to up him as they stood in line at the market. He had no clue what she was talking about, but noticed she was doing the pee pee dance.

“Your what?”

“Underweird.”

“Do you have to go to the bathroom?”

“Huh?”

“The bathroom. Potty? Do you have to pee?”

She looked up at him and seemed to think about it. He couldn’t believe she was surrounded by all of that candy and not begging for some.

“No, thank you. I don’t have to go.” He was baffled. Why was she doing the pee pee dance if she didn’t have to pee? You don’t just do that awkward dance, grabbing at yourself and putting your knees together. He’d never seen her act like this before.

“Okay, let’s go to the bathroom,” he said to her, reaching out for her hand. She took it and he carried the basket of food towards the restrooms. The marmalade slipped from side to side due to its weight, which threw him off a bit as he walked. As he stopped in front of the restrooms, she pulled at his hand a bit.

“Can I wait out here?” she pleaded.

“What?”

“While you pee?” she said to him.

“You’re the one who has to pee,” he responded with his eyebrows up. He had no clue what was going on.

“Nuh-uh. I don’t have to pee.” She started pulling at herself again.

“Then what are you doing?” he asked, pointing to her hands. She began to do what he thought was the pee pee dance once more.

“It’s my underweird. I don’t like my underweird.”

“Your WHAT?” He looked up into the flourescent lights of the market as if God or the loudspeakers of the supermarket could help him. Meanwhile, she pulled her skirt up and pointed at her underwear.

“My UNDERWEIRD!” she said, pointing. He finally understood and pushed her skirt back into place.

“Okay hun. We can change them when we get home. And for the record, it’s underWEAR.”

“What’s a record?” she asked.

“Never mind.”

Drawing by the super-talented Larissa Meek.

Zinnias, Zinnias Everywhere

As I ran down the dirt path through the wood my sneakers kicked up a slight dirt cloud, creating a simple map for them to follow. I certainly didn’t want them to lose me; after all, they were just children and couldn’t be left unattended in a forest so dense with trees. Plus, I had no clue where I was going – we had never taken this particular path before.

The density of the trees began to thin as I huffed. The backpack of supplies kept thumping against my back with each stride. I was not in shape for such a run, but I could hear the giggles gaining on me as their little feet clomped on the same hard dirt as mine. The sun began to strobe into my eyes, momentarily blinding me for split seconds here and there. The path widened into a field as the brightness of the sun’s rays made it impossible to see. I stopped and put my hands on my knees for support as I panted in an attempt to regain my breath.

As my eyes adjusted and the children gained on me, the random rainbow of colors started to come into focus. Where was I? The field came into focus as my irises adjusted, and I saw a huge field of flowers. Zinnias, zinnias everywhere, zinnias taller than me.

The children caught up and asked for a drink from my backpack. I decided this field, this beautiful, amazing force of nature, was the perfect place for our picnic lunch.

This story was inspired by the phrase “Zinnias, Taller than me” shared with me by my friend Kerri. This comes from a project I started where friends give me random words and phrases, and I write whatever comes out. Hope you like it.

Mo, and My Take on Bullying

I’ve always been against bullies, ever since that gargantuan down the street would terrorize everyone at our bus stop in elementary school. Mo, my newest kid’s book, reflects my feelings on bullies.

On a planet quite far from us lives a civilization of monsters with superpowers. It is a sad place, very brown and dead, and looks like this:

Mo

Mo, our protagonist, is a bit smaller than his classmates and has yet to discover his power. The others pick on him in various ways until one day, his teacher gives him a magic key that helps him find his power and become a hero. And, of course, the bullies get their just desserts.

Here is an image of Mo on the cover.

Isn’t he cute? Artist Christina Paul  did an excellent job visualizing the story and all of the little creatures. I love her work.

So, if you want to check out the ebook, it’s available on Kindle and Nook so far. If you check it out, I would love to hear your thoughts on it! Make sure you check out my other ebooks as well…there are a few. Thanks for stopping by!

The Princess of the Land of Black

As some of you may know, I have delved into the world of juvenile fiction, AKA kid’s books. Right now they are in ebook format, so if you have one, I would love if you would check it out. I’m going to do a few small features on them in the upcoming days.

The Princess of the Land of Black was inspired by my new wife’s niece, who pretty much demanded I write one about a princess. I never saw myself writing about female royalty, but when I really thought about it, I came up with the character Onyx, a princess in a kingdom where they only wear shades of black. She goes on a quest to find out what else there is in the world, and discovers all of the other colors by visiting princesses and castles.

What’s it really about? Opening your mind to new things. Going outside your comfort zone and coming out on top. Living life. You name it.

The artwork is by Lyndsaye Greke, a Canadian artist, poet and jaqueline-of-all-trades, so to speak. Her work is fantastic. When we started preliminary discussions, I said I would love something that’s “Disney” plus “Tim Burton” and I think she did a great job. It’s cute, but just a bit dark as well.

It’s available on Nook, Kindle and in the iTunes store. I hope you enjoy it, and if you check it out please feel free to comment here on what you thought.

A Vaudevillian Moment

As far back as I can remember my grandmother reminisced about her days on stage back in the Vaudeville era.  Her and my grandfather were well known, in New York at least, as performers of music, dance, and probably even more so, comedy.

Grandfather, before he died, swore he’d made up Groucho’s famous “Outside of a book, a dog is a man’s best friend.  Inside a dog it’s too dark to read,” line back then on the stage.  It’s true, Groucho did attend one of their performances with his brothers, but regardless, there’s no way to prove that claim.

When I was little I would spend summers at my grandparents’ home in suburban New York, a small property that working the stage had paid for.  Mother considered it an extended visit, a vacation.  I loved it.  Dad, eternally disliked by my grandmother for pulling my mom out of the spotlight and marrying her, hated every moment.  Using work as an excuse, he would drive up from Philadelphia, our hometown, on weekends.

As I got older, after grandfather died, our visits were really all my grandmother looked forward to.  She would have my room all done up with a frilly pink bedspread (something I pretended to love even after I’d outgrown it) and would serve all of my favorite meals.  She would cater to anything I wanted as if I were her own daughter.  Actually, even mom didn’t have it as good as I did in that old house.

And every summer, like clockwork, she would pull out her old prop umbrella, worn out and missing the knob, and we would do one of the skits she loved so much with me playing the straight man.  She’d put on a funny hat and dress and jump right in.

“There are so many ways to understand what a lady is saying just by how she carries her umbrella!  Like if she holds it like this-”

And I would break in, “It means it’s raining?”

“No, no,” she would correct.  “It means she’s married!  And if she holds it like this-”

“She’s single?” I would ask, giggling.

“No!  It means she’s married and her husband is coming.”

“So you run?”

“Of course not.  Then you nod, like so.”

“So apologize?”

“No, stupid!  It means you want to meet her around the corner!”

“But she’s married!”

“Exactly, so you have to wait for the signal from her.”

“Which is?”

My grandmother would then flirtatiously lift her dress a bit to show some leg, usually with dirty work pants and boots underneath since she was always gardening.  This would have me doubled over in laughter by this point, keeping me from finishing the skit.

She would always chuckle along with me, then sit down in the nearest chair and remember the good old days, working the Vaudeville circuits with my grandfather.

Shooting Star Beach

“But…” she looked at him, confused.

“I said space alien.”

“Okay…so you think the shooting stars are UFOs?”

“Yup!” he said with a triumphant smile.

“But the place is called Shooting Star Beach.”

He nodded. “Look, there goes another one!”

“Shooting star?”

“Space alien.”

“So let me get this straight.  You think the lights that look like shooting stars are – “

“Spaceships flying. Isn’t it obvious?”

“It’s not obvious. It’s dubious at best.”

He slouched a little as her mother walked up.

“He’s only eight,” she whispered into her daughter’s ear.