Interview with Sarah Whiley: Writer, Blogger, Teacher, & Future Author #interview #nonfiction #amwriting #nonfiction


Welcome to another writer/blogger interview. Today I’m interviewing the wonderful, talented, and gorgeous Sarah Whiley who I have come to know through the prompt website MindLoveMisery`s Menagerie (MLMM). Sarah`s personal blog is called: By Sarah. You can also look for her to do the Saturday Mix prompt on MLMM. Here`s the link to last week`s prompt: Same Same but Different December 30.


Sarah Whiley Interview Pic 1
Credit: Sarah Whiley

1. Sarah, Please Tell Us About Yourself? What Are Your Writing and Blogging Goals? What Do You Hope to Accomplish by Writing? 


My name is Sarah Whiley and I live in north-east Victoria, in Australia. My blog is: ‘By Sarah. I’m a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students.

In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right. This is what I am hoping to accomplish by writing and blogging. I am so fortunate to live where I do. They don’t call Australia the “lucky country” for nothing!


2. Tell Us About Where You Live and What You Love About It?


I’m originally a city girl from Canberra, and later, Melbourne. I have enjoyed the spoils of both cities’ such as the cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants, nightlife, and their unique cultures.

When I met my husband and moved to the country! I love the wide- open spaces, the varying landscapes and the bush. I am now an avid bushwalker and spend most weekends out and about, communing with nature.


“I am a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students. In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right.” – By Sarah Whiley 


Sarah Whiley Pic 2
Sarah Whiley

 


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You? 


My journey with blogging began five years ago, after a series of personal setbacks and issues. I commenced blogging primarily, as a cathartic experience to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. Once I no longer ‘needed’ my blog, I had a small break, however always felt something was ‘missing.’

After attending professional development for helping me teach writing, I realized, the hole that blogging and writing had left in my life!

I started my blog, ‘By Sarah,’ to explore my own creative writing, to explore myself, and my talent for writing. I have, particularly, enjoyed writing short stories and poetry. An unexpected bonus to continued blogging has been the great friendships I’ve gained in the WordPress community; I have established so many along the way.


4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why Is It Vital for you to Keep on Writing? 


I have some seeds of ideas stashed away in my writer’s notebook. I tend to work on these pieces over a long period of time. For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it’s important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.

Moreover, as a teacher, it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of hyper-vigilance and not to give yourself enough ‘down time’. I find a variety of prompts extremely helpful for motivating and inspiring writing for myself and in my teaching.

As well, I have a schedule of sorts and I endeavor to write every day aside from Wednesdays (which is my ‘well-being-do-nothing’ night!


 

Sarah Whiley Group Pic 3
Credit: Sarah Wiley

 


“For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it is important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.” – Sarah Whiley


5. What Are Your Writing and Blogging Habits? Do You Prefer Writing a Certain Time of Day? 


I set aside time each day to write. Usually, I can be found on the couch with a dog or two keeping me company, along with some background noise from the TV (I am one of these people who can’t concentrate when it’s quiet). I enjoy writing poetry most. I have a knack for rhyme and rhythm and find it easy to whip up a poem.

As well, I have been challenging myself to explore other types of writing and short stories to extend my skills. I don’t write in the mornings as I am in a rush for time once I wake up. I rush out the door to teach school, but I write after dinner, sometime between 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at night. I find Tuesdays and Thursdays to be my busiest and most productive days.


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing or Blogging Projects? Do You Have Projects Outside of Your Blog Involving Writing? Do You Plan on Publishing Any Writing in the Future? 


Currently, I am undertaking Sammi Cox’s  ‘A Month of Mini Writing Challenges’ and have am the new host for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s ‘Saturday Mix’. Outside of my
blog, I keep a writer’s notebook and am busy maintaining a Class Dojo Story (similar to a blog) for my classroom.

I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.


Toa Hefitaba Sarah
Credit: Toa Hefitba via UnSplash

“I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.” – Sarah Whiley


7. Can you Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Do You Think Will Be Your Process of Self-Publishing Your Writing? 


Being a teacher, I find the writing process natural and not something I have to think too hard about. Storytelling and explaining my ideas is something I innately do. Upon analysis of my writing, though, I definitely follow six-traits in my writing process including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.

After I am happy with a final piece, I often bounce it off my husband or my mum, seeking their feedback. They are a tremendous help to me and improve the end result of my stories and poems and their overall flow. When I self-publish at the end of the year, I am investigating the use of the ‘Blook-Up Service.‘ (As Sarah gave me these answers super-quick back at the end of August or September, please ask her about the progress of her book and her published poem!!).


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Reading Genres? And Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers Starting Out? 


Well, I’m definitely drawn to the dark, somewhat macabre styles of writing. My pieces often take a dark turn or have a twist at the end. I am not a fan of science-fiction or fantasy, at all, but I prefer supernatural, horror, thriller, crime, mystery, drama, historical, and biographical works.

My advice for new bloggers is:

  • Write what you know. Capturing a small moment in time can sometimes produce the best piece of writing! Also, go with the flow….literally! Don’t overthink it. Go with your ‘stream-of-consciousness’ and see where it leads.
  • Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.

Sarah Whiley Hiking 4
Credit: Sarah Whiley and Her Beautiful Photography!!

Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.” Sarah Whiley


9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us About Writing Or Yourself? 


My experiences growing up in a large family and my relationships with my siblings have certainly shaped many of my ideas and stories! I am the eldest of six children (No, we are not Catholic!). My mum just wanted another son and kept trying until she got one! It’s ironic how she wanted four boys…she ended up with four girls! Despite the large age gaps between some of us, we are reasonably close and hang out together and, at times, travel together.

Also, I LOVE to travel. Whether it be exploring local gems, interstate expeditions or overseas adventures. I am curious and interested in the world around me. I soak up information and facts like a sponge (you never know when they’ll come in handy for a trivia night!) I enjoy nothing more than experiencing new things. I adore the outdoors and take every chance (money permitting of course!) to jump on a plane and go somewhere different.

As well, I love New Zealand and have holidayed there four times now – with plans to go back! I have also traveled to the US (including Hawaii), England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Indonesia. All of these factors have helped develop my writing.


10. Can You Briefly Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like Most About Them? 


Gosh, it’s hard to name a few. There are a lot of my WordPress friends whose work I truly respect and enjoy. But, if I have to narrow it down, I would have to say:

  • Jane Dougherty Writes – Jane has a wonderful turn of phrase and is able to use colorful words to create great imagery in her poems and stories.
  • God’s Chair – Jael Sook is an engaging and diverse poet and writer and I thoroughly enjoy her work, anticipating each post she makes.
  • RedStuffDan – Dan is an incredibly artistic photographer. His subjects include Bordeaux vineyards, local village life, architecture, doors, mirrored
    images and digital photography as art.

11. Can You Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blogs:

TASI

By Sarah Whiley

*Inspired by “Whiskey In the Jar” Music Prompt

*****

 

Tasi Sarah
Credit: Sarah Whiley

 

*****

My summer holiday in Hobart, Tasmania had not begun quite as I had expected. A thunderstorm, a severely delayed flight, and an inaccessible hostel topped off with some bitterly cold weather that I had most definitely not packed for. Finding myself with a few hours to spare, I decided that a stroll around the CBD to orient myself was in order.

The gathering, dark clouds had other ideas.

I had no sooner ventured out onto the streets when the skies opened and a torrential downpour began. Cursing, I sought cover under the awnings of the few shops that had them.

And that’s when I saw it from across the street. ‘Lark Distillery’.

I have never been a whiskey drinker, but I could not resist the pull of the plume of smoke coming from the chimney, nor the cozy 1800’s building that housed it. I ran across to the front door and pushed it open.

Immediately, a warm, yeasty aroma hit me. Unsurprisingly, I was the only patron. The young man behind the ba took in my sodden, street-urchin appearance, and without a trace of disdain, offered me a tasting.

‘But I don’t really drink whisky,’ I protested. ‘Can I just stay in here until the rain passes?’

‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘But why not have a little taste, just to pass the time?’

He took a glass and bottle from the shelf behind him and sang a few lyrics of the Metallica song, ‘There’s whisky in the jar oh.’ He winked, and with that, I took a seat at the bar.  I felt somewhat lonely amongst the long row of empty bar stools. Clearly, they were used to a greater custom.

‘So what would you like to try?’ he asked.

‘I’m in your hands,’ I admitted. ‘What would you recommend?’

‘Let’s start with the single malt. It’s a classic,’ he advised.

He poured a sample into the glass. The glug-glug and almost syrupy quality of the liquid was mesmerising.

‘This whisky is double distilled in locally crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100 litre oak casks. We store our spirits for 5-8 years in smaller barrels for faster maturation,’ he explained.

I took a sip and promptly spluttered. He laughed.

‘Try throwing it back in one go,’ he suggested.

So I did.

After the initial burning sensation and urge to cough, the most amazingly delicious warmth spread from my belly to my brow.

‘Mmmm,’ I approved. ‘Nice. Smooth.’

‘Well if you like that, you’ll love the cask strength. It’s got the same smoothness but is more full bodied due to a higher percentage of Tasmanian malt. It bursts across the palate with hints of maple syrup and sweet notes of highland peat.’

‘Right,’ I said, not having a clue what that meant. Irrespectively, I nudged my glass forward and said, ‘Hit me.’

And I threw that back too.

This bloke knows what he’s talking about, I thought. It was amazing. My palate was dancing and my whole body was alive. The rain outside had faded away, and I felt all toasty and warm and happy.

‘How much alcohol is in this?’ I demanded.

‘58%’ he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that I was feeling tipsy already. ‘How ’bout we mix it up a little? Wanna try some gin?’

‘Gin?’ I replied with enthusiasm. Now we were speaking my language! ‘Oh yes please! Definitely’.

Again, I pushed my glass forward.

‘Now, here at Lark, we do a gin each season,’ he explained, ‘that way we can capitalise on the unique flavours available at different times of the year. This one is our summer release.’ He poured a more than generous sample.

This time, before I drank, I lifted the glass to my nose. The aromas were incredible. Bold and beautifully sweet, I inhaled a balance of citrus and rosewater with undertones of juniper and coriander. It made me think of the warmth of the summer sun. It was almost as if I could feel it on my skin.

I drank and closed my eyes with satisfaction.

‘That was good.‘ I could hear my voice starting to lilt and slur with the effects of the high alcohol content. I sat with the gin in my hand and sipped from the glass again and again. As if wanting to savour it but devour it at the same time, until every drop was gone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

‘This is slainte,’ he declared. ‘This is very, very special. It was developed by one of our owners in response to the strong demand for a unique Australian whisky liqueur. Slainte is the marriage of our single malt whisky and a distilled spirit of herbs and spices. The two are carefully combined to give a complexity of character, spiciness and sweetness, while maintaining the overtones of the whisky.’

I could listen to this guy talk all day! I thought. Such passion for the product.

My head was swirling, and I though I still didn’t fully understand what this whisky was all about, I had decided I liked it. Very much. I slid my glass towards him.

‘Now, Tasi,’ he began, as he pulled out a new bottle from behind the counter, ‘Tasi is something different altogether.’

‘What is it?’ I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.

‘Tasi is a unique herbal liqueur derived from a single native Tasmanian berry.’

‘I know about the Tasi berry!’ I interjected, surprisingly myself. ‘It’s actually called a Myrtus berry isn’t it?’

‘Yes, that’s right. It’s unique to Tasmania. So this really is something you can’t find anywhere else,’ he was speaking almost reverently. ‘Pass me your glass.’

Unlike any of the other tastings, he first scooped up some ice cubes and placed then delicately in the bottom of my glass.  Intrigued, I leant forward as he carefully poured. Tasi was a glorious deep yellow in colour and looked like liquid gold, flowing over iridescent rocks.

I will never forget that first mouthful. It was as if the liqueur curled around every inch of my teeth and gums. It stuck to my tongue and was like treacle down my throat. That liquid gold coated every surface it touched within my body and I felt like royalty. I smacked my lips approvingly and even moaned out loud. I appreciated every last golden drop and licked the ice cubes once my glass was drained.

He smiled.

He knew.

It was THAT good.

I bought three bottles and thanked him for his time, his advice and his expertise. The bottles clinked as I pulled the door open and reentered the world outside.

I did not notice if it was still raining.

And I did not care.

****

Sarah 2017©


12. Here Are Some More of Sarah’s Link’s to Explore!

Some of her favorite Short pieces:

Some of Sarah’s Poetry:


Thank you so much to Sarah for filling out the interview questions and providing such honest and thoughtful answers. I’m so sorry it took so long to put the interview together. This last past year has been crazy. Make sure to check out Sarah’s Blog: By Sarah.


I should have another interview out in the next couple of weeks, with no promises. If you would like to be interviewed and are a writer or blogger or if you blog for a cause, please reach out to me through my Contact Page. If you’re a regular, you’ll notice I’m playing around with my blog to update my theme. The Contact Page info also needs to be updated eventually.

Have a fantastic week!


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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#OctPoWriMo 27/Music Challenge:  “I Swear I Lived” #amwriting #poetry #musicchallenge 


OctPoWriMo 27 has a theme based on our favorite flowers. Somehow I’m going to combine this prompt with MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge song on “I lived by OneRepublic. 

Credit: Kawan Harasai via Unsplash

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“I lived” – OneRepublic 

——

With every broken breath, 

I swear I lived. 

Pettles in my hands, soft, floating in the wind. 

Never forget to slow down, 

Tred through daisies. 

As our dogs on their walks, 

Burying our nose in the fragrance. 

Inhaling life with resilience, 

Clutching each moment, 

As if it’s the last. 

Not afraid to touch —

The sun and run, 

Using each spare second. 

Fearless with triumph, 

A will to survive

Ignore the broken bones, 

They’ll heal, don’t build walls, 

Despite stumbling hard. 

Get back up, 

Carry on soldier. 

Give it all you have, unafraid to jump,

Raising your cup as the sun goes down, 

Toasting the journey. 

And with —

Choppy breath rasping, 

Gaspimg for air, 

Own every broken breath, 

For every tranquil —

Glittering moment in life, 

Keep pushing to survive. 

Bring meaning into moments,

Where you’re  —

Fighting to live, 

When you realize that life, 

Is the blessing you always desired. 

——

©Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved. 


Saturday Mix: Poem – Villanelle – “Dog of the House” #amwriting #saturdaymix #dVerse #poetry 


Thanks to Teresa of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last Saturday’s Mix prompt based on ‘sounds‘ in certain locations. I’ll be combing it with #dVerse prompt on using a Villanelle style of poetry thanks to Frank Hubeny at Poet’s pub for hosting that. 

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Credit: Edith Hill

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Quiet before the bustling crowds come out, 

An awkward silence, distant noise undefined; 

Then there is barking, a chorus sings, shouts —

Dog owners fumbling, sidewalks to new route —

Down verdant trails, nature whispers sublime, 

Many dogs scrambling, playing, all about,

The new dogs can’t win, woof triumphant shouts.  

Man’s best friend loves parks, rabbits smell divine.  

Aromas, squirrel chirps, bird tweets, still mouses. 

Mouse souvenir of pride for mom, on her couch; 

As Dad showers above, Mom’s scent resides, 

Flowers, citrus, sprayed here and there in spouts. 

Dad’s Dior cologne sprayed so thickly it clouds, 

Sneezing many times, scent too strong, despised

Mom’s heels click, goodbye kisses resounding

Leaning love, licking smacking kisses now, 

Mom’s laughter sprinkled, Dad’s chuckles confide,  

He loves me, she loves me; for this is my home. 

From a sick dog on the city streets found, 

Home protector, sonorous barks resound. 

——–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved 

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: The Great Dachshund Escape #amwriting #flashfiction #pets #fiction


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.

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Credit: Louise – The Storyteller’s Abode

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I was sitting on a ferry boat, on my way to a speciality grocery store, when I heard yelling and screaming from behind where I sat. A fifty-some couple were engaged in a physical and verbal sparring match with Peppy the dachshund literally in the middle. 

Margo, refused to give Peppy up to her ex-boyfriend, Simon.”He was my dog before we started going out, and he’s my dog now that we’re breaking up.” 

“That’s not fair, he’s part of my family now. Peppy sits by me most of the day because I work from home. He should be with me in the week. You can have Peppy on weekends,” Simon countered.

Margo scoffed and was about to jab Simon in the chest when Peppy managed to squeeze his way out from between both owners. 

They chased him down the steps and down to the plank where people walked onto the ferry. Peppy jumped in the water, the plank in the process of being removed, and swam to shore before running away. 

I wonder if Margo or Simon ever saw him again? 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Apparitions #flashfiction #WWII #amwriting #writing 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

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A Mixed Bag

——–

The submarines of old stood out in the San Diego Harbor as Carla walked Bruno and Velma the dachshunds. 

After tiring out both dogs, she paused to gaze at the submarines along the walkway. It didn’t appear as if any navy personnel had worked on them in over seventy-five-years. 

The subs were relics of WWII, but Carla knew many men had died and been terrified for their lives in such submarines. The US had used them effectively ‘island hoping’ to help defeat the Japanese, after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course, the bombs had sealed the deal. 

Suddenly, the dachshunds began to bark and yip ferociously. They pulled on their leashes willing Carla, their Mom, to go home. 

She gazed back at the submarines one last time and let out a frightened shriek. Upon the old submarine, a ghostly navy crew with 1940’s uniforms, walked atop the sub performing their duties. They stopped, noticing Carla, and turned to whistle at her as if she was some wartime doll for kicks

When she blinked again, the apparitions were gone. Carla decided she needed something stronger in her coffee this morning. Maybe she’d forget the coffee part altogether. 

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©Mandibelke16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Notable Quotes October 2016 Part One #quotes #pinterest


1. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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2. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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3. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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4. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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5. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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6. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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7. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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8. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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9. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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10. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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11.

http://www.pinterest.com

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12. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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13. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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14. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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15. 

http://www.pinterest.com

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

The Happiness Tag #happiness #music #facts #nonfiction


Thanks to Rosema of A Reading Writer for the open nomination for this tag. I’m going to do that as well, anyone who wants to participate can. 

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Rosema

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The Rules

1. Name five songs which make you happy

2. Name five things which make you happy

3. Nominate five Blogger’s for The Happinness Tag. 

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Five Songs Which Make Me Happy:

1. “Brave” – Sara Beriellas

——–

2. “Bartender” – LadyAntebellum

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3. ” John Couger, John Deere, John 3:16″ – Keith Urban

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4. “My Music At Work” – The Tragically Hip 

(A sad note: this is one of the greatest Canadian Bands in the world. The lead singer announced recently, he has brain cancer and this tour they’re on, will be their last 😥). 

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5. “Run” – Snow Patrol

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Five Things Which Make Me Happy 

1. My Family:


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2. My Friends:


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3. Dogs:

http://www.pinterest.com

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4. God (although he should be first I think):

http://www.pinterest.com

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5. Wine:

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*6. Writing:


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*7. Travel:

http://www.pinterest.com
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Nominate five Blogger’s:

If you want to participate, please do. If you don’t want to participate, then don’t.

———

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Story Continuation Prompt: Fiction – Adventures with Dogs


Thanks to Wandering Soul for hosting the story continuation prompt. This week’s first sentence is: “The new morning brought with it new hope.”


Dog American Eskimo
http://www.pexels.com

The new morning brought with it new hope. Yesterday had been a horrible day and I didn’t want today to be a repeat. I had taken the day off as work had been particularly stressful.

Also, I had been dog sitting for my brothers and my parents who had all decided to go to various vacation destinations at the same time. I was ready to relax and unwind with the dogs, when my friend popped over with her three giant lab dogs.

Janice hadn’t had time to take her labs to doggy daycare in the morning as she usually did on Thursdays, before work. She felt Luna, Izzy, and Geo needed to be around other dogs at least a couple of days in the week, in addition to their walks. Luna, Izzy, and Geo joined Crumpet, Lola, and Cleo for some socialization on my day off.

I was happy all six dogs were girls.There was a pecking order, Cleo and Lola, leading the pack, but all the dogs got along famously and enjoyed playing and following each other around in the house.

Cleo and Lola were miniature American-Eskimo cross breeds and pack dogs by nature. Crumpet was a chihuahua and yappy as chihuahua’s tended to be. Luna, Izzy, and Geo were all various mixes of labs, friendly and boisterous.

I dreaded taking all six dogs to the park for a walk as I wasn’t sure how to manage six dogs of various sizes and temperaments, all on leashes. I was hoping to let them run around on the off leash trails as much as possible. But even maintaining control of the girls on the off leash trails would be a challenge as I would have to ensure they did not scare or surround other dogs and their owners.

Lunch time came, and I set off on a walk with all six dogs. Leashes tangled and the girls sniffed around and jumped at each other on the way to the off leash trails. We narrowly avoided several people on bicycles. The American Eskimo crosses, in particular, didn’t like the cyclists and the noise they made. They were even more upset by the rollerbladers who whipped by us.

While Cleo and Lola tugged madly on their leashes I attempted to pull them in. The labs on the other hand, loved running along with Janice on her husband as they biked, so they in turn, pulled their leashes towards the cyclists happy to greet them.

Finally we reached the off leash trails and the dogs were set free to play. The chased each other through trees, wood chipped trail, and bushes. We passed other people walking their dogs and I was surprised how good all the dogs were, even Cleo and Lola who could be nippy and have attitudes at times. All the dogs greeted the new human and dog friends they met on the trails, and more dogs were added to the mixture of breeds running wild.

Crumpet, my parent’s chihuahua mix, decided she had had enough walking and jumped up into my arms. I had no idea how I was going to carry her with the five others dogs pulling on their leashes when we were ready to go home. The dogs and I walked down the trail a good hour and then turned around.

I was tired near the end of our walk. It was a great deal of effort to keep tabs on six dogs and the dogs’ energy levels were still going strong. I was hoping a long walk would tire them out. The girls were constantly running back and forth to me, checking to see that I was coming along and jumping at me at random moments wanting me to play or to give me a kiss. Cleo and Lola who knew me better, kept checking back incase I decided to throw a milkbone treat their way.

As we walked, we came to the shores of the river near my house. A small delta of land went out here, and couple of other dogs were swimming in the shallow waters. I shouted, “No. Stay here,” to all the dogs but they ignored me. I expected Luna, Izzy, and Geo to not hear me as they had never had to listen to me before. But Cleo and Lola knew better. So did Crumpet.

They tiny Chihuahua mix leaped into the muddy water and began to paddle around. I groaned. All these dogs were going to need baths later and this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Thursday off, bathing filthy dogs. I knew for a fact Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet would never accept being bathed by a hose and they would fight me every inch as I washed them.

After a time, I called all the dogs out of the river water. They came crashing towards me. Luckily, I had been wearing workout clothes, for I was as wet and dirty as the dogs once they were done greeting me.

Something was wrong though, Crumpet hadn’t come in from the river. I saw her standing on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water and yipping at me. She was afraid to come out. I sighed and made a face knowing I would have to go in the river and bring Crumpet out.

Wading into the shallow water, I carefully walked out from the delta and grabbed Crumpet off of her lonely island. She was overjoyed to see me and dripped water over my face and neck. Even my hair was dirty now.

Crumpted nuzzled into my neck and sighed. When I was back on land, I managed to leash up the five other dogs who had been patiently waiting for me oddly enough.

I don’t know how, but dripping wet and dirty, we all made it back to my house and I unleashed all the dogs in my fenced backyard. I won’t mention how difficult it was to clean up after each dog after they had done their business during the walk.

In the garage, I had a kiddy pool purchased for my small niece when she had visited in the summer. I filled up the pool with water from the garden house. Going inside the house, I shed my clothes at the door along with my mucky shoes, and went downstairs to the bathroom to grab a big bottle of shampoo. I changed into an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and grabbed old towels from from the closet upstairs.

A couple of the labs, Izzy and Luna, were already in the swimming pool when I came outside, so I began washing them first. Apparently, they were used to being bathed liked this and after the first two labs were done, I grabbed Crumpet from where she slept, under a tree and forced her to have a bath as well. Taking ice cream buckets full of garden hose water, I rinsed off the dogs and dried them in turn. I dumped out the kiddy pool and filled it again with clean water.

Geo the third lab, was happy to have a bath as her lab siblings had enjoyed. She was easy to shampoo, rinse off, and dry. Cleo and Lola watched me suspiciously as I came to get them.  I yelled, “Come here!” Their ears went back as they knew they were in trouble and they tried to stealthily avoid me. But Cleo was nearest and only thirty-pounds, it was easy enough to carry her into the pool a short distance away.

Keeping Cleo in the pool, was a problem. She struggled in earnest to escape, even when she was slathered in shampoo. She was tough to clean as she had long fur and when she was done, we both were covered in water. I let Cleo go after drying her off. It was Lola’s turn next and she yelped when I picked her up from the corner of the yard she’d been hiding in. The process of cleaning Lola was similar to how it went with her cousin Cleo.

I was worn out from walking and bathing six filthy dogs. But I gazed out into the grassy backyard and saw how tired the dogs were too. They lay stretched out in the grass sleeping or circling, trying to find a good position to settle down in in a sunbeam. I collapsed into a lawn chair and slept.

The next thing I knew Janice was standing before me. “Trish? Are you awake?” I was startled. I smiled at Janice sleepily.

“Yeah. I was tired. Sorry I must have dozed off.” I told Janice what the girls and I did today. She laughed.

“You didn’t have to take all the dogs for a long walk. I was going to take the labs myself when I got home. How did you manage with six dogs?”I told Janice the story and she laughed at my struggles with the dogs.

Janice thanked me profoundly and took Izzy, Luna, and Geo home. Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet .wandered up to me and we all went in the house. Dinner was served for the dogs and at the end, treats were given for enduring their baths.

In the end, I was able to have the long hot shower, I’d been dreaming about since the dogs jumped on me after being in the river. I took my time and was finally, able to relax.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

NaPoWriMo: Poem – Cinquin – “Unconditional Love”


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And now for today’s (optional) prompt! Today, I challenge you to write a poem in which you closely describe an object or place, and then end with a much more abstract line that doesn’t seemingly have anything to do with that object or place, but which, of course, really does. I think of the “surprise” ending to this James Wright Poem as a model for the effect I’m hoping you’ll achieve. An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details. Happy writing!

For more information please visit NaPoWriMo

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Let me,

Tell you of her,

Fur so soft, silky, faun,

Course hair ontop, white underneath.

Ears back.

—–

Relaxed,

In this posture,

One paw on you always,

Rump on your lap, managed.

Love shown.

—-

On side, 

Lifting leg, paw,

Access given, sweet spot,

Rounded tummy, furry, blissful.

Eyes shut.

—–

Rub her,

Tummy, circle.

She’ll stay for hours while you,

Worship her tummy soft, peering up,

Brown eyes.

—–

Liner,

Of Northern Dogs,

Around her mischievous eyes,

For blocking out sunlight, arctic light.

Hackles.

—–

Raised,

When she thinks you’re,

Threatening her pack, protection —

Her job, in her domain, deep bark,

Incharge.

—–

Waiting

For her treat when, 

You’re finished with your lunch food,

She receives last bite and it seems more,

Pleased

—–

No charge, 

Unconditional,

Love a dog shows family,

Cuddling, thanking, and begging,

Large heart.

—–

Loving,

The way humans,

In her world should love,

Love each other, unconditionally,

So, hard! 

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

A List of Hobbies


Thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for this week’s list prompt of hobbies.

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Unknown – Google
 

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1. Writing – This hobby is a hobby most of you understand. The drive, the need to write. You do it like you breathe, and if you can make money while doing it, you’re extremely lucky. I started blogging about four-years-ago to improve my writing skills and to do what has always come naturally to me, to share through my writing. 

It’s my hobby but it is also work too. I write stories to obtain prizes and publication. I try to contribute a guest blog here and there. I’ve done editing and creative writing courses. I have a BA in English. I want an MFA in Creative Writing. I write, write, write, even when I’m trying to take a break from it. I suppose such as many things, writing becomes addictive. But whenever I do it, I enjoy it. There is peace in my heart.

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http://www.pinterest.com

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2. Reading – Usually, I read many books for a few months, then I become tired of reading books. Then, for awhile I don’t read much at all in novels, but end up going back to get my fix and read my favourite books over and read new books written by a particular writer or in a certain writer’s book’s series.

I also spend a lot of time reading other blogs on improving writing, pieces of writing, books, beauty, and an entire assortment of things. I’ve been reading since I was five-years-old and I have never stopped. 

In grade three I was reading The Hobbit and working my way through Lord of the Rings. In grade six I had a big thing for Michael Crichton books such as Jurassic Park and it’s sequals, and when I was about sixteen I went through a big phase of historic romance novels, and the romance novels that are sappy such as some of Nicholas Spark’s first books such as The Notebook. And I go through many other reading phases to this day. My last book was an audio book on Networking Marketing, it was interesting, informative, and a pathway I’m considering. 

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Jamie Dornan Colouring Page in Artist Pen Brushes and Pencil Crayon (Amanda Eifert)
 

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3. Drawing/Art/Colouring/Painting – Art is the only hobby I believe makes me feel more at peace than writing. My hands have always known what to do most of the time during painting or drawing, even before I realize I’m directing them. I’m not as good as I used to be, an effect of my initial psychotic episode. But I have become much better at drawing through some courses I took in my Residential a Design Certificate, focusing on drawing. 

I also adore acrylic painting. There is something so freeing about mixing colours and different gels to create texture on a painting. I haven’t done this in a bit I admit, but it’s something I find I have to be inspired to do. Lately, writing and other parts of life are running this well dry, but someday soon I promise to pick up my favourite paint brush.

Additionally, I have been colouring in colouring books for adults. Not the ones with all those small spaces, but ones with a general outline that you can be creative on. I find that hobby relaxing and use various mediums on a page.

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Nikki giving her Evil Eye (Amanda Eifert)

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4. Scrapbooking – I have done this for years, since I would go out with my girl friends in university and we would take many pictures each weekend. I think the pictures are becoming less and less, but I make an effort to take some and I’ve done a few photo shoot type things. I do scrapbooking the old fashioned way, not online. I’ve been doing little wedding albums for my friends who get married, of pictures online that they might not otherwise have. Also, I will do them of the pictures they put up. It’s an ‘ I’m thinking of you guys,’ type of gift that will last for years to come. And when I had a pet, well there were more pictures of the dog then anyone. Funny how that works.

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http://www.artofliving.org

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5. Yoga/Pilates – I began Pilates in grade eleven. I did it faithfully through university and even when I was going to the gym and weight lifting, I would go to the odd Pilates class. I also started to do yoga at this time. 

Pilates is an excellent workout using your core and strengthening it, using your own body weight as weight. It was designed by Joseph Pilates who came up with the excercise based off of yoga and other excercise types for soldiers in WWII; to improve their muscle strength while recovering from injuries. Honestly, it’s some of the best exercise you can do because it’s a bit cardiovascular, improves flexibility, and improves muscle tone.

After I became ill, and I wasn’t physically able to do harder exercises I did Pilates for a bit but found I couldn’t keep it up. I started doing yoga because it was easier and it helped with stiff muscles, while being a form of beneficial exercise. The challenge in yoga is holding your pose for the right length of time. It can be difficult but also makes you feel relaxed afterwards, while stretching muscles you didn’t know you had. When I’m feeling super great I do a DVD that is a yoga and Pilates combination routine. Mostly, I do ten to fifty minute yoga sessions from a yoga application on my IPAD. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.