Monthly Archives: January 2010

Friday For Friends – Angela Cerrito, author of THE END OF THE LINE.

A new dog here today - Angela's.

This Friday’s Friend is Angela Cerrito, who combines homemaking and mothering with working as a children’s physical therapist and writing. She lives in Europe and does and is much more than that.

On her blog, her profile has a description –

“My youngest said she could describe me in three words:
1. stay-up-late-ish
2. curly-hair-ish
3. writer”

I first met Angela when we were both in an on-line critique group for writers of Children’s magazine articles.

Please tell us the status of the story you were creating then?
I’m not sure any of the articles I worked on with that group made it to publication. I just sent one off to the Highlights Contest this month and I’m working on developing another story into a picture book. I’ve had articles about children’s books and book fairs published in Stars and Stripes and contributed to e-zines for adults and kids. I think my article Creating a Perfect Bibliography first published by kid mag writers and now hosted by Fiona Bayrock gets a lot of hits.

Saturday, November 14, 2009 Angela announced in her blog, the news of her book contract with Holiday House for THE END OF THE LINE. She shares how she told the news in layers of loving waves out from herself.  She posted a link about touching circumstances with her father-in-law the same day as the book contract. Then she goes on to add links to other newly published writers to share the news of all of them. This reflects one of the things I like most about Angela, her oneness with all.

Please tell us about your soon to be published book.
THE END OF THE LINE is about a boy who is convinced his life is over. He is sent to Great Oaks, a school for troubled youth that is run like a prison. To get home he must follow the rules, face the past, and tell the truth. Otherwise, Great Oaks School will really be the end of the line.

And your poetry prize(s).

I’ve had poetry accepted by greeting card companies and a poem published in Once Upon a Time magazine. I’ve written a few songs for my daughter’s band but they haven’t written music for them yet. I recently entered a poetry contest on Donna Earnhardt’s blog and it was selected runner up.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
Initially, I want to be true to my story, the characters. But when all of the revising and editing is done, I hope my writing connects with readers in a way that makes them want to share the story. Years ago I wrote a dark fairy tale and during editing I read the book onto a tape and used this to correct the manuscript. My youngest daughter began listening to the tapes repeatedly and then telling her friends at school the story during consecutive recesses (she recalled the novel from memory and translated it from English to German as she told them.) The fact that her friends wanted to hear the story day after day was such a compliment. Several boys and girls came to our house and wanted to see the movie. A few of them said, “the way Samantha told the story I could see it happening.” I was so surprised, I couldn’t speak (and that’s saying something!) It still makes me so happy to think about it. So, that is my wish for all of my stories –that they will find readers who connect with the story in a way that they want to share it with their friends.

What other writing projects are you working on?

I’m working on a YA novel, a middle grade novel about a boy who isn’t really as different as the world thinks he is, and two non-fiction picture books. Most of my writing time is spent working on revisions for THE END OF THE LINE. I hope to start a new website in the spring.

Besides writing what are some other things you enjoy?
I love music. This month I began learning to play the cajon drum, it is really easy to learn and a lot of fun to play. I’ve also started climbing the rock wall and bouldering at the fitness center near my home. Best of all is spending time with my family. We play cards and board games a lot, take walks with our dog Max (our cat Nero follows along on walks) and spend time outside even in the cold and snowy weather we have right now. We’re busy with work, school and other activities during the week (and the TV is off) so Friday nights are our movie nights. In addition to Max and Nero, we also share our home with an African Grey Parrot named Buddy.

What would you say is your greatest life lesson?

This is very difficult question. I think I’ve been learning life’s lessons since I was a very young child (some of them the hard way) and I’m still learning. Some of the most important lessons, my mother told me (again and again and again) when I was young, but I had to grow up to learn them for myself: pick your friends carefully, listen to your conscious, if it seems too good to be true it probably is, love isn’t two people giving 50 / 50 it’s two people each giving 100% and so on. A conversation that I replay often is one I had at the temple of heaven in Beijing with a genetic engineer from California who was standing next to me. Two or three tour groups came and went and we stayed, studied the temple and talked about the meaning of life. He grew up poor a few streets away from the Forbidden City where we stood and then went on to California and into the field of genetics. He and I came some conclusions about the meaning of life that day that still resonate with me today. I lived in China for a year; the day I left, a dear friend gave me a small cloth bag that she made for me. It was mismatched and oddly colored and I adored it so much I wanted to cry. She then paid me a wonderful compliment. She said she admired how I take great joy in small things. I think that is a lesson I try to live by every day.

Anything you want to add?

Yes! I can’t finish this interview without saying how amazing and wonderful the kidlit community is. I’ve learned so much from meeting other writers. Verla Kay’s message board is like an education in writing for children and Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog Cynsations is even more comprehensive than an encyclopedia of the children’s literature world. And most of all, SCBWI. I’m so lucky to be part of SCBWI. I am the assistant international Regional Advisor and one of the organizers of SCBWI Bologna in conjunction with the Bologna Book Fair. SCBWI Bologna has a special place in my heart because it was my first conference, the first time an editor gave me advice about my work, and the start of my participation in. SCBWI

Thank you Angela, for sharing your full life with us. I’m looking forward to reading your book in Spring 2011.
All photos are courtesy of Angela Cerrito. Stay well and happy writing.


Posted by on January 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Travel to Japan – Iya Valley, Chiori, and Incense

When I went to the Iya Valley, I visited Chiori. While I was there they put us through an incense game.

We all sat around in a big circle. The facilitator put a burning piece of incense in a box with holes in it and passed it around. We each sniffed it. He did that four times with different incense.

Then he took one of the four scents and passed it around. We wrote down which one we thought it was. After sniffing all four at random, we discovered that one or two people could discern the different scents.

I guessed two of them easily. The other two were very similar to my senses and I mistook them.

Our tour guide Steve Biemel told us a likely scenario of how incense found its way to Japan. He said something like this; that the first time a fragrant piece of driftwood washed up on the shores of Japan, the people did what they usually did, threw it in the fire. When they noticed the beautiful fragrance coming from it, they fished it out and brought it to the ruler. Soon  after that Japanese traveled to find out more about incense and now, Japanese incense is prized because it has less additives.

I bought some because my husband is very sensitive to fragrances; rather, he is probably mostly sensitive to the additives. He can tolerate Japanese incense. I love to light some after cooking fish or broccoli or just because it smells so beautiful.

They give you these little incense holders with the incense.

I bought this ceramic one that has a tree on it. I wish I could put the fragrance on line for you to smell. Maybe someday. It’s on my fingers now and keyboard. XD


Posted by on January 27, 2010 in Japan


Tags: , , , , , ,


One World One Heart

One World One Heart
Aloha! It’s time for a ride on the Magic Carpet as you surf from one blog to the next to see what’s on offer for One World One Heart. This giveaway runs until 14th February and the whole event finishes on 15th Feb. I will choose the winner using a random number selector.

Lisa Swifka

created this event in 2007. The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way. 2007 had roughly 85-90 participants … In 2009 there were 911 participants, to say I was amazed is an understatement. 28 countries were represented in the 2009 event as well.
…This is an INTERNATIONAL event.

Aloha and welcome to my blog. I’m giving away some Aloha in the form of three lei and a set of two Spa washcloths or dishcloths if you prefer to wash dishes rather than be pampered.

To have a chance at winning leave a comment on this particular post.

These spa cloths are 100% cotton.

These lei are made from satin rattail and eyelash pua yarn.

Unfortunately no real flowers were picked in the making of these lei.

The best of luck and fun to each of you.


Posted by on January 26, 2010 in Abundance


Tags: , , , , , ,

My Inner Child Wants To Be Babied. Now.

I’m at home alone and my inner child wants to be babied. So I am.
I had a fresh baked spritz cookie for dinner. She told me babies don’t need a lot of food so I had one cookie. It was plain and she wanted sprinkles all over it. Okay, I can do that.
I ate stuffing while I was watching TV.
I am carrying around a stuffed animal.
Now what? I asked her what can I do. She says it isn’t anything special, I can say no to her requests as long as I let her know that I love her and that who she is means everything to me.
She is putting out that sentiment for all of you also. That is she is saying that you are enough and you are special and unique just as you are.


Posted by on January 25, 2010 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , ,

The First Dozen Most Ludicrous CAPTCHA Definitions For Those Who Try To Make Sense Of Their Word Verifications.


Do you find yourself trying to make sense out of CAPTCHA, those word verifications that you enter to let the web know you are not a machine?


By Claudia*-Assad


The term “CAPTCHA” (based upon the word capture) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper, and John Langford (all of Carnegie Mellon University). It is a contrived acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”

Does a dozen definitions distract, delight and dismay you? Here they are hot off the neurons of a certified non machine.


1. Pyhlsh – a well dressed person who phishes.

2. Entwit – the intestines of a bothersome person.

3. Ditings – the sound made by manual typewriters.

4. Drexho – a loose woman who associates with Drex in the Morning.

5. Encialk – an enchalada made with chalk for people with pica.

6. Aphang – One of the front lateral incisors of a vampire or werewolf.

7. Bessper – The mother of Geraldo Rivera on April 7, 2007.

8. Corpo – a white blood cell of an obese head, of an incorporated business is a corpulent corporate corpuscle or corpo for short.

9. Itslyl – your place to buy and sell all things information technology.

10. Unkepic – a messy long narrative.

11. Imbagrap – Rap music popularized by bag ladies and played exclusively on instant messaging.

12. Bandited – being robbed by a thief wearing a bandanna or visible band aids or both.

Send me your huddled masses of CAPTCHA and I will be most grateful.

© 2010 J.B. Vadeboncoeur


Posted by on January 23, 2010 in Uncategorized, writing


Tags: , , , ,

Friday For Friends – Anamaris’ Chef It Yourself Blog

Today’s featured blogger is Anamaris. She has a blog called Chef It Yourself which features her cooking and her photography. Warning, looking at it will cause you to want to eat and not just anything but something beautiful and delicious looking.

Truth is, I, who avoid cooking, started reading her blog because of NaBloPoMo
It was one of the ones I enjoyed the most. Her pictures are enticing and as she says she “shows you that delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated.”

Today I’m cooking her pork recipe
but instead of a pork shoulder I am using a leg of lamb.

Last Wednesday I made her scallion pancakes.
What amazed me was how satisfying it was on some deep level to cook for myself. I felt like I valued me. My usual breakfast is to put a veggie sausage in the toaster oven. I did use uncooked tortillas instead of making them from scratch.

This past week, Anamaris had her first posting for her Top Chef It Yourself challenge.
You can still join in.

Her husband artist made her gravatar. It’s terrific.

What is your earliest cooking memory? Please tell us about it.

Making these jello cookies with my mom. She used to subscribe to Womans World magazine and there was a recipe for cookies with flavored jello in the batter and a dragee on top. You could make them with any flavor and ended up with pink or green or yellow cookies. I swear I remember them as the best cookies EVAH.

When did you start photography?

I’ve been around cameras since I was a kid, my dad was an avid photographer. He often seemed to forget to load his film, but he always had the camera with him. My first camera was a Sony Disk, I don’t know if anyone remembers those. Going through old albums, I’ve found pictures I took ‘back in the day’. So I guess my interest goes way back.

What is your kitchen like?

It’s a galley style, about 10×4 feet, not big, not even medium-sized. It is the perfect size for 2 cooks though, add a third and you’re crowded. I have a fair amount of counterspace thanks to the fact that the washer & dryer are in that space. It’s cozy, but it’s mine.

What is your favorite cooking tool?

Tough one, I’m not super gadgety, but I have this garlic peeling tube thingamajig. I love it. When my now hubby came over for dinner the first time, I did a little magic dance show with it. I also couldn’t live without my lemon hand squeezer.

Are there foods you don’t like?

BANANAS. I once won a Toastmasters impromptu speech award explaining why I hate them so. When people see me out on the hallway, they still call me Banana Girl. That was about 3 years ago…

If you could give only one piece of advice to would-be cooks, what would it be?

1-Don’t be afraid, there isn’t a recipe you can’t follow. That doesn’t mean you won’t have flops. I do and I have been cooking for over 30 years. If its absolutely inedible, dunk it and try something else.
1b-If you’ve never cooked a thing, start with lower-priced items, that way you don’t feel it’s a major loss if it goes wrong.
1c-Also, remember to have fun with it. Play some music, pour yourself a glass of wine/beer/whatever and go at it.
That still counts as one, right?

This counts as one very complete one. Thank you Anamaris. Today’s post was intended to be filled with Anamaris’ enticing photos and will be when I figure out how to post them. Until then please click on the links.

I love how you sign off Anamaris,
Cookingly yours from both of us.


Posted by on January 21, 2010 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Travel to Honolulu – Review – The Embassy Suites Hotel at Waikiki Beach

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of staying at the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach.

It was a pleasure, very clean, beautifully Hawaiian themed and breakfast and evening snacks were available on the fourth floor – grand lanai, (patio). The evening snacks were all carb, but the breakfast as cooked to your order omelets, and a very wide array of breakfast foods, even miso soup and rice for our Japanese friends.

They bill it as the only all suites resort. Our suite was nicely decorated. I love the palm tree motifs. It was very solidifying to have a suite. We only watched TV in the sitting room. (good feng shui)

And the hula artwork.

And the hibiscus bed cover.

The people were unusually friendly every where, hotel staff and hotel guests. Was this a reflection of my inner reality?

One of our beds needed replacing. It made it so you were sleeping with your head downhill. Otherwise it was a sublime weekend. I highly recommend it.


Posted by on January 20, 2010 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,