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Friday Five: The Rejoice Edition


1) We survived the onslaught of election calls and advertisements mostly intact.
Bronco Bama girl


2)  There were some awesome outcomes on Tuesday, including:
  • Elizabeth Warren is now Senator from Massachusetts!
  • Tammy Baldwin is now Senator from Wisconsin!
  • Alan Grayson is back as Representative from Florida!
  • Allen West was voted out of office and no longer represents Florida!
  • Joe Walsh was voted out of office and no longer represents Illinois!
  • Messed-up-in-the-head, anti-women Todd Akin gone!
  • Forced birth nutso Richard Mourdock lost senate race in Indiana!
  • Raul Grijalva is still Representative from Arizona!

3)  Gay marriage was legalized on Tuesday:
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Washington

4)  Marijuana was legalized on Tuesday:
  • Colorado
  • Washington

5)  Karl Rove (aka Turd Blossom) and his $300 million Super PAC 
had a 1% success rate in the elections PLUS he suffered a public
meltdown on FOX News as he begged them to not yet call Ohio for


6) BONUS: Here's Jon Stewart documenting the collective FOX meltdown. 

Rejoice and laugh!

Laughing girl for post 11.9.12
image from


Friday Five: The Spawn Edition


It's been a while since I shared anything about Wildebeest and Zebu
so I dedicate this Friday's post to the boys.

1) Wildebeest opted to not attend college and is living in a duplex
with a bunch of guys, some of them students and others co-workers
from Casa Bonita. He's quite content with his life, and he and I have 
lots of phone conversations. Now that we no longer live together 
we're free to like each other again.

Face 002
Self-portrait from years ago.

2) Wildebeest has a new friend he calls Bernice. He adopted her
from a cat rescue place and they love each other very much.  I
bought her some cat toys and felt only slightly grandma-esque.

3)  Zebu is a junior this year and last night I went to his teacher
conferences. He's doing very well and I was an especially proud
mother when two teachers in a row told me they appreciated
his sarcastic sense of humor.

passport Harlan 002
Old passport photo we just updated this week.

4)  We're easing into basketball season and Zebu is looking
forward to being a taller, stronger player this year. He lifts weights
at school and the club but is kind enough to help me with my form
as I lift at home. (Turns out I was rocking my body during hammer curls).

5)  Wildebeest is coming over on Monday night to watch the Broncos-
Chargers game and while I usually take those opportunities to disappear,
I think I'll stick around and watch the game with the menfolk. 

Wishing everyone a beautiful, autumnal weekend!


Friday Five: The Kathleen Duey Edition


So what do you do when you're more than a year into a project yet
still confused regarding the viability of said project?
Hire Kathleen Duey - Writing Consultant Extraordinaire.

Kathleen Duey pic

And how does that consultation take place?
Via Skype in which you're face-to-face across the miles,
looking into Kathleen's friendly face below those flaming tresses,
as she shares her reaction to your opening pages and synopsis.

Will she automatically like what you've written and advise you to
continue in that vein?
Not in my case. But that's good because the reason
I contacted Kathleen was to jar myself from the space I was in with
that project, and to get me thinking in new and different directions. If she'd
told me I was on the right track I would've wanted my money back.

Did she share brilliant insights and suggestions?
Yes and yes! Kathleen offered a plot device I hadn't considered which
will make the storytelling easier while adding complexity to the plot. She also
had oodles of general insights and if I had to choose a money quote from our
session it would be "I don't really know this kid yet and I'm thinking you
don't know him much better." That was painful to hear but not unexpected;
it was the wake-up I needed. (She then shared techniques for
getting to know him, getting to know all about him...).

Well, it kinda sounds as if your project needs a major overhaul so aren't
you a little overwhelmed?
Absolutely. But I also finally, finally feel as if I might be able to do this concept
justice (a concept Kathleen very much loved) and so am trying not to look
too far ahead as I begin at the beginning (again). This project is my Grow
and Learn and Mature as a Writer project, and I want to embrace the
If you get the chance to hear Kathleen speak at a conference, do it.
I heard her years ago when my energy and drive were flagging and
she made me not only want to write again, but to write well. She's smart
and passionate and incredibly supportive of other writers.

Thank you again, Kathleen!


Friday Five: The Catching Up Edition



1)  Zebu turned 16 this week and got his driver's license.
Knowing him, that's what he was dreaming about in this old photo:
  passport Harlan 001

2)  Zippy is training for the MS 150 Colorado Bike Ride next weekend
and has been going on looong rides in the 90+ degree temperatures plus
commuting to work via bike which means a return ride of 12+ miles uphill.
(It's a good cause and he's low on fundraising so if you have a couple bucks
to toss his way he'd be thrilled).

3)  Wildebeest is living with Casa Bonita workmates and enjoying
the freedom of a home so messy he temporarily lost his phone.

4)  I am waiting to hear back from a critique partner on my revisions
before I can finally, finally send them off. In the meanwhile I'm revisiting the project 
I set aside several months ago and tweaking the synopsis with a new perspective.

5)  The nest cam is still running at Cornell University and here's the youngest
hawk looking quizzical on her return visit to the nest the other day:
Hello #3

I've been out of the loop here but hope everyone is doing well.
Wishing you all a great weekend!


Friday Five: The Taking Flight Edition


I'm noticing lots of amorous behavior from the male doves in the neighborhood
and admit to chuckling at the way they follow the reluctant females from limb to
limb, wire to wire, hoping for attention.

© Tracy Abell and Zippy 2012

The females will put up with that behavior for only so long before taking wing.


Friday Five: The Slice of Life Edition


1)  Whenever fifteen-year-old Zebu winks at me, I swing between feelings of admiration and 
intimidation since I've never felt confident enough of my winking ability to do so.

image from

2)  At my suggestion eighteen-year-old Wildebeest is reading Stephen King's MISERY,
and enjoying himself mightily.

3)   Zoey and Coco want me to remember that when I choose to bathe them and    
spray them with water, I must be prepared for the relationship to suffer a loss of trust.

© Tracy Abell 2012

4)  Zippy is reading a library e-copy of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, a 944-page
novel, and was thrilled to discover even though his copy is overdue he can 
still read it as long as he doesn't close the file.

5)  I've been battling flu-like symptoms much of the week but plan to get
on the treadmill in a couple hours for my cardio workout, and hope to feel
those "endolphins" kick in (so I'm, in the words of Zippy, "swimming in the dolphin tank.")

image from

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!


Friday Five: The Downy Woodpecker Edition


Such a dapper fellow, wouldn't you say?

Wishing everyone a red-feather** weekend!

**like red-letter, only better!


Friday Five: The Round-and-Round Edition


1)  As mentioned before, I've had to circle back and work on opening chapters some more
 and have been mostly pleased with my progress. 

2)  Then yesterday I hit a bump and realized I needed to circle back yet again to tweak a scene
so brainstormed characterization and plot issues to prepare myself for today's work.  

3)  This afternoon I revised and revised, then printed out the pages and congratulated myself on a job
well done.

4)  Except when I began jotting notes about a tangential issue on my enormous whiteboard
I started doubting myself regarding the characterization and plot line I'd supposedly just wrestled to the ground.

5)  So I went outside and shoveled very heavy snow while talking out loud about all this
stuff and came up with this answer: there's such a thing as over-thinking a story
and it would be wise to relax and enjoy the ride. 

                                                             image from

Wishing everyone a whirly-twirly, fun-filled weekend!


Friday Five: The Out-My-Window Edition


It's a gray, dreary day and I'm battling weepy-sack-of-Tracy feelings 
but am hanging in there thanks to the activity outside my window:

                                                                                              **all images © Tracy Abell 2012    

Wishing everyone an activity-filled, not-at-all dreary weekend!


Friday Five: The Blogging Woes Edition


1)  I've had this LiveJournal account since 2006 and have made many
wonderful friends in the community but am increasingly concerned
about the great possibility of the entire platform imploding so

2)  set up a WordPress site and blog in which I used the WP importer tool
to import all my LiveJournal posts and comments (except the comments
never came through and WP was supposed to fix that but hasn't yet). 

3) I tried not to get too stressed about the missing comments because I figured
the WP techies would sort it out eventually, except they haven't, and now there's
a problem on LJ's end which makes it impossible to import my posts to my WP site. 

4)  Yesterday I decided to just copy and paste those six missing LJ posts into the WP blog but
then realized they'd all be dated January 19, 2012 which would totally mess up
my archives, so did nothing.

5)  And now I find myself living in blogging limbo as I try to decide whether to continue
posting here or there (where no one comments and if the import issue is ever resolved will
result in duplicate posts), or maybe just shut-the-hell-up and take it as a sign from the universe.

Rant over.
Here are some fluffies:

                                                                              image from


Friday Five: The Determination Edition


1) I am ever so slowly making my way through the second draft of my middle-grade,

2) revising, rewording, reshaping, and re-visioning the story

3) that seemed so straight forward when it whispered in my ear, begging for attention,

4) but for some reason is now taunting me and laughing at my attempts to rein it in.

5) But the joke's on my feisty muse because I WILL COMPLETE THIS SECOND DRAFT! 

                                                                               image from

May all you also prevail in your wrestling matches, literary or otherwise!
Have a grand weekend!


Friday Five: The Comes and Goes Edition


1)  Yesterday as I revised (again) Chapters One and Two it felt like a losing battle
to make this book what I hoped it could be, and I experienced despair

2)  but when I read those revisions right before bed, I realized I'd made huge progress
and found the tone of the story amidst all that rubble, and I felt rejuvenated.

3)  Yesterday morning Wildebeest was crabby and negative as I drove him to school

4)  but this morning he was laughing and happy with life and the day ahead.

5)  Today I'm grateful for the knowledge that the Good and Not-So-Good come in waves,
and that whatever rolls in eventually rolls out only to replaced by something else that
just might be Very Good or even Excellent.

                                                                                                           image from

I wish everyone, at minimum, a Very Good weekend!


1)  Last weekend I read I the first draft of my latest middle-grade novel after letting it sit awhile.

2) All week I've jotted notes and zeroed in on characters' motivations and reconfigured the plot.

3) I followed editor Kendra Levin's Five-Step Revision Plan, and created a
"one paragraph summary" that inexplicably mushroomed into multiple paragraphs.

4) I swing between moods of exhilaration and freak-outs about my chances of pulling this one off.

5)  And then today I realized that, despite the first draft being written in first-person,
the story needs to be told in third-person.

Here, Tracy, gaze upon the starling to calm your nerves:

                                                                                                 © Tracy Abell 2009

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend filled with epiphanies and maybe a few feathered friends! 



1)  Wildebeest thanked me this week for not letting him watch much television
when he was little because he believes that made him a good reader.

2)  While I drove Zebu and his friend to school Tuesday morning, Zebu laughed
at one of my jokes! In front of his friend!

3)  Wildebeest ate an entire helping of Zippy's curry the other night and said,
"This is really good."

4)  Last month Zebu complimented me on my texting speed. 

5)  Grasshoppers have some seriously trippy gription going on:   

                                                                                                     © Tracy Abell 2011 

Wishing everyone a wonder-filled weekend!


Friday Five: The Befuddled Edition



                                                                         image from

1)  I haven't written my 1000-words/day for the last two days, in part because
I can't decide whether to forge ahead OR go back and iron out some major plot
stuff I've since figured out.

2)   I've been working on a new WordPress site but have hit a major wall in terms
of what my limited computer skills can achieve, and am not sure how to proceed:
hire a web designer/installer to finish up the job OR muddle through as best I can
OR pretend none of it is happening and let it all wither away in cyberspace.

3)  I'm not sure why this Friday Five is the Befuddled Edition when numbers one and two 
seem less Befuddled than Indecisive.

4)  Wait! I've got befuddlement for you: On the first day of school, one of Zebu's teachers
asked students to share a little about themselves, and when no one else volunteered to
go first Zebu did, and proceeded to offer a lengthy explanation of the underwater basketweaving
club he founded at the school. Because the teacher asked questions along the way, Zebu
continued to spin his tale, thinking she was appreciating his silliness. Turns out she went home
and told her husband all about the amazing student who took the initiative to create
an underwater basketweaving club at school, to which her husband said "It's a joke." She told
me about it last night at Back to School Night. I kid you not.

5)  About this time every year I start wondering why I've agreed to be the facilities coordinator
for the local fall SCBWI conference. Okay, that's probably more Grouchy than Befuddled.

Wishing everyone clear, concise thoughts and actions today and throughout the weekend!


Friday Five: The Losing My Memory Edition


1)  For several years I've had to walk out of rooms and back into them
in order to remember why I walked in there in the first place. 
(A bothersome turn of events but not too scary, memory-wise.)

2)  More and more frequently, I feel as if I'm turn turning into my mother
who used to call out each of her five kids' names before hitting on the right one.
(A somewhat humorous lapse in mental faculties that feels a bit scarier whenever 
I accidentally call my kid or husband by my dog or cat's names.)
3)  A couple months ago, I drew a total and complete blank on a friend's name 
for about five minutes.
(That memory void freaked me out, and freaked out Wildebeest even more 
when I confessed it to him.)
4)  Earlier this week, I was writing a check (something I don't do all that regularly but
have done for thirty years), and temporarily forgot how to write out the cents part of the amount.
I really and truly could not remember how to do it.
(Ack!  That is all I can say about this episode.)
5)  I was thinking all these things were signs of aging and/or early onset dementia but then
I read Agnes today and realized the same happens to the very young:
AGNES by Tony Cochran

Have a great weekend, everyone!
May you create wonderful memories that stay with you forever and ever.

Friday Five: The Street Running Edition


1)  The sun is shining and the sky is blue, blue, blue 
but as a result of the excessive number of thunderstorms and downpours this week

2) the trails are too wet and messy for running which makes me sad, sad, sad
so I ran back and forth on the gravel portion just to get my bunny, meadowlark, wildflower fix

3) before heading back onto the neighborhood streets where I ran, ran, ran
up and down streets past parked cars and moving cars and boring old suburban houses
4) checking my watch every few minutes because I needed to run, run, run
for forty minutes before I'd let myself stop for the day
5) and by the time I reached my goal I remembered street running isn't all that bad, bad, bad
because there aren't any rocks or knapweed or holes to trip you up.
I'm hoping the trails dry out soon so I can get back out there where my heart sings, sings, sings.   
Wishing everyone a joyful weekend!

Friday Five: The Wine-tasting Edition


I know, I know.
You're scratching your heads, wondering how this photo translates into a Friday Five
when there are only four people in the picture (Mom, Sister, Me, and the surly Zippy).

                                                                                                                   photo by Bitsy

Well, sillies, it's quite simple.
We were in Albuquerque's Casa Rondena Winery tasting room, partaking of five wine samples.
Also, the fifth member of our party, Zippy's sister, took the photo (and was our designated driver).
So, there are lots of fives going on in this scene.  Okay?

We couldn't move around much because there was a wedding about to start outside on the lovely vineyard grounds,
and one stressed-out employee behind the tasting counter was rude beyond belief,
and the vineyard label is (in my opinion) incredibly unattractive,  
but none of that stopped us from having four tasty (and one not-at-all tasty) wines plus a whole lot of laughs.

Wishing everyone a tasty weekend filled with laughter!

Friday Five: The Random Edition


1)  I have a piece up on today. HEAVY METAL MOUTH chronicles my experiences as 
a brace-face adult, and I hope you stop by to laugh at my expense.

2)  Today is graduation day at Red Rocks and our friend Brian is graduating. He's actually three weeks 
younger than Wildebeest but started school at a younger age in California. We're going to his party later where 
I'm sure I'll get teary and embarrass him. It's Brian's turn today, Wildebeest graduates next year, Brian's sister 
the year after, and then Zebu is the last of the gang. Time is whipping on by . . .
3)  Earlier this week I ran the neighborhood loop for the first time in a month or so, and am here to tell you:
keep up with your yoga practice! I haven't been doing yoga nearly enough and really felt the difference in my
lungs. Who would've thought?
4)  I  just realized I don't like this type of unrelated list for Friday Five because when I read a jumbled 
assortment on other blogs, I get overwhelmed thinking I need to comment on each and every item.  So if you're
equally neurotic and starting to freak out, DON'T! It's all good!
5)  Well, now it'd be kind of silly to add anything else, wouldn't it? Let's end with an assortment of produce:

                                                                                          image by

Have a colorful and varied weekend, friends!

Friday Five: The March Madness Edition


1) Yesterday Zippy, Wildebeest, Zebu, and I watched four men's college basketball games
from our seats in the rafters and
2) had great fun
3) despite the sound of our brackets exploding with upsets (we're looking at you, Louisville!),
4) and are now looking forward to Gonzaga beating BYU on Saturday 
5) because in our collective opinion, BYU's only redeeming quality is having female cheerleaders 
who sometimes do back-flips when a player makes a free-throw.
                                                    image from

Keep your eyes on those dreams and have a grand weekend!  


a.k.a. Tracy Abell

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