January 28, 2015

New Year and a Short Story Contest

The start of a new year always feels hopeful. It’s the beginning of a new cycle and a good time to look forward and set new goals. One of my goals for 2015 is to be more actively involved with my writing and complete other planned creative projects. With that in mind, I was delighted when one of my blog friends posted about a short story contest. I’ve been writing to some extent since childhood but it’s been many years, well, more like a couple decades, since I’ve actually written a short story. I’m excited about the challenge of writing a story for the contest and this is exactly the prompting I need to start seriously writing again.

The contest is for fiction short story writing, any genre, and writers from all over the world can participate. There is no reading fee. The prize is $100 and publication in the Southern Pacific Review. Deadline is March 30, 2015.

If you're interested in submitting a short fiction story, you can find information and a link at Julia Hone's post on her blog, My Writing LifeJulia is an exceptional writer and the poetry editor of the Southern Pacific Review.

Southern Pacific Review Short Story Contest

Good luck to those entering the contest!


I’d like to close this post with a special video for the new year: The Mountain by TSO Photography, filmed over seven days from a mountain in Spain. The time-lapse images are stunning and it’s accompanied by beautiful music. Makes you pause and appreciate the planet we live on. 
 The Mountain by TSO Photography, Music by Ludovico Einaudi “Nuvole Biache”

©2015 JerseyLils2Cents 

December 25, 2014

Tidings of Good Cheer and Spiked Eggnog

Bah, Humbug! As enjoyable as the December holidays can be, it can also be a stressful and sometimes lonely time of year. To help ease the "bah, humbugs!" I'm bringing tidings of good cheer for the holiday season...for Christmas, Chanukah, and let us not forget Festivus!

So take a break and have a relaxing mug of holiday eggnog topped with nutmeg and spiked if you like with a bit (or more depending on the day) of rum or brandy. Sit down in a cozy chair by the fireplace ...or just close your eyes and pretend you're by a warm fireplace with the glowing embers dancing as the logs burn. Just enjoy the moment. Now don't you feel better already?  

Christmas Cheer

Something traditional and perfect for sitting by the fireplace (or your pretend fireplace...works either way!).

 Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days...and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!
~Charles Dickens

Christmas Bells 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men.
      ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

from Snowball by Shel Silverstein

The Grumpy Old Punks make a Christmas song! 

Posted with thanks to Linda of Elleroy Was Here 

I'll close the Christmas part of my post with a poem in memory of my sweet pups, Roscoe and Coco, both gone now (Roscoe March 2013, and Coco April 2014) but never forgotten. 

Christmas Dog
Tonight's my first night as a watchdog, 
And here it is Christmas Eve. 
The children are sleeping all cozy upstairs, 
While I'm guardin' the stockin's and tree. 

What's that now---footsteps on the rooftop?
Could it be a cat or a mouse?
Who's this down the chimney?
A thief with a beard---
And a big sack for robbin' the house? 

I'm barkin', I'm growlin', I'm bitin' his butt.
He howls and jumps back in his sleigh.
I scare his strange horses, they leap in the air.
I've frightened the whole bunch away. 

Now the house is all peaceful and quiet again.
The stockin's are safe as can be.
Won't the kiddies be glad when they wake up tomorrow
And see how I've guarded the tree.
~ Shel Silverstein


Miss my pups, they really loved getting treats in their Christmas stockings! 


Chanukah...the Festival of Lights

Eight days the light continued on its own: A miracle, they say, but not more so than ordinary lives of flesh and bone, consuming wicks burned ashen long ago. ~Nicholas Gordon

A Chanukah classic!


Festivus began as a holiday parody introduced on a December 1997 episode of the TV sitcom, Seinfield, and quickly became a holiday classic with the slogan: A Festivus for the rest of us!  Festivus features an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, the "Airing of Grievances," a holiday dinner, "Feats of Strength," and a Festivus miracle.

Festivus explained
Wishing you a Happy and Peaceful Holiday Season and New Year!

©2014 JerseyLils2Cents

December 19, 2014

Snapshots Around My Yard…Birds, Squirrels, and Deer

Female Cardinal

Before the season of winter fully sets in, there is an abundance of activity around my yard with the melodies of songbirds, those staying all winter and those just stopping by to vocalize a tune before flying off to warmer climes; the ever-social crows and starlings calling to each other; a hawk perched in the bare branches of an oak tree; and gray squirrels busy scurrying about frantically gathering and hiding nuts.

This year there was an added treat of spotting a young buck white-tail deer just casually strolling through my suburban neighborhood. Deer will occasionally come into the neighborhood (and sometimes into my yard), there is a wooded park nearby, but often it’s at dawn or dusk and they very quickly move on. To see one just slowing walking around, not running, just taking his time as if he’s out for an afternoon stroll is not that common. This young deer paused in my neighbor’s yard across the way and stood still long enough for me to quickly grab my camera and take some snapshots before he left…just as if he were posing for the camera!

Sharing some snapshots from around my yard ~



Mourning Dove

Catbirds in conversation

Blackbird in the autumn leaves

Starlings...high wire act

Crow proudly announcing the piece of foil she found

Cooper's hawk with his back to the camera
(there was a light snowfall that day)

Gray Squirrels

Running along the fence by the autumn leaves

Munching on a nut

Squirrel scurrying up the tree


Young buck white-tail deer strolling through my neighborhood

Hope you enjoyed the snapshots!  

©2014 JerseyLils2Cents (all text and photos)