More Than Just Writing


I’m trying to juggle writing the second book in a series, editing a romantic suspense, drafting a short story and poem for upcoming contests, and marketing my first novel. It’s overwhelming.

Sometimes, I have to step away and play for a little bit. What do I do when I’m not stuck in front of my laptop pecking away at the keyboard?

I weave baskets. Yes, old fashion basketry. Did you know some of the oldest baskets date back 10,000 to 12,000 years? Believe it or not, I’m not the only one interested in this craft. In fact, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of men and women who belong to guilds all over the United States.

Every August, my daughter and I attend the Missouri Basketweavers Guild (see basketweavers.org) convention, spending the weekend creating amazing baskets and sharing time with other weavers. In order to keep our skills fresh, and just because we love doing it, we gather in my home with another dear friend about once a month and create something new.

I finished my first basket of the year this weekend. It’s called Lucky. The pattern was designed by Dianne Gleixner, a gifted instructor I met at one of the conventions I attended.

Basket weaving is my guilty pleasure, right after wine and dark chocolate. It uses another part of my brain that needs attention too. There’s something therapeutic about working the reed, packing the rows snug, and shaping it until it looks like the one in the picture.

Just for a little while, my mind isn’t consumed by plots and dialogues, inciting incidents and Amazon ads, Facebook posts and Book This or Book That. In order to achieve success in the craft, I have to focus on the pattern and use my hands and fingers in a different way. It frees my mind from writing, just for a short while.

What is it that you do when you need a distraction from your work? Do you sew? Read? Solve puzzles?

How about taking a few minutes to share, you never know when you might inspire someone to try something new.

There’s No Place Like Home


Like a cobra that refuses to relinquish its grip, unrelenting heat waves are squeezing the breath from folks across the United States.  My escapes outside are limited to essential missions.  I find myself planted in front of the computer, browsing through blogs, dreaming of faraway places that I long to visit.

Going Dutch, by Malou, http://malouprestado.files.wordpress.com offers the reader to escape to picturesque fields of tulips and poppies.  Recently, she shared stunningly beautiful pictures from a family vacation in Tuscany.  The breathtaking photos captivated me and made me long to journey to such romantic places.

It is a dream for another day and while I lingered a little longer than I had anticipated, the time spent was not wasted.  It inspired me to write about the delightful opportunities that are offered here in Missouri.  For the next few weeks, I will revisit some of my most favorite locations and invite readers to ponder the possibilities of vacationing in Missouri.

The historic downtown St. Charles is one of my favorite places to spend the day.  The 16 acre Frontier Park boarders the Missouri River and hosts many events throughout the year.  The Festival of the Little Hills, to be held August 17-19, 2012, attracts 300,000 visitors each year and provides a stage front for the 300 craft booths, food, live music and entertainment that line the streets of the Historic St. Charles Downtown District.  The great thing about this event is that I can get an early start on my Christmas shopping then grab a funnel cake or roasted ear of corn and sit a while in the park listening to the wide variety of music.

Speaking of music, Music on Mainstreet fills the Jaycee’s Stage on the third Wednesday from May through September at 5:00 p.m.  The St. Charles Municipal Band Free Concerts invite everyone to bring their lawn chairs on Thursdays June through August at 8:00 p.m. to tap their toes in the grass.  Some of my fondest memories came from watching my mother’s face light up when she recognized a song from her era.  Somehow, the music transcended her from the struggles of Alzheimer’s disease to another time.  She knew every word and sang along softly, all the while keeping a beat with her frail hands.

History buffs will enjoy the wonderful statues found throughout the park and along Main Street.  The Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center is a great place to start.  The county was established in 1812 and played a significant role in the westward expansion of our country when the Lewis and Clark Expedition departed from the banks of St. Charles.

Wear comfortable shoes because there is much to see and do.  The 240-mile Katy Trail, a paved biking and hiking path borders the park along with the MKT Depot.  If this peaks your interest, check out the website at http://www.stcharlescountywebsite.com

The quaint shops and delectable restaurants provide for a leisurely stroll down Main Street.  If you make it all the way to the end, you can visit the Foundry Art Center and some of the pubs that offer reprieve to summer’s strain.

My journey will continue through other delightful parks and attractions.  I hope you join along and share a story or two with me about your home town vacation.