February 26, 2011

Games We Play plus Bonus Game Idea

I was thinking about all the different games we played as kids. Many of them were with my sister, Nancy. Many were with the neighborhood kids and cousins. No matter who played, we had a good time. Remember any of these?

Clue - That's why I think Nancy is so smart- because she always beat me at Clue. I'd guess one card in the secret envelope and she'd guess all three.

Monopoly- Aw, yes. I think part of my problem was concentration. I do remember the eons of time it took to play that game. Somebody finally just gave up and ran out of money or it got late and they had to go home to bed. Some people kept their money in neat piles under the edge of their board. Others, like me, tossed it in a pile and then when they had to pay up, the other players whined as they searched for the exact change. "Come on. Hurry up. It's my turn."

Those houses and motels. Oh, the motels. Did you ever step on one of those little green houses in your bare feet in the summer time or a jack or better yet, a pile of jacks? Don't forget the little ball. That sucker only bounced high when you missed it and it rolled away, under the stove because we played jacks in on the kitchen floor in the winter and summer because everything else in the house was covered in rugs.

Racko - I enjoyed Racko, an easy game because all you had to do was be able to count.

Play "dominos" with paint chip samples! 

Erector sets- Nancy got one. As I think back, perhaps Santa brought the erector set for Daddy. We girls would screw together a house or two or make a cart with wheels but our father would build bridges for "our" train set and towers and airplanes. He was limited only by the shortage of parts, certainly not his imagination.

Etch-a-Sketch - I was good and still am with the Etch-a-, where you twist your hands in opposite directions or the same direction, whatever it takes to draw lines. Must be why I can play handbells, tap my foot and chew gum at the same time to this day. I'm so proud.

Wood Burning - I made lots of "plaques' and either Nancy or I left our mark on the hard wood floor in our upstairs bedroom. Thank the good Lord, we didn’t permanently brand ourselves or burn down the house!

Slap Jack- The card game where you – Well, I don't remember the rules exactly, but I do remember the pain. You're supposed to slap the pile of cards in the middle of the table, but instead you accidentally or more like on purpose, slap your sister's hand and one or the other of you pulls back a bunch of rosy knuckles.

Feet fights- On those freezing cold winter days when we'd come in after playing outside until our lips turned blue, we'd divest ourselves of our wet garb, depositing it in the bathtub for our sainted mother to deal with. In order to warm our iced tootsies, Nancy and I would have a kick fest in front of the floor register, no blood or bone, but it could be brutal to see who got the best seat for the heat.

Indian Leg Wrestling- The result was a torn inner thigh tendon. Those of you who know what Indian wrestling is, know what tendon tearing is, too. Oh the memories!

Rock Collection- Santa brought a couple into our house over the years. My favorite rocks were those that sparkled or looked regal, like granite and rose quartz. Then there was mica. That stuff was made of thin, thin layers of translucent rock I'd peel off/chip off until nothing was left but crumbles and a blank spot in the collection where the mica formally lived.

Silly Putty- I liked to press that stuff on the colored Sunday funnies transferring the comics to the putty. I'd pull the putty, stretching the pictures out of shape until the putty snapped in two, leaving a straight flat edge where it split. That's where the fun began. I'd go to the end of the couch, sit on my feet, hold it up to the table lamp, and, with my mother's best tweezers, pluck the protruding errant hair it had picked up over time from falling on the floor, landing on sweaters, dust, etc. Hmm. Sounds rather strange, doesn't it. Apparently, I was a weird kid.

Checkers- The rules we played by, official or un, said if you could move your checker around wherever you wanted, but if you lifted your finger from it for the length of one grasshopper leg hair, and that's not much, then changed your mind about your move, your competition would bust you, saying, "No fair. You took your hand off it." You knew they were right but, man, you hated to give in and go along so you naturally had to say, "Nah-ah." Then you could give it. And "King me!" was always hollered loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear. Am I right?

Bug Off- I was the queen of this one. My kids got it for Christmas. Comprised of plastic flies and swatters, I was the fastest and swatted the most flies. I beat the kids when they were little and I beat them when they were adults. Nee-nee-nee-nee-nee. Hey, they had to learn they couldn't win every time, didn't they?

Those are just some of the games I remember and I haven't mentioned the fun outside. I'll save more for later. Until then, remember your own good times and have a chuckle. Oh, don't forget to tell your kids about how you spent your weekends and summers having fun without electronics. They'll listen because much of it will be completely foreign to them!

February 20, 2011

Colorful Me

Here's an easy and fun thing to take snapshots ( <--let's keep this word alive) from ordinary to extraordinary. All you have to do is alter the color in your photo software program. This is how I, the queen of limited computer skills, do it.

1. Take a digital face shot of yourself or anyone who might appreciate your keen eye for color mixing.  You can have someone take the photo of you,with your face washed/in full make up and your hair combed, you can extend your arm and shoot the shot yourself or you can set the self timer and stand in front of the camera. Remember, the beauty of digital is you can take as many pictures as you want and they're free. Just delete the less than attractive shots. (Don't forget - off center is perfectly fine.  Check out commercials and interviews on TV and notice how many are off center!)
2. Transfer the best photos to you computer. Be sure and  save the original picture and start playing with  a copy in your photo software program.

3. Here is where the fun begins. You will probably find choices like: adjust exposure that includes brightness and contrast.  There may also be adjust color that has color temperature, tint and saturation..  My software has bars you move to the right or left for maximum or minimum result.  Slide back and forth and see what wonders you achieve!

You may like yourself with green hair or a pink halo around your entire face. I did a couple of my daughter and she has them on Facebook.  In one, she has red highlights in her blond hair and another her eyes are a bright teal blue with golden leanings in the background.  My husband, Bruce, liked my "blue face" so much, I gave him a framed  copy and he took it to work with him to show everybody.  He mentioned how several of his co-workers were taken with the frame more than my picture but then, clearly, they aren't the art lover he is.

With very little effort, you can create a thing of beauty at the same time removing all your wrinkles.  How can you go wrong?

Hugs and blisses!

Jane Marie

February 17, 2011


I often carry the following, all at one time: two purses (an everyday purse and an evening bag), one of those recycled grocery bags that holds things like snail mail to read, my spiral notebook listing stuff I have to  do, coupons (usually expired), stinky perfume and the receipt to return that stinky perfume, a sweater with one button missing, stale sugarless gum, a snack/water bag and my beloved laptop in its own handy-dandy carrying case with a luggage tag which reads, Are we there yet? Some say I'm eccentric. I say, I'm ready for anything and I'm building upper body strength.  :-)

Bruce, my husband, just commented: So which purse will you take with you to the looney bin when they cart you off?

February 13, 2011

February 8, 2011

They're Not All Gems

Since my freehand cutout of a scallop-edged Valentine ended up looking more like a moose head than a heart to me, I created the inspirational verse as captioned below: 

I  Moose You

Actually, she's kind of creepy, isn't she?  

February 6, 2011

Another Lucy Moment by a True Sports Fan

   Congrats to the Packers for winning the Super Bowl!
   Now here's the real exciting part of the story! I'm a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Why the Steelers? Because I'm from Erie, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania. Hence, I'm a fan. If I’m honest, that's about the extent of my sports knowledge. Don't get me wrong. I am clued into a few important distinctions in the world of sports, like a baseball is small and round and hard and there is stitching on it and if certain players sign it and you catch it in the stands, you can keep it or sell it on e-bay and make your next car payment. I also know that a football has two pointy ends.
   With this in-depth knowledge in head, I was feeling the spirit. So this morning, I told my sweet husband, Bruce, that we should wear Steeler colors today. Being Sunday, he asked, "To church?"
   "Sure," says I. "So long as it's tasteful, we'll be fine." Actually, there was a man wearing a Steeler jersey to church last week, so I thought colors would be lovely.
   It was chilly in church and I kept on my coat during the service. When it was over, I went over to the man, who was again wearing the jersey. I opened my jacket to show him my colors and said, "I guess you know who I'm rooting for." He looked at me and it wasn't until I told him I'm from Erie, that he smiled. We chit-chatted about the glories of Pittsburgh, which included my 6th grade field trip there, and  we parted hoping good things for our team.
   Now those who know me know I think of myself as quite the "artiste." Hey, I can paint palm trees on coasters, and flowers on Secret Pebbles™, and draw doll faces on fabric. I've won ribbons in our local county fair after all. I tell you this so you'll realize what a grand eye I have for color.
   So in the afternoon, Bruce and I made a mad dash to the big city of Jacksonville to buy frames from my art. As we stood in line, I looked around thinking how people are too up tight, too easily embarrassed. So much so, they don't have the courage to wear their favorite team colors on such a big football day as this.
   Bruce, too, is looking around which prompted his whispering to me. "I hate to say it, but I don't think our black and red are the colors of the Steelers." He nodded toward a man waiting in line behind us who was wearing a Steeler jersey. It was indeed black, but the second color was not red. It was yellow.
   Oh, you might wonder why Bruce didn't tell me it was yellow and black, not red and black this morning. I asked him that very question. Being a Joplin, MO boy, he said, he kind of thought the red was wrong, but since he actually wanted Green Bay to win, he didn't think much more about it.
   Did I mention I am the founding member of the very popular Three Second Memory Club? Perhaps I should start a second club. Would anyone like to join me in the new No Attention to Details Club? Red, yellow, 210, 220 (Mr. Mom), pre-med, pre-law (Animal House)…

February 5, 2011

Making the MARK - Origin of a Hymn

Since I wrote the rough draft of Mark of a Man several years ago, natrually, I did plenty of research then. As I reread the manuscript, I find it necessary to double check many of my facts throughout the novel, just to be on the safe side.  To that end, I list all my questions in a file I cleverly call MM Questions. I've got five pages or so thus far. Again I say, time consuming,  but very necessary.

I want Miss Ella, matriarch to the Dunnigan family, to play Eternal Father, Strong to Save on the family's pump organ. (Sorry, can't tell you why.) Was this hymn written by 1898 when the story takes place?

I found the answer here :  Naval History and Heritage Command http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq53-1.htm  Thank you to them!

"Eternal Father, Strong to Save": The Navy Hymn
The song known to United States Navy men and women as the "Navy Hymn," is a musical benediction that long has had a special appeal to seafaring men, particularly in the American Navy and the Royal Navies of the British Commonwealth and which, in more recent years, has become a part of French naval tradition.

The original words were written as a hymn by a schoolmaster and clergyman of the Church of England, the Rev. William Whiting. Rev. Whiting (1825-1878) resided on the English coast near the sea and had once survived a furious storm in the Mediterranean. His experiences inspired him to pen the ode, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." In the following year, 1861, the words were adapted to music by another English clergyman, the Rev. John B. Dykes (1823-1876) , who had originally written the music as "Melita" (ancient name for the Mediterranean island of Malta). Rev. Dykes' name may be recognized as that of the composer given credit for the music to many other well-known hymns, including "Holy, Holy, Holy," "Lead, Kindly Light," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," and "Nearer, My God to Thee."

The hymn, entitled "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," is found in most Protestant Hymnals. It can be more easily located in these hymnals by consulting the "Index to First Lines" under "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." The words have been changed several times since the original hymn by Rev. Whiting was first published in 1860-61.  Lyrics below:

Eternal Father, Strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep;

O hear us when we cry to thee,

for those in peril on the sea.

*Making the Mark - Mark of a Man is saga #3 of Jane Marie Malcolm's historic series, The Goodbye Lie, set in the 1880s on Amelia Island, Florida. This blog will periodically chronicle the evolution from rough manuscript to finished novel.

February 3, 2011

Hollywood Hearts

You can't top this for a clever comeback:

 "Oh, go peel an eel!"

Who said it? Barbara Stanwyck to Henry Fonda in the 1941 flick The Lady Eve.

From Gable to Crawford to Lucy to Dumbo read more Hollywood Hearts fun articles on our Gracious Jane Marie website at http://www.greenlightwrite.com/hollywoodhearts.htm.