From Tracie

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Late On A Stormy Tuesday Night

It rained today.

Strong wind and the kind of sideways rain you only see in Florida.

Dark and stormy.

I napped. Twice.

I don't feel even a little bit guilty about that.

Everyone should nap twice in one day at least once in their life. I try to do it several times a year. Stormy days are the best for this.



Cold rain.

Hot tea.


All good things.

It is still raining. And even with those two naps, I know I will sleep well tonight.

And that is what I am going to do now.

The rain is calling my name.

Sweet dreams, y'all.

I'll NaBloPoMo more with you tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

We need to talk about The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. I saw previews for it in the theater last year, and didn't feel very inspired. I thought it was going to be one of those "funny" remakes where they replace the soul of the story with a lot of fart jokes. I still wanted to see it, because I hoped it would surprise me, but I didn't go out of my way to pursue it.

Then my friend Jackie told me she loved it so much she wanted to see it again. At that point I knew I needed to move it up higher on my list.

I finally saw it last month, and it was in one word: amazing.


It was funny, really funny. But it was also serious, and heartwarming, and important. It is a movie with deep feelings. Yes, Ben Stiller has deep feelings.

The Secret Life of Waler Mitty is Ben Stiller's Stranger Than Fiction.  (Have you seen Stranger Than Fiction? With Will Ferrell? If not, go get a copy and watch it right now.) You expect it to be funny because of the star, and the scenes in the trailer, but once you get into the movie, it is so much more, and you realize that there was a hidden depth to the story that you never expected to discover.

Back to Walter Mitty. The story is, of course, updated and expanded from the original Secret Life Of Walter Mitty short story. It is different from the Danny Kaye movie in 1947, as well. This Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is its own thing.

Walter Mitty is a negative asset manager at Life Magazine, which is about to publish its last physical issue. A special photographer sends in a roll of negatives that should include a picture he calls the "quintessence of life," but it is missing. This sends Walter on a journey that is both adventurous and deeply revealing.

I was so moved by the whole story. One big aspect was the motto of Life Magazine:
To see the world, things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to find each other and feel, to see and be amazed. That is the purpose of Life.
How awesome is that? So awesome that the next day during a conference call Cyn and I had to pause the meeting to talk about the movie and read the motto to everyone.

If I tell you any specifics about the story beyond this, I will ruin some of the magic for you. But just know that even if you aren't usually a Ben Stiller fan, you should give Walter Mitty a chance.

I loved the feel of it, the music, the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, and the story. And I loved the way they brought Life Magazine back to life. There was something beautiful and heartbreaking all at once to see it publishing again with amazing photography, just to watch it turned into an online publication.

Not that I don't love online publications. I am a blogger, obviously I believe in online publications, but I appreciate physical copies of books and magazines. I might read too many dystopian novels, but there is something important to me about having words and stories and pictures collected in a physical form that would outlast the destruction of our power grids. But those are thoughts for another day. Today, you just concentrate on watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and letting me know how it made you feel.

Life Magazine Motto from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I loved this movie!

What great movies have you watched lately? 
*NaBloPoMo - Day 24

Sunday, November 23, 2014

See My Smile - Stream of Consciousness

I used to do these Stream of Consciousness posts when Fadra ran a link up, and then again when Jana took it over. I found out in my NaBloPoMo group (that is really Andrea's group, but I'm a member, and so very thankful for all the amazing people she has gathered together to encourage each other this month) that Jamie has revived the Stream of Consciousness writing.

It seems the right thing to do on a Sunday night. So I'm setting my timer for five minutes, and I'm going to try my best not to write longer or go back and edit. We shall see if I succeed...

Sometimes, when I write an email, a tweet, a facebook status update, or even a text, I type with a huge smile on my face. It could be because I am particularly happy about what I'm writing, or because it is funny, and that smile is just one step away from a giggle, but I think it is more than that.

It is like when you smile while you answer the phone.

Have you ever tried it?

The person on the other end can absolutely hear the smile in your voice.

Well, I think that is what happens when I type. I want to knit a smile into every letter. I'm hoping the person on the other end can feel that smile as they read. It probably isn't as easy as hearing a smile, seeing a smile in the typed words, but I like to think that sometimes it makes it through.

That is my hope right now.

Do you sense it? I'm smiling right at you!

*NaBloPoMo - Day 23

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blog Against Child Abuse November 2014 Edition

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and verbal) are discussed.

Blog Against Child Abuse - November 2014 Edition!

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Button

The November 2014 Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is up at Kate Is Rising. Thank you to Kate for hosting this month. She has pulled together some great posts on the theme of holidays and holiday coping. There are a lot of great submissions this month, so be sure to check them out at Kate Is Rising.

So many survivors have a tough time during this season dealing with memories or with having to see family. If this is you, please have a plan in place.
  • Be aware of your triggers. 
  • Remember that "No" is a complete sentence. 
  • You don't have to go see family, and if you do go for a visit, you don't have to stay there if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. 
  • Set an alarm on your phone to ring part way through your holiday event, so you have an easy excuse and reminder to go in another room and call someone safe - just in case you need that break.      


The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse and to share important posts with others who might not be frequent readers of an author's blog. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse.

If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Many thanks to all of you who shared your hearts and stories with us, and to all of you who read the submissions and show your support. You keep this carnival, the awareness, support, and healing going each month.

To provide another way for you to stay in contact with the blog carnival, and make sure you don't miss any updates; you can like the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Facebook Page.

Thank you for raising your voice and speaking out against child abuse!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Perfect Gifts For Your Tween Girl

Tracking Pixel Do you remember those years when your tweens and teens were little? They would carefully write out a Christmas list to give to Santa (or mom) with everything they wanted. And while you never were able to come through with the flying unicorn, that list made it pretty easy to get your shopping done. I think one year Katarina asked for books, chapstick, a bookstore gift card, pink sparkle pencils, and a drawing pad. Shopping was easy.

The wish list of a tween looks much different. While books make any list Katarina will ever write, there are these electronic items finding their way in now, and they are...well, let's just say, they aren't quite the same price point as those pink sparkle pencils were. I'm sure your kids are the same.

I have a list of all the perfect gifts to get your tween girl this Christmas. This list is being sponsored by the Microsoft Store, because they have an item that is going to make your shopping just as easy as it was in the pink sparkle pencil years, and I am super excited to share it with you.

This list has all the gift ideas you need for your tween daughter or granddaughter. Christmas just got a whole lot easier.

The Perfect Gifts For A Tween Girl This Holiday Season

1. Knitting Supplies
Knitting is back in style, and if your tween daughter isn't already doing it, she will be excited to start. Get her a set of needles, some skeins of yarn, and a beginner's pattern book. Don't worry if you can't teach her how to knit. There are lots of free online tutorials that will help, and you and she can learn together.

2. Microsoft HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet
This is the perfect gift for several reasons:
  • It is a tablet.
  • It is on sale for Black Friday, but you don't have to stand in the freezing cold all night after Thanksgiving to get it, because The Microsoft Store is offering it at it's Black Friday sale price of $99 right now. You can even order it online if you don't feel like leaving the house.
  • It is a tablet.
  • The HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet comes with Office 365 Personal and 1TB of OneDrive online storage, which is a $69.99 value, all for FREE.
  • Have I mentioned it is a tablet? Your tween will sound off with squeals of joy when she unwraps it on Christmas morning.
  • And just look how pretty it is...
HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet
3. Jewelry
Almost every tween loves jewelry. From bangley bracelets to necklaces with thin chains and understated pendants, there is the perfect piece of jewelry for everyone. But if you want to take the jewelry present idea up a notch, I suggest a jewelry-making kit. If you aren't sure where to start in the jewelry-crafting world, a few packs of rubber bands for the Rainbow Loom are always a hit.

4. Theater Gift Card or Movie Passes
Tweens love to be dropped off at the mall for an afternoon of window shopping and a movie with friends. This is a perfect gift, because it promises several fun Saturday afternoons to come. And while you are buying movie tickets, get one for yourself, too, so you can have a family movie night before school is back in session.

5. Books
You know a gift list can't be complete without books. Give your tween a mixture of new and classic books, and you might just expand her reading horizons:
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • The Kingdom Keepers Series
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Travels With Gannon & Wyatt
  • The Book Thief
  • The Chronicles of Narnia Series
  • Wonder
  • Diary of Anne Frank

6. Headphones
Your tween is going to want to listen to music and stream shows on her super fast new HP tablet, so get her some headphones to go with it. It is a gift for her...and you.

7. Blank Journal
I know tweens are all about technology, but there is something special about writing your dreams and thoughts and doodles in a physical notebook. Encourage introspection with a blank journal and a set of pens (maybe even pink sparkles pens for nostalgia purposes).

8. Funky T-Shirts
Do kids still use the word funky? Probably not. But you don't have to tell them the t-shirt is funky, just call it cool, or epic, or whatever word is in style these days. The important thing is that the t-shirt has interesting graphics or a great quote on it. My tween is into t-shirts with book quotes, but no matter what your tween loves, there is a t-shirt out there to go with it.

9. A Second Tablet
Wait. A second tablet? As awesome as they are, your tween doesn't need a second tablet. Don't worry. That second one is for you, because at $99, you should go ahead and buy more than one. Merry Christmas.

In fact, the Microsoft HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet is not just perfect for the tween or teen in your life, it is perfect for everyone.
At seven inches, it is big enough to edit spreadsheets on Excel, but still small enough to hold in one hand. There is a back-facing camera, as well as a front-facing camera you can use for video chats.

Remember how I told you the Microsoft HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet comes with a free Office 365 Personal (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and 1TB of OneDrive online storage? Well, it also comes with 60 monthly Skype world minutes, so you are going to get a lot of use out of that front-facing camera for video chats. My daughter likes to video chat with my mom, who lives on the other side of the country, and a friend who lives in Massachusetts. I'm sure your tween has family or friends she would like to chat with as well.
The HP Stream 7 has also been fine-tuned for fast performance from the second you turn it on, and it comes with premium, free anti-virus software that never expires. But you know what is almost as good? What it doesn't come with. There is no annoying junkware or trialware pre-installed on this tablet, taking up space and slowing things down. Plus it has an Intel quad core processor and an HD IPS display.

This great, early Black Friday deal, and the free inclusion of Office, will only be available throughout the holiday season as long as supplies last. Check out all the specs and details of the Microsoft HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet sale now, and get a head start on all those Black Friday shoppers when you pick up one of these tablets for your tween (or for yourself!) before they are sold out.

What are you buying for your tween this holiday season?

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Microsoft.