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Happy Monday… and happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Slainte mhath!

This week’s song is one I’ve known all my life, albeit in slightly different forms.  It is Far Over Misty Mountains Cold, lyrics by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and music by various over the years.  It appears in Chapter One of Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit, one of my very favorite books ever.  Published in 1937 as a children’s book, it quickly attracted an adult following and spawned that monolith of epic fantasy tradition, The Lord of The Rings.

The Hill at Hobbiton by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hill at Hobbiton by J.R.R. Tolkien

I often wonder if The Hobbit would make it to publication today.  Agents and editors are so very adamant on the inciting incident happening right away.  They want action, damn it, action!  Tolkien begins with my favorite first line of all time, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Genius in that one immediately thinks, but what’s a hobbit?  We then are treated to five pages of back story, something that will earn you one hundred demerits in today’s publishing world, but frankly, I love it.

I revel sinking into the story of Middle Earth, that world where wizards stride forth, larger than life.  Filled with great tales of lost glories as elves dance in starlight and dark places where evil dwells, growing in strength.  As a child (I was nine when I read The Hobbit and LOTR the first of many, many times) it was a beautiful world, but a terrifying one.  The Black Riders and Gollum gave me nightmares.

Conversation between Smaug the Dragon and Bilbo in Erebor (The Lonely Mountain

Conversation between Smaug the Dragon and Bilbo in Erebor (The Lonely Mountain)

The first time I heard this song was in 1977 when it had been set to music by Rankin & Bass for their animated film version of the book.  The movie featured John Huston as the voice of Gandalf.  (I adored Gandalf.) The film featured twelve songs drawing from Tolkien’s actual songs and poems in the written work, plus one original tune The Greatest Adventure sung by Glenn Yarbrough.

The song has been redone and updated for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.  Howard Shore created a dark, brooding sound for the dwarvish cast (led by Richard Armitage) to sing.  I have to admit, when I saw in the credits “lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien, it gave me a chill.  He wrote those words before WWII and here they are, brought to life in such a vivid and compelling way.

What would Tolkien think of these film attempts to bring to life the people and places he saw in his head?  As a writer myself I can only imagine the thrill I would feel if Siobhan and Daisy from my The Dragon in the Garden were brought to life.  Well, at least, if it were well done.  While Jackson has been playing fast and loose with The Hobbit’s plot and characters, he did nail the settings.  Look at Tolkien’s own painting of the gate to Thranduil’s kingdom and compare it to the movie.

The Elven King's Gate by Tolkien

The Elven King’s Gate by Tolkien

I have to imagine that Tolkien would be fascinated to see how his work has been brought to life.  The scenes with the eagles, Goblin Town, Lake Town are amazing.  And Tolkien’s songs are haunting.  Here is Far Over Misty Mountains Cold arranged by Howard Shore, from Peter Jackson’s movie, lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien.



Hi, Cyber Peeps!  This Monday finds me continuing to traverse the agent querying gauntlet.  That’s the lovely no-man’s land between completing a novel and retaining the representation of a reputable agent.  Now, when I use the term “lovely,” one needs to understand that this is the height of tongue firmly inserted in cheek.  While beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, this is lovely the same way that an IRS audit, shingles, and a colonoscopy are also lovely.

Unless you are into that sort of thing.

My fellow writers and I have noticed that we, said writers, greatly resemble puppy dogs throughout this process.  When we receive a rejection we hang our heads, tails between the legs and whimper.  Our person is not happy with us.  Doom, gloom, and there is no spark of joy left in our world.  Conversely, when we receive a request for pages, invitation to revise and submit, or other good news/feedback, we are bounding with delight.  Tails wagging, eyes alight, we are impossible to contain- such is our joy.  “Who’s a good writer? You’re a good writer, yes you are!”

My poor husband has been living with this emotional roller coaster for some time.  Perhaps it’s just as well that he travels so much.  Dealing with me close up every day might be more than our marriage can handle.  Then again, he is an amazing man.

We’re in a good stretch right now.  I recently attended the San Francisco Writers’ Conference and had a grand ol’ happy puppy time: attending amazing classes, meeting wonderful people, and pitching my new book to fabulous agents.  Between the conference and my previous queries I now have four full copies of Sea Strand with agents, plus a few partials.  Today, I am on cloud nine.  Tomorrow?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

The thing is, I don’t see this process ending.  Once one has an agent, the nail-biting continues until the book is sold to a publisher, next the stomach wrenching progress of book sales and reader reactions.

And then, there’s the next book.

Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well, I’d have an agent, a book deal, and be out promoting Sea Strand, but besides that, I wouldn’t change a thing.)  I’ve been writing stories since I was six. (I found my first one the other day.  It was a story about a lady bug.  I served as writer and illustrator, thank you very much.)  I’ll always be writing.  It will always be what makes me happy.  There will forever be voices in my head, characters wanting out, and stories spilling forth.  I’m very lucky that I have this certainty.

Or, I need professional help, but let’s just go with lucky, shall we?

In honor of those discerning, intelligent, and fabulous agents who have shown such impeccable taste and requested my work to review I give you this week’s Musical Monday song, Happy by Pharrell Williams.

And when/if the rejections come again?  We’ll just fall off that bridge when we get there.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Musical Monday- "Happy" Minions

Musical Monday- “Happy” Minions

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Hi Folks and Happy Monday (bit of an oxymoron, that)!

As many of you know I am currently working on finding representation for my novel, Sea Strand.  In the meanwhile, every pundit, agent, editor, would-be savant on writing agrees, keep writing.  Keep working on the craft.  Get better at what you do.  Best of all, find a distraction to keep the unrelenting stream of rejection from swallowing your soul.

Being the good (okay, good-ish) girl that I am, but more importantly, the goal oriented individual that I am, I am following said advice.  I have started a new novel.  It has the working title of The Devil’s Advocate.  That title may definitely change, but let’s go with it for now.  It is based on a short story I did for our critique group, The BBB’s, group blog called The Devil’s Own.

Side bar:  many of you asked what happened to that site.  It was so fun- why did we stop? The answer is simply life.  However, BBB’s is returning.  I have lined up THREE fabulous guest authors for the coming weeks and I am collecting prompts for more fun adventures in writing.  Party people, stay tuned.

This novel is strict urban fantasy with a touch of noir.  It’s definitely more urban and less magical realism than I usually sway.  I am trying some things outside my usual writing style both in sentence structure and flow of back story versus narrative.

I need Beta Readers.  Simply put, these are fresh eyes to read the story after my critique group has made it bleed red.  If you read the fantasy genre that is great, but not required.  If you have editing skills, also great, but again not required.  You can drop out at any time.  Beta Readers merely need to show up with their honest opinions.

1.) Would you keep reading?

2.) What did you like?

3.) What gave you hives?

And that, my friends, is it.  I’m including the first chapter below for you to check out.  Plan on reading about 3,000 words a week.  Occasionally there will be more, sometimes less.  It takes me about six months to finish a book.

Who’s in?  Please comment, post on FB or Twitter, or email me privately to join the group.  THANK YOU!

Oh, and this week’s song?  As the main character is named Charlie (Charlotte) Watts and we’re dealing with things most devilish… please enjoy the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil from 1968′s Beggars Banquet.

Real life inspiration for April & Gabe's place.

Real life inspiration for April & Gabe’s place.


After the funeral, I needed a drink.

Another time there might have been shame in that naked reality.  Not today.  It was what it was.  Grief is pure.  It is raw emotion that makes you clean.  I wanted to be where people were and I craved a drink.  Heck, maybe ten.

I needed to be numb.

Night’s dark blanket cradled the streets by the time I arrived at the Dive Bar.  The chill in the January air cut through my coat.  I longed for the California summer with its life-giving sun, but then, I longed for a lot of things these days.  Resolutely, I blotted out the memory of his brilliant smile.  I focused on the glossy wood of the varnished bar before me.

“Hey, Charlie.  You okay?” said April, one of the bar’s owners.

I met her gaze.  Her brown eyes were wide and concerned.  She and her husband Gabe were good people.  Maybe that was why so many souls gravitated to their place.  It was safe and had more than a touch of home, for some patrons, a home they’d never known or would ever know.  This was neutral territory.

I shrugged and stared at the mirror behind her– all those lovely bottles. “I’m fine.”

April frowned, her dainty dark brows drawing together, but not marring her fine-boned face. “Right, and I own a unicorn whorehouse.  They fart rainbows.”

I snorted in spite of myself. “Hey, big deal. So do I.”

“What? Own a unicorn whorehouse or fart rainbows?”

“Obviously, I fart rainbows.  Do you have any idea what the taxes are on being a unicorn madam?  Your profits are completely swallowed up,” I deadpanned.

“No pun there, right?” April set her hands on her slender hips, intent as she watched me. “Spit or swallow?”

“April!” I said.  “You are just plain nasty.” I paused. “Okay, swallow, but only on wicked Wednesdays.”

“Um, hmm,” she said, wiping the bar clean and waiting.  “What are you having?”

“Galliano, on the rocks,” I answered, slipping off my black pumps.  I never wore heels. My feet ached.  “Make them little ice chips.”

“Yep, I know.”  She was quick and spare in her movements.  The drink was not so much made as it appeared before me– a gift from the bartending elves.

It wasn’t even six in the evening yet.  The bar was quiet.  The jukebox in the corner played “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen. I rolled my eyes and turned to Gabe.  “What is this shit?”

Gabe shrugged. “It’s on automatic, no coins in it right now.”

I frowned and tossed him my phone. “’We’ll Burn the Sky.’ Scorpions. Repeat. We good?”

His expression lightened and he popped the phone into a dock.  The jukebox was silenced by a remote from under the bar. “You know I’m always good with the Scorps, Charlie.  Especially today, Sam would have loved it.”

“I know,” I said as April served me my drink.  I scrutinized the brilliant amber liquid. “He was a guitar junky.  Anything with two guitars.”

“Or more,” said Gabe, speaking more than he usually did in a week. “Iron Maiden has three these days.”

I acknowledged him with a nod and drank deeply from my glass.  The small ice chips melted into the Galliano, creating a magical elixir.  The mix of water and alcohol was just right.  Images of cut flowers, a Bible, and tears on an older woman’s face merged in my mind.  For a moment my vision blurred. I drank again. April and Gabe exchanged glances and then stepped away.  I was left with my blacker than bile thoughts.

The fabric of my lonely internal soliloquy was torn by a woman’s voice, soft and warm.  “You’re bleeding and raw, child.  Your pain is broadcasted for all to see.”

I raised my head from my glass.  A cat sat on the bar a few stools down from me.  I frowned and looked around for the woman.  Now the pub contained a couple more patrons that I recognized by sight, but no women.  It was still early.  I turned this way and that, uneasy, but it didn’t matter.  I was numb, separate.

April stepped forward. “Another, Charlie?” She pointed to my empty glass.  I nodded and regarded the cat.  It was a motley-colored long-haired.  I think people call the color “tortoise-shell,” but I am not a cat person.

“These are only Galliano, right, April?” I asked.  Grief-stricken and exhausted or not, if I’m hearing talking cats, that couldn’t be good.

She nodded. “Just what the lady ordered.”

Another drink was deposited before me and its golden elixir was really all I had eyes for.  “Careful, child, he’d not want you to drown yerself,” said the kind voice.

“Who’s speaking?” I hissed, pitching my tone low.  Even a tough as nails private investigator needed to be careful when hearing voices.  People might get the wrong idea.

“Just a friend.  None likes to see a good woman down,” said the voice.

I stared at the cat. “I am distraught with grief.  Hysterical.”

“No,” said the voice as the cat stood and stretched out long across the bar. “Ye’ grieve and I’ll give ye’ tha’ but hysterical ye no’ be.”

“Yet, I am talking to a cat?” I whispered.

“Certainly not!”

In spite of myself I relaxed a bit. “I’m not?”

“No, I’m a restless spirit, trapped in a cat.”

Drinking again, I resolved to get to bed early.  I pushed the impossible away. It had been a rough week, clearly. “You are not helping the situation,” I remarked, gripping my glass like a lifeline.  I was hearing voices.  Well, at least despair wasn’t boring.

“What’s up, Charlie?” asked April.  “Do you need to talk? A ride home? Just want to get blitzed? Look, we got you.  Anything you need.”  She extended a hand across the bar to cover one of mine in a brief, warm squeeze.  Involuntarily, I shrank from that flash of human connection.

I waved my hand toward the talkative feline, grateful for the excuse to withdraw.  My heart couldn’t take that contact right now.  Memories of happier times in this same bar, not really a dive bar, the name was a pun, flashed on the edges of my mind, fighting to break in, to incapacitate me in my own emotions.   “You got a cat?  That’s new. What’s her name?”

“Oh, him,” said April, waving her ubiquitous towel, “he showed up a week or two ago.  He’s a character alright.  Guess we need to call SPCA, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

“He?” I repeated as April drifted toward some newcomers at the end of the bar. “Really?”

“No, not really. That is, I’m a woman.  This body is a male.” There was a pause. “Ye’ wouldn’t believe what I’ve had to put up with.  Bath time? Ugh. Mother Mary preserve me.”

Thinking of cats’ bathing habits, a dark chuckle escaped me. “I’ll bet,” I said, barely above a whisper.

“I don’t know how the males of any species walk around with those things, the lot of ‘em.” The cat flicked its tail and leapt in a light motion on the stool to my right.

I took another sip and turned to address my unlikely, and imaginary, drinking companion. Wonder almost cut through the numbness of sorrow.  Almost, but not quite.   “A restless spirit, eh?  What does that mean anyway?”

The cat hissed and darted away as a shadow crossed the bar.  I took another sip and glanced up.  A man sat down next to me.  I had not heard or seen him approach.

“Charlie Watts?” he asked in a pleasant, light tenor voice. “Can it be?”

Setting my glass down, I frowned.  “I beg your pardon?”

“You just aren’t what I expected.”

I drank again and sighed.  Conversation felt heavy and laborious. “And what, exactly, did you expect?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of expensive fabric and the gleam of bar lights on dark gold hair.  The smell of subtle cologne tinted the air around us. “I don’t know. Someone more male, more British, more Rolling Stone-esque.”

I didn’t turn.  Feeble jokes on my name were nothing new.  My name is Charlie Watts.  Coincidentally, that is also the name of the legendary Rolling Stones’ drummer.  Believe me when I say that I have heard all the smart remarks on the subject and, frankly, they aren’t that smart.

“Aren’t you the clever one,” I said, staring into my glass.

“Apparently not.”

There was just enough self-derision and humor in the voice that I tilted my head to regard him.  “What do you want?” I asked.

Blue eyes so dark they could only be called violet met mine.  The stranger blinked and his gaze swept over me.  I had the sense that he missed very little.

“I am sorry,” he said, his tone softer and deeper.  “I did not realize.”  He frowned. “You have lost your husband?”

Before I could answer there was another searching gaze. “No, not a husband.” His voice was soft and intimate, just between us. “But beloved.  You have lost your betrothed.”

The old-fashioned term caught me off guard.  I set my glass down and truly looked at the newcomer for the first time.  My grief rose in my throat, hot and burning me with choked, unshed tears.  I swallowed and blinked fiercely.  I would not give way. Blinking again, I willed the tears away as I studied the stranger.

He was exquisitely dressed.  “To the nines” my Aunt Lottie would have called it.  His dark blue suit was sharply tailored.  He appeared to be about my age, thirty-two, but his manner said younger, while his eyes said older.  The hairs on the back of my neck rose.

In my business you survive by recognizing types.  I saw two things in this man.  One, he was an alpha, a predator. Two, he carried with him the demeanor I have only seen in the best con men, the true tricksters.  Usually, you can’t spot it in the real professionals, but given my past, I have made a study of this sort of thing.  He didn’t fool me.  Yet, factors one and two not withstanding, there was something else, call it the X factor, but not like the television show.

There was something new, something I had not seen before.

“Got me figured out?” The corners of his mouth twitched.

“No,” I said. I frowned and drained my drink.  Signaling April, another appeared an instant later.  God bless the bartending elves, I thought. “No, not yet.”

“I would like to hire you,” he said.  I hadn’t seen him order a drink, but I noticed that he drank whiskey, neat.

“You okay, Charlie?” It was Gabe, returning my phone and, I suspected, checking up on me.

I nodded.

Gabe shrugged. “Sorry, but they want to use the jukebox.” He nodded toward a group of twenty-somethings clustered around the machine.

As the first notes of Dragonforce sounded, I smiled at Gabe. “I can live with that.”

He grunted. “Beats Miley frackin’ Cyrus.”

“Amen,” said my new companion.  We all exchanged tight grins and Gabe faded into the shadows behind the bar once more.

I raised an eyebrow at the man to my right. “Okay, you pass the music test.”

“Thank you.”

“You are welcome… I don’t think I caught your name?” I watched him.  He was lean and tall.  The suit fit him well.  Another day I might have enjoyed the view.

“I didn’t give it.  It’s Nick Scratch,” he said.  He gave a half-bow from his seat.  Again, there was the whisper of the old-fashioned, a glimpse of a bye-gone era, but gone as quickly as it appeared.

“You mentioned something about a job,” I said.  My head felt light and everything was a little muted.  Maybe this needed to be my last drink.  Or maybe not. One part of my brain wondered where the cat had gone.

“Yes.” He leaned toward me. “I’ve lost someone.”

Gazing into his violet eyes, I had the spinning sensation of a kaleidoscope.  I blinked and tried to gather myself.  Shaking my head, I gave up. It was all too much today. “I’m sorry, Mr. Scratch,” I said.  “I am afraid I am not at my best.”  Reaching into my handbag, I grabbed a business card and scribbled an address.  I was proud to note that my writing was unaffected by the drinks I consumed, no matter what sideshow was going on in my head. “Could you meet me at this Starbuck’s on Monday morning, say 10am?”

“Call me Nick, please.” He drained his Scotch and stood. “I think I can manage that.  Please accept my apologies.  It was inexcusable of me to intrude upon your grief like this.”

I waved his excuses aside.  “You and the world, Mr. Scratch,” I said.  “It’s all the same.  Monday I’ll be fine, but today…”

“Was Sam’s funeral,” he finished.  Standing, he threw a hundred-dollar bill on to the bar.  “Allow me to buy your drinks.  It’s the least that I can do.”

I stared at the bill.  “I think you might be over paying just a tad,” I said.  How had he known Sam’s name?

“Then your friends will receive a generous tip,” he said. “May I walk you out?”

I had intended to drink some more and listen to the music, maybe even find that blasted cat, but suddenly, I just wanted to go home.  Empty and lonely, but at least Carl was there waiting and, despite mounting bills, it was still my place.

“Sure, er, thanks,” I said, slipping my heels back on and grabbing my things.  I waved to April and Gabe.  The cat was nowhere to be found.

The chill of the deepening night enveloped us as we stepped out onto the street, the bar’s lively hustle and bustle behind us.  Tendrils of Bay Area fog were drifting down the streets of downtown San Jose.  It was damp and cold, the kind of night to snuggle at home.

The streets were eerily silent, except for the echo of our shoes upon pavement.  Where were the cars?  The traffic lights changed for no one. Where were the people?  It was a Sunday and there wasn’t a Sharks game tonight, I reflected. Perhaps the quiet was normal.

Nick spoke in a subdued voice.  “I did not realize. I would have not contacted you yet had I known.”  He sounded worried. “Now they can see you.”

“It’s okay,” I assured him. “How could you have known?”  I blinked and thought for a second. “Who can see me?”

He stepped closer. In the pale streetlight I saw that he was frowning. “It does me no good to find my investigator only to lose her before she can embark upon her task.”

Nick grazed my forehead softly with his left hand, tracing a design I could not discern from only touch.  “Go home, sleep, heal.  You are protected.” A brilliant golden glow infused us both.

On the darkened street the bright light blinded me for an instant.  Blinking, I wiped my eyes and searched my surroundings.  Nick Scratch was gone.  I was alone in the gathering fog.

Sighing, I returned to the bar.  A talking cat, a stranger, bright lights, and all combined with alcohol?  It was apparent that there was no way I should be driving myself home tonight.  I would wait for my cab inside where it was warm.

Sam always told me, two Gallianos were fine, but nothing good came from the third.  Not ever.

Inside the Dive Bar, downtown San Jose, CA

Inside the Dive Bar, downtown San Jose, CA

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

It seems asinine to even type the words.  It seems impossible that they could be needed.  Yet, there it is, I am moved to defend the Girl Scouts of America.

Their nemesis?  The usual.  Seems some misguided product of deep genetic inbreeding  (just my personal guess), misogynistic cretin has decided that the Girl Scouts of America are brainwashing little girls to become demented, communist lesbians.

Mind you, the lesbian thing  doesn’t worry me.

Except that I know that from this bile-filled slug it’s a license to hate, to attack, to abuse, to debase.  It’s a license for violence and that does worry me.

Let me back up.  Perhaps four weeks ago, a friend sent me a link regarding a boycott and denunciation of the Girl Scouts of America.  I clicked on it, and while inflammatory, it was one small-minded little pastor named Kevin Swanson who had his man toy all tied up knots over the idea that the Girl Scouts were, in his words, raising girls “with the worldview of feminism, socialism and communism, the independent mindset, the worldview that is presented by the Girl Scouts of America.” (Source: You can listen to his radio “show” here.)  His solution?  A nationwide boycott of the girls’ main fundraiser- don’t buy the cookies.

(I am fighting the urge to make a “Don’t drink the kool-aid” remark here.  Drat, too late.)

Looking at it, this was simply one more nutjob doing his level best to nutty and, well, I’m kind of busy, so I sort of put it aside for a while.  I mean, we’re talking kids here, people.  Really?

Today I had a sick child (coincidentally, a Girl Scout, thank you very much) sent home from school, so my day morphed and I spent a bit more time researching possible blog topics for my Musical Monday Blog while she napped.  Thinking of my friend’s suggestion, I did a little digging, just wondering if said nutjob (again, my unprofessional opinion) had seen any traction on his whole Girl Scouts are evil and don’t buy their cookies extravaganza.

Would you believe there is a whole nutjob website dedicated to a boycott of Girl Scout Cookies?  They call it a “Cookie-cott.”  They claim the scouts are being turned into socialist, communist, feminist (not mad at that one by the way) lesbians.

Here’s their beef:

WHAT :  We’re boycotting Girl Scout cookies since GS’ national leadership continues to show its attachment to pro-abortion leaders and organizations.   FALSE

WHY:  We boycott now because of Girl Scout praise for Wendy Davis and Kathleen Sebelius. And because of a deep and lasting entanglement with abortion providers and abortion rights organizations.  FALSE AGAIN

HOW:  Give this flier to adults at cookie sales to explain why you are not buying. Share the flyer with your friends! (There’s a download button for you to spread the hate.  Yep, you too, can smear the Brownies… and the Daisies.  Go team.)  STRIKE THREE???  WHO ACTUALLY DOES THIS??

On the record- Girl Scouts of America have never advocated NOR been associated with any abortion advocacy groups and have never been involved with any abortion providers.  One can see the Girl Scouts website as they address these topics, thanks to similar attacks in 2011 and 2012.  Wendy Davis and Kathleen Sebelius were mentioned in passing at an international gathering of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts as examples of women who had been attacked for their opinions, not endorsed as this site claims.

Hey, say the cookies are fattening.  Say, they’re pricey.  I get that.  But… this site is just LIES.  Literally, they are making smut up.

I have two daughters in scouts and I serve on two co-op troops of moms and a couple dads who work together to provide the structure and support that scouting requires.  It’s a lot of work, but the girls love it and I am proud of both my daughters’ accomplishments.  My hope is that both of them will achieve the Gold Award (The GS equivalent to  the Eagle Scout).  Along that journey are friendships to be forged, lessons to be learned, failures waiting, and victories that will be so much sweeter for all the work invested in them.

I can tell you that across these two troops, we have a wide range of religions, economic status, and political beliefs.  NONE of that ever comes up.  You know why?  It’s not the place.  We’re too busy.  We’re teaching scouts how to build a fire, we’re volunteering at the food bank, we’re putting together care packages for the troops, learning how to change a flat bicycle tire, and sing campfire songs.  We are busy with LIFE.  Our daughters are diving into their futures and we are helping them get there, and yes, cookie sales help.  Something has to pay for the archery targets and high ropes courses.

Our daughters are oblivious to your petty psuedo-political agenda.  They are busy with life.  Maybe you should get one, Mr. Swanson, Cookie Cott, instead of picking on children.

Everyone involved in girl scouting has the same aim.  We want to nurture these girls into healthy, strong, loving young women capable of forging their own path, embracing life, and making their best choices.  Hey, if that image, one of whole, beautiful vibrant young minds going out and making the world theirs scares you, then, I’m sorry, that says everything about YOU and not a damn thing about our daughters.

This one’s for the girls… love, dream, wish upon a star, and don’t worry, we’ve got your back.  Thank you, Martina McBride, for such a loving and uplifting song about the bonds that link us all.  We’re all the same.

And we’re beautiful.

“This One’s For The Girls”

This one’s for all you girls about thirteen
High school can be so rough, can be so mean
Hold onto, on to your innocence
Stand your ground when everyone’s giving in

This one’s for the girls

This is for all you girls about twenty-five
In a little apartment, just trying to get by
Living on, on dreams and spaghetti-o’s
Wondering where you life is gonna go

This one’s for the girls
Who’ve ever had a broken heart
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star
You’re beautiful the way you are
This one’s for the girls
Who love without holding back
Who dream with everything they have
All around the world
This one’s for the girls

This is for all you girls about forty-two
Tossing pennies into the Fountain of Youth
Every laugh, laugh line on your face
Made you who you are today

This one’s for the girls
Who’ve ever had a broken heart
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star
You’re beautiful the way you are
This one’s for the girls
Who love without holding back
Who dream with everything they have
All around the world
This one’s for the girls

Yeah, we’re all the same inside (same inside)
>From 1 to 99

This one’s for the girls
Who’ve ever had a broken heart
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star
You’re beautiful the way you are
This one’s for the girls
Who love without holding back
Who dream with everything they have
All around the world
This one’s for the girls
Yeah, this one’s for the girls

The girls

The girls

The Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,

friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,

respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Ah yes, the distraction that is the three-day weekend.  Hence, it is Tuesday and my blog comes out.  But, honestly, doesn’t it feel like a Monday???

This time of year invariably sets people reflecting on their goals and aspirations, as well as their past triumphs and failures.  We make our resolutions- some predictable, some more obscure- for the year to come.  Many will fail and a few will reach their goals.  This seems true of all dreams.  How bad do you want it?

People have been making New Year’s resolutions since the ancient Babylonians.  (One wonders what they resolved to do?  Given the times, perhaps gain weight?) In Rome the New Year was a time for public officials to rededicate themselves to service to the state through ceremonies to the god Janus.  Refreshing.  The month January was even named for Janus, the god of two faces who looked both forward and backward.  He was the god of beginnings and transitions.  As his sphere of influence included gateways, Janus was also god of the threshold and correspondingly, the home.  During times of Roman peace the doors to his temples stood open, when at war, they were closed.

In a way, as we make our resolutions, we are all Janus, seeing the past and the future.  Hoping for better, learning from what came before, each of us at another crossroads.

Looking forward and backward.

Looking forward and backward.

Which brings us to this week’s song, Someone Else? by Queensryche.  A lush tune penned by main songwriter, Chris DeGarmo and the Ryche’s classically trained lead singer, Geoff Tate.  The band was never quite the same (or as good, in my opinion) after DeGarmo left to work on his marriage and become a pilot.  Incidentally, he was the only member of the group whose marriage survived their success, so I guess he knew what he was doing.

At this crossroads- what have you resolved to accomplish?  What do you see when you look behind?

Queensryche video “Someone Else”

When I fell from grace
I never realized
how deep the flood was around me.
A man whose life was toil was like a kettle left to boil,
and the water left scars on me.
I know now who I am.
If only for a while,
I recognize the changes.
I feel like I did before the
magic wore thin and the baptism
of stains began
They used to say I was
nowhere, man,
heading down
was my destiny.
But yesterday, I swear,
that was someone else not me.
Here I stand at the crossroads’ edge,
afraid to reach out for eternity.
One step, when I look down,
I see someone else not me.
Looking back and I see
someone else.
All my life they said I
was going down,
but I’m still standing,
strong and proud.
And today I know there is
so much more I can be.
From where I stand at the crossroads edge
there’s a path leading out to sea.
And from somewhere
deep in my mind,
sirens sing out loud
songs of doubt
as only they know how.
But one glance back reminds, and I see,
someone else not me.
I keep looking back
at someone else … me ?

Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


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