Song Stuck in My Head

Story about a song stuck in someone’s head.


Oh man, cried Jerry. I wish that stupid song would take a long hike up a short mountain
It has been in my head for days and will NOT shut up!
It’s worse than the Energizer Bunny”

“What one this time?” asked Bernie.

“ I don’t know” Jerry moaned. “All I can get is that it’s something about a damned bull frog named Jeri…..can’t get the rest of his name but the song is older than dirt. It is kind of catchy though. I just  wish that I had more of the lyrics.”


Every week with my writers group we have a writing prompt.


The song is, of course……. “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night an American rock band formed in 1967.


Critiquing is not Criticizing

Definition of Critique
To evaluate in a detailed and analytical way

Writers love to write but not always to share.

Why? Well, when we share we allow others to see into our soul and the souls of our characters.

That tends to make us uncomfortable because the characters are our babies and friends.

We have to share eventually or no one will ever know we’ve written anything.

For some of us that’s ok, but, if you want to publish…… you need to share long before the book is finished

Why a Critique is so Important

  • To open up the story and ourselves to the world
  • To allow feedback both positive and so called negative
  • Helps us as authors to understand the story on a new level
  • Shows us where we’ve led our characters astray or that they have led us astray
  • Fixes issues of continuity or even character description…. Susie needs to have green eyes all the way through the story and not change to blue when she’s batting her eyelids at the hero or scowling at the villain.
  • To give fresh eyes to the book.
  • We know what is supposed to be happening, after all, we wrote it.
  • Not so fast, a lot of the time what’s in our heads doesn’t make it to the paper or the computer screen.
  • It’s way too easy to leave out a paragraph. When the poor reader tries to read through the sections around it they can’t make heads or tails out of it.
  • We also tend to repeat a word when we’ve been typing along merrily and then take break. If we simply pick up where we left off that can spell trouble.


Time Passengers

She takes his soft, wrinkled hand in hers. She closes her eyes. Suddenly it is yesterday, their wedding day so long ago.

She is walking down the aisle arm in arm with her father. They reach the alter, he gives her a kiss on the cheek and then withdraws to sit with her mother.

She takes the hand of her handsome young man with the pale blue eyes.

Blink. A soon to be mother. The excitement builds every day until finally a tiny son is born with the same pale blue eyes as his father.

Blink. A mother once more. This time a blonde curly haired daughter. Her big brother rushes through the front door letting it slam behind him. He just spent his first day at kindergarten.

Blink. Two teenagers.

Blink. Two weddings.

Blink. Now she and her handsome young man with the pale blue eyes are grandparents.

A soft voice brings her back to the present.

She opens her eyes and gazes into the pale blue eyes of the handsome young man she fell in love with so many years ago.

Does he know?

Val Rainey


I  wrote this in 2013 for a local Alzheimer’s fundraiser. Please support Alzheimer’s research.

Create Your Dream Home Office and Craft Room


Brand new pine desk top that Brian made.
First deck is 54 x 30
Upper deck is 41 x 15

Project Central for sorting pages of stories

Cubby holes are so handy. This one used to be a bedroom closet….Really!

Two of three standard cabinets from Staples (big box office store)

Nifty book case that Brian made for me. The basket holds all my Marigold notes. Marigold is a cool dragon. The bottom section was left open to stash anything that can’t go on a shelf.

My lovely HP wide format printer…perfect for scrapbooking and cross stitch projects.

Beautiful wood buffet and hutch. Most of the gorgeous boxes hold my embroidery floss stash and current cross stitch projects. Hey! a girl can’t live on writing alone. All the boxes are from Michaels.
If you think you know what the wood is please let me know. This massive beauty stands almost 7 feet tall x 50″ x 20″.

First Things First
Sort through everything in the room and eliminate what doesn’t belong. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Sort, Pitch, Allocate, Containerize and Equalize system made so popular by Julie Morgenstern.

Sort what stays, what goes elsewhere as in other rooms, given away or simply thrown out. This step is great fun especially when you have a helper who won’t let you slack off.

Yes, the room will look as though a hurricane went through it but that’s ok.

We all have must keep treasures but remove them from the room until the decorating phase.

Now What?
It’s time to decide what goes where. If you don’t have the storage or shelf for it don’t worry that comes later. Just put the items in the general area of the room where they belong even if it’s in plastic containers or the dreaded cardboard boxes. Make sure the container is open and see through or if it’s a box keep the flaps open. If you can’t see what’s in there you will be forever wondering just where things went.

Now that your treasures are in their own groupings the real fun begins.

What do you put them in? I love decorative boxes. I prefer wood but at the moment most are cardboard but at least they’re pretty.

I also appreciate cabinets with adjustable shelving and the mandatory doors.

Before you tie up your sneakers and hit the mall make groupings of items on a table or even on the floor so that you know approximately what sizes of containers you need. Actually measure the area and individual pieces or at least their groupings. Be sure to make lots of notes. You will need them when you go shopping.

Absolutely take someone with you for help and to make sure that you don’t bring home the entire store. If you aren’t sure of an item take a picture with your phone.

If you get containers that aren’t big enough you will end up with far too many. Too large is also a nuisance. If you already have storage shelves and cabinets include the width and depth of each shelf. It’s no fun choosing the perfect container and then discovering that it is too large for where you want to place it.

Both basically get you into trouble right from the start.

Make sure you get ones that speak to you. I love flowers, birds, butterflies, and wood so anything that makes it into my shopping cart must meet at least one of these conditions.

Now is the time to see what kind of storage spaces you have in the room.

Do you have shelves, any kind of doored cabinet, or are you really lucky and starting with a blank room just waiting for you to work your magic? If that’s the case lucky you!

Getting professional advice can help make your space a dream rather than a nightmare.

It doesn’t need to be expensive either. Consult with friends and see their spaces. Ask at craft stores and your big box DIY centre. You can end up with some pretty cool ideas when you see storage items supposedly for one use and bingo. The wheels start spinning and you see at least one other use for your own project.

Ideas to get you started
Try a Multi drawer plastic unit designed for nut and bolts for small items such as beads or buttons or other tiny embellishments. They are perfect since the individual sections are see through. Sometimes you can even remove them from the larger unit.

Bonus….these are generally much less expensive than ones at a craft store.

Old medicine bottles are also great for storing pins and needles for beading or cross stitch.

Bonus…….the bottle stays out of the landfill!

Naturally the good old Internet is a wonderful resource so happy surfing.

Once you learn what is in each box or behind each door you save a ton of time since you aren’t searching the entire room for an item and sometimes other rooms as well. The whole time you are, of course, going slightly? mad and wasting a lot of precious writing or crafting time. That is no fun!

What you need is always handy but not in plain view.

After all the time you spend making your system workable and enjoyable it will make your eyes itch if you don’t keep it up and start getting sloppy again.

Items in boxes get to mingle without causing a scene.

Decorating Time
Now is the time to retrieve those must have pieces that you put away safely in an other room.

My computer desk used to be…to put it politely…a complete disaster area. Now the only items that are allowed to remain on the desk over night are what you see in the picture.

I know it isn’t too clear but the photo on the left end of the upper level is my favourite four-legged friend Sasha. She was my brother’s mini Schnauzer and I miss her dearly.

Desk faces south and is between two windows.

This is a real treat for me since I’ve always had basement offices and we know what the windows are like….total ick. Now I am finally on ground level and I’m loving it. The windows are 32 x 32 so they let in lots of daylight.

The light in my office is LED. They are much easier on the eyes than old incandescent and easier on the nervous system than any kind of fluorescent.

Lots of room 13’ x 10’
The office that my wonderful husband Brian built for me began life as two of the smallest bedrooms you’ve ever seen. They were both 6 1/2 feet wide and 10 feet long. Yep, you guessed it, mobile home “bedrooms”.

We took possession of our happy home on May 1st, 2016 and by the time we moved in on May 15th he had worked magic. New floors, new paint and new lighting.

Project Central
The black table is a generous 48” x 24”. It is so handy for sorting items on and trust me I would not be a happy great gramma if it ever went into service in another room.

Simply means put the item back where it belongs. I check my office before I close up shop for the day so it’s fresh and ready for more fun when I come back. I even go out and come back later as it’s so much easier to see things with fresh eyes. The last thing I want to do is have to put stuff away from the day before.

As you work with your new space your intuition will tell you where some items really belong. Your scissors just might end up with tapes and glues in your craft cupboard instead of your desk drawer. So? Buy another pair for your desk area.

Brag Time
Now that you’ve created your dream office or craft room feel free to brag. Send me some photos with captions and even a bit of a write up of your successes and hiccups along the way so that together we can inspire others.

Send pictures and ideas to:

Typical Day in Lethbridge. Alberta, Canada

The day began so typically for Lethbridge. The morning was rainy and drizzly.

The air felt about two degrees above snow. By mid morning it was raining for real.

By lunch time the sun was shining and the birds were singing.

Naturally that couldn’t last long and the process started all over again.

Yeah, yeah, I know….those of us who have lived here for say….more than a week know just how typical that day really was. I can tell who you are by the knowing little smile on your face.

Those of you who are new comers to our fair city, unless you are from the west coast of BC or southern Ontario, might still be living under the delusion that Saturday was a freak of nature.

Trust me, you will soon learn to keep a jacket or a sweater in your vehicle. You will also keep your windshield scraper within easy reach at all times.

Say whut?

Yeah, you heard me right. Jacket and scraper always handy. You also need to make certain that the air conditioning in your vehicle is operating properly. That’s mainly for late August and early September when we get plus 30 temperatures.

Anyone who has lived here for more than a week also knows first hand the wonders of retiring on a snowy winter night listening to a howling north wind and knowing that the temperature is fast approaching minus 40… and waking up to sun shining, blue sky, streets filled with slush and temperatures anywhere from plus 5 to plus 15!

All of this may be a bit much for a new comer to absorb

but you too will learn.

In the meantime all you really need to know is three very simple words….

This Is Lethbridge!