Friday, October 13, 2017

Fake ID, Proving Age Does Matter

Fake ID is a new band rockin' the Cleveland area.  They just performed their first two shows this last weekend and received rave reviews from anyone who saw them.

But what makes this cover band with two guitarists, a singer, a bassist, and a drummer so special?

Their ages.

Three of them are 13 and two are only 11 but these kids can really rock!  They aren't old enough to have spent decades learning their instruments, unless they started in the womb but somehow time doesn't seem to matter because they can play!

Of course I do have to admit I'm a bit biased as my son is one of the guitarists.
My son is the one in the red! :)

Another thing that makes them special is that this whole thing has all been on them.  They got together as a band, decided on a band name, set up their own rehearsal times, made up their set list and learned all the songs by themselves.  They decided they wanted to perform and not just goof around in the garage.  They contacted some venues, met with them and set everything up.  All that we parents did was drive them, hope everything would work out (leaving planning to 13 and 11 year olds is scary!) and then beam with pride as we watched them perform!

But as they say on their Facebook page, "Judge us by our music, not our ages" so I will let you judge for yourselves.  Here is a video of them performing Muse's Stockholm Syndrome at the Hiram House Pumpkin Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio this last Sunday!

Kathy :)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

IWSG and Answers to LIES Bloghop!

Today is the first Thursday of the month, which means I missed Wednesday, the day of the IWSG where we writers share our insecurities, hopes and dreams with the world and give support to our fellow IWSGers! Click on The Insecure Writer's Support Group to join us.

This month's theme is Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest. I was so insecure about it that I'm posting a whole day late.  But here it is, a picture of me with the IWSG logo:

Jumping Into Your Insecurities
This picture brings my two loves together, writing and skating and they are both similar in that you do most of your work alone, refining and perfecting and then you have to be brave and show off what you've created to the world. The picture of me skating was taken 3 years ago at an adult competition. :)

2 LIES and a Truth Bloghop!  

Last time I participated in my daughter, Jess McKendry's bloghop called LIES to celebrate the release of her second novel The Inferiors.  Head over to her blog and check it out, in the next couple days she'll be announcing the lucky winner of her book.

I gave you two lies about myself and one truth and you had to pick the truth.  

1. I've lived in Ohio all my life.
2. I don't like heavy metal or rap music.
3. I have an irrational fear of sharks even in fresh water.  

Here's the answers:

1.  LIE, I've moved around over 12 times and lived in eight different states!  Ohio is our home now though.

2. LIE, While rap and heavy metal may not be my absolute favorite genres of music...give me Pantera's Cowboys From Hell or Drake's One Dance and I'll be head banging or rapping right along with everyone else! 

3. TRUTH!!! :)  I'm absolutely terrified of sharks!  Even when I'm in deep, fresh water all that runs through my mind are the scenes from JAWS where the shark comes up behind the person and chomps them in half while skiing or swimming! I know it's totally irrational but I can't help it.  Despite my fear my husband convinced me to go jet skiing in the Gulf of Mexico and kayaking in Monterrey Bay.  Both times, I couldn't wait to get back on shore and later we found out that a great white shark had been spotted the very next week in Monterrey Bay! 

Do you have any irrational fears?

Hope you all are having a great week despite everything in the news. Give everyone in your life a little extra attention and love.  Even in darkness there is beauty all around us.  These dahlias are blooming in my garden right now and they make me smile.

Kathy :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LIES Bloghop

I'm so proud and happy to participate in the LIES Bloghop to celebrate the release of The Inferiors, the second book in the From the Ashes Trilogy by my daughter, Jessica McKendry!!

She published her first book when she was 16 and despite all the trials and tribulations of the teen years as well as battling a life threatening health condition, she managed to keep writing and pull herself through. So this last week as she turned 21 and she released The Inferiors to the world, I couldn't be happier.  I probably don't tell her this enough, because as a mom it's my job to keep pushing her farther than even she thinks she can go, but despite all the things she sometimes forgets or slips up on she's an amazing woman and I'm so proud that she's my daughter!!

The Inferiors description:  After winning the Trials, Jaina Indera is accepted into the Crystal City. She has finally achieved her dream; she has proven herself worthy of being Superior. Yet four months after arriving in her new home, Jaina receives a message that changes her life forever. As her future starts to crumble before her, the beauty of the Crystal City disappears. There is no escape from the terrible perfection of the City.

When Jaina is kidnapped by her former teammates, her life is shattered. Kavi doesn't trust her, Liam won't listen, and Dragon is part of a secret resistance. Jaina must choose between a comfortable life in the Alliance, or face a terrible reality; every day of her life has been a lie. The dark veracity of who she really is remains hidden away. Only one person can help her discover the truth, but time is running out.

2 LIES and a TRUTH... why?

Because in The Inferiors, Jaina is confronted with a number of things that she doesn't want to believe are true and some which she has always believed that now she finds out were lies.  Is her whole life a lie?  You'll have to read it to find out! :)

Okay so let's play 2 Lies and a Truth!  I'll give you 2 lies from my life and 1 truth, see if you can guess what is true!  If you've read enough of my blog posts, I think you'll be fine!  Whoever guesses correctly will be put in a drawing to win either a copy of From the Ashes or the Inferiors, your choice!

1. I've lived in Ohio all my life
2. I don't like heavy metal or rap music
3. I have an irrational fear of sharks even in fresh water

See if you can figure out which one is true!

The Inferiors ebook, paperback on Amazon!
From the Ashes on Amazon which is on sale now for .99 as an ebook!

And thanks again to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting Jessica yesterday!

Have a wonderful day!

Kathy :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Walking Through Time- Marie Antoinette

There's something about the past that intrigues me, sends tingles up my spine.

When I first learned of Marie Antoinette, I was about 12, but from that moment on, I was hooked on history.  I wanted to learn more about this girl, who was not much older than I when she was sent to France to become Queen and then tragically beheaded by a people who had come to despise her.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our three kids ages 20, 18, and 13 to Paris to take a walk through time and get a glimpse of the past.

Le Procope, opened 1686, rue de l'Ancienne Comedie
We began our time in Paris with a private French Revolution walking tour, which my husband arranged through Paris Perfect. This was a great way to get our kids, especially our 13-year-old son, excited about seeing historically important places. Our guide, who spoke English very well, took us among other places, to the oldest street in Paris. It was here that the first ever cafe in Paris opened in 1686, called Le Procope which served a new drink called "coffee" to guests such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire (who supposedly drank 40 cups of coffee daily), Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and many other historical figures.

As part of our tour, our guide took us into Le Procope where we sat, drank coffee and discussed the past.  The cafe is now kind of a living museum displaying various items including the writing desk of Voltaire as well as a copy of the last letter that Marie Antoinette wrote to her sister-in-law to bid farewell to her daughter and son only hours before her beheading on October 16, 1793.  As we stood there surrounded by our children, looking at her tear stained letter sealed in a plexiglass case, I wondered if I could have been so eloquent in saying the last goodbye to my children.

Her words still echo in my mind, "...I feel profound sorrow at leaving my poor children: you know that I only lived for them and for you, my good and tender sister...let him (my son), never seek to avenge our deaths...My God, how heart-rending it is to leave them forever! Farewell! Farewell!..." (The original letter is housed in the French National Archives, English translation found at Tea at Trianon)

Royal bedchamber in Versailles

In my search for more of Marie's life, we traveled to the town of Versailles, about 50 minutes southwest of Paris by train.  Here, at the Palace of Versailles, we strolled through the splendor Marie knew as her home.

I had to remind myself that Marie, daughter of the Empress of Austria, was sent away to France to be married to Louis XVI at only 14.  She and Louis lived here in the palace surrounded by the court, servants, and luxury.

Panorama view of the Gardens of Versailles
The gardens of Versailles with their neatly shaped plots and magnificent fountains are well worth the few extra euros to visit.  I could have spent the entire day exploring mind often slipping back to a time when the women strolling along the paths wore large hooped skirts and powdered wigs stretching sometimes over three feet high.  I could almost hear Marie's playful footsteps rushing off to her Petite Trianon, her private country quarters on the outskirts of the gardens to get away from the constant pressures of the court.

My daughter, Jess, in the gardens at one of the main fountains

Only five years after arriving in Paris, Marie's life  would change forever.

Upon learning of the death of King Louis XV, their only real parental or monarchical guide, Louis XVI and Marie fell upon their knees, cried, and exclaimed, "O God, guide us, protect us! we are too young to reign" from the Memoirs of Marie Antoinette.  She was only 19 and now she would be Queen of France.

I love my daughters, ages 20 and 18. I think they're amazing and very talented, but I can't imagine them or anyone their age being capable of ruling an entire kingdom. Anyone with teenagers knows that they are much too guided by their passions and often cannot see what consequences their actions bring.  It seems tragically pre-destined that young Marie would incur the wrath of an already impoverished people while trying to navigate being a newly married teenager, a young mother, as well as a Queen.  

Near the end of our time in Paris, we visited The Conciergerie, a former medieval palace turned prison, where Marie was held leading up to her trial as well as just before her execution. This was where she spent her last night alive, where she wrote her last letter.  We stood in her cold, stone cell and somehow I felt her aura near me. Her sadness at leaving her children. I could hear her pen scratching across the tear stained parchment. Staring at the silver tears painted on the walls years later by King Louis XVIII to honor her, I felt a tear form in my eye and a chill run up my spine.  Two hundred and twenty four years I stood...bridging time...connected in some small way.

This is now the window in her cell.
Today it is a chapel to pay homage to Marie Antoinette

More Information on Marie Antoinette:

Marie Antoinette: The Journey  by Antonia Fraser


Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Hi Everyone!  

I'm back, and this time I'm intending to stay! 

I haven't written for quite a while. It was really no accident, it wasn't that I didn't have the time or that anything in particular happened. Honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to. Not that I didn't want to write at all.  I love writing. But I wasn't sure I wanted to add to the mess that is social/mass media these days. I didn't want any part of it. I felt like I'd lost my voice, intentionally. I pretty much stopped interacting on any social media except for Facebook to tell people happy birthday or "like" the pics of their kids or dogs.

I felt like we're all so caught up with image and what everyone else is doing and saying and who's against whom and I felt like somehow even though my posts are predominantly positive, I was just contributing the problem, the noise. It's not the first time I've struggled with the thought of "who am I to have anything of interest/importance to say that hasn't already been said?"

But I've finally decided that being silent isn't an option either. I am who I am and I'm a positive, caring person in real life.  I go out everyday thinking, "If I can at least make one person smile, or give a little bit of joy, support, or encouragement today in the real world, I'm happy.  If I can be a good role model to my kids and students and help them grow, I'm happy."

That's why I started this blog in the first place in 2010...because I imagined that I could have a positive impact. And maybe just maybe, I can, by being me. By being here. Maybe each day, I can make one person smile, or laugh, or feel encouraged or inspired by the words I write, that would make me happy.      

Please join us at the IWSG! We post on the first Wednesday each month. We post about our fears, insecurities, but also our successes and most of all we encourage each other to continue on the long journey of writing. The IWSG was all started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and has grown to include numerous helpers who do so much!  Thanks to all of you!  This month the hosts are:  Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, Beverly Stowe McClure.

Hope you're have a lovely day! 

Kathy :)    

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I'm A Radical Now

As a kid I followed the rules
Studied hard, got A’s in school.
Wanted to be good
Wanted to please my parents

Grew up with LOVE all around
Thought everyone did
And wanted to share it.

Lived a sheltered life in a small Michigan town
Now the world is upside down
is a radical idea.  

Look all around me
I’m surrounded by hate.
Look inside me, scared at the hate I find.

Hate intolerant people,
Hate fear mongers,
Hate ignorance.

That’s no better.

Can I change?
Have to change

But can I
LOVE them simply for their humanity?
The insanely slow driver in front of me,
The rude cashier,
The lady that despises me,
The man that despises you,

Can I LOVE them all?

Never thought I’d be a radical
Never thought LOVE was radical.

No longer following


Not afraid
Not angry
Not judging

But loving


Won’t change the world
But LOVE will change MINE.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!
With Love,

Kathy :)

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Plans are great but sometimes wandering is even better.

Don't get me wrong, thinking ahead and planning out life is a super important skill as I've desperately been trying to teach my teenaged daughters... often in vain, but there are times when it's refreshing to let go of all planning and allow the moment sweep you along.

I've always loved serendipity but when it comes to traveling, my husband and I have well planned routes and itineraries to make the most of our time away from home (my husband is always the mastermind behind the planning! :).

Enjoying Central Park
But this last week we did things a bit differently.  First of all, we left the kids at home with grandma and grandpa which we never do. I can't thank them enough for this!! Then we flew off to New York City for a week with basically no plan. We've been there before so we didn't feel the pressure to see all the touristy spots but I still kind of wondered if we could pull off a fun, relaxing trip in the Big Apple without advance reservations and plans for everyday.

So what did we do?

Well, we wandered.  And it was lovely.  We took a day and strolled through Central Park, sat on a rock near Gapstow Bridge and watched turtles sunning themselves and ducks swimming aimlessly.

We found a quiet spot elsewhere in the Park, stretched out, and looked up at the clouds and talked.

We walked 5th Avenue and wandered into Bergdorf Goodman.  It was fun to see what they had though I'm not really a $3000 pair-of-shoes-kinda-girl!

New York Library
We meandered through Bryant Park on 42nd Street, drank coffee at a little table in the sun, and decided to check out the New York Public Library's ornately beautiful Stephen A. Schwarzman Building built in 1911.  How I would love to sit at a table in there and write all day!

Breakfast at Jack's Wife Freda

On Thursday, we traipsed all the way from our hotel on 42nd street down to West Village finding adorable breakfast spots like Jack's Wife Freda, (one of my favorites) and little coffee shops.  All along the way we just talked and took in the
moments together.

Believe it or not even after 22 years of marriage there is still plenty to talk about!  Our kids, future retirement plans, future travel, where to eat dinner, and more heavy topics like:  why we can't seem to take better care of the mentally ill, as we passed an old man who slowly rose from his "home", a ratty old blanket in the corner, with urine and likely feces soaked pants, who even we'll forget about once we're back home in our cushy lives; and the sad state of our nation that seems to only care about hating everyone who is different and "my team/group against yours".

After wandering most of the morning, we found ourselves in the Chelsea Market area and we decided to go check out the ice rink at Chelsea Pier.  As pure luck would have it, one of my best friends from college, that I haven't seen in twenty years happened to be on the ice teaching a lesson. (I did know she taught there, but I had no idea what her schedule was.)  It was great to spend an hour with her catching up and it probably wouldn't have happened if we'd tried to plan it!

We made our way back uptown, with Stumptown Coffee in hand and decided we would hang out by Rockefeller Center, where the ice rink had just opened.  We sat and watched skaters go by, then the ice was cleared and a couple came out alone. We watched the guy very carefully and not too gracefully get down on one knee and propose.  Everyone around cheered for them as she seemingly said "yes", I held my breath as he attempted to get back up.  I envisioned him slipping as he rose pulling her down with him, not a good start to an engagement! But luckily he wobbled and then stood and they skated carefully off.

We sat and watched the city go from daylight to brilliant city lights.  Then we went up to the Top of the Rock, (a tour that takes you to the top of Rockefeller Center.  We decided to do this a couple hours earlier and purchased tickets online.)  There is nothing quite like New York City at night.  The weather was beautiful. Just a slight autumn breeze and crystal clear skies.

By the end of the week it was time to head back to Cleveland, the kids whom we missed dearly, and fine tuned schedules, but we'd had a wonderful time on our wanderings.  I loved not knowing exactly what was coming next and allowing the tide of time to move us along, relishing in each serendipitous moment.