Gold Stars for Me?

Artists spend hours in a studio, closet, at a corner table, a space, creating art. Alone.


I stare at a blank canvas. Quiet, entrancing music plays in the background. Thoughts of food, lunch, dinner, breakfast slip by without notice. Hubby comes in.

“Have you decided what we’ll have for:
A. breakfast
B. lunch
C. dinner
D. other”

A daily multiple choice for which I sometimes earn a gold star.

A gold star?

I remember those.

Sometimes pasted on our foreheads for doing excellent class work. Our papers sported their gold star. We were a matching set. That was really cool from Kindergarten to second grade.


Convent/orphanage/boarding school

For my sixth birthday, Grandmother sent a  birthday present to the orphanage where I lived with my sister. A nun delivered the package to me at play time. Students crowded to see what I had gotten. Some stared across the room from their play area.

Inside were four pieces each of Grandmother’s special fudge: peanut butter, and maple walnut fudge.

She usually made fudge for special occasions like Christmas. I had never gotten it for my birthday before. But then, I was not in an orphanage before. Another small box sat at the bottom of the package. It was filled with gold stars! Lots of them. Smiling wide, I showed my loot to my classmates.

Big mistake.

The nun highly recommended I share with my friends.


Sister Saint Share

What friends?

She meant my Kindergarten classmates who happened to be in a similar predicament as I—enrolled in an orphanage. My sister and I were placed there after Mom unexpectedly died. Dad called it a convent. A place where nuns lived. We went to school, slept, ate and lived there without Dad for nine months. He complained about tuition for his two daughters. Why wouldn’t he just bring us home?

Staring at my cache of fudge, and feeling obliged—coerced—to share, I ate one piece. The remainder was devoured by my classmates like corn tossed to a murder of crows.

But, I had a little box of gold stars! More than anyone could ever earn in one hundred lifetimes in Kindergarten. The nun and my “friends” gawked, oohed and aahed.

The stars were mine. No need to share. I could have given each one a star, sticking it on their foreheads for their excellent job of speed-eating my birthday fudge within seconds of opening the gift.


The stars were mine.

Off to lunch we went to our assigned seats at a long, well worn, wooden dining table. We each had a drawer in which were a plate, cup, and utensils. It was my drawer. No one ate there but me. So I thought. Scheduled eating for 100’s of girls didn’t occur to my little brain. Why would it? Didn’t the world revolve around me?

After the meal, a large basin of hot water and soap made its way down our long dining table. Each girl washed her dishes, and pushed the basin left to her neighbor. A dish towel followed. Once dried, every plate and utensil was returned to the drawer until the next meal.

Having completed my task, I slipped my stars in my drawer for safe keeping. I would retrieve them at dinner time and bring the box to bed with me. A plan whereby I could ponder how to make good use of my gold stars.

Dinner time arrived. Sitting at the table, I retrieved my dish, cup and utensils. The meal was the usual for Sunday evening. The cooks had Sunday’s off. No one worked on Sundays, except the nuns. Not trained to cook for large crowds of children, they turned to a simple solution of carbohydrates and calcium diet. That meant chips and milk. Desert–a popsicle.

butter pats

hard butter pats

One meal I can never forget included a pat of butter. We each had meat, potatoes, vegetable and a slice of bread. The butter arrived stacked in a plate. Obviously cut by the cook and stored in the fridge—or the freezer.

Taking one pat, I placed it on my bread. Spreading was impossible. No matter how hard I pressed, the pat stayed firm. I was determined to spread my pat of butter. The bread tore and twisted. No luck.

Frustrated, I reconstructed my bread, piece meal, placing the butter in the center. Folding the bread, I ate it. It was okay until I bit into the butter. Yuck!

Biting lard or butter is not a favorite of mine. Still isn’t.

I never forgot that pat of butter. I eat butter. I even keep it in the fridge. But I learned to slice it thin to spread as I please. But, I digress…

After dinner and dishes, I reached into the drawer for my gold stars.

They weren’t handy. Climbing off my chair, I peeked into the drawer’s inside. Nothing!

I was troubled. Sad. Angry. Hurt. Suspicious. Someone took my stars. It was my birthday and I had been robbed. Violated. It wasn’t fair. I went to bed, crying into my pillow. 

For a long time, I wondered who the thief was. I totally suspected the nuns. Whenever I got a gold star for my forehead, I thought, “Is this my gold star?” Had to be. The nun had lots of them to hand around…so it seemed.

Years later, I surmised a nun finding the box of stars in a student’s drawer, not knowing who’s it was, mine or the other assigned student’s, probably thought they were either stolen from a teacher’s desk or they were true contraband.

And then, I also think a haw-keyed classmate may have noticed my dumb plan, and stole them within seconds after I walked away.

Of all the colors, red, green, blue, silver or gold, I prefer the gold star.

As a teacher, awarding gold stars, I told my students, “This is a special star. Just for you. Cherish not the star but the super work you accomplished. If you never get a gold star again, remember this one. You don’t always have to get a gold star for work well done. Just always do the best you can. Be happy whether you get one gold star or a whole box full. But who needs a box full of stars? Look at the sky. Those are all the stars you need. And they are always there waiting for you to look up. No one can take that away.”


The nuns helped me survive a terrible time in my life. The pain and unhappy feelings were from the separation of parent and child, and the silence of death.

I survived and dwell on the good things that came out of my stay at the convent/orphanage/boarding school.

The gold stars are still with me in memory and in my heart. A gift from Grandmother.

Like, leave a comment and share.



Now You See Me, Now You Don’t. – Is That a Good Sign?

I did some major maintenance work on a couple of my other websites:

Is your sign distinctive?

All that behind the scene techie stuff.

NOTE: to be updated soon with new work. Keep on the lookout.
A little history about my websites:
Orise Designs originated in 1988.
I purchased the domain and created the website around 1996.

  • The hosting site was and still is
  • NO advertising, ever! A clean site for just me.

Years later, I decided I needed a domain because I signed my artwork that way. Luckily, the domain name was available! Yes!

Signage is important.
Choose a domain name – carefully. 

Cutsie does not work…get over it.

Simplicity is clarity.

If you have a business or hobby, and sign your work, keep it simple. Purchase a domain name that is YOU. 

Purchase the domain if that is your name.

If is already floating out on the Internet, how about

More complicated than that discourages clients from seeking you out on the Internet.

If you sign your work differently, use that same signature. Perhaps your initials and last name, or just your last name, etc. Be creative.

For a professional appearance, you need:


1.  a logo – an easily recognized graphic or a photo

2.  a font – fancy, easy to read (careful on the fancy…don’t forget the cutsie advice

3.  NO all-caps – There are many beautiful fonts today. Use that for your name. A serif or fancy font.
       – Use simple blocky, sans serif, for the rest of the wording. 

4.  especially NO Gothic-all-caps

5.  a nice layout with  white space (empty areas) for easy reading.

Place logo and layout with fonts on all communication media. Stick to your design. Constant change confuses and discourages potential clients.

Where will you hang your sign? Does it “blend in” and disappear? Or is it distinctive? If so, how much space between it and another sign of distinction? 

stand out - what client72dpi

Does your signage blend in…too much?

Look at the whole display and where displayed. What clientele do you want to attract?

Seek out examples in your area. Compare your signage with theirs. That includes the building sign, business cards, postcards, statements, receipts, banners, letterheads, packaging, and more.

If you are stuck, talk to a business owner. Compliment them on their choice of signage and ask how or who designed it for them. Who created the finished product. If you are computer and software savvy, you can do it yourself. A great many of us who are artistic can do a terrific job in creating our product, and stink at designing signage. Simplicity, clarity, easy to read. That is the aim.

Good luck. 

Readable drive-by?
Keep it simple big and bold.

When I drive by, I hope to see your sign and be able to read it at 35 mph or more. Size and simplicity will do that for you.

Be recognized.

Communicate you are serious about your work, time, presentation, and your product. That is communicated by your sign.

“Smile in your mirror every day. :-)”  J.M. Orise

Malefactor! Scam – e-mail Threats and A Free Trip to Florida?

yelling on phone-photo-1587014

Who is this? Stop calling me, Bozo, or I’ll…             *Just hang up.

Scam Phone Calls

*My comments in red.

Being part of an out-of-state phone/family plan, I have an out-of-state area code. I only know two family members from that state.

Why would the rest of the state be calling? So it seemed. Mostly from  someone with a number very similar to mine? And so many. I get it, I’m supposed to be curios…and answer.

Years ago, when I first got the phone I answered a few calls. Who could it be? Behold! Each one, a FREE trip to Florida! For me! A FREE GIFT? Duh….I was actually on a walk with Hubby…in Florida.


Remember when?




Photo by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

Prior to the Internet, offers arrived via postcard, delivered in our mailbox. “You have won A Trip to Florida. A FREE GIFT! Call this 800 number to claim your FREE GIFT before it is too late.”


Uh…isn’t a gift…free?

Son noticed this same postcard, in our mailbox, when he was thirteen. “Mom! Look! You won a trip to Florida. Call them. We can go to Disney.”

“Son, it’s a scam. They want money. There is no free trip.” 

“But it’s written right here: “A Free Gift. Call us to sign up for your Free Trip. They’re not asking for money. All you have to do is call.”

Okay. This was to be a teachable moment.

“I’ll call. You listen on the intercom.” His eyes widened, sparkling with excitement. I dialed. A lady’s super friendly voice answered.

“I have a postcard. It says I won a Free Trip to Florida.”

“Oh yes! What is your name?” she asked.

“You should know my name, you sent me the postcard. Or do you have thousands of people ‘winning’ the same prize?”

“We have to be sure it’s you. Can you verify please?”

“I’m Jane Jones.”
*This is the I-net – I’ll not give a name or address 😉 in a blog.

“What is your address please.”

“You already have it, remember? You sent the card to the winner.”

“We have to be sure it’s you. Can you verify please?”

“1234 Main Street, City, State, Zip”

“Thank you. Do you have a credit card?”


“Please read the number on the card with the expiration date.”

“This is a Free Gift. A free trip to Florida. Why do you need my credit card? When I deliver ‘free’ gifts, celebrating someone’s birthday, I don’t ask for a credit card number.”

“Over the phone, we have to be sure it’s you. Can you verify with the card please? This will guarantee you get your free trip.”

“I don’t know you. You are a stranger. Why should I give you my credit card number?”

“Because you called us for your trip. We need a credit card to guarantee the trip and to verify who you are.”

CK2 Sassy GIF - CK2 Sassy Angry GIFs

“Sorry, you have me confused with someone else. I have a Free Gift. A Free Trip to Florida. So I don’t see the need for my credit card if it’s free. And you sent the card. I called because I received the card. Ergo, I am verifying who I am by calling you, answering your card’s request, sent to me, the winner, to call.”

“Well, we have to be sure it’s you. Can you please verify with the credit card?”

The friendly voice grew slightly impatient, yet still civil. Was her objective a formulaic response disguised as customer relations expertise—to engender trust, to seduce the unaware, to rob?

“No. I don’t think I will do that. My son pointed out the post card doesn’t mention the need of a credit card. He was convinced we had been blessed—that you were sending a FREE Gift from some lottery in which I had participated. Which I did not. And from the look on his face, I think he has learned Free Gifts received in the mail are not ‘free’. Good bye.”

Son’s face no longer glowed, his brow furrowed. “She wanted you to pay for the trip?” 

“No, Son. She wanted my credit card to buy what she wanted. There was no trip to Florida. It was a hoax.”

“That stinks.” His upper lip went up a little, Elvis Presley style. He was disappointed.

“Some day we’ll go to Florida.” And we did.


*Fast forward to 2018 + 2019 e-mail threats.

*My comments in red.

*I receive lots of mail from scammers who assume I am a man.

At the end of last year, I received three scam e-mails that were of the same vein.  
Each gave me the low-down at how I was HACKED! I had better listen up, and was given the details.
Extortion scamsEach similarly worded. 

*Grammar, syntax and typos indicated they were from another country, perhaps?

The three e-mail scams: 

After skimming the first sentence I immediately sent the first two extortion e-mails to spamI’ve rejected tons of e-mails as spam and junk for years. I’ve reported a few to e-mail scam detective services. Do they really work? The National Do-Not-Call Registry service the government provides to Americans doesn’t work.

Where are these people? The hours spent creating mahem could, instead, be used to save the planet—and themselves. Why hide under the guise of scammer wearing a hoodie, in a dark corner, suffering from low self-esteem.

Smile, scammer. You too can do good. And be proud! Stand up! Take off that hoodie, cut it up, make a hoody quilt, donate it to the poor! Start a fad and make an honest living in broad daylight.

Okay, okay. About that third e-mail, which I also sent to spam…  
Here it is: 

Kinnie Linsley <>
* Is this the real Kinnie? or was the name culled from someone’s contacts folder?
To: “” <> 
*They found my e-mail somewhere, someone’s contact folder?

jo mylinkedin  o‌n‌e o‌f yo‌ur pa‌sswo‌rds.
*Incomplete sentence.
*AND I had cancelled mylinkedin account a month prior because I never used it.
L‌ets g‌et ri‌ght to‌ purpo‌s‌e. No‌ p‌erso‌n ha‌s co‌mpensat‌ed m‌e to‌ ch‌eck abo‌ut yo‌u. Yo‌u do‌ not kno‌w me a‌nd yo‌u’r‌e pro‌bably thi‌nki‌ng why yo‌u’r‌e g‌etti‌ng thi‌s ma‌i‌l? 

i‌n fa‌ct, i‌ pla‌c‌ed a‌ so‌ftwa‌r‌e on th‌e adult str‌eami‌ng (s‌ex si‌t‌es) w‌ebsit‌e a‌nd guess wha‌t, yo‌u vi‌si‌ted this websi‌te to ‌experi‌‌enc‌e fun (yo‌u kno‌w wha‌t i‌ m‌ean). Wh‌en yo‌u w‌er‌e vi‌‌ewi‌ng vi‌d‌eo‌ cli‌ps, yo‌ur i‌ntern‌et bro‌ws‌er sta‌rted op‌era‌ting a‌s a RDP ha‌vi‌ng a‌ k‌ey lo‌gg‌er which ga‌v‌e me a‌ccess to‌ your di‌spla‌y a‌s w‌ell a‌s web ca‌m. i‌mm‌edia‌t‌ely a‌ft‌er that, my softwa‌re o‌bta‌i‌n‌ed a‌ll your co‌nta‌cts fro‌m yo‌ur Messeng‌er, FB, a‌s w‌ell as e-mai‌l . N‌ext i cr‌ea‌ted a‌ do‌ubl‌e vi‌d‌eo‌. 1st pa‌rt displa‌ys the vi‌d‌eo‌ yo‌u were vi‌ewi‌ng (yo‌u’v‌e go‌t a‌ ni‌c‌e ta‌st‌e ; )), and second part sho‌ws th‌e vi‌‌ew o‌f yo‌ur w‌ebca‌m, & i‌ts yo‌u.
*Well, that is strange, since I have two layers of tape covering my web-cam. Always have.

Yo‌u a‌ctually ha‌v‌e two di‌fferent o‌ptio‌ns. L‌ets ta‌k‌e a‌ loo‌k a‌t these typ‌es o‌f o‌ptions i‌n d‌eta‌i‌ls: 

1st cho‌i‌c‌e i‌s to‌ i‌gno‌r‌e thi‌s e-ma‌i‌l. i‌n this cas‌e, i‌ mo‌st c‌ertai‌nly wi‌ll s‌end o‌ut yo‌ur very own vi‌d‌eo r‌eco‌rdi‌ng to‌ ‌ea‌ch on‌e o‌f yo‌ur co‌nta‌cts and just co‌nsid‌er co‌nc‌erni‌ng th‌e sham‌e yo‌u f‌e‌el. No‌t to‌ forget sho‌uld yo‌u b‌e in a‌ lo‌vi‌ng rela‌tio‌nship, pr‌eci‌s‌ely ho‌w it is go‌i‌ng to‌ a‌ff‌ect? 

S‌eco‌nd cho‌i‌c‌e i‌s to‌ pa‌y m‌e 3000 USD. W‌e a‌r‌e go‌i‌ng to‌ describ‌e it a‌s a‌ dona‌ti‌o‌n. Then, i‌ mo‌st certa‌i‌nly wi‌ll insta‌ntan‌eo‌usly di‌scard yo‌ur vi‌d‌eo‌ recording. Yo‌u co‌uld k‌e‌ep o‌n go‌ing da‌i‌ly li‌f‌e li‌k‌e thi‌s n‌ev‌er too‌k pla‌ce a‌nd yo‌u sur‌ely wi‌ll n‌ev‌er h‌ea‌r ba‌ck a‌gai‌n fro‌m me. 

You’ll ma‌k‌e th‌e pa‌ym‌ent thro‌ugh Bi‌tco‌in (i‌f you do‌ not kno‌w thi‌s, s‌ea‌rch ‘ho‌w to‌ buy bi‌t‌co‌i‌n’ i‌n Go‌o‌gl‌e s‌ea‌rch engi‌n‌e). 

B‌T‌C‌ a‌ddr‌ess to‌ send to‌: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX[ca‌se-s‌ensiti‌v‌e so‌ co‌py and pa‌st‌e i‌t] *This was a complicated collection of digits and characters. I “XXX” the address to protect the reader.
i‌f you ma‌y b‌e ma‌ki‌ng pla‌ns for going to‌ th‌e law ‌enfo‌rc‌ement, sur‌ely, thi‌s ma‌il canno‌t b‌e trac‌ed back to‌ me. I‌ ha‌v‌e ta‌k‌en ca‌r‌e of my moves. i‌ a‌m not lo‌oki‌ng to‌ dema‌nd a‌ whol‌e lo‌t, i wo‌uld li‌ke to‌ b‌e rewa‌rded. Yo‌u no‌w ha‌v‌e t‌w‌o da‌ys i‌n o‌rd‌er to‌ pay. i ha‌v‌e a‌ special pi‌xel wi‌thin thi‌s m‌essa‌g‌e, and ri‌ght no‌w i kno‌w that yo‌u ha‌v‌e rea‌d through thi‌s ‌emai‌l. if i‌ do‌ no‌t g‌et th‌e B‌itC‌o‌ins, i‌ will send o‌ut yo‌ur vi‌deo‌ r‌ecordi‌ng to‌ a‌ll of yo‌ur co‌ntacts i‌ncludi‌ng fa‌mi‌ly memb‌ers, coll‌eagu‌es, and ma‌ny o‌thers. Ha‌vi‌ng sai‌d tha‌t, i‌f i‌ r‌ecei‌v‌e th‌e pa‌ym‌ent, i‌ wi‌ll destroy th‌e vi‌deo‌ i‌mm‌edia‌t‌ely. This is th‌e no‌n-nego‌ti‌able offer, and so do‌ no‌t wa‌ste my p‌ersonal ti‌me and yo‌urs by replyi‌ng to‌ thi‌s ‌e ma‌i‌l. i‌f you rea‌lly want pro‌of, r‌eply Y‌es! a‌nd i‌ will c‌erta‌inly s‌end out your vid‌eo‌ to‌ your 12 fri‌ends.


*Wouldn’t you know. I found this at Komando’s blog on the Internet! 
Click here:   Just another extortion scam…

This is a new year, and I get reminders to pay up, or else!

They come from a different address.
Clever “subject” in the e-mail.
I hover mouse over the “from” field. If I don’t know who it is, it is sent to spam.

I do NOT open e-mail from an unknown source.

*An e-mail I did not request is always suspicious. I am leery of strange e-mail addresses.  And send them to spam.

*If I am uncertain, I copy text and paste to Google. Most times they come up as scam.

A week ago, I received an e-mail from a male whose name I did not know. 
Subject: “I need to speak with you.”
*That subject may sound innocent enough, however, I felt it was a ruse to get me to connect, to infect my PC. I sent it to Spam.

Then I traveled down my list of e-mails and there he was again…same name but as a company instead of a person. 
*Delete to Spam.

Have I Mentioned My Re-writes Lately?

Sung to the tune of:
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, by Rod Stewart

Have I Mentioned My Re-writes Lately

guitar by jo



Have I mentioned my re-writes to you lately?
Have I mentioned my second manuscript too?
They fill my heart with gladness
Take away any sadness
Easily trouble me
That’s what they do
Oh the midnight oil’s forever burning
Greets the day with hope
That this will do…this time
Re-reads fill my life with laughter
I can write it so much better
Easily trouble me
That’s what they do 

There’s a manuscript that’s divine
It might be yours, it sure ain’t mine 

And at the end of every re-write
I give thanks then I pray
This is the one, yes this is the one!
Have I mentioned my re-writes to you lately?
Have I mentioned my second manuscript too?
They fill my heart with gladness
Take away any sadness
Easily trouble me
That’s what they do
There’s a manuscript that’s divine
It might be yours, it sure ain’t mine
And at the end of every re-write
I give thanks then I pray
This is the one, yes this is the one!
Have I mentioned my re-writes to you lately?
Easily trouble me
That’s what they do
But I surely won’t give up
No matter all the mark-up
I’ll keep writing, that’s what I’ll do
Have I mentioned I’m still writing lately?

copyright: Lyrics by J. M. Orise 02/10/2019
copyright: Art by Jo M. Orise

Share your writing journey. Fill my heart with gladness. I bet you can. 

Been Rewriting—Still.

Got to admit—the manuscript is a whole lot easier to read and sounds more interesting than my very first draft from years ago.

Image result for hard hat picture

Yes, years ago. I started writing part-time. Life seemed to catch up with me with so many demands.


Employment, obligations to Hubby, family, home maintenance, house building, house updates, house repairs, moving and moving again, house re-designing, employment, painting, galleries, volunteering, PC issues—Hubby’s.

Then there are the holidays followed by R & R.

Years worm their way into all this activity and voila, here I am years later.

Life is is too short to not smile! Infographic

It gets shorter. Some of my friends are unable to do things they enjoyed in the past. In the past? My past was full of must dos. I need to focus on making up for the past. To be me. To do for me.


Back to my re-writes.

I still like my story. I’ve re-written it so many times, fixing; changing little things. Now I must develop my characters more by changing dialogue, adding dialogue and descriptions. I’ve changed Tim’s, the protagonist, attitude. He is not the super nice kid he once was. No one is that nice or passive. He is an angry kid filled with denial. He undertakes a journey to get the answers he needs—to go on.

Tim must survive challenges without his dad. He and his friend are trapped. They must find a way out. He has to find a special bear his dad told him about before he died.

tbwavestandbyjo-2017-72dpirMy Questions to you?

  • Are you a beta reader who can give an honest opinion? Where can I find one?
  • Where can I find an editor to read the manuscript; to make recommendations.
  • Do you have tips on publishing or self-publishing.

Leave a comment. Like my page and share.


“Smile in your mirror every day.” Jo M. Orise

So what about that Manuscript thing… ?

Oh. River Fork?

I had planned it as a coming of age, YA story. With a bit of fantasy aka paranormal.

Why did I write it?


As a former teacher, I encouraged my high school students to write. I found several of my students had dealt with a major loss. They wrote about it, but no one talked about it.

Neither did I—Mother died in a fire. My sister and I witnessed the event. I was five, my sister, seven. Needless to say, we never forgot. We never talked about it. Nor did our father. Assumptions and rumors were spread.

During my teaching career, a story slowly evolved. Picture book? Children’s book? Family story book? My brain cranked out scenarios. At first it was a morass of imagery. How would I best present my idea? I wasn’t a writer. I wrote poetry. Still do and tuck it away in a briefcase. But writing a book?

I am an artist. So I began with cute pictures and poem-like stories.

The story grew. I dropped the cute — loss is not cute.

I needed a plan, feeling, a theme, a plot, etc… . What did I get myself into?

My head said, put it into words. I began writing, finishing the Manuscript the year I retired. Then I researched the writing craft, improved my writing skills and investigated publishing options. Needless to say, publishing  has surely changed since I first put pen to paper.

The story:

  • Timeline: 1956-57
  • Theme: the loss of a parent.
  • Setting: River Fork, NH. A farming and logging community. In the mountains near the Saco River.
  • Characters: Three neighboring friends: Tim, Charlie and Roach. Tim will be 13 in three days. The others are teens.
  • It is about coming of age, death, forgiveness, hope and faith. Oh, and there is a budding romance.
  • There is a bit of paranormal (no magical potions, witches, vampires, violence, etc…)


So, Has Anyone Reviewed It?


The Manuscript has been line critiqued and gone through many revisions.

A year ago I found three beta readers.
I did not write to the YA audience. It is suitable for the Middle Grade audience. Disappointment for sure here.
Okay. I asked for an honest review.
I received three great reviews. Two people pointed out what didn’t work and what could be done to make the story more interesting. One Beta Reader recommended a few resources. With this expert advice and suggestions, I learned a lot. I am grateful.
So. I’m doing lots of editing, developing my characters and setting a bit more. And DUMPING stuff that was kind of iffy even as I first wrote it.
  • If it’s IFFY for the writer – It most certainly will be IFFY for the reader. DUMP IT. Ahhh. Yes. You’ll feel better. I did.

Once this latest revision is complete, I’ll need a couple of Beta Reader(s) again. Then on to an editor and publishing—self-publishing.


For those who work with me in this endeavor, your name will be mentioned in the credits and you will receive a free digital copy of my novel once it is published.

The sequel—Roach’s story—sits in my laptop. Waiting.

Please like, comment and share this post.
J.M. Orise

I Remember Stuff Like That

Why Is Sunday Longer Than Monday?

Every Sunday. Always the same. No one ever moved. Like they ate glue and got stuck. It was so boring.


Why is Sunday longer than Monday?

At six years, Sunday proved the longest day of the week. Once home from church, the hours passed so-o-o very slowly.

Dad napped on the sun-room divan wearing his Sunday suit pants, white shirt rolled up to his elbows, and his tie draped over the maple lounge chair nearby. The Sears and Roebuck catalog lay on the floor, inches from his fingers. Mom was somewhere in the house doing Mom things.

Oh how many more hours before the end of the day?

The neighborhood kids vanished. They had been at church, dressed up fancy, boys with leather shoes, crooked neckties, buttons showing. Girls in dresses with pretty flowers and petticoats and shiny patent shoes. This fancy clothing was not for running around at the park up the street from our house where I spent nearly every day of the week. Were the kids pining to be out of doors too or did they have company?

Sitting alone on the front porch, watching cars drive by, what would I do?

One Sunday I decided to wash clothes.

wolverine waching tub and machine

I filled  my tiny washing machine with water, begged Mom for a little Tide detergent then gathered my doll’s clothing. There I sat, rhythmically cranking the miniature plungers up and down, dislodging the make believe filth from my sedentary doll’s clothes.

The glass faceted wash tub sporting a mini-wringer,  squeezed water from the wet laundry. With laundry suitably clean, I filled the washer with fresh water, rinsing the soap from the fabric. One more wringing and I was done. Afterward, I scattered the wet clothes on the porch floor near the sudsy and rinse water puddles.

Well, I made a mess of the porch. But the sun would take care of that for me. Besides, I had something else I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure what that was yet? It had to be something fun to make this gosh-darn-long-Sunday go away.

The dog. Where was the dog?


Sorry, kid. Sunday is sleep day. Go wash some doll clothes or something.

“Tiny!” I called, leaving my naked doll sun-bathing, patiently waiting for someone to pick her up, perhaps dress her in her nice, clean clothes. I suppose Mom did her Mom thing, cleaning up the front porch while I searched for Tiny. Don’t quite remember that part.

Never knew what happened to the little wringer washer. It disappeared somehow.



Leave me naked one more time and I’ll… !

wolverine washing machine toy

Anybody out there remember those long Sundays or perhaps that little Wolverine washing machine? I found a picture of it tonight. It is just as I remembered.

I hope my memories last longer than those gosh-darn-long-Sundays of long ago.

Sleep well my friends.

I think tomorrow is Monday. Yess!

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While unpacking and constructing another closet with more shelves, my manuscript beckons.

2015, behind the kitchen wall stood a large, yawning, washer/dryer closet abandoned by the previous owner. Inside were cut off pipes, plugged faucets, a ceiling vent and odd things hung on the wall—an old clock with tiny knick/knack shelves and a little drawer. A clock in a closet? My first thought: “What a waste of space!”

What to do with this big “hole”?



Move the back wall forward. Result: a functioning closet! And the small kitchen would be larger! First I had to investigate if the closet was a support wall. It was not! With care, I ripped out the walls conscious not to cut pipes or wiring.bigcloset2

Next, with guidance and assistance from Brother-in-law, the water was turned off  as was the power. We redirected the plumbing and wiring seen at the right as they were connected to the basement and the second story bathrooms. This alleviated  the clutter of four individual switch plates and a furnace thermostat on two wall surfaces.

bigcloset4After Brother-in-law left, I moved all switches to one multi switch plate at the kitchen entrance from the hallway whose lights were also part of that grouping. The furnace thermostat was relocated to the opposite wall near the cellar door.

At left, the ceiling is ripped out to install plumbing and wiring and to relocate the ceiling fan above to where the stove would sit.

The chimney back was now exposed.  Although it had great point work on three sides, the grouting was sloppily applied within the interior walls. Who would ever peek inside a wall? Well, I did. With chisel, maul and a step-ladder, I tapped the excess grout to a decent finish. Finding similar colored grout from an old project, I filled the voids. bigcloset5+Paul

I designed a special, fireproof kitchen wall. The aim was to allow our wood stove to sit seven inches away from the wall  instead of a foot and a half (or so) per regulations involving sheet rock and wood framing. And to keep the wall cool.
First a reflective foil was stapled to the wall, then metal studs were added onto which cement backer board was attached with a cut out gap for air space above and below allowing a convection of cool air to travel behind the wall as it warms from the reflective heat of the stove. Brother-in-law constructed the metal studs and helped install the heavy cement backer boards. I coated the entire wall with cement compound similar to stucco. Brother-in-law then constructed a sheet-metal panel which Hubby attached to the stove, suspending it a few inches away from behind the firebox. Works great!

2017, back to the closet, behind the kitchen, I had had visions of a closet on the right side for work clothes and boots. The left side would house the vacuum, trash cans and shelves for foodstuffs. However, that was two years ago.

Sometimes it pays to stop a project taking another look at it from a different vantage point. Like writing a MS (manuscript). The story is going well. Why wouldn’t the public love my story? Some scenes are so sad and heart wrenching, they never fail to make me cry at each edit. That is when I exclaim, “This is it! I must be done.”

Finding a beta-reader to give me an honest review was the next step. After a lot of searching, I found three! One was a relative with no interest in Young Adult. He was encouraging but he did not understand Deep Point of View. Nor did the other two. However, all three pointed to nearly the same parts of the book that need re-write and they provided pointers about character development. The encouraging part was I had great and believable dialogue. BUT in their opinion it was not truly a YA but a Middle Grade story. It was, in two reader’s opinion a great MG manuscript. But that is their opinion and we all agree that I must make the decision on my own.

Jo think

What do I do? Nix the YA challenge and stick with and develop the MG aspects of my MS? That notion rolls around in my head as I build additions to the house. Since I have started a second MS depicting the same characters, but two years later, perhaps it makes sense to make that the YA story I had hoped for. The protagonist in the first MS is on the cusp of young adulthood. Perhaps the reviewers are right on. Something to ponder.

This spring we finally sold our NH home! How wonderful that felt. No more long trips to maintain property a three-hour drive away. We finally moved into our present home, lock, stock and barrel! And believe me, we have more stock than available storage.

After the move and now standing at the closet with a new perspective, I nixed the original closet design.




Since I had already inserted one shelf and a dividing wall, I painted everything white and proceeded on with my second design. A complete closet for jackets, boots and deep storage shelves above. As you see, there is abundant shelf area making great use of the height and width of the closet.

Share and like. Tell me about your great projects and decision making during those projects.

It’s great to hear a few words from all of you.



A Cake-Walk With No Shelf To Spare

I know you haven’t heard from me. I was a bit occupied. Sharpened the old hammer and nails and built a bunch of shelves.

We finally moved out of NH.

Our Maine home has huge closets, but shelving is very limited.

Why 24″ between closet shelves? At the left, you see big gaps between shelves.

Where there were three, now there are five!

At the left, I widened the single 10″ clothes closet shelf and added a second story.

At the right, this closet’s bottom shelf is now over 22 inches deep and the top shelf is 12.

No more tall stacks of clothes teetering, falling to the floor. Big improvement!

Next: finish a closet started two years ago. It had been a huge, empty closet meant for a washer and dryer. I moved the back wall inward, creating more space in the kitchen located behind the closet. This freed up space permitted the installation of a fireproof wall and a kitchen, wood-cook stove directly behind the new, smaller closet.

Next plan: enlarge the walk-in closet upstairs. Big bedroom and the closet doesn’t have enough… you got it… shelves and rods!

You do what you gotta do.
I’m off to create a building materials list. That Shelter Institute course my son and I took years ago taught us how to build with confidence. It paid off more than once. After building my Post and Beam home in the 90’s, this is a cake-walk.

Any projects in your neck of the woods?

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