Cowbell Chronicle #1: Livin’ the Lone Star Life

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday More Cowbell Sunday! Author Jenny Hansen has a blog called More Cowbell. If you don’t get the reference, it’s based on a Saturday Night Live skit that went viral and spawned the phrase “more cowbell.” (See video here.)

Recently, Jenny hatched a plan to send her own cowbell on a series of adventures, a la Flat Stanley. I was happy to raise my hand for a turn, and Jenny passed the cowbell to me while at DFW Con so it could begin its first adventure.

Here’s how the cowbell spent time in the Lone Star State!

First, Cowbell and I stopped off at the famed Lamb Ranch, where WANA Mama Kristen Lamb served up a heap of Southern hospitality.

Lamb Ranch sign

After a fun-filled conference, though, Cowbell was awfully tired, so he rested for a spell.

Cowbell on Ranch bedThe next day, we were both ready to do some riding on the ranch. So what does one ride on a Texas ranch? Why, an ATV, of course!

Cowbell with Julie on ATVAfter I rested up from the trip, it was time to get back to my regular schedule. In my house, that involves baseball games. Cowbell was ready to cheer my son’s team on!

Cowbell on baseball fenceYep, that’s my son on the pitcher’s mound behind the cowbell. And sure enough, with the charm of the cowbell, my son had several strikeouts.

Cowbell at baseball game

On Saturday, Cowbell begged to go to the annual Art Car Parade in Houston with my other son. But unfortunately, he was just too heavy to be lugged around the parade route by the kids. Since Grandma was the adult taking them, she had her hands full enough already. Here’s some of what Cowbell missed.

T-Rex Art Car

Batmobile Art Car

Cowboy Show Art Car

But we made up for missing the Art Car Parade by taking Cowbell out on Friday night. We got gussied up with a hippie cowgirl look.

Julie & Cowbell

And headed to the Longhorn Steakhouse for a juicy slab of beef.

Cowbell at Longhorn Steakhouse

Then we stopped for a few minutes to listen to the Old Rascals Band in my town of Friendswood, Texas–as part of the summer series of Concerts in the Park.

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There was one final stop for Cowbell a couple of days later. I have an annual tradition with my best friend of taking one day in the year and heading to the beach…while our kids are at school. We’d been looking forward to this day for a long time. And Cowbell got to come!

Cowbell at the beach

We had a fabulous time frolicking in the Galveston sand and Texas Gulf waves.

Julie & Cowbell on beach

Our Lone Star adventures had come to an end. It was time for Cowbell to visit someone else. So I said my goodbyes and sent Cowbell on to Ellen Gregg for its next stop in the Cowbell Chronicles!

We really do need More Cowbell! Thanks, Jenny.

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ROW80 Update

  • Read 8 fiction books. Reached–finished The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick and Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt this week.
  • Read one craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. Read one more chapter.
  • Visit and comment on ROW80 blogs as a Round 2 sponsor. Done.
  • Finish writing GOOD & GUILTY, YA mysteryDone.
  • Complete first round of edits of GOOD & GUILTY. I’ve been editing my other two WIPs instead. But it’s editing!
  • Write one short story. Half-written.
  • Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit.
  • Prepare for and attend DFW Conference in May.
  • Prepare for and attend Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson in June. Got the details this past week.

My WANA Island

It’s Deep-Fried Friday, and boy do I have a sizzling something for you today! Yesterday on her blog, author Jenny Hansen announced a party! But before I give you the deets about that lovely event, let’s take a look at the lonely road of writing.

When I wrote my first novel, I was like the main character in the movie of Cast Away. Remember that flick with Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend “Wilson”? Check out a quick clip from the movie:

That’s how many of us live on writer’s island. We have an imaginary friend or two we chat with, we diligently work at our craft, and we celebrate alone when we achieve something. Sure, it’s great that we made fire wrote a book, but the endeavor involved just one person and no one was there to make or enjoy the fire with us. Even introverts, like me, can get lonely and feel a little lost.

Now let’s head to another island…

I grew up watching Gilligan’s Island…I mean, a LOT of Gilligan’s Island. To the point where you I can see the first scene and say things like, “This is the one where they put on a play, but Mary Ann gets hit in the head with a coconut and thinks she’s Ginger, so then Ginger has to be Mary Ann, and then . . .” I can also sing ALL of the lyrics to the theme song. Despite the years of mockery this show has endured, it has, well, endured.

Because Gilligan’s Island might actually be one of the best ways to be on a deserted island–with others. Sure, these people didn’t know they could become friends, but throw them on a tropical island with a broken boat, one radio, and a whole lot of palm trees, and pretty soon they’re doing okay. They want to be rescued, but as long as Ginger’s sequin dress lasts, they could stay a little longer.

Imagine Hanks with that fire. Wouldn’t that have been more fun with Gilligan and the gang? They could have danced a conga line around that bonfire!

When I started writing, I was on Cast Away Island. Then I found friends online–mainly through the We Are Not Alone (WANA) world. Kristen Lamb, Social Media Jedi and fearless leader of WANA, has helped to link hundreds of writers to each other and to readers. After reading her book and taking her class and following her advice, I have met–online and in person–some of the most supportive writers I could imagine. They are much more fun than Wilson.

Just like on Gilligan’s Island, WANA Island has writers with a wealth of knowledge like the Professor; some with fabulous resources like Thurston Howell III; some with constant encouragement and kindness like Mary Ann; and some who’ll share beauty tips book-writing tips with you like Ginger. In fact, this crew is better than Gilligan’s Island because I’m pretty sure if we were all stranded, my WANA friends would have a tiki bar up in no time serving up whatever you would like. The raft would be already made and sitting off in a corner ready for us to embark as soon as we were done having our fun.

Welcome to WANA Island!

I cannot stress how much I have learned and been encouraged by my relationships with the WANA (and ROW80) folks. If you want to bring in the New Year right, come join us for a TGI2013 Twitter party today from 5:00-9:00 CST at the #MyWANA hashtag!

Check out Jenny’s post with the details at her blog, More Cowbell.

Learn more about WANA at Kristen’s website from her post, Join the Love Revolution.

And see the current course line-up for WANA International.

Meanwhile, if you’re a WANA, let me know in the comments what this group has meant to you. And if you’re not, ask me anything about WANA, and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

And be sure to pop in tonight at the #MyWANA hashtag for our TGI2013 Twitter party!

Armadillos, Cow Tipping, and Silly Camp Songs

It’s an Amaze-ing Words Wednesday special! I had an interesting comments conversation with Jenny Hansen of the More Cowbell blog on Natalie Hartford’s Life Out Loud blog. Following my comment about the blog post itself…

Jenny Hansen says:

Julie, if they let ME teach Sunday School (and they do), I assure you they will always let you sit in the front row at church.

And do you really see Lone Star beer cans in your roadside armadillos??! That means the road killer would have to stop the car and put said can in the paws of the road killee. Am I the only one who finds that bizarre?

Yep, we had a menagerie of maniacal laughter over here – naked armadillos and Bengal Tigers!

  • Julie Glover says:
    LOL. You know my comment was in good fun, Jenny! :)

    I have seen pics of the armadillo & Lone Star can. It’s a college student prank apparently to find a dead armadillo on the drive home and pay your respects to his drunken demise.

    • Well, we tipped cows at Mizzou, so I guess I can’t make fun of the armadillo stagers. :-)
    • Julie Glover says:
      Do you know the “peel the banana” song that has a cow-tipping verse?
    • No!!! Links? Video? Lyrics…give me something here, girlfriend! Enquiring minds MUST know. :-)
    • Julie Glover says:
      Sending you a link on Twitter. And just for you, Jenny, I’m considering an instructional vlog post to teach this very important musical number. Would you shake your cowbell for me if I did it?
    • OF COURSE I would!!!
  • I am so moving to Texas someday! LOL!!!
    Another victim of
    Crossing the Highway while Intoxicated

    Although I would heartily welcome visitors to my wonderful Lone Star State, I didn’t want you to have to wait to find out what you need to know about armadillos, cow-tipping, and silly worded songs I learned at camp.

    Yes, church camp.

    As you know, I think one of the funnest things we can do with words is use them for humor. Word plays, curious idioms, and funny lyrics pique my interest. Some of you may remember songs with silly words like Little Bunny Foo-Foo or Baby Bumblebee. I don’t recall these from camp, but we did sing the Green Grass Grows All Around and the following diddy I haven’t heard anyone else sing:

    Ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa-wa

    Now we’re from Nairobi
    Our team is the best
    We play the Watoosies
    They’re seven feet tall

    Like cannibals, they’ll eat us
    But they’ll never beat us
    ‘Cause we’re from Nairobi
    And we’re on the ball

    Singin’ ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa-wa

    In fact, when I have sung it as an example, I get strange looks. Doesn’t anyone else know this song? It’s a funny rhyme: eat us/beat us. And who doesn’t like a song with the word “cannibal” in it?

    But that isn’t what I promised here. I promised a silly-worded song with a cow-tipping verse. So without further ado (get out your cowbells, Jenny et al.), here is The Banana Song:

    Do you enjoy silly songs? What are some of your favorite camp lyrics? Please share!