Friday, May 29, 2009

Poetry Friday

Today’s poem is an original by my 9 year old son and me. Justin Matott and Terra are holding a contest on their blogs for a gross food combination poem. See the details at Justin’s blog and Terra’s blog. My son had fun thinking up silly food combos. Anyone want to come over for a sundae?

Here’s our entry:


Slice the banana.
Line up each sprout.
Pour the hot fudge
With a scream and a shout.
Dot it with mustard.
Ploppity plop plop.
Your sundae’s complete
With a cherry on top!

----by Kelly Polark with help from J-Man Polark, age 9

I also have a word puzzle in this month’s issue of Stories for Children magazine titled “Into the Telescope.” Check it out here!
Today’s poetry roundup is at Live, Love, Explore!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fun With Photo Booth

We enjoyed a fun weekend in Iowa with family. My cousin-in-law, Nikki (who is also a new blogger), has a new Mac laptop with a fun program called Photo Booth. There are nine different ways to distort your face and body as you look into the camera/laptop. We had lots of giggles! Here's the family Photo Boothed!

Yes, this is the love of my life.

Better to eat chocolate with, my dear! (I knew I had a big mouth, but this is ridiculous!)

Daddy's girl

My son the cyclops

My youngest is a little mixed up.

My daughter's tongue is seriously almost this long! B is for brawny!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tune for Tuesday/Memorable Memorial Day

17 years ago yesterday I met my husband. We actually attended the same high school and knew of each other (he’s a year ahead of me), but never spoke until that fateful Memorial Day.
It was the summer before my senior year at college (Go Illini!). I went to a local party with my friend, Mary. She told me to go because her boyfriend had a cute friend, Mark, that she wanted to set me up with. My husband decided to go because he thought the girl throwing the party was cute. Mark never showed up to the party, but thankfully my hubby did. My hubby was also friends with Mary’s boyfriend (he was our best man, and hubby was his best man), so we double dated at first. Mark was in our wedding party, too! Mary and hubby’s friend didn’t work out, but I’m glad to say we had an amazing first summer together. We then had a long distance relationship while I finished my last year at college, and he attended grad school. We were engaged less than a year after we met, married two years later. And here we are many moons, three kids, three dogs later. So thank you, Mary, for making me go to that party with you!
The picture above is a page from my college photo album. The top pic is the very first picture taken of my husband and me. Well, second. When we met, hubby had a picture of his friend and him from his junior prom on his mirror. Guess who is right behind them in the picture dancing with her prom date? Yes, me. He had a picture of his future wife on his mirror ever since high school…
The other two pics are from my surprise 21st birthday party. Don’t I look surprised?! (I was!)
Today’s tune is from that summer of 1992. Listen to Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend.” This song makes me smile. It is also featured on Guitar Hero 2.
“I want to love somebody. I hear you need somebody to love. Oh, I want to love somebody. I hear you’re lookin’ for someone to love.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Big Ticks!

Memorial Day weekend is approaching and we usually head up to the northwoods for the long weekend. The last few years that we stayed at my dad's cabin, the ticks were pretty bad. Each time we came in from outside, we'd do a tick check. There was one year I even found a tick in my little guy's diaper! Yikes!
Last year I was in the bedroom of the cabin, and I overhead my 8 (almost 9) year old boy J-Man and 3 year old boy, JD, talking in the family room. My youngest son can't say some words correctly. He says the T sound for the letter K. For example, my name Kelly would be said "Telly." My ears perked up when I heard J-Man instructing JD to repeat after him. J-Man says to his sweet, innocent little brother, "Hey, yell real loud, 'HUGE TICKS.'" So Jack yells (with the T instead of the K) "Huge ti*#!" J-Man continues with his instruction, "Now say 'THE BIGGEST TICKS YOU'VE EVER SEEN!'" So, JD yells, "The biggest ti*# I've ever seen!" It sounded like a frat party in there, so I quickly put a stop to that brother to brother talk.

Now back to ticks. That's ticks with a K. Since it is tick season, here's a few tips in case you do find one of those nasty buggers.

First to try and prevent ticks from latching on:

*Wear light colored clothing so you can see if one is one you.
*Wear long pants tucked into socks.
*Avoid tall grass.
*Wear tick repellent.
*Also, make sure your dogs have tick protection like Frontline. We actually use one called Biospot (from Dr Foster and Smith catalog) that is less harsh on the dogs' skin. It is also cheaper.

If by chance you do find a tick attached to your skin, here's what you can do.
You should try to remove the tick as soon as possible, so you have less of a chance of contracting Lymes disease if it is infected.


*Use blunt curved tweezers or a thread.
*Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with a steady, even pressure.
*Do not twist or jerk the tick because this may cause the mouth parts to detach and remain in the skin.
*You should pull firmly enough to lift up the skin.
Hold this tension for 3 to 4 minutes and the tick will back out.
*DO NOT squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain bacteria. Immediately dispose of the tick. If you have any concerns, put the tick in a plastic bag and freeze it. If you get sick you can take the dead tick with you when you see your provider.
*Immediately wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water.

Instead of the northwoods, we are headed to Iowa this weekend for a fun family weekend. I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend as well!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tune for Tuesday

Today’s Tune for Tuesday is from a band I’ve seen four times in nine months and have never had it featured in my weekly segment here. Dude, what am I thinking?!
Buckcherry is a band formed in 1995 and fronted by Josh Todd. They have had four studio albums. Hits include raunchy songs that I can’t even believe play on the radio, even the edited version (“Crazy B…” and “Too Drunk”). Other hit songs that don’t include the f-bomb are “Rescue Me,” “Sorry,” and my favorite, “Everything.” Their song, “Sorry,” is even on my son’s Kidz Bop CD. I found this funny as their concerts are so not for children (but I quite enjoy them!). There’s even a chipmunk version of this song!
Today’s tune is Buckcherry’s latest single from their Black Butterfly album (it is also my favorite song on this album). Josh’s distinctive vocals sing “Don’t Go Away."

Watch more Black Butterfly videos on AOL Video

Speaking of voice, my fourth grade son brought home a worksheet on creating VOICE in writing. I thought it was very interesting, as I do not remember ever hearing the term “voice” in my grade school years. I was very excited that he was already being exposed to this important element of writing.
Here’s a few tips shared in his classroom (from a teacher resource book called Traits of Good Writing).
Allow the reader to sense a real person
Author’s personality comes through in the writing
Natural rhythm
Write sincerely, with confidence
Convey honesty
Bring the topic to life

There’s more, but I now only have 2/3 of the paper as it has become crumpled and torn after sitting on my desk for a week!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poetry Friday is Here Today!

Welcome one. Welcome all! I am thrilled to host Poetry Friday today. Please leave the link to your website and the title or kind of poem in my comments, and I will post the links throughout the day today!

Last week I thought I posted my original cinquain on Mr. Linky, but I didn't check to see if it worked (and it didn't. Oops, my bad!), so I will post a link to my poem here. So I will be green and recycle my poem today! :)

Sit back, relax, and enjoy these wonderful poetry links this weekend!

Read some original poetry here.
Kelly Fineman has A Word From the Troll.
Gregory at Gottabook has a baseball poem titled A Perfect Game.
Diane Mayr has baseball haiku at random noodlings.
Irene Latham has an original poem titled The Nina Remembers Columbus.
Wild Rose Reader has an original acrostic titled Daybreak.
Lorie Ann Grover has a hats haiku.
Merrial Blackwood is sharing The Incantess of the Dragoness.
Maya Ganesan has an original poem titled somewhere inside.

Read some favorite poems here.
Sherry is sharing a John Donne poem at Semicolon.
Andromeda has a Robert Bly poem at a wrung sponge.
Sarah Rettger shares a Dannie Abse poem at Archimedes Forgets.
Sarah N. has Wordsmith's To A Butterfly.
Janet is sharing In Audubon's Notebook by Gary Margolis.
Kurious Kitty has an early Robert Frost poem today.
Laura Salas is sharing a Kay Ryan "Dew."
Jama has Robert Pinsky's "ABC."
The Write Sisters are sharing Maya Angelou's Caged Bird today.
Bish Denham posted two poems by a mystery poet. Can you guess who?
At Blue Rose Girls, Elaine has poems for her daughter by Margaret Atwood, Naomi Shihab Nye, and James Lenfestey.
Read The Rain by William Henry Davies at Mother Reader.
Violet is sharing Robert Louis Stevenson at bookpress.
Jet has a baseball poem by Lucas Howell today.
Em is sharing Nocturne by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
Miss Erin has a Billy Collins poem titled The Art of Drowning.
Susanwrites is sharing a Nils Peterson poem.
John Mutford has Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
Bri Meets Books is sharing Kenn Nesbit's Don't Bring Camels to the Classroom.
Melissa Wiley has "The Bee" by Emily Dickinson.

Book reviews, stretches and everything else poetry here.
Mary Lee is sharing original rainbow poetry by her fourth graders at A Year of Reading.
Linda has Gary Soto's Partly Cloudy: Poems of Love and Longing.
Enjoy the collection of 15 words or less poems at Laura Salas.
The Stenhouse Blog is sharing a poem by third grade students titled What is Purple?.
Jone is interviewing Andi (cloudscome) today!
Readertotz has Sleep Baby Sleep.
Little Willow has If I Didn't Believe in You lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.
Z-Kids reviewed the book Mommy Poems and has some original Mommy poems by kids.
Anastasia Suen has the Silly Tilly book today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Night at the Rave

As you know, last night I attended a Buckcherry and Chevelle concert. They played at the Rave in Milwaukee. It was my first time at this venue. The Rave is a pretty, older building with different floors with different concerts. I liked the smaller atmosphere of the place as well.
I went with my usual concert buddy (who is also my hubby's aunt), Beth, and our friend, Ginny. It is awesome that Beth loves to go to concerts as much as I do! She is always willing to go with me. Tonight she was extra excited, because she bought a special ticket to have a meet and greet with her favorite band, Buckcherry. The band signed a few items for her, chatted with her a bit, and took their picture with her (see below). She was beyond excited! I was giddy for her, too!
After Beth went to her meet and greet, we secured our positions near the front of the stage. I got to meet Buckcherry's drummer, Xavier, as he was hanging out before the show. Beth remembers everyone, and we buddied up with two members of the band, Silvergun, (she remembered we saw these guys open for Buckcherry the last time we saw them). They were hanging by the stage and gave us the scoop on the bands. Friendly guys. A band called Pop Evil played, then it was time for the bands we came to see.
Chevelle played most of their hits and a new song. We were near the bass speakers, and we could feel every beat reverberate in our body! Chevelle sounded great. My fave song of the night was "Send the Pain Below."
Next was Buckcherry. We were in front row to the left of the stage so enjoyed experiencing the band so close. Colorfully tattooed lead singer, Josh Todd, was energetic and raunchy as usual.PhotobucketPhotobucket We love when he dances, too. My fave songs were "Broken Glass" and "Everything." You can hear a short clip of "Everything" from the concert below.

Another awesome concert night. Next one: 2 1/2 weeks!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tune for Tuesday

So tonight I am attending a concert. Yes, a concert. Very surprising, I know. I am seeing Buckcherry for the fourth time in nine months and Chevelle ( I am seeing them for the second time).
Chevelle was originally a trio of brothers who actually grew up not far from my hometown. The bassist, Joe, left (or was fired depending on which brother speaks of it) the band in 2005 and was replaced with a brother in law. It’s nice they keep it in the family. Chevelle has sold almost 2 millions records and have released four albums. Their fifth album comes out this year. Some past radio hits include “Send the Pain Below,” “The Red,” and “I Get It.”
The last time I saw Chevelle, a celebrity friend of theirs was there. My friend’s sister mentioned that Steve-O was at the concert. So I saw him behind the bar and my friend and I yelled, “Steve-O! Hey Steve-O!” “Steve-O’s” friend asked us if we wanted our picture with him, we replied, “Sure!” See the picture below.
If you are saying to yourself, “Why that doesn’t look like Steve-O!” You are right. It isn’t. It’s Bam Margera (also of Jackass fame and Mtv shows, Viva La Bam and Unholy Union ). My hubby’s 14 year old cousin is a big Bam fan and noticed a certain finger is up in the picture! Hmmmm, I guess he didn’t like being called Steve-O! What’s funny is I really do know the difference between Steve-O and Bam….I’ve seen Jackass AND Bam’s Mtv show! I can't believe such a refined fellow like Bam would flip me off! ;)

Anyway, take a listen to one of my fave Chevelle songs, “Well Enough Alone”. It is rumored that this song is about the brother leaving the band.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Editors Day

On Thursday I received an email from my local SCBWI chapter that Off Campus Writers’ Workshop was hosting an Editors Day about an hour from where I live on Friday. It was only $10, so I scrambled to find a sitter for the next morning.
The editors featured were Wendy McClure from Albert Whitman Publishing (I had just sent a manuscript to her last month, so I primarily went to hear her speak), Sharon Woodhouse from Lake Claremont Press, David Gecic of Puddin’Head Press, and Sarah Lange of The Writer Magazine.
Unfortunately Wendy McClure had gotten her days mixed up and wasn’t present (I was so disappointed!), but I did get some good insights into publishing from the other editors.
Sarah Lange, the Associate Editor of Writer Magazine, gave the following advice about landing assignments at Writer magazine (and other magazines).
Be familiar with the magazine. Read recent issues.
Read Editor’s notes.
Read staff blogs.
Read and follow submission guidelines.
Don’t query on a topic recently done.
Write a compelling query.
-Get idea across quickly.
-Have an intriguing hook.
- State benefits of the article for the reader.
-Give a brief bio and include notable publishing credits
-Offer to send clips of previously published articles
Be willing to revise

Sharon Woodhouse, who happened to be a friend of my sister’s, spoke next. She was very friendly and approachable. Lake Claremont Press publishes nonfiction books about Chicago. She mentioned that out of 500 proposals she receives a year, only 30 are competitive, and they choose about 8 a year to publish. She stated that she receives so many proposals or manuscripts that is not related to what their company publishes. This is obviously a waste of time for the author and the publisher. Remember to do your homework about each publisher when sending out your manuscripts.
Dave Gecic started Puddin’Head Books in 1985. They publish 3-4 poetry books for adults a year. He said that he is looking for active poets that are willing to read their poetry publicly and are active in other journals, magazines, chapbooks. He is looking for collections that are narrative and descriptive, but no haiku collections.

REMNDER: Postage stamps go up today!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Poetry Friday

My favorite types of poems are witty, lighthearted, and humorous. I usually write poems that rhyme or are a little zany, but sometimes writing personal poetry is therapeutic for me.
Today’s poem stems from my personal experience with my child. My daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy almost three years ago. She would have seizures occasionally during the night and is currently on anticonvulsant medication. These episodes affected me greatly. It is horrific to see your child in convulsions and so out of control like that. Also, since it was during the night, I would constantly check on her and rarely slept. I do have a baby monitor on every night still so I can listen if she has a seizure. I am thankful that they are during the night though so my husband and I can deal with it alone, and she is safe in her bed during them. She doesn’t remember them, so I am also glad that other than taking medicine, she is not affected too much by it. Even better news, she has not had a seizure in almost a year!
Anyway, this intro is way longer than the actual poem I am sharing today. My cinquain is below. Anastasia Suen is hosting Poetry Friday today at Picture Book of the Day . Next week it's here! Being a mom is the best thing I've ever done, I hope all you moms have a fabulous Mother's Day!

I gasp.
Grabs her body with force.
Her eyes look vacant. Mine scream in

---Kelly Polark

NaPiBoWriWee Update
My 7 Picture Books in 7 Days challenge has come and gone. Unfortunately I had an extremely busy week and did not even finish ONE picture book. I did however write 10 poems for my newest poetry collection and wrote a few pages of another picture book idea. I am glad I participated, because I would have gotten ZERO picture book writing done this week if I didn’t have that goal. So YAY to Paula Yoo for challenging me and so many others, and YAY me for getting some writing done during this crazy week!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tune For Tuesday

Today's Tune for Tuesday is from an artist I heard live on Sunday. Yep, Vince Neil. I've seen Vince Neil solo live four times and Motley Crue four times in the last six years. Yes, I am a fan. Here's a few 10 second clips of Vince singing on Sunday. Today's tune is one of those songs, "Kickstart My Heart.' Here's a link to the music video, "Kickstart My Heart."
Kickstart My Heart

Girls, Girls, Girls
During this song, Vince came over to the side stage and put out the microphone for me and a friend to sing a part. When my now 9 year old son was 2, he loved this song because it mentioned Halloween, his favorite holiday ("Trick or Treat, sweet to eat. On Halloween and New Year's Eve"). Though when he got a little older I didn't listen to this song with him...I don't want him asking about where Tattletales and Seventh Veil and the rest of the strip club names are (or what they are for that matter!). Though it was pretty funny seeing a 2 year old boy belt out the words "Girls, girls, girls."

Kickstart My Heart is one of my ringtones on my cell phone, specifically when my mom calls. It's her favorite Crue song, and she's been to four of those previously mentioned eight concerts with me. Other ringtones on my cell phone include "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N Roses (just the beginning guitar riff), "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crue (when I get a call from home), "Attack" by 30 Seconds to Mars, and "Fergilicious" by Fergie (that comes on when my husband calls from his cell. I just thought it would be a funny ring when he calls!). My main ringtone is my all time favorite guitar riff from "Unholy Confessions" by Avenged Sevenfold. What is your ringtone?

Thank you to Debra Schubert for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award yesterday! Thank you, lovely Debra! I enjoyed reading your descriptions of the other bloggers, plus I checked some of them out already!
The Lovely Rules
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Debra cut that down to 10, and I'm cutting it down to 5 (because I'm lazier than her). Honestly I visit SO many truly lovely blogs, here's just five of them.
1. Adrienne at The Story Board not only tells funny stories, but her illustrations are lovely, too.
2. Sherrie at Solvang Sherrie is lovely inside and out. Did you know she participated in the 29 Days of Giving?
3. Christy at Christy's Creative Space deserves a lovely month of May after her rough April!
4. Sam at SL Hastings just went blonder (very lovely new shade, Sam). Plus her snarkiness makes me giggle.
5. Kim Kasch always reminds me to make the world a lovelier place with her Earth Friendly Fridays.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Today I spent the day at a huge motorcycle rally called the Ironhorse Roundup. My sister owns a women's motorcycle apparel business called VaVaVroom, so my mom and I helped her sell her cool stuff in a booth at the event. If you want to check out her online site click here, or you can visit her blog here.
I don't ride a motorcycle (I'm Cautious Kel), but my sister does (she's much more adventurous than I am). She turned her passion into a business. The event was packed with motorcycles and people. There was a moto cross show throughout the day. We were astounded by the tricks these brave fools could do. Here's a pic!
Bands played throughout the day. Vince Neil, the lead singer of Motley Crue, even sang for the crowd. I bailed on my sister's booth so I could rock out to some of my favorite songs. Her booth was close to the stage, so a nice fella let me into the side stage to watch close up. Here's Vince minus the Crue. If you remember the 80's band, Slaughter, they were his bandmates for this gig.
A fun day spent with family (and thousands of strangers).
Here's me with my sister and our mom!


NaPiBoWriWee Update: I am not progressing very far in my picture book writing with my busy weekend. I did start a poetry book and have about 1/3 done, so I did accomplish something. I think it will be pretty tough to achieve the goal of seven books in seven days. But I will still try. It's a good motivator!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Poetry Friday

I thought I would continue the dance theme of this week and share a dance poem. If you missed my Dancing to 12 songs in 12 Locations, see it here!
I do love to dance, and so do kids. I remembered writing a dance poem a few years back, so I reached into my archives (my used spiral notebooks) until I found this one. (And yes, we really do have a family dance party occasionally!).
Poetry Roundup is at allegro today!


On a rainy day
With nothing to do,
My mom and dad-
They tried something new.

Dad turned on some tunes.
Turned it up a mile.
Mom wiggled her hips
With an impish smile.

She grabbed my hand
And gave me a twirl.
Then Dad swung around
Our baby girl.

We crumped, we bumped.
We danced the slide.
We popped and locked,
Swayed side to side.

It’s such a blast!
We dance every week.
But I close the curtains,
So my friends can’t peek!

-----Kelly Polark

Today is the first day of National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee)! I am participating even with the already busy week ahead of me.
The basic rules? Write 7 complete and separate picture books in one week. Each picture book must have a clear beginning, middle, and end. There is no required minimum word count because picture book lengths can vary from 50 words to 2000 words, depending on the genre. Do you want to do this with me? Register now with Post your progress on your site each day.
I have nine ideas so will just start writing (revisions will come later)! Wish me luck!