What We Do When We’re Not Scooting

It’s hard to believe but Scoot a Doot has been in existence since 2013! When we aren’t Scooting our Doots, we can be found putting our time and effort toward other notable endeavors. Like what, you ask? Well…

A few years ago I got involved with the Bullock Children’s Garden at my younger son’s school. We have since moved to a different school district but remain involved with the Bullock Garden, as it’s something that is near and dear to my heart.

Therefore when my friend and gardening mentor, Sonya Harris started the Bullock Garden Project, Inc., a non-profit that assists in bringing gardens to schools, I was 100% on board. In fact, we just helped the new school my son is in with their Reimagination Garden. I absolutely love being on the board of the BGP and helping with the social media/marketing aspects. It’s not only personally enjoyable, it’s also rewarding to see the kids getting so much from the gardens that they help create.

My children during the recent garden build. At this point they’re just like – what has mom signed us up for now? Ha!

I’ve been asked (by more than one person) if I’m a teacher. Maybe it’s because many of my friends are teachers? Anyway, no, I’m not.

At least, not in the traditional sense. I used to teach Stroller Strides, which was a workout class for moms with kiddos in strollers. These days, I’m the coordinator for the non-profit Healthy Kids Running Series – Mullica Hill/Mantua.

It’s perfect because it combines two things that I love: running and kids. Oh, and being in charge. The Healthy Kids Running Series is something I’d heard about over the years (my location started in 2015 with different coordinators).

When I took over as coordinator for this spring, it became a family affair. It is not a one-person show and I have no delusions that I could do it alone. My support system consists of my family and an awesome group of volunteers and sponsors – and that’s important when you have over 250 kids to manage!

Planning for the fall has already begun and I’m looking forward to introducing more kids to the love of running!

I started a personal blog when I turned thirty. I wrote about life, teaching, books, and my new found running obsession. When I started writing for Scoot, I turned it into a blog about teaching. There’s always plenty to say about the best job ever. My feelings are all over thisgirlashteaches.blospot.com.

I also grew from that blog been writing and rambling about books for about three years. I’ve always loved to read and I also love to talk about books. I could talk about books all day. Of course, not everyone wants to hear me wax poetic about what I’m reading, so I started typing is all up. You can find my randomness at www.thisgirlashreadsstuff.com. As you can see, I’m really serious about it.

For my birthday this month, I decided to fundraise for Planned Parenthood. PP is doing work that so many women (and men) in our country depend on for their overall health. They provide safe access to abortion services as well as birth control, STI/STD screenings, cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, and treatment for a number of other health issues.

The Trump Administration is working hard to take access to this healthcare away from us. With a new gag rule, he and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar are now trying to make it official government policy. The gag rule is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights. Period. The new gag-rule announced this week would block patients from care at Planned Parenthood, and it would prohibit medical providers across the country from being able to refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.Women must be able to have agency over their bodies and be able to control their own health. We don’t live in Gilead… yet. Let’s keep fighting to make sure we never do.
Parkland. Santa Fe. Las Vegas. Newtown. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Thurston. 
This list goes on and on and on. Add these to the growing number of black men and women that have been unlawfully killed by police? It’s evident we have a gun violence problem in our country. I’m ready to change that. Don’t at me. 
For years, my main hobby was showing dogs and educating folks about responsible dog ownership and ethical breeding. It was a fun ride, but as my dogs aged and my hubby and I got sick and tired of the politics of showing, we retired and stepped away from our officer roles with the Rocky Mountain Pug Dog Club. It was time to try new things.

Me and my Archie, CH Palace’s Brocade in Blue, raking in the points!

Honestly, 97% of my time these days is dedicated to finishing my house. The other three percent is reserved for pursuing my dream of becoming a published author, and leading the writing critique group I co-founded, Tall Pines Fiction Writers. We meet every other Wednesday to support, commiserate, and provide feedback on one another’s work. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I love reading and excelled in English and literature classes in school but never tried to write fiction. My boyfriend (now husband) kept telling me I should write because I love to read. He didn’t really get that the two are not the same thing at all.

In 2009, I decided to write a short story for a contest online. I sent it off, nervous because I knew my technical skills needed a lot of work.  With the help of a great editor who became one of my best friends, I won the canon category of the contest! Yes, it was a Twilight fan fiction story. Judge me all you want, I regret nothing. It sounds silly, but winning that contest changed my life. It taught me that maybe I had what it took to really be a writer. Since then, I’ve published two short stories!

There is nothing quite so special as seeing your name in print in a real book that wasn’t published by your friend’s indie publishing house.

Right now, I’m focused on finishing the first draft of my young adult paranormal sci-fi novel, and trying to learn about the publishing business. I launched a website earlier this year,  Author J.L. Perez, where you can follow along on my crazy writing adventure, and I’m on Twitter at @Author_JLPerez. I’d love to see you over there!
That’s what we’ve got going on these days! We’d love to hear about what you are up to so please, leave links for us in the comments and we’ll swing by. 

What the heck is a NanoWrimo, anyway?

It comes from the Latin Nano, meaning project, and Wrimo, meaning for crazy people who can’t accept that their life is already too busy, especially during November, and decide they are going to write a novel.

I may be paraphrasing a bit.

NanoWrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a creative writing challenge, where lunatic writerly types sign up and try to write 50,000 words between 11/1 @ 12:00AM and 11/30 @ 11:59PM.

In case you didn’t know, I am one of those lunatic writerly types. Most of us around these parts are, in one fashion or another. I mean, we write posts about running, and cooking, and not running, but we write about other things too.

I’ve already ‘won’ Nano once. In 2011, I did the (previously) unthinkable and wrote 50,000 words of a novel. A really crappy, unbearably angsty, wreck of a young adult novel that will never see the light of day. Ever.

But still, it was a novel, or the very rough start of one, anyway. And while the book itself was mostly drivel, the experience was pretty awesome. I felt like a real writer. I’ve written as long as I can remember. There have been dry spells (the last 3.5ish years) and not-so-dry spells (2009-2010). But I’m always a writer, so whether I’m writing or not at any given moment, writing is part of who I am.

I look at the world through writer’s eyes. When I see a couple sitting on a park bench, faces terse, voices hushed and angry, and one of them stalks off, I want to know their story. I want to know what led them there, and what happens next. And since they are strangers, and I’ll never know, I want to tell their story. I want to give them the happy ending I don’t know if they’ll have. Because I’m a writer.

And also, clearly, a romantic. So, what am I going to write? ROMANCE, of course! I love love. A lot.

Working title: Rooftops and Carparks

Synopsis: Boy meets girl on a rooftop. He falls in love, she falls asleep. And then some other stuff happens, some of which is adult, and some of which is very childish, because most of us never grow all the way up, not really anyway.

I have a rough idea, but it’s been kicking around in my head for a while, so it’s pretty well formed. I have no outline, but I’ve still got… holy moly, I need to get on that. Or not. Sometimes it’s good to work without a net.

So, if you need me for the next month, I’ll be in my dining room, muttering to myself about stupid characters that don’t want to do what I want them to do. And I’ll be writing. Around 1700 words a day, give or take.

If, in addition to reading rambly blog posts, you are also one of those lunatic writerly types, and you sometimes like to not sleep, and you think the month in which Thanksgiving falls is the perfect month to make your life complete chaos, you should join me! (It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s actually a lot of fun. Don’t rub that in my face on day 20, when I’m 8,000 words behind and crying, please).

This post is not remotely related to diet or exercise. My diet for the next month will involve a lot of coffee, and a fair amount of sugar. Exercise will include long walks to the fridge. Basically, I’m not sweating it. Or sweating at all. Sometimes, you have to feed your soul a little. And mine likes words.

And pie.

Do you write? Do you think Bec is insane? Do you think you maybe want to get insane with her? DO IT.