Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #arizona

Moore Zombies: Gimme Noodle! and Moore Zombies: Blood Moon

Hello, All!

I have been working really hard on a picture book and a couple of new chapter books for Moore Zombies.  With the time it takes to have a picture book illustrated, Moore Zombies: Gimme Noodle! has just been published, and my first chapter book, Moore Zombies: Blood Moon was published immediately after.  Another chapter book is soon to be done.  I am thrilled to introduce this series of Moore Zombies chapter books.  Being able to develop the characters, including back stories, and furthering their personalities is very exciting.

As for Gimme Noodle!, I hope all will enjoy a slightly twisted tale, but I don’t want to spoil it.  I hope it provides plenty of bonding moments between kids and their parents as they read together in bed.  I truly miss those times, as my children are now teens.  Older kids will be able to read it on their own.

Moore Zombies: Blood Moon is the first chapter book in a series of many more to come.  The book is fun fiction, but includes the facts.  I was inspired to write this book after having the wonderful experience of watching my first blood moon with my son last year.  I wish I had taken video.  The last total lunar eclipse we watched this year was not a blood moon.  I did take video, but the moon was so dark you couldn’t even see it.  It did look beautiful once it came out of eclipse, but then it quickly disappeared behind the hill we live next to.

I challenge all of you to take pictures of the next total lunar eclipse and post it on the Moore Zombies facebook page.  I hope it will be a blood moon.

What Did You Do With Your Christmas Tree and Did It Involve The Fire Department?

So there we were.  Post Christmas and what to do with the Christmas Tree.  I have to tell you that when we first get the tree I am really good with watering it.  I am always amazed at how much water a Christmas tree can drink in the first few days, but as time goes by, it drinks less and less, until there is no loss in water in base at all.  The needles go from soft and pliable to bone dry and brittle.

My husband has numerous stories of burning a Christmas tree and convinces me that it goes quickly and that is an amazing sight.  For some reason, after numerous year of marriage, he decides we will burn the Christmas tree in the yard this year.  Yes, we have a big yard.  No, I have never seen a Christmas tree burn before.

So we happen to have this weird, old, wood burning stove thing with a vent in the top that has been outside since we bought our house.  My husband places the Christmas tree into the vent hole, so now the base of the tree is about four feet off the ground.  Please add 6 feet for the Christmas tree just to adjust your visual picture of this situation.

The old, bald guy takes a match to tree.  Oh my, wow, holy moly.  I watch as the fire catches quickly and burns up one side of the tree, crackling and popping as it goes.  Once the flame reached the top of tree, a HUGE fireball rolled off and went up, up, up, I swear maybe twenty to thirty feet.  Small cinders and ashes are raining down on our immediate neighbor’s home to the north, where the wind took it.  My husband had the forethought of having a hose ready and starts spraying the tree with water.  I’m thinking this is not good, this is dangerous, I’m sure that neighbor would not appreciate this.  Did I mention that we were new to the neighborhood?

So my hubby is putting out the fire, and doing a good job, except I’m still concerned about all the little cinders possibly igniting a fire in the aforesaid neighbor’s yard.  Hubby assures me he is looking around at the neighbor’s yard and making sure that nothing will happen, with hose in hand.  A little time passes, and he is sure all is well, so now it is time to continue with burning the other side of the tree.  Yes, one side of the tree actually did not burn and it is time to finish the job.

Next thing we know, we hear a siren.  I am sure it is for us.  I tell my husband I hope you know that siren is for us.  He blows me off like I am an idiot, a complete idiot.   It is a coincidence.  The neighbors to the west pop up in their upstairs window and yell to us – you scared the heck out of us, we saw the huge fireball and thought your house was on fire.  So then, of course, another siren is heard.  My husband starts to put two and two together while the neighbors do the same and yell with amusement at our expense “here comes the Fire Department!”  And even then, we hear a third siren.

My husband goes into defense mode and says “let’s go inside.  Turn off the lights!!!”  We see a fire engine going down the next street, slowly as if looking for something.  I explain to him that they are most definitely looking for us and we should come clean because every single neighbor will point to our house and then we look really bad.

So at this point there is a fire engine coming slowly down our street and hubby realizes he needs to fess up and goes out to greet them.  He tells them he lit the Christmas tree on fire.  Their first question is did we have a permit?  This question is actually a rouse, because where we live there is no such thing as an after dark fire permit.  (We learned this afterwards.)  My husband apologizes and asks if he is going to be the idiot in tomorrow’s newspaper.  They assure him that he will not, as long as he does not continue with the stupidity.  Now, we live in a small town, or at least it was at the time, so I am kind of surprised that a 3 engine response did not gain the press that it should have.

I have fond memories of the half burned Christmas tree that sat in our yard for months.  Our town now has a wonderful recycling program for Christmas trees which we take advantage of every year, perhaps brought on by pyromaniacs like us.  It was an interesting way to meet some of our new neighbors.  And I hate to say, I would like to see, some day,  what it would have looked like if the whole tree had gone up!!!

Children’s Field Trip to Prescott Courthouse With Photo Op of Chain Gang

I’d like to share a funny, but true story, with everyone.  I went on a field trip with my son’s 3rd grade class (this was many years ago) to the Prescott Courthouse.  The Prescott Courthouse resides on historical Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott, and has a rich history.  Maybe some of you know that Prescott used to be the capital of Arizona.

We entered the courthouse, made our way through security and entered an official courtroom.  We sat and waited quite some time for a judge to come address us, however, he was too busy and eventually one of the clerks started rattling off information.  The room was very loud and it was explained that this courtroom at one point had been soundproofed, but had been painted over, not realizing that the soundproofing would be ruined.  The weird looking metal racks on each chair – did anybody have a guess as to what those were for?  No we didn’t.  We were told they were hat racks used by cowboys.  Odd. . .

The children were incredibly giddy and the clerk allowed them full range of the room, including the use of the gavel and the microphone.  They really had a lot of fun.  A lot of us moms noticed all the pictures of the previous judges going back decades were all men, except for one woman, and that her picture frame was noticeably smaller than all the others.  We were sure this was some form of chauvinism and inquired about it.  The clerk informed us that the judges pick their own picture frames and therefore picture sizes, including this more recent woman judge.  So much for our theory. . .

Next we moved outside to the large courtyard, which completely surrounds the courthouse.  There are many statues with plaques full of interesting historical information.  The children were all given a sheet of questions which they were supposed to answer by moving around the grounds and reading said plaques.  I was placed in charge of approximately ten children and we were just making our way to the back of the building when 2 large white vans pulled up.  The next thing I know there are numerous people wearing bright orange jump suits leaving the van and making their way to a back door.  There are men and women, shackled to each other by means of ankle chains, and each had handcuffs in front.  I can’t recall what their jumpsuits said in bold letters, but I believe it was “Detainees” or “Awaiting Arraignment” or something to that effect.  Guards were about, with their guns at the ready, and of course they were wearing the requisite sunglasses.

This all happened so quickly that before I could barely assess the situation, I heard some of the kids yell “Oh, look” and they ran straight toward the “detainees” and started taking pictures.   Now some of these people looked very hardened, while others looked horribly downtrodden.  Perhaps they hadn’t showered in weeks.  I saw sullen looks, embarrassed looks, and eyes-with-daggers looks.  I yelled, “Hey kids, No!!  Come back!”  It was a sight they obviously had never seen before (nor had I, but I would have preferred to watch from afar).  I explained to the children that this was probably horribly embarrassing for these people to be paraded in public, even if only for 20 yards, and that I’m sure they didn’t appreciate the additional humiliation of being photographed by excited little children as if they were in a zoo pen. I didn’t discuss the questionable judgment of running towards hardened criminals, or running towards armed guards.  Hopefully they’ll learn that on another field trip.