Holiday Imagination Gone Wild

images_074This begins the time of the year for holidays, shopping, family get-together, and the rush of trying to get everything done on schedule. NO… this is the time you need to let your imagination off the leash and go wild with your thoughts. The calendars, advertisements, the push to get everything just so, and the list can go on and on, but what would happen if?????

Start looking at ‘FALL’ as a holiday time. remember when you picked up leaves for a project and then noticed how different they all looked? Go for it again and create your new Fall Holiday. Put leaves in baskets, in vases, or scattered across the dining room table, or any table, while your disc player oozes “Autumn Leaves.”

What about Thanksgiving? Scout odd places and look for turkeys. Forget the lives ones for now, rather pictures of all sizes of these birds.  You can attach them to cardboard and place them in your home. Not just the entry way, but in different rooms. Now, the fun begins. What a sight for visitors when they come over. You can even find the bigger plastic eggs (turkey eggs) and add them to the scenes.

Take a walk outside in a park or wooded area and find your own Holiday Center Piece. You will bring so many goodies home and then the fun starts. Your creative side is excited and you can design each room with a different look. A great way for the whole family to get involved, and you’ll never know what each member can find or do to make part of this their own.

Holiday Cards need to get addressed, with a note or two, and mailed. Your imagination starts working on the wild side and you find cards from different places. How about “Save the Elephants, or Pet Rescue Organizations, and you can find many more while your thoughts are in high gear. Not only will you be helping with donations, but you might spark the incentive to adopt a pet. Instead of writing a note, put a paw print on the card for your signature, or maybe one for each of the family.

A big balloon Santa in your hallway, a tree hung from the ceiling (yes, upside down) and decorated with the gifts piled under, will be a big surprise. Then include a “Thankful” box and have pen and paper ready for each visitor or family member to write their own note of thanks.

Let this Holiday Season become alive and have fun. Share your imagination and you’ll have the best of the best.

pictures-mm-2016

HAPPY WRITING.

HAPPY YOU.

HAPPY HOLIDAY IMAGINATION.

BACK TO BUSINESS

ASAPDoes this look familiar? For me, too familiar. With the merry-go-round of the holidays, parties, great food, fun with family, fun with friends, we know the end is in sight. The ‘old’ man slipped away and the ‘new’ kid came on the block to the tune of 2014. So, we go to the let down month of January. Getting back into the routine of work, work, a little play, and more work.

Don’t know about all of you but the 2013 TAX SEASON is knocking on our doors. My snail mail box fills up with notices of year-end statements and my email box produces almost the same information. Information about taxes and all the other stuff that needs to be organized and sorted. I keep good records during the year, but have to go through and catch my mistakes. My computer runs hot, my printer low on ink, and my paper supply becomes unavailable.

Still, the thoughts of ‘what if’ pound inside my head. I try to read all the changes and decide I need to be an attorney to get to the bottom of a simple change. Guess everyone has to get paid for writing thousands of words to change a sentence. As writers, we are up on all of this and could delete hundreds of pages by marking through all the adverbs and adjectives. I wonder if they know about our writing rule: make every word count. Guess not.

The attendance in my SilverSneakers class is great. Just about the same as in past months. Some new seniors are coming in to check out what goes on, and some of the regulars are returning from vacations, holidays with families in other parts of the county. I welcome them all. This is the time of the year when gym memberships go sky-high. The New Year’s Resolutions of getting fit, healthy  and shedding the unwanted pounds hit home. The cycle goes strong until around March, and then the newness wears off. They forget these exercises are for a lifetime of fitness and health.

I woke up one morning to a minus 6 degrees and the thought of curling up in bed ran through my mind. But with a cup of hot coffee, or two, warm gym clothes, and  a long wool coat, I was ready to hit the road. Not yet. The driver’s side of my car was frozen solid. The thought of a hair dryer popped into my head. Sure, where is mine? Back in my warm home. As I looked around, I found no electrical outlet. You can tell it’s been a while for this type of catastrophe. So, decided to try the passenger side. After a few easy, short pulls on the handle, I entered the passenger seat through a small crack. From there, I crawled over the console and in to the driver’s seat.

My car may be ‘o-l-d,’ don’t want to say this word out loud as she gets hurt feelings, but one turn of the key and her motor purred. Guess she wanted to warm up too. I have a good relationship with my car, but we’ll make that for another time.

On the way to work, snow flurries hit the windshield and slid down in a melted position. Nothing stuck to the pavement or side roads.However, north of Atlanta people sent beautiful pics into television stations of snow piled high. I’m glad to live where we get a taste of this, not a plateful, and it leaves in a hurry.

Now, we should be ready for all the new ideas, plans and hopes for the 2014 year. May they all come to fruition for you, and do not forget to share your happiness with others.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Patricia

COFFEE TIME IN 2014

Two friendsIt’s been a wild ride in 2013, but we always look forward to a new year and new beginnings. Edna looked at Ethel, “Let’s sit and chat with Patricia for a while. She may have some new ideas.”

Welcome to 2014. We need to take it easy this afternoon. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage and look at all the opportunities ahead. Are you ready for new experiences, new friends, visiting new places or just hanging out? When a new year arrives, are you one to jump forward with gusto? Or do you feel overwhelmed, lost or unsure. With so many pages in our calendar or planner, without events listed, the white spaces scare and confuse us.

Relax. Sometimes this is harder to do than the word says. Yeah, we all know what it means, but I decided to expound and looked up some of the other words. Relax is the same as being at ease, slowing down, softening an attitude, a slight pause, amusing oneself, and then I stopped. Amuse myself to relax? How do you feel when you grab a book and get involved with the characters? You can forget your worries and let the book characters do the worrying. You do not have to take on any responsibility for their ups and downs. Some people get lost in their hobbies. When they do something they love, the world turns without their help.

This is your year to keep your minds sharp and upbeat. Do not rule out quizz shows on television or a walk with a friend. When was the last time you played a game of Solitaire, whether with cards at a table or on your computer? The next time you feel uptight, play a game of Scrabble, fill in a Crossword Puzzle, or try to put a puzzle together, and not the little kind? Better yet, put the stereo or radio on to some great listening music and play a game with me–The Dust Bunny Race. This game forces you to sit and relax, okay amuse yourselves. Watch the Bust Bunnies scurry across the floor, under furniture, behind furniture, in corners, or wherever they go, and bet on which one will hide the longest. This game shows you have more and important areas to attend to, instead of cleaning up, all the time.

Make each day count for you and for others. Giving is a great relaxer when the receiving person smiles and says, “Thank you.”

Now, go and enjoy 2014 with all its surprises and adventures. “Thanks for sitting with me, Edna and Ethel. You have become great friends.”

THANKSGIVING DAY IS HERE

images_006I got up early to see the weather and saw only tents lined up around shopping center stores. I do not own a tent, would not know how to put one together, but the thought occurred — rent one out. Bet there would have been plenty of takers for the same ad.

This got me to thinking about “Black Friday,” and I did some research, as the photo suggests, except I used a keyboard and the Web. Here is a little history. The term, “Black Friday,” started back in the 1960’s as a kickoff to the Christmas Shopping Season. Sure, most of us know this, but black also refers to the stores moving from the “red” to the “black.” For some of you accountants out there, remember the balance sheets, income statements, and the old red and black pens? Red indicates a loss and black a profit.

Another thing I found out ….the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924, announcing the Friday after Thanksgiving as the unofficial start to a big holiday shopping season. Back in the 1960’s, police in Philadelphia had to put up with congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, a “Black Friday” for them. And way, way back in 1869, the stock market collapsed and stocks fell, set off by gold spectators.

All of this information is paraphrased from THE HISTORY OF BLACK FRIDAY on-line. This will have to be revised as they mention retailers opening up on Black Friday at 5 am to crowds waiting. Now, you’d better have Thanksgiving BREAKFAST as the stores open even on this treasured day.

Guess you could say, I am not a shopper. An article on television news, stated the shopping experience(s) give the shopper an endorphin high. The bustle of crowds, the rustle of paper, and the number of bags you can carry, get shoppers in a good mood. I enjoy purchasing presents for my friends, but at odd hours, less shoppers, time to think, and look at the special gift for a special friend.

Tonight, in Atlanta, is the lighting of Macy’s Christmas tree. The rain will hold off, the cold weather will not, but when crowds gather for entertainment and fireworks, kids and adults forget the cold and feel only the excitement.

May all your favorite football teams win; may the turkey be there for that last sandwich; may you and your family share a special time; may you know I wanted to remember all of you readers and share a few moments on this Thanksgiving Day, 2013.

Happy Eating. Happy Snacking.

WHERE’S THANKSGIVING?

Two friendsThis question has plagued me since Halloween. Yes, Halloween. I was in a small store and aisle after aisle had lantern, pumpkins, witch’s wands, scary masks all over. Each shelf stacked with costumes, candy, and bags to hold all the treasures from Hallow Night. Then, in another aisle, all the red and green of Christmas. Trees, ornaments, special Santa Clause figures, the big sound of HO! HO! HO! I searched and searched for a Pilgrim, a turkey, the fall colors of dried leaves. Nothing. The one thing I did find–announcements of Black Friday Sales.

My friends and I, along with the two in the picture, think of Thanksgiving as a special time and a special day. The kitchen warm with scrupulous smells slipping out of the oven door. The aroma of cinnamon spice in sweet potatoes and pumpkin pies. People congregated around the kitchen counter. Kids running through the house. More people arriving, and the television emitting yells and groans of football games

The big table, in the dining room area, set with the good plates and glasses. The silverware shined and wrapped in cloth napkins. Families impatient for the big turkey to fill the middle of the table or toward the end, where a chosen member would be the one to make the first slice. All the hard work of preparing the meal forgotten with the first bite, and happy, relaxed family members enjoying each others company. Kids graduated from the card table to the ‘big’ table as they grew in age and manners.

More football followed by manly snores filling the den. The women taking their time to clean up and leaving enough out for sandwiches and snacks. No one mentioned racing to the stores for shopping. The long day remembered in a special way for everyone. A day to be thankful for each other, the happy, healthy children, and the blessings of the day and the year ahead. There are times when being  with family is next to impossible. A phone call keeps everyone close and friends are the blessings of a family extension.

This year, look around your table at all your blessings: family, friends, and even strangers. Share your Thanksgiving memories to others and listen to their memories. We need to be thankful all year-long, but sometimes life gets in the way. This is one day we can STOP…LOOK…LISTEN.

Where’s Thanksgiving? In your heart, and remember to listen to your heartbeats each and every night. This way, you have Thanksgiving all year-long.

Many blessings to all the readers, followers, and everyone new.

Patricia

A BASEMENT WRITING RETREAT

critique partnersI guess I’m a little behind times. I have not been across the world, or in Paris. In fact, I have not been outside of the United States, but I do have memories.

We own an old home with detours, unknown stairs, almost like a dungeon without the danger. My writing retreat started before anyone in our group thought about a get-together. I’ve been going to the basement for a long time. This gave me space and quiet for all my writing. Yet, I missed other writers and input.

When the two friends showed up without an invite, I thought this was an omen for all of us. These ladies didn’t give an explanation of where they came from, but just showed up when we needed them.

Strange? Not at all. We are writers and can conjure up our characters anytime we want. Sometimes they are what we need and other times what we least expect. I felt  comfortable with these “real” characters in our circle and knew we had a lot to learn.

Everyone came on the stated date, except the two friends. We missed them, but had no idea where to look or call. So, I took our group down the stairs to my basement. I did hear a few intakes of breaths, but this happens on the trip down. “This, my writer friends, is my writing retreat.”

“My husband decided I should have a quiet space to write and not hear all the complaints from him or our kids. He supported me. Look around and you will not see pictures or events from foreign lands, but all these pictures are from our trips to the Colorado mountains. We made these a part of our family trips.” Everyone stared at the enormous black and white photos. Her whole family surrounded the space in breathtaking shots.

“I’m not certain where the two ladies came from, but I hope they return. I have created a cave-like of appearance with the Colorado Rockies in full view. Now, when we begin to read, maybe we will have more questions. I like the idea of reading and responding. I want to get your viewpoints and then make up my own mind if they fit. We’ve known each other for a long time, and maybe these other friends can give us so new feedback, when they return.”

Two hours passed with new thoughts, ideas, and great questions. “Now for the snacks. Please enjoy some mountain trout on crackers, cold salmon and some Absolute in a glass with ice from a mountain stream. Enjoy.”

“Hey, ladies of our imagination and new insights, any suggestions for my turn next week?”

“Surprise us.”

May all of you have expectations and your writing improve with unknown happenings.

WHERE DID THE TIME GO?

Two friends

Hey all of you. We’re back and we’d also like to know where did the time go? We’ve been around for quite a  while and one day we could do the high step to any song. Now we low step to the slower paced music.  Let’s give you some of our own thoughts on the juggle of time.

When you are young, time has no meaning. The younger you are the more you want time to hit the fast track. Then, in your young adult years, you still want time to push ahead and forget to see what goes on around you and with others. In your middle-age years, time becomes a friend and a foe.  A friend in which you can stop, do nothing, catch up on old friends, be yourself. A foe, by which you judge how many years you might have left. In old-age — well look at us. Time has lost its importance and we can now be with our friends, no make-up, no one to say….it’s time…..but never for what. We can be silly, laugh hard, with enough Depends, and enjoy the whole world, smell all the flowers along the sidewalks we want to.

We have also looked at the other side of time and want to share some points with you. So you are a writer and writers need to have lots of time to dream, juggle opportunities, try out new ideas and just when you settle down to do all of this non-writing and psychic yourself to another level — you notice the laundry to get done, the checkbook to balance, the organizing of your bookshelves. All of these outside tasks haunt you. Let them go and go and go. They will always be around, but your new force of energy and thoughts may not. So go with the force of energy. Get your words down, pronto. Do not even think about household chores. Go grab the words out of your head and throw them on the paper or screen. (Note: a pen or fingers on the keyboard.

There may be days when the words fly from your head to your fingers and you cannot miss one second. You are a writer and words are what you need. New words, old words, made-up words, this doesn’t matter as long as they fill the page and the thoughts you have for your new material. In other words, we call this ‘going with the seat of your pants on fire.’

Look at all the things around you. Yeah, things in your home. Can you remember where or when you got this or that? Listen to your children bickering or singing and wonder where they picked up the song or the words they should not use. Yee – gods. Yep you have the beginning of a new character out of listening to chatter.

Ever wonder where you got the energy and the enthusiasm for a scene? Do not wonder. Do not worry. Grab the feel, the sensation, the terrifying moment, and run, do not walk, your fingers to the paper or keyboard. Strike while the flame is hot and you will surprise yourself.

Forget about everything but your writing. Well, not  completely. You do have a family, dinner to cook, and as you look around, you see time isn’t so far off and soon your kids can cook for you, as you keep writing and gathering time as they prepare the meal.

Maybe we need to slide into the background and let you figure out some new insights to your writing time. Just remember, even dust bunnies have stories to tell. Do not let time dictate to you, but turn time into your friend. We are always as close as your computer and SMILE. We’re here for you.

Simplify your time and your writing will get stronger. We will be back with some other suggestions and conclusions to making time last longer. Just look at us and you can see we’ve been around for a while, and we have both decided to stay a while longer.

Until next time,

Write.

EEEEEE MAIL

The Otherlife

Have you ever felt like you’re covered up with EEEEEE MAIL? About the time when you think you’ve gotten to the point of done, the next ten or twelve arrive and the blood seeps to your brain. You are certain you can feel the dripping on your keyboard.

We need everything faster and faster. Ideas sooner and sooner. Instant this. Instant that. Quick and quicker. More and more and more. Can you even remember what a Sunday dinner of pot roast  smells like? What about the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans? When was the last time you sat down on an Saturday morning at your own table and had sausage and pancakes with the whole family?

We can’t eat all this fat. We don’t have time to cook like our mothers or grandmothers did. We are ……What are we?

Do you remember when you wrote a letter, scribbled funny things on the sides (we would call these margins), licked the envelope, slapped a stamp in the corner and walked to a mailbox? Can you feel the nervousness of waiting for a response? And, when the mailman came and no letter, the let down feeling. As you wanted to cry, scream, yell, the postman returned with an envelope he’d misplaced.  Communication. The written words filled your soul with happiness. You were content to sit down and enjoy every word in the letter.

I went on a short 3-day vacation and returned to EEEEEE Mails.I won’t deny the number of messages were outstanding and I felt wanted and needed, or maybe not. So, little by little, I am learning to slow down, learn how to interrupt the message as to their importance. Then I do not want to give out numbers to people I know.  Even if you divide the number of emails on a certain day into 3’s; some are not going to get answered.

I gave up and went to bed. My dream woke me up screaming and grabbing at hands around my throat. (Still in the dream.) I got up and fired up the computer. I was drowning in messages. I shut the thing down. No more. I will find a solution. I need my sleep toooooo much.

The next morning, I ducked my head, turned away as I hit the on button. Nothing. No emails, No messages. My breath did a huge intake, and then I realized – yes we do need all the communication and made a vow to myself:  30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the late afternoon. My friends and followers need my attention and any help I can give. I do need to be the judge of what’s important and ……yeah you know the rest.

I may not get to every email within 24-hours, but promise you will hear from me in some unique form. Now, I can go to bed, sleep all night, and wake up looking forward to all the mail I receive. And, I promise to all of you, I’ll answer and please take your time to respond, unless I ask for 911 assistance.

May the gods of EEEEEE Mail be with you in all the days, months, and years that follow. Please let me know you’ve smelled a pot roast cooking in your own oven, even if you had to find it; and treasure the family breakfast on a Saturday morning. These are priceless moments and if you are in the middle of a great family conversation…..

EEEEEEE Mails won’t matter.

My FriendTrip

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Yes, I did make the trip to West Virginia to visit my great friend.  Left in the rain and returned in the rain, but only found relief from the pollen in West Virginia.

Pictures. I promised pictures and…..my camera broke, my cell phone did not take any seeable (if this is a word) pictures, and my friend took all the pictures. Now believe this…..she lives in a valley with mountains all around her home, plus the airlines, which send planes all around. She has a dial-up service. So, I suggested she get prints made, at my cost, and have them sent to me. When I get them….you will too.

A lifestyle change. Farmland all around. Cows, horses, goats, sheep, black bear, deer, dogs, cats, and a stillness which stirs the soul. You do not know the names of roads; only by cousin …..lives here, down a bit, is aunt….. or uncle…..

We went to breakfast at Kalico Kitchens and not only is breakfast served, but the trained Rin-Tin-Tin in Hollywood a couple years ago. Yeah, right. The food isgreat and served by a perky lady, but the main point is conversation.

We went into an art show. All of the portraits and scenes were done by fellow residents. Beautiful art work. Then she had promised her daughter’s Girl Scout Group an hour of exercise by me. All of the girls, 10-11, showed up and after about thirty minutes asked if we had to go the full hour. We had a great time and I loved sharing a few exercise tips.

Saturday morning, we headed out in her van for me to see where she was born and the history in her area. Sometimes were were on state roads, and some on lay-over roads. These are small roads within counties. The road is one vehicle wide and if another vehicle approaches, each pulls over to the side of the road to let each other pass. She is a great driver, but sometimes my heart climbed out the window.

I saw places where mines used to be; places where mines exploded; and places where miners lived with the cinder block foundations still in tact but no homes. She showed me we where she was born, and she is a coal miner’s daughter.

Any place we stopped, no car doors got locked, and people came up to us with smiles and answers to any of our questions. They accepted us and even asked me about life in Atlanta

We sat outside her home at a pond she’s made with gold fish and frogs. The bullfrogs were in mating season and did they ever grunt. She has a garden, but must bring a lot of her plants and food plants up on her porch. Even then, the deer come up and eat whatever they can.

We visited an Amish community where she buys her cheese, crackers, and some meats for sandwiches.

There are so many state parks and visitors streaming in and out. We saw many, but the one which stands out is New River Gorge. This consists of a bridge  completed in October 1977. We did not drive over, but stopped at the park and looked at the span of this huge….huge bridge. Every year on the third Saturday of October, the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, hosts Bridge Day. This events lures hundreds of parachutists and others to go off  876 foot high….I was grateful to look from a distance.

Then Sunday, before I flew out, I attended church with my friend. A small white painted church with a membership of 69 at the present. Everyone knew everyone, guests were given a formal welcome, and all participated in the service. Songs played on the piano and sang, made me feel like music had never left the church. They give more, do more, and have community throughout their church. Some Sundays, they have early church and then Sunday School. Why? Because their pastor is a Circuit Pastor. She and her husband work in different areas to make certain everyone has an opportunity to go to church. With all the introductions, I felt I’d been to their church forever. Thank you, my dear friend.

I wanted to attached pics to show all of these beautiful places and people. Please hang tight. They will appear.

Thank you, my dear, dear friend. I love you as my sister.