Little Bowl-Big Bowl-Super Bowl

Say Hi to my great grandson, Emery. He loves to pose for pics and this was taken a couple years ago at a Thanksgiving in the North Carolina Mountains. Didn’t even have to ask twice…once and this is what my camera showed. His arms are up into a football touchdown, but I did not get it all together. Hey, I tried.

Here we are ready for Super Bowl 2017 in Houston, TX. Know matter where we are from, our age, or sex, the TV set will have a lot of eyes watching the screen.Some of you may have had the opportunity to see this Super Bowl in person and what a great experience. We all want OUR team to win, but what I want most of all is a fair game, neat umpires, and a safe ending to the fourth quarter.

All of this suggests, Spring is on the way, and what a funny winter pattern we have had. AT lease, here in Atlanta, we’ve encountered spring, a little of summer, wet weather, tornadoes, and pot holes!  With all the cold, icy roads, and then heat, the pavement is an obstacle course.

I am still in the process of retirement. Some days leave me with so much time and other days night gets here before I want it. Still, attending classes for Yoga and Pilates and love both. Instructors are great and members friendly. Meet with my friend Kevin every couple of weeks for our writing sessions. Getting comments, suggestions, thoughts from a male writer has given me more to revise and think about. Did have a female writer/editor give me a few suggestions on revising parts of a novel. She has had a few novels published and has made some great finds.

Know I shouldn’t push forward, but Spring sounds so great. We are having a lot more farmer markets spring up in different parts of town. Look forward to seeing what all they bring to their tables.

I’m walking more and enjoying every minute. Still careful which direction I go, but meet a lot of walkers. I’d love to get a walking group together and see how we can work through everyone’s different ideas. I tend to walk and look at the world through a writer’s eye. Thoughts for a new story or to clarify something that has been bothering me. Others, see a walk as a way to communicate with the people they walk with, talking and stopping, and questioning everything. Something to think on. Any suggestions or ideas?

I want to thank all of you for your comments on previous posts and I have followed a lot of your writings. Please continue to follow me, add comments, and I am always open for suggestions.

Also, you may have some new ideas on books you have read. I made a note of a new author, Ruth Ware, and finally got a copy of her book, “In A Dark Wood.” Quite a thriller, and she also has a book out “The Woman in Cabin 10.” I think it is a great idea to promote new women writers and even the older women writers. Not meaning by age, but how long their work has been on the shelves.

May each of you enjoy the month of February and have a beautiful Valentine’s Day.  See you next month or maybe even the end of February.

Happy reading. Happy writing. Happy you.

 

Patricia

 

 

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A DIGITAL VACATION

dog days of summer

I can hear your voices raised to the highest pitch. I can also picture your fingers twitch as they cannot touch the keys. Nerves bring your blood pressure to the boiling point. Your throat is tight, dry, and even the glass of cold water sitting next to you goes warm.

I CANNOT DO THIS.  YES, YOU CAN. THIS IS YOUR BREAK AWAY FROM ALL OF IT.

You are on your digital vacation. Enjoy yourself, but you don’t know how. This is the biggest reason for getting up, shutting down the machine, turning off the printer, and darken the light above your desk. You are on a sobriety binge-I AM A COMPUTER-AHOLIC. Now, repeat this small statement over and over and over whenever necessary. Why? We become addicted to our instant gratification of fingers and the keyboard, instant answers to our e-mails, instant….instant….instant.
Can you imagine what it was like for our Ancestors? Mail delivery or just neighborly information received when the horse and rider passed through. We did not realize that just beyond the sky, where the sun sets and the other side with the moon filling up the sky, were newer inventions. We accepted what we received and gave thanks for the information. Then, we were told there were more ways to get the news faster, and the roller-coaster picked up speed.
We forgot how to watch the stars, see how the moon became the night focal point, or faded as the huge ball of yellow lighted up the sky and gave us warmth. These special seasons that help us grow crops to feed families, and the farm animals. Then, with the advance of technology, we proceeded to make everything happen NOW. After years of newer inventions we want MORE and MORE, FASTER and FASTER.
Some days are for breaks. A break where you can walk away from your computer without guilt. We all need a computer vacation and RELAX. How can I relax if I am not working on my computer?  OOPS! This is the answer to why you need a break.
We write and write every day. If I don’t write, I won’t get paid. But have you ever felt that some days are not for writing. Some days are for thinking about writing and what will come next. Some days are for planning ahead for your future. Some days are for just doing nothing. Nothing in the sense of getting in touch with yourself and your soul. Some days are for dreaming about the next writing venture and some days are for meeting friends for breakfast or lunch and laughing, talking sharing and keeping in touch with others. You may have to remember how to do all of this, but you need this as much as you need your vacation from technology.
                   RENEW YOUR SPIRIT.  RENEW FRIENDSHIPS.
                             HAPPY COMPUTER VACATION.

 

FEAR OF FAILURE

unicorn danceYes, we all want to be successful in whatever field we choose. Success is just two steps away. You can feel it, but something happens and you remain in the same spot. Why? Behind the big forceful smile, a thought lurks. “What happens if I become successful and fail?” Like many others, you get back on your feet, start over, and try again. But this would mean getting out of your comfort zone and the self-imposed prison you created. Take a look at all the times you stopped whatever you were doing because the prison felt better than knowing what was on the outside.
Fear is such a short, four letter word, and we panic at the thought of getting out of our comfort zone. This is no easy task. Start small. Watch a baby wobble from the knees and try to move forward. The child makes quite a few wobbles. Back and forth. Back and forth until it becomes familiar and the hands and knees will move together. The baby discovers table tops that need to be checked out. Soon the hands reach up and the feet become still as the legs straighten up. There is so much more to see standing up. Then comes the fun of running and each room has something new to explore. The big world outside is next.
What’s so different with ourselves? Failure will always be a part of living, but it does not have to consume your life or your world. Start small and keep going forward know matter if the steps seem huge to you.
Find ways to break down your fear and try it on again and again. But, you do not feel you are good enough, smart enough to continue. Why? This is where you talk to your fear with conviction in your voice. Stand in front of a mirror and state all the reasons why you can do anything your want, within reason. Does the mirror crack? Does the person in the mirror split apart? No. Guess everything is okay. Face your fear and you will defeat the thoughts rolling around in your head.
Fear is only distress, anxiety, panic, worry, and terror. All of these can be overcome with a little practice in the real world, but remember you will always have the mirror to help you.
Fear can destroy your employment, your friends, even your family. Yet fear can be a good feeling as it sometimes trips the alarm inside you. Always listen to yourself and your feelings. You know yourself better than anyone else. Rely on these feelings.
Now, put fear to bed and learn something new. Walk into a room of strangers and come away with new ideas and new friends. you are on your road to FREEDOM OF FEAR.

 

HAPPY FEARLESS YOU.  HAPPY WRITING.

 

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

dog days of summerDid you know this period of August and into September is named after a star, Sirius the Dog Star. Looks like this Sirius is enjoying his air conditioner. The hot weather during this period seems to be hotter, no breezes, and robs one of their energy to be active. I’ve thought about this and remember, way back when, times of air conditioning did not exist. Yeah, they had means to cool businesses, but what about homes. We used fans, like in the picture, in our windows, rooms, porches, and we drank plenty of lemonade, ice tea, water and lots of ice in every drink. Never thought too much about the heat, until we got our first air conditioner. It was a huge, clunky box which my dad installed in one of our living room windows. It cooled the room where we stayed most of the time. Why? Our first black and white television was in this room. As I remember backwards, a lot of firsts entered our lives. Exciting to see pictures on a big screen and be cool at the same time. Then came the first washing machine, but not like the kind that you have in your homes. No, this was similar to the old washer and had ringers you ran the clothes through, after the rinse, to squeeze the water out. Only, this new washer had a motor that rotated the clothes you put inside the machine. You could watch the clothes move around without the use of hands or paddles. Then you hit a release knob and the dirty wash water ran down a drain. When it was empty, you filled the machine with clear water for the rinse, started the motor again so the rotation would rinse the clothes. Now, the final release knob and the water ran out again. Hands ran them through the wringer and they were ready for the clothesline. Wash day was a lot of work. No, I like the laundry days now, except…Oh, the clothes smelled so fresh as they were unpinned from the clothesline and folded up.  I’m happy to have had these experiences and when I do laundry, thankful for all the new technology. But, would love to smell the freshness from the outside, not from a rinse of different smells. It is good to remember what was and be thankful for what is now. Sometimes, we want things to go faster, quicker, and forget what we need is downtime from all our activites. During these “Dog Days of Summer” take time to relax, read, write, connect with friends, old and new, sit back and enjoy your Ice Tea, or Sweet Tea depending where you are spending your hot summer days. Just keep in mind, these days won’t last forever. Soon Fall and Winter will creep up on the calendar. At this point, you’ll remember  the hot days of summer. Enjoy your days, write about your own memories, and you’ll be surprised at what your fingers will dig up for you.

Happy Memories. Happy Days. Happy Writing.

STUCK IN THE BLACK HOLE?

Two friends“Here we go again, Ethel. What does she know about black holes? Aren’t they the things that will gobble up the earth?”

“I’m sure she won’t let us fall into nothingness. And no matter what, we will still be together. But, before we get excited, let’s check this out.” Ethel smiled. “She has something to share, I think.”

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” If you believe this then you will never get out of the black hole. But, Aristotle did not go far enough and let you know how to break this chain. I call it a chain, as it has a way of hand-cuffing us to our present lives. Why? Because it is comfortable. What would happen if we decided to change our habits, our lives, our minds? Yes, a lot of chaos would happen, and it could be the change we need to pull us up from the BLACK HOLE.
Stop and think for just a moment and ask yourselves, “What do I do over and over each day that I could change?” Here are some things I thought about:
1. Checking email over and over.
2. Re-organizing files, which don’t need it, but might look neater.
3. Checking online banking balances.
These are daily moves we make without thinking. Just something we’ve done forever and have not made a move to change. No, we can check email twice a day and still not miss anything. Why reorganize the files in the middle of the year. The New Year may make changes for us and then we can decide what to do. If you have an idea of your bank balances and there has been no HUGE expenditure, why look every day.
If you always start out your day with the same chore, do something different. Does your floors need vacuuming every day? Not unless you are a day care center for foster animals. Besides, dust bunnies are company and can inspire your writing. Okay, take the time and watch them hide on a cloudy day and spring to life as the sun shines.
Do you always have to cook a big dinner at night? What about breakfast at dinner? Kids would love this and sometimes I think scrambled eggs or an omelet taste better in the evening than the first thing I see in the morning. Or, what about cleaning out the fridge with the left-over food, mix and match, and surprise even Aristotle.
Okay you do have writing and research to do, but always at the same time? If you need to do research, hit the internet and get most of this done. Don’t flip-flop from research to writing. Do one or the other with concentration and persistence. You’ll accomplish more and feel less overwhelmed.
Switch day for chores. If you always do laundry on Monday, switch to another day. If you get groceries on Wednesday, when the prices change and new ads are printed, why fight the crowds. Go on Thursday when there is fewer people, shorter lines, and more parking. Saturday and Sunday are so different for everyone. Still, experience these two days as usual, and see what you do over and over that you could change.
Have you ever walked through your home, looked at your small book library, and shook your head. “No, I can’t stop and read. My writing comes first.” What if you changed this to, “I think that new book would be a jump-start on my writing,” and sit down and read a few chapters right smack in the middle of the day. You get involved with the characters and feel energized.What happened? You relaxed, enjoyed reading, and now your fingers are ready to hit the keyboard with gusto.

What about the BLACK HOLE? If you make small changes and do something different each and every day, it will fill up with your excitement, your new choices, and disappear.
Happy Changes. Happy Surprises. Happy Writing.

SIZZLE SATURDAY

On FireHow did your “Snoop” day go? Did you have a good time?

Snooping to be nosey, is not a good thing. Snooping to gain interesting conversation pieces, thoughts, ideas, this is fun, at least for writers.

I did my snooping while on errands. At the grocery story, the lines were long, the cashier friendly and talkative, so I had plenty of time to listen to the customers around me. Talk of higher prices…no. The weather…no. Kids…no. Then two ladies, apparent friends, had their heads together. Lips moved, eyebrows raised, one held onto the grocery cart like it was about to disappear, the other kept shaking her head. I could not hear the conversation, but their facial expressions, and squeezing the handle of the cart, gave me ammunition.

Next, I had to pick up a few items from a department store. Crowded, no overflowing with people would be a better description. Kids screaming and some pushing their “I’m a little shopper,” carts into anyone and everyone they saw. I kept my distance from these unlicensed drivers, but remembered some of the expressions of the customers. One elderly lady had the courage to walk over to a little kid, “Where are your parents?” The mother ran forward, “Do not scream at my child.” The elderly lady replied in a quiet voice, “You do not have a child, but a monster.” No response. How does one reprimand a little old lady with white hair, a walker, and a beautiful purple dress.

I stopped to give my auto its weekly food allowance. Not the best place for snooping. Yet, while the fill-up took place, I paid attention to the number of people flowing in and out of the establishment’s food court. Gender is not important. What got my attention was the size of the customers, the amount of food they carried in their hands, devouring each morsel as they walked. Was this their only meal?

So, my Sizzle Saturday, is to conquer all of these “snoops” and get some new active movements for my characters. Some language, not so important, but facial expressions-yes, yes, yes. How can any character keep a straight face, when the person next to you is mad, eyes wide, and every word she/he speaks comes out with spittle.

I hope you have found some new ideas to breathe new life into your character.

Take a break. Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll try to find more Magic for Monday.

Happy Writing.

 

 

 

JUGGLING YOUR DAY

Two friendsHere we are to welcome you to June 2013. Never thought we’d get this chance, but we find at the circus, they know what they are juggling, how many pins, bottles or whatever they are using on a certain day, and they know how many will come down.

We are talking about lives, people, activities, the famous ‘to-do-list,’ kids, families, hobbies, and most important our writing. Let one of those circus people handle this for 24 hours and see what happens. They’d head straight to us for lessons. So, we decided to share a few of our tried and true tips with you. Hey, some may work and some may not; you and only you can know the answers.

As a writer, we are creative. We create stories, characters, learn to elaborate a lot in fiction, so what happens when we find ourselves buried under stacks of dirty clothes, a broken washer, a crying kid, a nervous husband, who can’t find the other sock, and a deadline on our book?

We Juggle…… with the phone in hand, we call the service repairman about the washer, search through the correct drawer for the missing sock, hand the kid a Oreo cookie, and turn on the computer. See – simple. Well, maybe not quite this simple, but we do know how to get organized and get things done.

Get hubby off to work with matching socks, feed all the kids still at home, before the school bus arrives, throw the dirty clothes beside the washer that decided to take a break, and have a cup of coffee. The school bus comes, and if it is summer time, you shove them in the car, drop them off at a play center or have ample materials at home to keep them busy. If the are old enough, they make their own beds. Gotta learn sometime. If they are in the early stages, they won’t know if the beds are made or not. Just throw the covers up and bingo – a made bed.

The dirty clothes are no worry. Why? Until the service repairman makes an appearance, there is nothing you can do. Remember, your computer is on and waiting for your fingers only to caress the keys with wild characters, and a deadline looming over them. So you get the kids settled, toss the dishes in the dishwasher, hoping it still works, and then you pull your creative side out of your head. Your fingers are flying by on the keyboard and you feel all the tension around you disappear, except on-screen.

All of the morning jolts have not damaged your ability to create. In fact, you feel more alive with all the chaos around you than the quiet, drab, times you’ve tried to write and nothing came from your head to your fingers. You have 2,000 more words for today’s session, and then……cries from the living room, the TV blasts, and another challenge of who gets to watch what. No, they are now in the kitchen and you hear the refrigerator door open and close and……”You dropped the jar.” “No, you did.” So you put on your referee helmet and approach with caution. Strawberry jam covered part of the floor, and the peanut butter jar the other half. At least they both came in plastic jars and no glass splinters sparkled. “I hope you both wanted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, except there’s no bread.”

I got the stare of doom from both of them. “But, you can lick up the strawberry on this side, then crawl to the other side for the peanut butter.” The stare of doom turned into a ‘she’s lost it,” and then huge giggles. “I scrubbed the floor last night, so let’s have lunch.Afterwards, you can let the dog in and whatever is left; guess who cleans up. I have a few more hours at the computer and better see a sparkling floor.”

A lesson taught. A lesson learned, and I got to finish my 2,000 words.

See juggling can be fun. Lighten up and roll with the punches. When this happens, we find more energy, better relationships, and a whole lot of fun. And, you thought we are just two ole ladies – think again. We have lots of ammunition and whatever happened to humor? Stick with us and you’ll learn all over again.