Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Someone's Idea of Holiday Fun

Yes, this is Hubby at the lake, where we spent most of the weekend. His idea of fun is creating sand art of the largest kind. We had a wonderful day, soaking up the sun, sand clinging to everything in sight. I read a novel and listened to podcasts. Ella made a friend and played the whole day. Ham and cheese sandwiches never tasted so good. 

On Monday, we celebrated by have a large cook out for Jack's side of the family. We moved out to our deck, using the patio table and chairs we acquired last summer. We broke in our fire bowl and warmed up the grill. It was a feast to beat all feasts. I'm still full this morning. 

Now life has to find a pace for me. I've had some interesting writing offers over the weekend, and you know I'll accept because they fit in with the overall plan. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of two real-life ghost stories. These posts were inspired last night as we told ghost stories around the fire and roasted marshmallows. I think, if nothing else, you will understand where I get some of my writing material. 


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rain, Thunder, and A Plan For Summer Writing

Last night we were smashed by a horrible storm. Rain, hail, and lightning came on us in a flash. Due to the weatherman's prediction that a tornado sat right up the road from us, we all moved to the basement. We heard the road that runs parallel to ours was hit with downed trees. 

We survived. My flowers and grass look better for the chaos. While I sat in the basement, I thought of how different this summer is beginning from last year when we had no rain at all. This led to thinking on the upcoming summer and our plans. I have to be honest here. I'm not a big fan of summer in Georgia. If I had it my way, I'd move away, somewhere north or south, anywhere but here. I always have big plans of gardens, exercise, and day trips outside. It doesn't take long and they go the way of migrating birds. 

The heat and humidity wins out. I retreat into reading a book under the tree just to get fresh air and barricading myself in our air conditioned home. So, last night I promised myself I'd look at this summer realistically. I won't be walking after daylight once the temps hit the nineties. Bike riding will be a joke until the sun goes down. Trips to the lake and the pool will be reward for making it through the work week. My garden will have to fend on its own. The grass will stop growing, stunted by heat, unless we have a rainy summer. And most of all the wonderful expanse of time to write will disappear. 

Now, with this realization came another aha moment. This week while typing an email to a dear friend, I realized an answer to one of my questions had been answered through my own words. I have been seeking the next step in my writing. Most of the readers are aware of my calling to write a memoir. They are also aware how I have fought it tooth and nail. Why? Because I just can't imagine what I have to say about my life that would benefit any person. Ah, but here's the catch. I do have a lot to say if I will only allow my voice to ring out; instead, of attempting to keep it in check. 

So, as the rain beat the windows and I faced the summer ahead, I saw I had to write the memoir. I would have to write the truth and talk about my spiritual side that I keep mostly to myself. In plain words, I would have to call God, God and not be politically correct. What kind of life would we lead if it were all politically correct anyway? My next question was how? When would I get the time during the summer with Daughter home? The answer: She will remind me of how far I've come in this life. In other words, the craziness will keep me grounded. This project will not be easy to complete just like seeing summer as perfect in Georgia is a myth. But I will attempt the work, and I will remain in Atlanta for the summer. Like I have a choice. And before I know it, fall will be here. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have something to show for my efforts.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm Starry Eyed In Love

Yes, Jack has something to worry about. I have fallen in love with my new frig. You must understand the former frig, who died a slow lingering death, was so small I couldn't fit a week's worth of food in it. 

This one is the size of the fish who swallowed Jonah. I could crawl in here and live. Notice the crisper drawer with its own temp control. Heaven. 

I'm mighty proud.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Walking Throughout The Year or Taking One's Life In Her Own Hands

When I imagined this post in mid August last year, it was with the intention to rant about the weather, temps, and drivers I encountered while walking. As the reader will see, it came out quite different, and I learned an awful lot from writing the piece. 

This school year began a first for me. I embarked on a full time writing career. Which is to say, I was going on a tough budget. Also it was a first with Daughter. She would have her mother to herself each afternoon when school let out. We pondered transportation. Because of my decision to be a full time writer, we had one car and one car only. So the choices were limited. We decided to make a lifestyle change. We made this decision in the middle of record one hundred degree weather and a disabling drought, not to mention the pollution index. We decided--and thank goodness for our gas tank that that we did--to walk the mile to and from school. This would mean two miles for Daughter, and four miles for me. Oh did I mention that our walk would take us up and down one of the busiest highways in the county? Oh yeah and the walk to the school is up hill three quarters of the way. 

As we began the school year, I prayed for rain. I would not have cared if buckets poured down on me it was so hot. We loved Tuesdays and Thursdays because the condos next door used their sprinklers that covered a good stretch of the sidewalk. It was divine. We fought drivers who chose to stop over the crosswalk and block our safe passage across the intersection. On more than one occasion, I wished I had my camera so I could photo the said offenders and post the photos on my blog. 

But a week or two into the routine I began to slow and really see my neighborhood. Daughter must have felt much the same because on one hot morning, she composed a beautiful poem while we walked in the dawn light. On more than one morning, we were witnesses to the most spectacular sunrises. The sky would be streaked with purple and pink. As we topped Killer Hill, an orange ball of fire sat between two twenty story buildings. The cars were bumper to bumper, going nowhere fast. But we were moving, covering ground. 

I began to use my mp3 player on my part of the walk. I listened to writing podcasts that I had been promising myself I would listen to for forever. Before I knew what was happening, I began to see some of the same faces everyday: a woman walking her terrier, an older woman dressed in a security guard uniform at the bus stop, the fire fighter jogging as his shift ended, high school kids laughing and talking at the corner. We began to smile, nod, and speak to one another. My neighborhood was coming alive for me after seven years of dashing up the road in my car. 

Of course the rain did come two months later when the weather had changed, but we managed. We bought boots, umbrellas, and raincoats. Then the weather turned cold and we geared up with warm hats, gloves, and extra thick coats. 

By this time our bodies began to show a difference from the exercise and diet changes. I drank mostly water and only one cup of coffee each day. Daughter could ride her bike five miles on the local bike trail with no problem. 

When we emerged into spring, parents came up to me, commenting on how wonderful it was I chose to walk. By this point gas prices had really soared and walking was becoming a consideration for many. We became expert judges of careless drivers. But mostly we found that drivers gave the right away to walkers. We soon made a habit of stopping at the local international food market for extras, carrying our purchases home in totes. 

Maybe by walking we have saved a barrel of oil! But as the school year ends this week, I've come to realize how important this time is for me. I've gone through tons of writing podcasts and NPR story readings. I spend much time in uninterrupted talks with Daughter.  I've seen countless birds that I never dreamed were in this busy area. My favorite is a large hawk that catches the breeze and glides high over the traffic. 

The whiny piece I intended to write turned into a self discovery. My world is so much larger than I ever imagined.  I've grown and become polished in my efforts. Will I continue through the summer to get the exercise? Of course, I have to be ready for next school year!

So, the moral of this story is take the time to walk. You just might be surprised at what you learn.


Friday, May 16, 2008

All About Me

This is one of those blogs where it's all about me. First I'm guest blogger on 
A Good Blog's Hard To Find. The owners are a variety of southern authors. It was fun and a pleasure to work with the blog. You should check the entire blog out. 

I'm dead tired. I've been soaked and abused this morning. Yes, I spent the morning at Daughter's school, helping out for field day. I'd rather write for ten hours straight. Once again I was given the water pipe game. This game is proof it doesn't take much to entertain our youth today. It's just good old fashion fun. For them! 

You begin with eight mop size buckets, four pvc pipes, capped at one end, and holes drilled down  the length. The object is to get as much water from one bucket to the other bucket seven feet across from you by using the pipes and a ladle. Total chaos! Total. Water flies, kids run, and I clean up before the next class comes my way. I did this for three hours. Of course it was wonderful to see Daughter for ten minutes and eat a Life Saver Popsicle. 

When it was over I ran like a mad woman to the my home, down to my study, and checked my email. Ah, now I'm writing this, writing with words, no screaming children, just writing. Peace. It makes me appreciate Daughter and even the one or two kids she brings over. 

Well, it's over until next year.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dr Pepper With A Little Foam

I just love those days where I play around writing blogs instead of working on my novel. Anyway this story was too good to let it pass. It's a story about how my hubby got what was coming to him :). 

Anybody that knows me, knows I'm not a Dr. Pepper lover. I believe you either love it or hate it. There is no in-between. Hubby, on the other hand, would walk a mile to buy a bottle. Everybody that has met Hubby knows he is a fun-loving kid at heart. This is the very thing that I both love and battle. 

Example: I came downstairs the other night after my bath to find him and my daughter playing bubbles in my kitchen, where I'd just mopped the white floor. Hubby doesn't blow bubbles the normal way. Nope, he uses a straw and blows into the sudsy dishwater I left in the sink. Daughter was right there blowing until the bubbles not only filled the air but ran over into the floor. Hubby even added extra dishwashing liquid to make more bubbles. 

I transformed into crab-mom, raised my pinchers in the air, and chased said husband and daughter out of the room with threats of dismemberment. I guess that's what I get for leaving the dishwater in the sink. 

Ah but, the next afternoon I caught Daughter in the kitchen with a straw in her hand and bubbles floating in the air. A small puddle of dishwashing liquid was on the counter. When I questioned her, she had no idea how the bubbles materialized. Because I was late for an appointment and it was just easier to walk away, I didn't question her any further. We moms have to pick and choose our battles. 

The next morning was Mother's Day. Hubby got up before me--big deal for him--cooked breakfast, and served it to me on a tray. He then rewarded himself with a cup of Dr. Pepper--I give him grief about his caffeine intake. 

"This Dr. Pepper sure is foamy." 

Daughter giggled. 

I ate.

Hubby took one big gulp and sent the offensive taste all over the room. 

"It tastes like soap. Did you rinse the cups good?" 

I ate. 

Daughter giggled. 

When Hubby left the room to rinse out the glass and start again, Daughter giggled more. 

I ate. 

"This cup must have been full of soap. I can't rinse it out." He yelled from the kitchen.

I looked at Daughter, who shrugged. 

"Did you blow some big bubbles?" 

Daughter giggled. 

The way I see it Hubby got what he had coming to him. He taught Daughter to play bubbles in the kitchen. She just happened to use his cup to hold the soap since I'd learned my lesson about leaving dishwater in the sink. 


Monday, May 12, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend

I've had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday at the Cherokee Pow Wow. It was a lot of fun. Here is a print I bought. Her art so inspires me to write. The artist, Shannon, is pictured with a bird of prey. We had a wonderful conversation. You must check out her website. She is a spiritual artist that's not afraid to call God, God. 

Melissa gave me a gift of her art. Check it out. These are photos that she took. I was so proud and touched she would share her work with me. It hangs in my study. So I can look at it as I write. Also a group picture of the three generations was in order.

My daughters all came to see me on Mother's Day with gifts that proved they knew there mother. I received flowers from Cassey and Ella. Beth and her husband James came to church with us.

Hope you had a wonderful day too.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

To All The Mothers

I will write a post in the next day or two about my wonderful weekend and an the artist I discovered and connected with. But for now my friends:

Have a wonderful Mother's Day. Baby yourself today and remember Mother's Rock!


Friday, May 9, 2008

Tag Your It

I was tagged by my lovely daughter Melissa...so, here is my attempt.

Here are the rules:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. 
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What was I doing 10 years ago:

I was working in corporate rat race, trying to climb some kind of later. I'd been married for one year and awaited a new grandchild, a boy, the first on our side of the family.

Five snacks I enjoy:

  1. popcorn butter
  2. cheddar popcorn
  3. kettle popcorn (I LOVE POPCORN)
  4. chips of any kind
  5. chocolate
In the real world:

  1. I am a writer
  2. I'm a mom 
  3. I'm a wife
  4. I'm a snob about what I read.
  5. I'm addicted to Ghost Hunters.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  1. I would give my children a new house, car, and pay off their bills.
  2. I would build my husband and me a house in the mountains.
  3. I would create a scholarship for displaced homemakers so they could get back on their feet.
  4. I would begin a publishing house for writers, owned by writers.
  5. I would start an artist retreat, where artists could work for up to a month at a time.
  6. I would begin a quality school in my area that was accessible to all children no matter the income.
  7. I could keep going. I have a lot to give. 
Five jobs I've had:

  1. Freelance Writer
  2. Technical Writer for BP Oil
  3. Account Manager for Propex
  4. Office Manager for Mini Maid
  5. Team Leader for Mini Maid
Three of my habits:

  1. reading in a hot bath
  2. reading more than one book at a time
  3. trying to control situations I have no control over (this is my biggy.)
Five places I've lived:

  1. Macon, Georgia
  2. Newport News, Virginia
  3. Hahn Air Force Base, Germany
  4. Pine Log, Georgia
  5. Smyrna, Georgia
What do you want others to get from your blog:

Inspiration and a good laugh.

Now I'm passing this tag along to:

I'm pretty new to this blogging thing, so I don't have any personal blogs I can tag. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Peanut Butter Sandwich and A Glass of Sweet Tea

There's nothing like a good old peanut butter sandwich followed by a big glass of sweet tea. It's pure heaven. I should say ice tea because here in Georgia the sweat part is assumed. Now, I drink mine with a slice of orange. Yes, my granny would just roll over in her grave if she knew I polluted my tea with such a thing. She'd also roll over if she knew I only use three quarters of a cup of sugar per half gallon. It's not real tea if ain't syrup. 

There was a time in my life when I only drank unsweetened tea and I would have rather died than admit I ate peanut butter. These were what I now call my smart years; the years I spent trying to outrun my southern history. This was nearly impossible given my background (That's a whole other post). I stripped all the accent from my words. I spoke only proper English. When I wrote stories, I never allowed my characters to speak as true southerners, natural and all. Nope these stories were the most intelligent stories you ever read. I even got quite a few published. But I never was too happy. I sure didn't have fun writing them. 

So, that's why you won't see me ripping a piece of writing apart due to grammar and punctuation. I know there's a lot of ways to say what we as writers and storytellers have to say. Getting caught up in the perfection of it all has its price too.  

I've spent way too much time eating dry, stringy roast beef instead of peanut butter sandwiches. My lesson was creativity and voice. Now, when I get a hankering for peanut butter or even butter beans, I go for it. It's a lot more fun. And, I always drink my ice tea sweet.