New Novel

Lately, I’ve come to this place of not wanting to take on anything that might subject me to stress. I’m thinking of it as a recovery stage, but it’s probably just a matter of becoming a wimp. Fortunately, I have good friends and family to talk it through with, and I have time, the precious gift of time to heal.

I spent a recent evening in the ER following what I’m going to describe as a violent reaction to an antibiotic. The doc gave me an eppi injection which gave me a horrendous headache for two days. At that point, I had to wonder which was worse, the allergic reaction or the cure. All’s well that ends well. I’m alive.

I”m back to walking. I’m back to weights and yoga. My grandsons are coming soon for a visit. My bff girlfriend is coming for a visit. Lots to look forward to. I got a little yard work done on the side of the house where the snow and ice is all gone. I got the small tree cut down. I’m looking forward to warm weather so I can spend an hour or two in the afternoon outside prepping for spring. The neighbors trees finally dropped all their leaves. There are a lot to rake up.

My latest novel, Compass Point, is coming along nicely. Several people are reading it right now, which helps so much. I am amazed at the good catches they make, finding things that are wrong, wrong, wrong. Sometimes, it happens because I’ve taken a portion out that leaves an unexplained gap. Sometimes its incorrect terminology, sometimes it’s the sequence. The reader doesn’t always have all the info the author does! Yay for beta readers. They are invaluable to a good book. Compass Point has a few of my dad’s stories from his days in the FBI. It is a totally different genre than my children’s books or “Rhyaden.” I hope you all like it!

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Wearing Out

Well, well, well. I was on the floor, doing my stretches, and I put both hands down to scoot slightly. Blam! Hurt my ribs again – only this time they really hurt.  I wasn’t doing anything that should have aggravated them either. I seem to go from one area being hurt to another. I’m not sure what this is called – other than old age – but it’s getting old, that’s for sure. Good ole’ ace bandage to the rescue.

A whirlwind of activity has blessed me lately. After eleven years with my old car, a car I guess I loved because it was sure hard to let go of, I bought a new car. This one has bells and whistles and doodads and gizmos and it’s all rather overwhelming. One step at a time, I keep saying, one step at a time. A very nice man at the dealership told me this, “Remember, it has four wheels, a steering wheel, a brake pedal and a gas pedal. Start with those. The rest will come.” Thank goodness for him. Otherwise, I’m not sure I could have driven it home!

I’m also taking French lessons in anticipation of my trip to France to see my nephew and his fiancé, and another trip the following summer for their wedding. I’m so excited to see the chateau they have bought to restore. During the first trip, I plan to put on a pair of gloves and help. There are gardens to plan too, which is right up my alley.

I replaced some motion detector lights, one of which lasted only a couple of months, one worked partially, and one wanted to stay on all the time. Out of three new ones I purchased, one was faulty and tripped the breaker every time we turned the power on. Back to the store. After fixing those, the microwave tripped its breaker. Different circuit. So, I guess I’m not the only thing wearing out around here.

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Australia’s wildfires continue. The threats between the US and North Korea, and the tits for tats with Iran continue. In the meantime, I think we carry on, one day at a time. I’m hoping for us to be the best humans we can be, caring for our planet and each other. I don’t know what else to do, other than get depressed by the events – which does no one any good.

I’ve been reading a history of the 1600s and 1700s. Ugh. I’ve got to tell you, humankind does not have a “kind” history at all, ironically, most especially when it comes to respecting other religions. Amazing! Humans are awful to each other – and it continues today even though we know better. We have the histories, and the libraries, and the education. We know better. We just don’t do any better.

I popped a rib while pulling some big plants out of the gravel on the side of my house. That has put me out of yard-work commission for a few days. I also realized I can’t do sit-ups or crunches until it heals (oh shucks), but I can do my yoga and stretches, so all is not lost in my morning routine.

I’ve managed one spring-cleaning project so far. I have another to start on, this one in the garage, so it will happen on warm days only.

My developmental editor has got me working on getting back into a good writing routine. I had really fallen out of any sort of regimen in the last year and a half. Looking out the window, though, I’m not wanting to write. I’m wanting to watch bulbs come up, trees bud out, and flowers bloom. Patience Barb, patience. There is a lot of winter left. The thing is, I already have last years books and tax preparation done. That leaves me that 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle and spring cleaning to do, and writing. There is always writing.

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What happened? I must now be living in the midwest where the snow never goes away. In Colorado, where I used to live, it would snow and within a day or two the sun came out and the snow went away. Not so here.

This place looks familiar, except for the grey, dreary sky, void of blue and brilliant warmth from the sun. The street out front has been covered with ice for weeks now, a phenomena I’m definitely not used to. Having lived in Colorado for sixty five years, I’d say that’s rather rare at this altitude, in fact.

Actually, since writing that, the sun has reappeared, and I can see about half of the asphalt on our street. Thank goodness. My mood plummets in direct correlation to my vitamin D levels from the lack of sunshine.

On the other side of the world, raging brush fires are demolishing Australian homes and wildlife. They have consumed millions of acres, and I would venture to say that very few of us could guess the impact to the rest of the world from the smoke alone, never mind the effects of the scorched earth, lost plants, and wildlife. So scary. I pray rain heads their way, soon. The loss of lives is beyond devastating.

My son came and helped me prune the mature apple tree out front. I’m so grateful to have that big job out of the way. Of course, I forgot to have him take down one tree I’m going to replace in the back yard, but it’s small enough I can saw it down by hand. The big one out front – not so much. There is still some dead-heading to do in the flower beds, but until this snow goes away, it can’t happen. That means I can start the 2000 piece puzzle my son-in-law gave me for Christmas. (Torture?) It will take me all winter – that much I can tell looking at the box. Ah well, I’ll put M*A*S*H reruns on.

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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

What prophetic words were written into that song. Not peace in this or that country, but for the whole planet, for all of us. Sing praises to those with such a vision, courage, and kind heart. Praise to those who work tirelessly toward that end, Doctors Without Borders, The Red Cross, Heifer International, the list goes on and on. Thank You!

This is my last blog for 2019, so here are my final blog thoughts for the year. I wish for you to have a prosperous and healthy New Year. I wish all of you safe travels in the coming year. I wish for love to conquer, and common sense to prevail. At the moment, I’m wishing for sunshine, but hey, nobody said I’m perfect.

This year has seen its share of struggles, and yet we enjoy more wealth, healthier lives, plenty of food, and warm homes with no more effort than setting a thermostat. We really have nothing to complain about – and yet we do. Human nature I suppose. So, if I have a resolution for myself, it will be to smile more, complain less, and focus on giving joy to others.

None of us gets through this life alive – or without losing loved ones. For each of us, the process of recovery, our journey through grief is different. We need to vent, to cry, and to hug. Don’t be stoic. Reach out to someone, and let that someone minister to you. It will do them good, as well as you. So, while I’ve wished everyone health and happiness, I know that we will lose people we love in the coming year. It is inevitable. Let us all have strength, strength for our own sorrows, and strength to share with others as they go through theirs. I also wish you patience, and respect, AND, I hope to see your smile in the coming year. Barbara

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Longer Days Now

The days are getting longer now. That’s worth celebrating!

The holidays are in full swing, so of course the appliances are dropping like flies. Last week it was the cordless vacuum battery, then the solenoid for the touch sink in the kitchen started flashing lights at me, and finally, the ice maker quit making ice and the temp started climbing in the fridge. I read the faucet manual and then called the manufacturer. After an hour of diagnostic tests and my crawling under the sink to take pictures for him, he agreed with me. ‘Must be the solenoid.’ Duh. They sent a new part, and since the faucet still worked, I blithely put it aside.

Well, one morning a few days back, the sink quit working altogether, no flashing lights, no warning, no water. Then, same day, the plastic toilet handle broke on the inside, and the microwave quit. All this takes place while I’m waiting for the appliance repairman to show up for the fridge.

The microwave was the easiest fix. The breaker had popped. I don’t know why. Then I got out the gorilla glue and glued the toilet handle back together and put a c-clamp on it. Didn’t work. I had to go get a $5.00 part, but I fixed it. I crawled under the sink with flashlight and instructions in hand, and I now have water (without leaks) in the kitchen sink. The refrigerator needs a new mother board – those aren’t cheap! The only question left is why did the breaker pop? Pure coincidence? hmmm.

It would be nice if everything else holds together until all the holiday company is gone. I’ve been planning Christmas dinner for a month, and I don’t want something like refrigerator failure to stress out the day. It is winter, so I can do without ice, but I need the refrigerator. Please!

Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukah. Happy New Year. Let’s all pray for peace and kindness in 2020. There seem to be enough natural disasters to deal with, we don’t need to add the weight of careless words. I’m trying to hone my communication skills with friends and family, one big task. Good thing they love me.

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The snow came down for hours. We ate homemade chicken noodle soup, watched a Christmas movie, and drank hot chocolate. Pretty perfect day with the grandkids. This year, I skipped buying everyone matching jammies. I won’t do that again. My only reason for the omission was that I looked in my full jammie drawer, and thought, “I don’t have any room for anymore.” My thoughts stopped there, not going on to think about the growing little ones who need bigger jammies every year. Duh. Sometimes, I do not follow my thoughts clear to the end.

My son started my fireplace for me. My son-in-law fixed my tv. Now the refrigerator has stopped making ice, and the cordless vacuum’s battery isn’t charging well. I’m beginning to feel like there is a conspiracy going on.

On a better note, I have made very good progress on my novel. I’m really liking the feel of it, so that is one great positive. Kudos and thanks to my critique-ers for all their help.

So, lithium, the stuff that makes great batteries and is found in the computer you’re reading this blog on right now, or, if you’re on your phone, in your phone, and your tablet, and electric appliances, cars, and even electric airplanes. That lithium is not mined without environmental consequences. There is only one mine for it in North America, the Silver Peak Mine in Nevada. However, what happens in Australia and South America very much affects the health of our planet and therefore affects us in the long run. I’m guessing none of us want to get rid of our cell phones, so I’d say we have to continue our vigilance towards mining practices, along with fracking, and any other method for extracting the fuels of our future. None of them are foolproof, especially when there are great profits to be made. Business has a ‘not so shiny’ history of putting profit before the public’s health and well being – until they get caught.

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