Preservation

Talking till midnight and then not being able to go to sleep because you want to keep on talking but have to get up at 5:30am is a pretty good indicator that you live alone. Talking becomes precious. Having company is such a joy. Its hard when they leave though, so I’m trying to concentrate on this moment, this joy, this blessing to be grateful for.

The hospital called to tell me how much my surgery is going to cost. You don’t have to ask me what I’m getting for Christmas this year. Actually having the surgery over with will mean Happy Holidays so I’m taking that for my silver lining.

I cannot begin to voice my frustration level over the present threat to our National Parks and Monuments. Those protected lands need to be preserved for our future generations. Our land made our country great. It fueled the greatest expansion and development in history, but these parks are the last vestiges of inspiring, precious beauty left that are untouched by that development. We must preserve the land and the history for our future children to see. We must make the powers that be understand that once it is gone, it can never, ever be brought back.

The argument on the other side of the coin is jobs and energy independence. Don’t be fooled for a moment. What is really the motivation is greed, money, and power. We can achieve energy independence by conservation and development of alternative energy sources. We have come such an incredible way in developing wind and solar resources. Look at how battery technology has changed. I now use a battery powered lawn mower, weed whipper, and leaf blower. No gas, no oil, and they work wonderfully, are so light weight and user friendly, I will never go back to gas powered. Americans are smart enough to figure this out. If they rape the land now, when we don’t really need it, what do we have in reserve fifty years from now?

Call, write, go on-line to your Congressional and Senator’s web pages and voice your opinion. They need to hear from us.

 

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Imagine

I’m ready for my last book club meeting of 2017. That makes me realize how quickly this year has gone, and how little of the year there is left. Yikes. I’m ready for my surgery, Yikes again, and I’m ready for Christmas. I love looking around at the decorations in the living room and seeing the lights, the stockings, the candles, and the memories all of these evoke. Some of them are really, really old.

On my antique hutch sits a plastic Santa that belonged to my grandmother. I have candles with Santa faces on them that my sister gave me well over thirty years ago. I’m sitting here with the fire place going wondering how you put a price on these things. They may be just stuff, stuff that can go up in smoke or be ruined in a flood, and yet they have such powerful memories and emotions attached.

I am sickened by the events of late. A piece of my heart has died. I do not understand how some people do not understand sacred responsibilities: to other people, to our land that sustains us, and most important to be a decent human being. I do not understand that mentality.

What I do understand is how powerful greed is, and every single sickening event of late is powered by greed, from the tax law ‘reform’ that benefits the rich, to slashing the protection of our national treasures in Utah. The question I would love to have answered right now is: how much money has been promised to political campaigns of the future for the decisions just made? I think we would all be astounded (and yet not surprised) at the answer. There would be no hungry children in America if that was how that money was spent, instead of on campaigns.

Can you imagine a world in which a politician said, “I ask for your vote, but send your money to the American Red Cross, or Unicef, or a food bank.” Can you just imagine?

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“Rhyaden”

I am not a camel. Lay that bag of bricks down, Barbara. Stop worrying. Breathe. Take it one day at a time. I am not a camel. I am not Atlas. I do not have to carry the weight of the world, or of my family, on my shoulders. There is nothing I should do but love them.

I’m thinking of making an “I am not a camel” sign for my office, just as a reminder.

I have finished my book, the Christmas cards, gift buying, and wrapping. The house is decorated inside and out. Cookies! It’s time to bake Christmas cookies. I knew there was something else on my list. I went with the family to see a town lighting ceremony. My granddaughter got to sit on Santa’s lap and get her picture taken. We ate cookies and chili, thought about a carriage ride, but went looking at holiday lights instead. The weather cooperated, which always makes for a great evening.

Here is a holiday gift to you from me, an excerpt from my new middle grade novel, “Rhyaden.”
The trees were not thrilled in the beginning of Niall’s archery career. Many of the nicks left behind from the arrows were painful. However, later, it was a source of great pride for the older trunks that the young Niall started his education in their very own woods, and they had the scars in their deeply furrowed bark to prove it.
You might believe that it is always the wind that causes trees to whisper, but I can assure you, my dears, it is not.

The book contains adventure, a little fantasy, and a whole lot of growing up as the characters learn about consequences from their actions. Kind of like life!IMG_3070

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Decorated

It took me more than one day to decorate inside. Either I’m getting slower, or decisions are getting harder. I know I didn’t decorate last year because of putting the new floor down, and I realize I’ve put the tree and other things in new locations this year, so that added a lot of pondering while I was going up and down the stairs, but still… At least, everything has now found a home for the holidays and I only had to throw away one string of lights.

It seems we just got through the Thanksgiving meal and we’re already planning the next big get together. In between I have my surgery and a few days after it with nothing but writing and visiting allowed. I can handle that.

A landscaping company is down the street making a humongous racket. I cannot figure out what they are doing. Curious Barb may have to go for a walk and find out. It turned much colder today than it has been, but it is supposed to warm back up. I am really getting spoiled by all this warm weather. I suppose I should warn you, that once spoiled, I’ll whine like a hungry puppy when winter actually comes. I find it difficult to believe that there is only one more month in this year, and then only two years left in the decade. Egad.

I’ve bounced between several projects this morning and now I’m lost. Well, that happened easy!

North Korea fired another missile. Anyone surprised by that move? Anyone know what to do in response? I’m praying for wisdom in our leadership, though I have no confidence in them. I just know that if I keep praying, I feel better. I keep working. I keep loving my family. I keep being kind to others. I keep on keeping on, and praying.

and so it goes…IMG_3067

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Afterwards

The washing machine is running. The dishwasher is waiting its turn. Before heading back home, my daughter helped me pack away the fall decorations and carry up the boxes of Christmas. I mean boxes. There are so many decisions to be made. What theme to decorate the tree with this year? Do I put out the lighted Christmas village? Do I put up more than one tree? I’m trying to keep in mind that everything that goes up, must come down. But it’s so pretty when it’s all decorated. But it’s so much work to take down and pack away. But but but.

We had a wonderful party for my now two-year-old granddaughter. She loves opening presents and singing “happy irthday to ou” (over and over and over). Her cousins were there to help her celebrate, and they had a grand time too. All in all, a wonderful holiday.

All things, good and bad, come to an end. That is hard to remember when the tears are slipping down my cheeks as my daughter and her sons drive away. They will be back, and I will be at their house in the spring. I am so blessed to have the two granddaughters and their parents close by now. I have to remember that and be thankful. It wasn’t that way for a long time.

Now, on to writing. Not much more has to be done to the Middle Grade novel. A lot has to be done to the adult novel, but it is the fun stuff that needs to be done, the weaving Shakespeare into my writing – the part I love. Then there is decorating the house, putting stamps on, and stuffing my Christmas letters. Our weather has been beautiful and I am grateful for that. I froze enough soup to keep me well fed after my surgery. So – Life is good.

and so it goes…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

The wind howled like a banshee in the night. I’ve never actually seen or heard a banshee, but I imagine it would be quite the experience. I might have slept through it except I was fighting a sore throat and the kind of tired that prevents you from sleeping. The morning light brought relief from the wind and the sore throat. I survived yet again, and the roof is still attached. This is a good way to start a day.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I have not gotten to host in many years, and though it takes a lot of work and planning, I am really enjoying getting to cook all the traditional foods that mean Thanksgiving to me. Such memories. I don’t ever remember it not being perfect when my mother made the Thanksgiving meal. I’m sure there were moments, but I must have been too young (shoed out of the way probably) to have noticed. Mom only remembers what her mother fixed.

My sister and my’s experiences are different than my mother’s. I remember spending Thanksgiving with my parents when my sister was doing the cooking. She didn’t know you don’t turn the turkey over, and half way through she tried to turn it. Disaster. Yes. Let your imagination go wild here, because that is what happened.

My recurring theme was to leave the peas in the microwave. I learned to look for all the colors before sitting down. Brown, yes the turkey is on the table. Red, yes the cranberry salad is here. Golden brown – gravy and rolls. Green – peas are out of the microwave. White, yes the mashed potatoes are mashed and ready. The Wednesday before is actually my favorite day. No distractions. All by myself, I bake the pies, make the cranberry salad, prep the table, and line everything up for Thursday. It is quiet and the house smells wonderful, not as good as when the turkey is roasting, but really good. And then there are those beautiful pies coming out of the oven. Hmmmm. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and remember to be thankful. Our forefathers got a lot of things right.

 

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Goofy

The first half of the other day went so well, I thought I’d write about it. My granddaughter and I woke up, had a casual breakfast, talking all the while and enjoying our leisurely morning. Then I jumped in the shower while she dressed and brushed her teeth. I brushed out the side of her hair that has an attitude (we all have one of those) and suddenly it dawned on me. This morning was her ‘before school’ art class. Yikes. She was in tears instantly. I threw on shoes. She threw on shoes. My wet hair was forgotten; we grabbed her bag and water bottle, and dashed to school. Yes, we were late. Then I found out her horse back riding lesson for that afternoon got cancelled.

I decided to go downtown and spend a lovely gift certificate I had been given on Christmas gifts for my grandkids. That part went well except how much more money it took than the gift certificate was worth. Then I had the bright idea of looking for Thanksgiving napkins, as the two stores I’d been to on earlier occasions were out. FIVE more stores before I found some decent ones.

My preference when shopping is one stop. I can handle three if I must. This was now six. I came home and got out a blender bottle to make a protein shake, filled it with liquid and the protein powder and began to shake it. Only I hadn’t put the lid on tight. A fourth of my lunch plastered itself all over the leather chair in my sun-room, not the tile floor that would be easy to clean, but the leather chair and nearby wicker table.

I was frankly scared to sit down at my computer and write. What might happen next? lose my files? The lithium battery start on fire? You know, the day was only half over and I had plenty of time left for more to go goofy.

and so it goes…IMG_2542

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