Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I'm a Halloween Scrooge


Happy Halloween!
I’m kind of a Halloween Scrooge.  I don’t have any deep rooted opinions about Halloween.  I don’t care that it teaches children to get something for nothing. Hey, it’s only one night a year. It’s been my experience that they need more repetition than that to change behavior.  I don’t mind sharing my candy or answering the door.  In fact, I love to see the creative costumes that show up on my door step and the happy faces of my little friends.  I even like to bake ghost sugar cookies and decorate them with chocolate chip eyes. I’m a Halloween Scrooge because I’m just not very good at it!

When my children were small and Halloween could have been fun for them I was intimidated by the elaborate costumes my friends were sewing for their children.  Really?  I remembered as a child decorating brown grocery bags and cutting eye slits in them for weeks before Halloween.  I tried to make a scary mask, but it always just looked silly.  One year my little sister and I decided to be gypsies.  We asked our brother-in-law to do our makeup because he was an artist.  His vision of a gypsy and mine were quite different.  I bawled at the old hag that looked back from a mirror.  I thought gypsies were supposed to be gorgeous! My daughter was a witch for 5 years running only because we had a hat. One time I fashioned a cape out of a garbage bag and painted my son’s face white to make him an instant Dracula.

Perhaps I would have been better at Halloween if it didn’t always creep up on me. I always find myself unprepared.  The big night is two days away and I just pulled a jack-o-lantern, a witch, and a cat out of the holiday decorations this morning.  I place them on the front doorstep and called it good.  My husband had to remind me for several days to purchase candy for the Trick-or-treaters.

It could be more than that.  It could be possible that I don’t like to invite scary things into my life.  My five year-old granddaughter feels the same way. She wants to opt out this year. Too bad she isn’t here.  We could hide from the goblins together! Nevertheless, I am prepared.  Maybe I will bake up some sweet ghosts on Friday so I can embrace the holiday more fully.

Happy Halloween and Happy Reading!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Poetry: My writer's block weapon

 
I've added another page to this blog.  From time to time I practice rhyming and such as a way to fend off writer's block.  Poetry, and I use the term loosely, is not my strong suit. I do like things that sound fun when read aloud.  That is mostly what you will find on the new page, Poetry (Sort of). 

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Before I die

I ran across this blackboard sign on the beach in McCall, Idaho yesterday. The two columns read "Before I die I want to __________________"
Passersby have written their wishes on and around each line.  I stopped to read a few of the wishes of those who have taken the time to contribute.

Some were frivolous -
Marry Kelly Clarkson ...
Meet someone famous ...
Go to Disneyland ...


Some were unrealistic -
Cure death ...

Others were solemn and touching -
Cure Cancer ...
Make peace with my family ...

Many were goal oriented and I was surprised to see how many of them I had actually accomplished without thinking that they were "Before I Die" worthy -
Ski on water ...
Write a book ...
Publish my manuscript ...
Visit a foreign land ...
Run a half marathon ...

The experience made me think about a few of the things I have pursued and accomplished. Am I ready to die?  No, but I haven't missed out on too many opportunities either.
 
I would like there to be a cure for cancer.  I would like everyone to make peace with their family.  I don't see curing death as valuable, because death is not an illness.  Death is a step in progression - a transition to the next thing.

I didn't write on the blackboard.  I wasn't sure what to write.  I thought about answering to the book writer, "You can!  Call me ________!"

Mostly,  I pondered about the comments and the people that made them.  Who were they?  What had happened to the individual that wanted to repair family relationships?  How young was the one that wanted to marry Kelly Clarkson? Should I be setting some loftier goals?

What would you write on the board if you had a chance?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Grand Teton Relay Report

Jackson Hole is down there somewhere.
 
Okay, I promised a report on the Grand Teton Relay, so here is the link to the post.  It's only a recap of my personal experience, so ... I may be posting additional snippets as the mood strikes me!  I have to say ... it was one of the coolest things I have ever done! And ... the top of Teton Pass ALWAYS takes my breath away!  Maybe it's the elevation.

Grand Teton Relay 2014 - the recap

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Summer is gone

This little guy made me smile.
 
It was a crazy summer.  You can tell that by the dates on my last blog post!  Shame on me for being neglectful.  I have a few excuses.  My two adult sons were home for the summer and I was busy feeding them.  I trained for and ran a half marathon with a new running buddy.  I was blessed with a new grandson and I spent a few days in New York via an air travel experience worthy of documenting – later.  I participated in the Grand TetonRelay with friends and family – also to be documented later.  My 91 year-old mother passed away and we gathered in the land of my roots for a celebration of her life. I had my grandchildren home for a visit. The list goes on …
 Oh, and we put in a new lawn! I didn’t do a lot of the physical labor.  Hey, I had two grown boys around to help and I was feeding them.  There were times, however, that I thought the grass would never grow!  So much dirt.  So much dust. So much patience!
How can this make a lawn?
When these few blades of grass poked through the ground I was both excited and skeptical.  How would they ever fill in to create a green carpet?
Time has a way of repairing and rebuilding things.  I stepped outside the other day to discover a lacy mushroom – the likes of which I had never noticed before - poking his little head through the now thick green carpet of grass. Gone are the weeds and piles of dirt that plagued our yard this summer.  Gone is the dust!
Gone is the summer. 


Monday, July 21, 2014

And the winner is ...

We did it! We reached 10,000 page views and I was offline, so I missed it! I've picked two winners - Jenn and Julie!  I will message you for details. Thanks, everyone, for your support of my writing efforts.  It's something I am driven to do.  Readers make it all worthwhile.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's a give away!

 
This blog will soon reach 10,000 views!  When it does I will pick two random winners.  They will each receive a copy of Gold Pans and Iron Skillets or Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks.  You can choose which title you receive.
 
To be eligible to win, you must have made a comment on this or any previous post.
 
Hurry!  Comment away!
 

Happy Reading!


 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another story about a boat

A peaceful sight

If you’ve read my first book then you know a little about my love/hate relationship with my boat.  I love the feeling of being behind it on a waterski.  I hate everything that can go wrong while operating a boat.  I believe it is true that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Let me elaborate …

Having recently replaced the hydraulic motor that lifts the propeller to the tune of about $700, we finally put our boat in the water on July 3.  Work schedules and other demands of life kept us from enjoying our boat earlier in the year.  Needless to say, we were a little out of practice.  The hubby and I headed to the hills and Lost Lake, hoping to set up camp in time for our boys to arrive after they were done with work.  That wasn’t a problem as their work lasted several hours longer than anticipated.  Unfortunately, our much desired camp site was already overrun with other campers, so we left the boat and trailer near the boat ramp and went in search of another site that would be close to the water and hopefully uncongested.  We found a suitable site on the opposite side of the lake, dropped off some coolers to save our spot, and returned to launch the boat.

After much discussion as to who would drive the boat and who would drive the pickup it was determined that I would take the boat across the lake while hubby unhooked the trailer and drove around.  I would wait for him to help me beach the boat. He backed the boat into the water, it started nicely, he backed it in a little more, hit the brakes and the boat did not go anywhere.  I gave it more gas and it did not go anywhere.  He jumped out of the truck and unhooked the strap and chain that was holding the boat on the trailer at which time I thought perhaps I should have him retrieve my phone from the truck. A silly thought.  He knew where I would be and I knew where he would be. After a successful launch I moseyed on across the lake. 

Upon reaching the opposite shore I began searching for our coolers that marked our camp site. I could not find them. Certain that I knew the general area I began to panic, afraid that someone had taken all of our food!  I decided to move along the shore until I either spied the coolers or saw my husband and his pickup.  Alas, I was too close to the rocky shore and about the time I spied my hubby, I contacted a rock with my propeller and killed the motor at the same time. That hydraulic motor we just replaced?  I forgot to use it.

Meanwhile, back at the ramp …

About the moment I was successfully launched into the lake and the hubby pulled the trailer out of the water, he realized there was no plug in the boat. (This has happened before.  See Gold Pans and Iron Skillets “No More Boat”) Glancing down he spied my phone safely inside the pickup and knew there was no contacting me.  He unhooked the trailer in record speed and with what he described as a very helpless feeling sped around the lake in hopes of rescuing me and the boat arriving at the exact moment I contacted the very large rock.

As he was yelling at me to get into shore, I was certain I was in trouble for damaging the prop. I began explaining that the motor died and blah, blah, blah, when I heard him yell, “THERE IS NO PLUG IN THE BOAT! GET TO SHORE!”  I glanced at my feet that were wading  in rising water and hurried to start the boat!  At his moment he began wading out to the boat and I began searching the glove box for the plug.  Hallelujah!  I found the plug. 

As I was taking a calming breath my hubby yelled, “I dropped the plug!” Remember that hydraulic motor I forgot to use? The prop was in the way of the drain and, alas, the plug was gone. I searched frantically for some kind of makeshift plug.  A roll of paper towels and a screw was the best I could do.  As he was attempting to plug the hole, I began searching for another plug.  You see, we buy them often. I was hoping that the boys had not left home and I could call them to purchase another plug on their way.  Guess what?  I found another plug!

The prop looks terrible, but it did the trick and pulled everybody out of the water and around the lake as desired.  I didn’t really get into trouble about the prop, because after all, I could have sunk the boat.  I got another boating story out of the deal.  Best of all, we don’t yell as much as we used to.  I guess after all these years we are getting conditioned to boating catastrophes.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The voices in my head


Before Jebba came into my life.
I have conversations in my head – ALWAYS. It may have begun when I was small and had a make believe friend named Jebba. I don’t remember her, but my older siblings assure me she existed, if only in my mind.  Maybe it is like that for everyone.  I think that’s why I write. If I put one of those “in my head” conversations to print, then I can move on to the next conversation – and the next.  It’s my way of sorting things out.  It’s also my way of preparing a lecture, life lesson, or a battle plan when approaching a dilemma with a service provider or insurance claim representative.  (I could expound all day on the subject of insurance claim battles.) Maybe everyone has those conversations.

Some days the conversations are dull and unworthy of sharing.  Some days I want to have something fabulous to say and there really isn’t much there.  Other days I stumble upon great ideas when I am not near a computer or pencil and paper.  The awesome thought leaves and seldom returns.  I don’t like that.

I discovered a definition of writer’s block on Pinterest the other day.  Check it out HERE!  I think the description is correct!  If I can’t hear the thoughts in my head, they never seem to make it to the page. Those are the days that I struggle to be productive.  Should I sit here and force myself to write something? Anything?  Or … should I get up and do something more physically demanding until the conversation begins on its own?

I’m really not crazy.  I’m just a writer struggling to find the magic formula that gets readers to follow and engage in the conversation. After all, if the reader joins in, my friends won’t all have to be make believe! 

Save a writer’s sanity – read and reply!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Everybody has a story


I have observed of late that everybody has a story.  I’m not talking about the novel they haven’t yet written, rather the thing that makes them special.  It is most evident on reality television. (I don’t watch a lot, just The Voice and Biggest Loser) I think, perhaps it is a tactic to create empathy for the contestant, thus swinging the popular vote.  Some of them are true examples of triumph over hardship.  Other stories are a stretch – “Your parents are so mean that they won’t pay for ALL of your private college tuition!  How ghastly!  You have to work a job? Incredible!”

When I complain that “Everyone has a story,” my son retorts, “Well, yeah.  Everyone does.” He is correct, but what bothers me is that we forget to value the regular guy that goes about his life doing his duty day-to-day without any sensationalism.  His story might read something like this:

Steady Eddy was born in a regular town to regular parents that made him go to school and taught him to work.  Eddy grew into a responsible adult, married his sweetheart and was faithful to her throughout his life.  They raised four regular children who in turn led regular lives.  Eddy held a steady job and made a modest yet dependable income.  He taught his children to fish and drive a standard transmission.  His wife and children were secure in his love for them and his devotion as he steadily provided for them.  He never won a race.  Eddy never wrote a best-seller, his name was never in the news or on MSN, nor did he ever blame his lack of fame or social status on anyone else.  Eddy didn’t care about fame.  He simply loved his family and went about his life caring for them.  As Bill Wilson might say, “To the world Eddy was just one person, but to those who depended on him he was the world.”

Let’s hear it for Steady Eddy!  He’s more valuable than you might know.  I’ll bet he knew this secret!
 
 
It's true.  Everybody does have a story.  Some of the best stories might be boring, but they are the ones that make the world go around. I think that's pretty special, don't you?

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Goal setting, blogging, and experience

Day's End

It is 10:30 pm on a Monday night and I am doing my best to follow through with a goal I set last week.  I determined to post to this blog or The Other One every weekday for one week. I almost made it through, but Friday’s post got bumped to Saturday.  I guess that counts as I posted five times during the week.  Having made it through one week I chose to tackle a second.

Goal setting is not always about the end result, many times the progress towards the goal is as valuable as reaching it.  For instance, when I published my first book, Gold Pans and Iron Skillets, I went through an editing process that I thought would never end!  Eventually it did and I finally had a book in my hands.  The skills I learned through the process, however, still serve me well.  This is not to say that I am always typo free, but I do know some things to watch for during the early stages of a document that make proofing and editing go more smoothly.  I still write fragmented sentences and sometimes I choose to hang onto them because I like the way they read, but I don’t use them as much as I once did.

Training for a half marathon, or any race distance for that matter, is a great teacher and it improves physical fitness in ways that simply going for a regular run around the neighborhood or farm fields cannot.  It has also provided me much material for my next book.

Sometimes we fall short of our goal.  It is then that we should take a hard look at the process or journey toward that goal.  Even when the target isn’t quite attained the experience and knowledge gained while working toward it is often of great value. 

Week 2.  Day 1.  Check.


Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Frozen Digits - from my upcoming book


I made a commitment to post on this blog, or the other one, every day this week. This doesn’t include Sunday.  I take Sundays off.  Today I thought I might share something from the book I am currently writing. (Okay, I’m working on more than one, but this one takes priority.) Although the book is about lessons learned through running, it is not a book just for runners. The running stories are simply a tool to teach a lesson.   Read on and you will see what I mean …

Frozen Digits Lesson

I do my best to run all year long. When the weather turns cold, however, it is often tempting to remain indoors, aborting the morning run for a warmer, more sedentary activity such as sleep. I do love my sleep!  I have learned, however, that I am happier and healthier if I continue to go outside and move year-round.  This is true even when we are suffering a weather inversion that makes the atmosphere dark, cold, and gloomy for weeks on end.

Frost accumulation from inversion air. Check out the eyelashes!
During the winter I don more layers and step out into the brisk winter air.  As I brave the elements and go for a cold weather run, the first mile or two can be rather uncomfortable especially for my fingers and toes.  Experience has taught me that eventually, my frozen digits will respond to the increased blood pumping through my veins and they will warm. During these runs I often find myself removing my cheap knitted gloves because the discomfort of the cold air is no longer a factor. In fact, running has warmed me to the point that I remove the gloves to help cool down.  It is true that if I run in the cold long enough, I become comfortable. I have a cold threshold.  I draw the line when the temperature drops below 10◦! I have not found a lesson in running in weather that cold.  Some runners may.  I don’t intend to find out.

What did I learn from the Frozen Digits Lesson?

Some pain is meant to be endured.  What appears as uncomfortable in the beginning, often transitions into a comfort level once we have put up with it long enough. 

For instance, one can be tempted to avoid a growing experience because he is hesitant to endure the discomforts the experience is sure to present.  Consider the discomfort level of a job change, especially one that involves relocation.  This can be daunting to anyone, especially those with families.  When our children were in high school and middle school, we were presented with an opportunity to relocate for a new job.  We investigated the opportunity and determined that it wasn’t the right fit for us. While we were gathering information to make our decision, our children were in mourning.  Their anticipation of the move was fraught with anxiety.  The decision to move was never made, yet they were convinced their lives were soon to be ruined.  Surely, had we made the change, there would have been a period of adjustment, discomfort, and growth.

Think for a minute of someone who has overcome addictive behavior. Before they begin, the discomfort of change can seem too much to bear.  Just as sleep is more inviting than a run on a cold winter morning, familiarity is more comfortable than the sacrifice required for change.  Before he begins, the smoker might believe he cannot exist without his nicotine.  With each cigarette that is not lit, his body becomes stronger and healthier and he gains mental strength as his confidence increases.  Might he stumble?  Of course, but the longer he endures, the better his hope of success.

When my father passed away, I did not sleep for a week - not well, at least.  This may seem silly to those that struggle with sleep regularly, but I am a good sleeper! I was concerned and saddened by the event, as most would be.  I discovered, however, that as time went by the pain became weaker and the memories grew sweeter.  As I passed a haystack one day, I was reminded that my dad had been an expert hay stacker in his day.  I, on the other hand, had only recently learned that there were patterns to haystacks and my father had a talent for building them.  I smiled as I remembered this and a single tear escaped my eye.  Over the years, the smiles have become more frequent and they are seldom accompanied by tears. 

Does time truly heal all wounds?  I don’t believe every wound is healed by time, but most are healed or softened to some degree.  Others are more easily endured as we continue to bear them.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, and many have quoted him, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.” 

Cold weather running has taught me to be patient during times of difficulty.  Either the trial will pass or I will gain strength to overcome it. Unfortunately, unlike running, it is difficult to measure how long patience must be exercised during life’s difficulties.  When I run in the cold, I can expect that by the time I have completed the first mile, my digits will no longer feel frozen. Life experiences are not quite so predictable, but if you keep running or enduring, sometime the pain may become bearable.

Do you have something in your life that might require a little more patience - a little more enduring before the blessings are realized? Can you resolve to “just keep running?”
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jumping through hoops



Take time for the most important things.
I was once told that “People are not an interruption of our work, they are our work.” This was in reference to all the phone calls, extra questions, broken appliances and other things that interrupted the scheduled work in a busy medical office. It was a reminder that although we had tasks to complete, those tasks were for the patients coming to our office to receive services.  We were in the business of treating people, not things.

This is not so different from our daily lives.  Why do we do all those THINGS that somehow encumber us from day to day?  I described my day yesterday as one spent jumping through hoops.  This simply means I was tending to tasks that had to be done, yet seemed an interruption of things that I thought were truly important.  Some of those hoops, were just that – required busy work.  However, some of the interruptions were directly related to individuals’ needs.  At the end of the day I thought, “I didn’t get anything done today!”  I took a moment to evaluate the day and realized that some very important things had, indeed, been accomplished.  Some of those things directly involved people and their needs while others, like registering my automobile, indirectly served individuals. (It’s a long story, but it required two trips to the DMV 20 miles away.)

It is important to keep in mind that the laundry, the dishes, and the bill paying, are all a service of some sort.  They seem like busy work that needs to be done, but someone needs clean clothes and food on the table and a legally driven vehicle.
It is also important to keep in mind that although completing the busy work might be a worthy goal for the day, sometimes people and their immediate needs will interrupt us.  Don’t forget that they are your true work.  Without them, all the other stuff wouldn't matter.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Old Fort Boise Days. Ready, Set, Go!


I am taking a few minutes break from preparing for Old FortBoise Days to remind myself why I love writing.  The selling is fun, when one actually sells.  The visiting with folks who love to read or write, or both – well those things are also fun.  It’s the getting ready to sell and trying to sell that feels tedious to me.
Come see me and I will give you a cool bookmark!

Here is my problem … I really just want people to read my work! However, selling somehow justifies all the time spent writing. So I feel a need to sell, but marketing isn’t my strong suit. Therefore, neither is selling.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours working on the PainBook.  I’m still mulling over a title. What do you think about “Painful Lessons from a Running Granny?” 

Anyhooo, a few minutes spent writing seems to get the creative juices flowing while thinking about writing and not doing it works just the opposite for me. Today’s tasks (counting change, gathering pens, making flyers, and packing the table and chairs in the car) are not nearly so intellectually stimulating. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to making some new friends, visiting with fellow writers, telling people about my writing, and hopefully selling a few books.  There is also the promise of a Bloomin’ Onion or some other sort of Fair Food.  That is always fun!

I will trudge on today getting ready for tomorrow for I know tomorrow will be great.  It’s kind of like one of the chapters in my next book, “The Anticipation of Pain Lesson.” The run is never as bad as the anticipation of the run.  Well, sometimes it is!  Read about one particularly difficult run HERE.http://runninggrannygreen.blogspot.com/2012/07/im-alive.html

Well, now to pack the car …

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Taking inventory - It's a busy life


I think that is Pennsylvania down there.
 
What a busy couple of weeks I’ve had! Just look at this list:
Lake Erie.  It's like an ocean!

Six plane rides

One visit to the beach at Lake Erie

One road trip to New York State

Lots of hot dogs

One ice cream cone at Alli’s Cones & Dogs (Very nice people!)

Gotta have ice cream!
Two running workouts with a toddler and a stroller

One walk with a five year-old, a toddler, and a stroller

One visit to the Erie Zoo
 
One camel that didn't live in a zoo

About twenty walls scrubbed (It’s just an estimate)

One oven cleaned

One refrigerator cleaned
Hilly run in Erie!

Four windows and tracks scrubbed

One Krispy Kreme Donut

Two copies of Gold Pans and Iron Skillets given away on airplanes

One batch of princess sugar cookies baked with two princesses

One difficult eight mile run

One day of yard work

For making cookies.
Lots of Grandma Time

One outing with a standard transmission (I can still drive a stick)

One reminder to the Tooth Fairy

One dozen (roughly) bedtime stories

One rake and one shovel stuck in a tree

New grass sprouting

One goat head stuck in my foot
A rake and a shovel

Three or four broken hearts

Countless hugs

 

It’s a busy life!  It’s also a wonderful life.  If you don’t think so, stop and take inventory like I just did.  You are sure to find something to smile about. 
 
Remember, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” 2 Nephi 2:11

In other words, you would not know happy if you had never known sad.

 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Springtime at the Greens'


Spring!  I forgot what a whirlwind it can be.  The days grow longer, but it still seems there are not enough hours.  I think that is because we tend to fill up all the daylight! Here is a short rundown of what is happening around my place.

My two college boys moved home for the summer.  That means more.  More food.  More dishes. More noise!

I made a quick trip to Cove and LaGrande, Oregon to visit my sister and do a couple of book signings.  It was fun to meet new people, renew some old acquaintances, and share some readings from my books.  I love to hear people laugh at those things I have penned that I intended to by funny.

I’m training for another half marathon.  A friend who just began running again after many years of not running asked if I would do one with her and promised to train.  We are training together.  She is faster than I and it is challenging me!

I conned some friends into running the Grand Teton Relay in August.  Wowser!  I hope we survive.

I am heading to Pennsylvania in a few days to visit my daughter and her family.  (It’s really about visiting the little girls.)

We are re-landscaping – just because. It is slow going.

The garden is producing lettuce and spinach. That will help with the “more food” challenges listed above.

I am terrorizing a pair of robins as I photograph the happenings in the nest they built outside my bedroom window.  Three little birds and one blue egg remain today.  Poor little robin.  I will have to take another photo tomorrow to see if the last egg hatched.

I’m trying to write.  It is slow going, but I have a plan and I hope to get another book in print by the end of the summer.  We will see.  I can promise it is coming, but then – so is Christmas.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Feeling good and here's why ...

I'm feeling a little excited today and here is why ...

It's raining - again.  We have experienced a drought for a couple of years and that is a very dangerous situation for agriculture in the high deserts of Idaho. A running buddy and I slogged through four miles of drizzle today.

I have an approaching trip to visit my daughter and her family.  I am excited to spend some time with my granddaughters!

My boys will be home in a week to spend the summer.  Excited and apprehensive.  My cooking regimen will have to be changed up!

I registered my team for the Grand Teton Relay last night!

Training for Fit for Life Half Marathon is going well.

I have a mini book tour approaching.  (Okay, it's just lunch and a library signing, but I am looking forward to it.)

My next book is taking shape and I think it is going to be great!  I will soon be giving you some teasers here and on Running Granny Green, because ... well, it has some running lessons in it. That's all about that for now.

I'm going on a Friday night date with my hubby.  What's not to love?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Redecorating with Behr

My dear friend, Paulee, was visiting several weeks ago and told me, “Carol, the next time I come to visit we are painting your bathroom!”  Paulee is the kind of friend that loves me in spite of my faults and loves me enough to give me advice when needed.  She was right.  That bathroom was long overdue for a face lift.  What makes it worse is it’s the “public” bathroom in our house.  Everyone sees it.

And we're prepping!
While cleaning said bathroom this week I determined to come to a decision on a paint color.  After cleaning the bathroom I decided it would be a good time to tape and repair holes in preparation for the paint.  I am a bit under the gun as my two college student sons are coming home for the summer.  If I didn’t paint before they arrived, it wouldn’t happen until fall. 

Having prepped the walls and prepared my mind for painting (not my favorite pastime) I made the thirty minute drive to town that evening to purchase paint from Home Depot. (I could write much about my relationship with Home Depot, but that will have to wait.) Unfortunately, the paint swatch I had picked out did not come from Home Depot!  So I made a stab at a close match. I returned home with a gallon of BehrDusty Olive. I had difficulty sleeping as I was so excited to get those ugly blue walls covered!

Bright and early Thursday I donned my grubby painting clothes (Sorry, no selfies!) and began the chore.  I had nearly completed the task when my hubby arrived home for lunch.  I had used only about a quart of paint. While we were munching on the lunch that he so kindly prepared I mused, “I wonder if I have enough paint for the kitchen?”
I got a little carried away.
And so it continued.  The prep work involved climbing up and down to remove objects above the counter. And up.  And down.

Just one of four collections to remove and replace.

When the task was completed, I had upgraded two rooms for about $40 and my shoulders and ankles hurt. 
Such a difference!
I have a new favorite paint color and I am wondering if I have enough paint left to cover a dining room wall!

I love this rich color.
 Gone is the ugly blue glazed white stuff.  I wonder why I had that blue paint?
 
 

Fresh new look!
 
Those chairs are OLD, as in 100 years!
 
What do you think?  Should I paint the wall on the right of this photo! Maybe I should ask Paulee ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Baking with sour dough


As if I don’t have enough interests to occupy my time and energy I was given a sour dough start by my friend, Nikki.  Read her blog HERE.  I’ve been trying to market my new book, finish my taxes, clean out a few closets, study for my new Sunday School assignment teaching the Old Testament, and write a couple more books. Now I have another hobby to play with!  I’ve used it four times.  The first attempt was sour dough Focaccia Bread that turned out like this! 

Sour Dough Focaccia Bread
Here is a link to the recipe!

Then I made sour dough pancakes.  They are always a hit. I baked a sour dough coffee cake.  I thought I took a photo, but I must have deleted it.   The coffee cake was yummy, too!

When I sent Nikki this photo bragging about my sour dough bread bowls, she replied, “You are on fire!  I haven’t used mine yet.”


Bread bowls I created on my own!
What? I’m wearing myself out in the kitchen out of a sense of duty to make use of the start she gave me and she hasn’t even used hers yet! I bet she will after she reads this post!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The marketing roller coaster

Wouldn't it be grand if every great idea simply sold itself?  Better yet, if every fabulous phrase ever penned (Well, we seldom pen anymore.  I call it "plunk out.") found its way to the eyes of a reader and inadvertently to the change in their pocket, writer's would be free to create and plunk out to their hearts' delight!  Unfortunately for us creative types, to fund our habits, we must market.  Creativity and the inspiration that springboards it is best accomplished in quietude. Marketing, on the other hand, involves telephones and messages.  It involves networking, both personal and virtual.  It involves copiers and envelops. It requires busyness.
While visiting with my sister the other day about an upcoming event and the work required to schedule another, she said, "I thought you liked talking to people."
She is correct.  I do like talking to people, even large groups of people.  It's the asking for permission to talk to them that challenges me!
For instance, I have a friend with a lead on a possible event (That's all the detail you get at this juncture). She gave me a phone number and said, "They are expecting your call." I was excited, but I put it off for a little while and when I did call, the contact was not in.  I have to call back!  I am really resisting the urge to see it as a sign that the event will fall through!
I am beginning to understand why so many people hire others to do their marketing.  I can tell you all the great things about a friend's product, but I keep expecting my books to speak for themselves.  I think they do, once they are read, but they don't call to people from a shelf, or the box in my car!
I'm trying some new things - phone calls for one!  I am also going to implement a newsletter for those folks who don't follow my blogs or Facebook. I am going to keep plodding along, because it's the writing (and the talking) that I love!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The work of writing


Ahh, the writing life!
The work of writing is not nearly as glamorous as one might imagine.  There is a lot of cutting and pasting and discarding that goes on and that is just the first draft!  It can get quite messy. If creating were the only aspect of the “work of writing” then there might be more glamour.  Editing can be drudgery and marketing - well, most of us are not very good at it!  Both must be done before the writer can make a profit.  I use the term “profit” loosely!  For me it seems that as I focus on one task, the others get neglected.  I have been attempting to market my new book, Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks, at the expense of my blogs and other writing projects.  When I immerse myself in writing, I don’t sell books!  It’s a vicious cycle, but I love it and so I muddle through!  Here is an overview of some of the projects, both writing and marketing, that I am tackling.


*Two books are completed and available for purchase – Gold Pans and Iron Skillets and Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks. Both are available HERE.

*I have a luncheon date with the Union County Nile Club and a Meet the Author event at The Cove Library. I am attempting to schedule a third event during the same trip.

*Daily I look for new ways to get the word out.  This blog is only one of them!

*I am collaborating on a children’s book with my sister who will be illustrating it.  Watch for more info on this one.  It is going to be fun!

*I am working on a book about the pains of running and the life lessons learned.  I am still mulling over a title.

*I am still sitting on the novel. I am not sure where I want to go with this. Self-publishing may or may not be the answer.
*And lastly, just waiting to be discovered like every other starving talent!
So, if you think I have quit writing, think again!  I am just missing in action while I attend to other things.  Often, those other things are people.  You see, that's why I write.  I have time to do the important things that arise during the day.  As a wise man once counseled, "People are not an interruption of our work.  People are our work."  It was good advice then and it's good advice now.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Homemade laundry soap and guilt


I love the scent of line dried clothing!
I just made my own laundry soap.  I didn’t do it out of a desire to connect with my pioneer roots or because I found a pretty picture on Pinterest that made me believe my house would be perfectly clean and organized if I made my own soap.  I didn’t do it because my mother made laundry soap with lye when I was a child and I was feeling reminiscent.  I did it out of guilt.

The leaders of my Faith have long taught that we should be prepared and frugal.  In event of an emergency we will not only be able to take care of ourselves, but lend aid to those around us. We call this preparation Provident Living. Some aspects of Provident Living are easier for me to comply with than others.  It’s easy for me to grow a garden because my husband does that.  He has a Green thumb. I enjoy reaping what he sows and find great satisfaction in filling mason jars with the bounty.  Physical health is also in my skill set.  I try to exercise regularly, eat a healthy (somewhat) diet and I know a few home remedies that come in handy on weekends and holidays. That’s when everybody always gets sick. Spiritual health is another goal I am continually pursuing.

I am not so good at storing sundries.  I told a friend once that I always think things should last longer than the do – for instance, a bottle of lotion.  She made a profound observation.

“I think that is just mortality.  Things are always wearing out.”  Good point.

Anyway, back to the guilt.  In our pursuit of Provident Living, we often have workshops aimed at Emergency Preparedness and Frugality.  I have participated in the Laundry Soap Lesson on more than one occasion and I have been skeptical.  I would rather clip a coupon than purchase all the ingredients to combine to make a mess while assembling the powdered cleaner.  I ignored the lesson and the counsel to store laundry soap. Recently, however, I was given a sample of the product and informed that it costs about $.03 per load.  Three cents!  My clothes seemed to come out just as clean as they did with my high efficiency, Oxi-added, liquid soap.  Maybe it was time to bite the bullet and be obedient.

The first step is a bit aromatic and my husband complained.

“What stinks?”

“It’s part of the laundry soap I’m making.  I’m trying to be obedient,” I replied.

“It’s making me sneeze.”

I promised it wouldn’t last forever and that it was a way to save lots of money.  That seemed to suffice.

I now have approximately six months’ supply of laundry soap in a bucket. It cost me about $15. I need to make another batch to be truly prepared.  Oh … and obtain a large bucket and a hand held dasher to really get the job done!  I’ve got a small washboard I use as a decoration.  I think that will have to suffice for now.  I would hate to get carried away!

What are you doing to be frugal, be prepared, or be obedient?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 Best things about Maui

Rather than give a play-by-play of my vacation (I can do that well enough in person) I thought I would post a short list of my favorite things accompanied by a few photos!  Enjoy!

10 – Crashing surf and blowholes. We saw this one on a drive around West Maui.  It’s a sketchy road and makes the Road to Hana look like a highway!

9 – Seven Sacred Pools.  This freshwater dip was just what we needed after a two-mile 1000 foot climb to the waterfall that feeds them.

8 – Upcountry and Orchids of Olinda.  After this visit I believe even I can grow orchids! (Maybe not.)

7 – Road to Hana. Put it on your bucket list!

6 – Sandy Beaches. I even brought some of the sand home with me.  It’s in my ear canal. (That’s another story!)

5 – Lani Kai Snorkeling.  The captain was fabulous.  When the wind picked up he modified the cruise to find the best snorkeling spots.  The best, however, was his knowledge about humpback whales and the whale of a show that he found for us!

4 – Humpback Whales!  I wish I had some photos.  The competition for a female partner was incredible, as was the mother whale teaching her calf to breach.

3 – Humidity and 85◦. It occurred to me that there is no need to dust in Maui.  That's foreign to this country girl.



2 – Palm Trees!
   And more palm trees!




Did I mention palm trees?





1 – Hanging with my Hubby!
 
Things that didn't make the short list:
Lahaina, Banyan Trees, Hawaiian Shave Ice, Hot Island Glass, Haliimaile Coutry Store, and Ali’IKula Lavender farm, to name a few.