Happy May Day, Everyone

HERE’S AN EXTRA BLOG entry for your reading pleasure:

The first day of May is upon us. For the younger set, you’ve probably never thought of it as any kind of a special day. But for me, May Day brings back some wonderful memories.

Every year, the day before, my mother would take cuttings from our garden–my dad had a terrific garden and he had the “greenest” of thumbs, producing a prolific floral display for anyone driving by to see–and by morning, we would have baskets filled with flowers to deliver to our neighbors. The object was to deliver them with great stealth. We loved that. Deposit the basket on the porch, ring the doorbell and dash.

It didn’t stop there. Once done, we’d get ourselves to our various schools and I always had a May Day Maypole celebration waiting for me at mine. A certain percentage participated, but most of us students were merely observers. Then there was a special picnic-style lunch in the tree studded yard (it was a great school). I loved the experience: watching the colorful strips of fabric woven as the participants themselves weaved in and out, around the Maypole until the entire pole was beautifully decorated. It was fun. Memorable.

When we moved to southern California, I discovered they didn’t celebrate May Day in any way…and even though I was a brand new freshman in high school, I was still very sad, having lost this lovely tradition. My mom did have us deliver flowers to a few of the neighbors that year, but after that, sadly, it became just another day. As the years went by, I continued to mourn the loss of my special day, though it did lessened. But never completely disappearing. Always remembering.

Even now, I still think about it. I know it’s considered a pagan holiday, and as a Christian, I shouldn’t mourn the loss. But it is also a celebration of the coming of spring. My dad used to call me his ‘nature girl’–to say I love nature (even as a kid) is an understatement. Spring brings forth grass growing rampant, flowers beginning to pop up, blanketing everything…I have always loved seeing things coming to life, life bursting forth, promising renewal. It’s the miracle of life.

Happy May Day, everyone. May you find it filled with new beginnings.

Spam…a lot!

SHOULD I BE GLAD THAT MY blog is reaching so many? Well, if I knew it was people that actually reading and enjoying my blog entries, I’d be tickled. But all of a sudden I’ve gone from two or three spams per week to 40-50 a day. I’m not sure if it’s a “hole” in the update that has weakened the Akismet “protection” provided by WordPress, or I’ve just become a great target.

These “comments” are so blatant in their advertising (zillions of links for their product). I don’t understand why they aren’t caught. Whatever the reason, it is a serious nuisance, taking time away from more valuable things I could be doing. Yes, they go into my ‘spam to review’ file, but why do I even see them? Grrrr.

I’m sorry for venting, but it has gotten rather ridiculous. I hate to think how much I’m going to be dealing with on my trip, when I cannot get into my blog to check daily.

addendum: I have made changes to my blog’s profile to help reduce the spam. Unfortunately, readers must now log on to read. If this proves problematic, please let me know.

Saturday

WELL, SATURDAYS USED TO BE my day to sleep in after five days of getting up early and trudging off to a eight to five job–except when my husband and I drove to the races to work on weekends. Then we were up even earlier, to be at the race track to tech cars before they went onto the track, both Saturday and Sunday. Loved the experience, hated losing my Saturday morning sleep-in.

Once I retired from being employed by others to becoming self-employed, my hours and days off blurred somewhat. I still used my Saturdays as sleep-in days, whenever possible. By the time my husband died, I was retired from my self-employed job and working on figuring out who I was and raising a child. Every day was a Saturday for awhile. Well, every day, except Sundays. Faithfully, I would get up early and get myself to church. It was the only thing that sustained me in those first days after his death. That and my network of friends and family. Thank God for God, friends and family.

Finally, I figured out who I was, dug into my writing and photography, began traveling and tried to resume a ‘normal’ work week. It didn’t really work for me. Even though my mind would wake up early, I thoroughly enjoyed the warmth of the bed to padding around in the cold air. So, I compromised. On days that I was awake enough, I’d get up and begin my day, but on days I wanted extra time snuggling under the warmth of my covers, I chose to linger…but found that 7:30 or 8am was the latest I could comfortably sleep in–even with blinds drawn, to darken the room. Curses! My dad drummed ‘early rise’ into me all too well. He’s probably looking down, smiling, nodding his head in agreement. (Love you, Dad! I know you are watching me from up there.) That, and my persistent critters that needed tending.

Since I’ve been so busy with book two in my series, plus meetings, various appointments and necessary errands, my ‘work’ days have bled into all hours, any and all days of the week, leaving less ‘free’ time than when I was working full time. Now that the book is at the publishers (yay), going through the agonizingly slow process of being published, I decided last week was the week I needed to reclaim Saturday as my sleep-in day–even if I didn’t sleep in much.

But on Friday, I messed that plan up, big-time. I was finally able to go with a friend on a hike through Point Lobos–it’s south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and one of my favorite places to walk around and photograph. After trekking three miles–I know that doesn’t seem like much to some of you, but I was still recovering from a sinus infection and my energy was lagging–I felt exhilarated, but exhausted. By the time I got home, my energy was flagging and I was trying anything I could to keep from finding a horizontal surface to crash onto. Remember, the next day was my sleep in day and I didn’t want to ruin it by taking a nap and not being able to sleep.

Well, first sleep-in wasn’t exactly a success. I didn’t take a nap, but slept poorly (my calves had a little something to say after that three mile walk–haha). I still awoke early, even with a poor nights sleep, but managed to stay in bed till about 7:30. I let my ‘furball’ out to play, fed all the critters, then crawled back into bed…until my dog began barking (too early for my poor neighbors)! I poked my head out the window to see just her rear end, with tail wagging with glee. She’d cornered something…I needed to get down there to stop the noise. Turns out she had a possum ‘cornered’ under the lid of a saucer for a planter, so I needed to bring her back inside so the possum would leave…and it turned into an all morning adventure of rescuing baby possums from my dog as she found each of them. The SPCA kindly took them away, thank you very much!

So much for my first Saturday sleeping in. Maybe I’ll be more successful next Saturday.

How do you like to use your Saturday mornings? Do you use them for leisure or to get a list of things done that you’ve been compiling all week? I’d love to hear from you.

Do I Or Don’t I? Sigh…

I’M TRYING TO MAKE A DECISION. I’ve been contemplating this for quite some time, too.
To go, or not to go…that is the question.

I’ve been reading blogs about the benefits of attending writers conferences. Kristen Lamb recently wrote about the pros of attending conferences in her blog. She’s good. Great at selling ideas. http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/why-all-writers-should-attend-a-writing-conference/

But I haven’t been able to figure out how to manage everything I’m already doing now and squeeze a conference in too…plus, there’s the impact on the pocket book. My trip to Europe will pummel my account for quite some time…

My trip has been in the planning stages almost as long as my pondering of the conferences. I’m not sure if I should be kicking myself in the behind or just chuckle at where I place my priorities. Some may feel the trip is a luxury. A non-necessity. Perhaps, at least the distances I am going to find relaxation. The trip will be my break from the frantic work I’ve done on two books–though, I know I will make it a working holiday and I’ll begin working on book three–and it will refresh my creativity. Yes, I could go somewhere closer…and it would be a lot less expensive, but I want to do my travels abroad while I’m still able.  I’ll be taking a ton of pictures so I’ll have a plethora of choices for my Painterly side to play with and my travels will give me plenty to write about on my blog when I return. The conference, on the other hand, will be work. Networking, learning, and sharing ideas (in a ‘work’ sort of way). Don’t think I’m ready for more work. Not yet, at least.

I need some serious ‘playtime’.

Well, I think I’ve answered my question about the writers conference–at least for now. Once I have three books under my belt–or book four, maybe I’ll be able to connect better then–early next year…I’ll just have to see how things go and play it by ear. Until then, I guess I should get back to my travel plans.

Cheers!