Investing Time

LIFE HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS … and my life is no different. I’ve done a pretty good job keeping positive through it all. Through plenty of health issues, surgeries. Some awesome highs, like the birth of my daughter … and definite lows, like the death of family members and friends.

Through it all, I’ve managed to stay positive. Or at least pull myself up by the bootstraps, so to speak, and continue on working my way back to a good spot.

I’ve lost pets before too. As a kid, I had turtles, dogs, chickens … and more—becoming quite close to each. My very first dog—such a sweet little girl—ended up with distemper and was put down, crushing my spirits. Then my friend’s dog, along with a pack of others, managed to tear into our chicken coop—decimating the few hens I had. Crushed again. But my craving for critters kept me going, pouring my love into each animal that came into my life. Pigeons, fish, rabbits, a goose … a pony—plenty of critters.

My previous dog’s final years were miserable with Cushing’s Disease. And now, I’ve finally said good-bye to Kaeli, after she dealt with health issues for the last couple of year.

So now, I am down to a cat and a rabbit. And am already craving a dog again. A critter I can give a bear-hug to without crushing … someone that can “protect” me and my home. (And the “call” to acquire some baby chicks is almost overwhelming …) Oh, my (insert small, mischievous grin) …

My cat and I have spent many quality hours together these last few weeks … I’ve noticed that Sebastian is less aggressive now. The frustration of his old playmate ignoring him appears to be gone. I didn’t realize how much Kaeli’s inactivity and grumpiness had effected him. He’s now more loving, back to giving gentle “love bites” rather than chomping down out of frustration. Also much more kittenish—I’m loving the entertaining he’s providing.

Maybe I need to rethink the idea of “replacing” Kaeli (she, of course, can never be replaced—she was one of a kind …). At least for now—just love on the two that are present in my life. Give my bunny more attention—poor girl has a huge pen—I call it the bunny condo (so she does have the room to zip around and burrow to her hearts content)—in the back yard, but nobody to come visit her except to feed and chat now and then … kinda wish she’d been able to be in the house, but I knew the cat and dog would have been reduced her chances of survival, if ya know what I mean. I once had parakeets (I inherited them from my dad when he passed away) that had to stay outside because of my cat. They flourished for years outside in a protected area (even had a heat lamp set up for really cold days) … until one harsh winter ended up being too much for them.

Invest quality time with my little critters—that’s what I must do! They are, after all, part of the family and should be treated as such. Not an afterthought or an inconvenience. Definitely not throw-away objects, as some parts of society would make you believe.

And, since I’m not traveling this year—oh, yeah … surgery is keeping me from traveling—I can spend even more time with my critters … and my garden. Now, those are two things I can get excited about: pets and plants. Well, those and … well, just about everything in nature.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
~by Cecil Frances Alexander

Look around you. Enjoy what you see. Embrace each day anew. May this day and the week that follows be truly blessed.

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ …

I’M ON A ROLL … AND IT FEELS GOOD! (Sniggle … that title immediately makes me think of the old western tv show, Rawhide … that wasn’t the plan.) The fog is lifting and energy is finally returning. I wonder if it’s residual from all my walking on Wednesday of last week (I think I managed three miles in one day—that’s a lot for me). On Thursday (last week), I made good progress on the edit of book four—and had fun face-to-face interacting with two other “writerly” NaNoWriMo members. Or maybe the awesome evening I had at Open Ground Studios for their Social Paint Night (if you’re in the area, you really need to check the next one out … not sure there’s a date yet—I’ll check)—oh, yeah! I was able to get a tax extension, so that pressure is off (whew!). Or maybe it’s the fact that, on Saturday, I miraculously scored four hard-to-acquire tickets for the 2017 Gallifrey One event in February and made room reservations for half of us—a friend will make the second room reservation.

I’m on a roll, aren’t I? Well … I did miss the Sunday’s Paint Out with the Aromas Hills Artisans at Point Lobos. They changed the time last minute and I wasn’t able to make the new time work. It would have been great—they paint and sketch whilst I usually wander around with my camera capturing images. Oh, well. There’s always next time.

I even worked in the garden over the weekend. Spring is here in spades—actually, over the weekend, it was more like summer with temps in the high 70s and low 80s! Gorgeous day to play in the garden, even if only for short bits … there’s so much to do. Even though I spend a good hour toiling, it’s hard to see much progress—but I can now walk pathways without getting attacked by thistle plants (yay).

Buoyed by all this wonderful stuff, I walked in on Monday to hear the doomsday lecture from my neurosurgeon. I was prepared for it (plus, I had my extended church family praying for me—thank you—you know who you are). I knew (kinda) what was coming and was prepared with lots and lots of questions. It went smoother than anticipated and there was no lecture (yay!). It took a few more days, but now I’m on the cusp of having a date for my surgery—and the daunting task of cancelling my trip to the UK (that’s the only sad part, really). Air fare and rooms … with the aid of the doctor’s office, I should get most of my money back … I hope.

My week continued to be pretty darn great—a walk in a cute little park, a bit of editing on my work in progress, then a wonderful speaker at Central Coast Writers (perfect for me … she spoke about writing a series). Though I’d already grappled with many of the things she spoke of, I learned plenty. CCW has terrific speakers!

And, after a busy Thursday of talking with doctors, juggling non-painterly things at Open Ground Studios and getting zapped in a “nerve conduction test”, then working on editing with writerly friends, here we are again … at Friday. There’s still plenty on my plate, like the ongoing editing project, finishing and confirming the cancelling of all my flights/rooms and an upcoming book signing in May—May 7th to be exact … in a garden setting—lovely—in Aromas! I’m praying for good weather, but I will take whatever is thrown at me.

Oh … and there’s that pesky “major surgery” near the end of May. God’s got my back on that one (along with all my friends—bless each and every one of them!!), so I’m not going to worry unnecessarily. There may be a few weeks where I’m in hibernation, incoherently babbling from pain medications (grin) so, no blog during that time (I’ll give you warning) … but I’ll be back to my old self soon enough.

I love my life … with all it’s ups and downs—it’s pretty darn exceptional. I am blessed. Indeed.

May your day … and weekend—the whole week, really—be gloriously and serendipitously blessed.

… Friends

YES, LIFE CAN DEFINITELY BE like a roller coaster ride … with plenty of ups and downs. Right now, I think I’m ready for a placid boat ride on a tranquil lake. I enjoy an exciting ride, just like most people … but let’s keep it to “now and then”, please. Maybe it’s because I’m becoming addled in my old age (tongue in cheek—honest … well, most days, anyway).

Yup … old age, as the saying goes, is not for the faint of heart. Sigh (and giggle … please insert eye-roll). I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m glad I have someone much stronger than I to lean upon—for all those ups and downs. And I have a whole village of friends for additional support. God is ultimately my pillar—the one that is there for me no matter what, but friends are definitely awesome too. I have friends that understand my cryptic comments on Facebook. Some are silent, waiting for me to give further information (they know it’ll come eventually), while others fill that immediate need by inquiring as soon as they hear I’m not up to par—allowing me to vent a wee bit … or to commiserate. We need all of it—well, at least, I do.

I hold my friends close like a precious commodity. Some I can go without seeing for ages … and when we meet up again, it’s as if we’ve never been apart. One or two, when I met them for the first time … well, it was as if we’d already know each other for ages, syncing perfectly, understanding each other. Others are there in my every-day life, tapping me on the shoulder occasionally (with a knowing comment or making a “knowing” face) to keep me in line, or are there to “watch my back” or give me a hug. Others simply shake their head knowingly at my antics and smile (or make a comment to diffuse a situation). And … there are those that are there, helping me to “let it all hang out”—goofing around, having ridiculous fun. Some know the agonies and trials needed to get through the writing, publishing and promoting of a book. I’m glad to have every single one of them in my life.

Sniggle. I must tell you of one such friend—a fairly new friend at that (so, I was delighted by her response). Over this last weekend, a bevy of writers (Central Coast Writers, to be more specific) planned on walking in the parade at the Good Old Days event in Pacific Grove. We were all at our booth when the text came for us to converge at a spot along the parade route. All but one (who had to stay and man the booth) headed up the hill to the location … and as we walked, I warned everyone that I’d be lagging behind because hills were my nemesis, but not to worry. They kept an eye on me & altered their speed to accommodate me (sweet of them!). I made it to the top (sadly, panting—sniggle) and we continued to our meeting point. Along the way, I was asked several times if I needed someone to drive me back to the booth—I declined each time. It was not necessary. When we arrived at what we thought was our meeting point, my body was screaming at me to lie down. So, I did (it takes the weight off the ankles, bad knee and aching back—and, oooh, it felt nice an’ cool on my achy back). I did tell them what I was doing … I think. Anyway, the next thing I knew, I had all sorts of people (including a fireman) asking if I was okay. I kept saying I was fine. Apparently someone thought I’d fallen. Once I explained why I was lying down (rolls eyes … isn’t saying I’m okay enough?), most of them backed off but the fireman kept asking if I needed anything … a pillow, water … whatever. I guess I said something that he laughed at, saying “Okay … you just want us to leave you alone, right?” I laughed with him and said thank you …

That’s when my relatively new friend (a writer) showed up. Perfect timing. She walked up to the “scene” and announced, “Is this a murder scene or something?” Laughing, I flopped my arms out in a “dead man” position … and she added, “Who’s got the chalk to outline this?” I laughed so hard. Nobody bothered me again. (Then she told us we were in the wrong spot, that we needed to go further down the line … groaning, I got up and we trudged off.) She diffused the situation so perfectly. Laurie, you rock!

They are all a blessing, in every phase of my life. During my ups, my downs, my goofiness, my trials and frustrations … in my sadness and elation.

I am blessed abundantly and ever so thankful for each one of them.

Until next Friday … have a blessed day and a gloriously wonderful weekend, wherever you are.




Moving Forward

IT’S BEEN A ROUGH COUPLE of months (sigh … make that six months), the New Year has been celebrated—along with a few other holidays—and I’m nearly into the middle of April—how on earth can time go by so fast? I feel like Alice In Wonderland‘s little white rabbit (even more so than usual of late). You know the one. Always looking at his pocket watch, zooming off into the distance proclaiming, “I’m late, I’m late I’m late—for a very important date …” Yet, I feel like I’m in a hamster wheel, getting nowhere fast.

The dust is slowly settling after losing my fur-friend of so many years. I’m nearly done with my taxes (yeah … I’ll be doing an extension—again) and my primary goals at the moment are to get ready for the Good Old Days weekend event—tomorrow? … yikes!!!—in Pacific Grove and starting to unravel the mysteries of a cervical spine issue rearing it’s ugly head. I have two appointments. One with a DO to discuss possibilities of alternative choices. Then one with a neurosurgeon.

But enough of that. Because of the loss of my little fur-baby (and all the other distractions in my life), I’m finding creativity blocked. I have an edit that needs completing. Really needs to be done if I’m to have it ready to go to press this fall. But that elusive creativity is key to getting this done. It’s not just a red pencil edit. I’ve got lots of things I have yet to put into the story—to flesh it out, so I need those creative juices flowing as I “edit”. Wanting to sit down to do the work is another part of the problem. Focus, desire … or, should I say lack of it. Too many disjointed things bumbling around in my head are acting as stumbling blocks that need to be swept away—fast!

Connecting the dots seems to be a challenge at this time. Maybe, once taxes are done, once the book signing has happened (I always find a well of energy comes up after these things) … maybe then I’ll rediscover my muse and will begin my dance with words and images once again. One can hope …

Maybe … just mabye, my next blog will be photographic (insert huge grin …). That would be nice!

Until then, I wish you all a wonderful, blessed day and weekend. Enjoy your weather—whatever that might be … find that silver lining in whatever cloud hangs over you (I’ll be working/walking in the rain for the next three days—I can hear “… dancing in the rain …” forming in my head).

Until next time. Be blessed.