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.

 

 

 

It’s Not Been My Day…

IT’S NOT BEEN MY DAY—ALL. WEEK. long. No walks, no work accomplished, no shopping doen…I think the last straw was when I tried to save my blog and it vanished. I’ve taken a short break, and now I’m starting over. Things like this have been the norm…all week. Ninety to one hundred degree weather also seems to be the norm—this is not normal for our area…and it has me wilting.

I can’t focus when it gets this hot. My little sweeties aren’t exactly helping, either. Sebastian is great at instigating situations, then looking innocent. “Who, me?” I find myself laughing…usually.

Sebastian, the Instigator

Sebastian, the Instigator

Kaeli (11 year old Golden Retriever/Lab mix) and Sebastian were alone last Thursday night and when I came home, Kaeli was favoring her right front foot. I just figured she and Sebastian were chasing each other down the stairs and she took a wrong step. She’s done it before. Sometimes she can be a real klutz. The next day she wasn’t walking on it at all. I figured a visit to the vet was in order if it wasn’t better. Also, Kaeli has 3/4 acres to romp in, right? Poison oak, manzanita, oak trees…and lots of weeds. The poison oak I can deal with (just wipe Kaeli down when she comes in…and wash my hands after handling her), but I can’t keep up with the weeds. The grass weeds just happen to be the ‘foxtail’ variety. Needle-like seed carrier that works it’s way into fur, then into and through the skin. It was really meant to work it’s way into the ground…to burrow down to ‘plant’ itself. But it doesn’t know the difference between dirt or animal.

Kaeli is usually pretty good about plucking them out. Plus, I brush her, so I get the rest. Except, with our wacky weather (first hot, then almost winter-like, then hot again), her poor coat just doesn’t know what to do, so she has developed a massive undercoat that I can’t keep up with and the result is, those blasted foxtails make their way under her skin. I think they ganged up on her and attacked her or she decided to wallow in the weeds…or something, because she had three or four areas that were bad. Bad enough to need to visit the vet—the second reason to see the vet on Friday. The decision was the foot was another foxtail…not a strain. So, surgery was scheduled for Monday (the foot was the one place the vet did not find a foxtail).

She came home Monday with the Cone of Shame, four shaved bits of body, plus the incision on her foot…and my concentration took a nose-

Miss Kaeli with Cone of Shame

Miss Kaeli with Cone of Shame

dive. The looming deadlines are screaming at me: documents waiting to be signed and returned, my manuscript—freshly back from the editor, is hovering over my head waiting for review and correction from the first round of edits, copy from my publisher’s marketing department awaiting review and corrections—and this blog…but Kaeli requires almost constant ‘surveillance’. My smart little sweetie quickly managed to figure out how to get to the incision on her foot, even with the cone. Simply stand, place the paw out, lean the cone up against the leg and rest it on the top of the foot…and lick. Which means I have to keep her close at hand, lying down, or she will sneak in a lick.

Very frustrating. To say the least.

Not much accomplished in a week. Everything remains in limbo, waiting for my sweet puppy to heal up. I have managed to sign the documents and get them off, plus get this blog post done (thankfully). I was able to take her with me the two times I went to Open Ground Studios to do some work…and make a visit to my chiropractor—bless him…he let me bring her in to the room for the adjustment. Oh, and yesterday we went to the grocery store once it was dark and cool—I could leave her in the car to sneak in to buy two things before she figured out how to get in her licks.

Now to go run an errand without Kaeli and see if she’ll be a good girl in my absence (I finally gave up and put a bandage on her foot earlier today, covering the incision). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the bandage will still be there when I get back. Maybe I’ll be able to go to church on Sunday. Maybe…

I love her so much. I want her well—for her sake as much as mine…she looks depressed…all mopey, not being able to roam freely around her property. I miss my freedom, too, of being able to go to the store…or walks (she can’t come with me because the incision on her foot hurts too much) without thinking about whether she’ll get into trouble in my absence…

Heal fast my little sweetie so we can both play…

 

Issues…

YEAH, I’M HAVING ISSUES. SO WHAT…?

Don’t we all? But that’s a bad attitude if I’ve ever heard one.

We all have problems that hang over our heads, producing little dark clouds (well, some may be larger than others), pouring rain down now and then. It’s how you handle them that counts. Do you hunker down, grumbling as it drenches you? Do you pull out your raincoat or handy-dandy umbrella to protect you from most of the fallout? Or, perhaps, fling off the rain coat or toss the umbrella aside and dance in the rain, relishing your “storm”, wondering where it will take you…adding to your myriad of experiences, coloring your life in ways that would not otherwise have been possible?

I have my good days, going along in life, taking it all in. Like most people, I enjoy life to the fullest during these time.

But then, there are the days where everything seems to go wrong no matter what I do to stave off disaster. I realize it is out of my hands and I need to just let it happen, pulling anything that could be positive from the rubble. I pull find a smile, shake my head and laugh. All of that usually helps me. It’s either that or grumble. I’d rather not go there.

Or tears are waiting in the shadows, ready to burst forth for no obvious reason. I would love to blame it on the ‘change of life’, but I’m passed that. Instead, I look to see what season I’m in—I mean, what month. What life experience ‘anniversary’ may be coming up. If there’s nothing, then I shrug my shoulders and blame my wacky thyroid (it is hormonal, just a different beast). And continue on with life, dealing with the tears as they come, considering them a gift. Helping me look at things around me in a more sympathetic way.

But, right now, I just passed an “anniversary”. Each year, little things have  triggered my emotions as the date of my husband’s death draws closer and closer. I handled his death all those years ago fairly well, thanks to the support of friends and the ever-presence of my larger-than-life shoulder to lean on—God. All I need to do is to remember he is still there for me. No matter what. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I find myself concentrating too much on the emotion, getting wrapped up in myself and it’s like a weight, pulling me down. Then I remember. That life-preserver, always at the ready if only I would look for it and reach out to it.

Always lean on Him. Keep Him close.

Also, what I need to remember, instead of concentrating on that death date is to focus on the celebration date—my husband’s birth date, which is so close to it. Take the focus from death to life.

When I remember, and finally bring my focus onto Him, life is better.

Always.

May your troubles be few and may you always be a shoulder to lean on…

Feeling Euphoric!

IT’S A WONDERFUL, GIDDY kind of feeling when you accomplish something.  I have been working for so long on my little story-turned-novel — almost 14 years — that I was not sure it would ever happen.  But, on Monday, I finally laid the first draft to rest.  It is done. (insert Happy Dance here)  And for that, I thank God!  Really and truly thank Him for the persistence and perseverance to bring this phase to completion.

Even though I decided to put it aside for a few days before beginning the very necessary rewrites and editing, it is hard to concentrate on anything else.  My mind just won’t let it go.

This is definitely a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, I really need to refresh my mind, relax, and get on with life — with the mundane things that need to be done.  On the other, it’s nice to know the writerly portion of my brain wants me to hunker down (even if it is being a little too persistent and wants to begin the editing now) — but since I refuse, it’s doing it all by itself, which can be very distracting.

I had an art class last night.  Thankfully my job as the teacher’s assistant for demonstrations that night kept me from really digging into any project, because my mind was so scattered (thoughts of how to do the rewrite kept popping up), I would not have done a good job anyway.  My instructor, bless her, was so understanding (“Why on earth are you not out celebrating!!”), she let me leave an hour early.  I was accomplishing absolutely nothing in class.

So, I’m writing today — but not editing, as my mind would really prefer.  It’s all the art of compromise.  It seems satisfied that I am at least writing.  But, I will have to get into the real world soon to run errands, do chores around the house…then we’ll see if this bit of writing was enough for my writerly mind — appeasing it long enough for me to do what needs to be done without the constant chatter, telling me what changes need to happen.

Tonight, I will celebrate with a friend. (And again on Friday when I meet up with NaNoWriMo writing buddies–and perhaps tease my writerly side with some rewriting…or not, because I do have another story waiting in the wings that I could work on!)

Tomorrow, another attempt at working on art in class.  The weekend will come soon, and then rewriting begins, getting ever-closer to the final goal of a completed novel for publication.

Be still, my heart.  It’s hard to contain my joy.

The End Is Nigh

I AM ABSOLUTELY AMAZED at how smooth this month has gone.  Well, I mean to say, considering I’ve procrastinated like never before and there was a major holiday smack dab in the middle of it, I find that I am energized, full of ideas, have time to post quite a few blogs and still take the time to work on — and am almost at the completion point of, my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project.

That’s 50,000 words in 30 days…though I squandered nearly half of the month, writing a little here and there, blogging here and there, with life taking up the lion’s share of each day.  That is, until last week.  I have dishes stacked in the sink, laundry that needs to be done, my cat has to bat me about the face to get my attention and my dog simply sulks and the chickens just have no clue.

Oh, they all get fed, me included, but that’s about it.  I have occasionally changed the kitty litter — Sebastian has a rather unique way of reminding me.  When it “time”, I suddenly notice that there is so much litter on the floor surrounding the box, it makes me wonder if there is any left inside.  When I check, I realize I have, once again, been a bad kitty mom and do my duty…

My dishes are tilting rather precariously, so it is time, once again to don the gloves and scrub them up so I can return to using metal rather than plastic utensils.  The plates seem to be holding up well, but bowls are in short supply.  So, since I’m scrubbing, I’ll end up taking care of those too.  If there’s an earthquake before I get this job done, I won’t need to do dishes…they are all going to crash to the floor.  Then it’ll be broom-time.  Oh, dear.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Just so you know what it’s like when someone gets so focused on what they are doing that everything other than the focus item becomes inconsequential.  At least to a degree.

Do you have someone like that in your life?  Someone so focused, that you get left in the dust?

Thankfully, I was blessed with a fairly normal husband and daughter.  So was I…note the past tense.  I find I get much more focused on things nowadays.  But, then, it’s just me, so there’s nobody else in the house to complain.

I enjoy what I do so much, that I could spend hours upon hours working on a project, whether photography, printing artwork, or writing, and completely forget about eating, or taking medicine.  Thank God for the iPhone alarms…I have one set for doctor appointments and other important events in my life, for medication times — haven’t set one for meals, but that’s mostly because I take my medicines around meal times (makes it easier to remember).  But even with the alarms, if I’m in the middle of something, I either ignore the alarm (that’s 15 minutes of jangling in my ear) or get up, turn it off and go right back to whatever I was doing.  And forget about the alarm or what I was supposed to do when the alarm goes off.

So, I can see how someone can get completely consumed by something and forget things and people around them.  But, in my case, it’s not a big deal.  There is no family that I am ignoring.  Well, they are only animals, after all, right?  Even now, my NaNo project is calling to me.  It wants me to leave this ( “– just save it and come back to it,” it says) and return to the writing.

My “animals” are my family.  They need my attention, almost as much as my daughter did when she was a youngster.  Right now, they are getting the basics:  food, water, “good girl” or “good boy”, a few special treats and that’s it.  I know they should be getting more, but I also know that this ignoring them will be short lived, even if they don’t know it.  And, to keep the guilt away, I choose to dwell on that.

Well, I have a little over 4,000 words to write and a tad more than two days to meet the 50,000 word challenge that makes NaNoWriMo what it is, so my ramblings are done for now.

May you find that your focus is family and not things.   For family is where your heart should be.  Peace of the Season to all of you.