2020

2020

It has been “a year” … a year of uncertainty, despair, hope, survival.

In three years the boys and I have moved three times. I have had a job for the last two years and I am happy there…working with the animals, getting by paycheck to paycheck…but making ends meet. We needed that. Especially these last four years when our whole country has been in such turmoil. Praying this month is a new beginning for our country…for our world.

And I write. Every day, even if it is just a few paragraphs or a chapter. I have now completed three books…dear Aerlinn’s Touch of Shadow may never be realized but he taught me how to write. Khyr’s The Call is still my heart, I’ll be going back in to edit that one next year. This year I completed the first book of Truian’s Cardreanys series, and I am almost half way through the second. Considering this year, I am not displeased with this.

Our home for this past year is near the coastal marsh and is a lovely, quiet little place. Close enough I can walk to my work, but set back from the busyness of everyday life. There is a park just up the road with a lovely view of the marsh, huge live oaks, and a little dock where we can stand and watch little crabs scuttling about their busy little lives, and small boats heading up the marsh channels out to the sea.

Our beloved African Grey parrot, Scooter, passed away from a massive heart attack quite unexpectedly this fall. My heart and my home have an empty place now. I miss her voice. Miss talking to her and singing to her, listening to her grumble till I brought her breakfast, hearing her whistle the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean, and watching her play ‘fight’ with the pup. We buried her at the edge of the park…where she can fly free and be the pirate she was meant to be.

we miss you, Scoot-bird

We are down to just two dogs now… Nugget, our rescue from I-26 rush-hour traffic, and our rescue pup, Chewbacca…more commonly called Chewie…because he DID chew everything. Including eating my shoes and my glasses, lol. He is much better now that he is 2, but his common sense is still a little slow growing in, lol.

Chewie hiking with me…7 miles and he wasn’t even tired


So it has been a long, difficult climb to this November…but looking forward, ever with hope, to the rest of this endless year….and a brighter tomorrow for us all.

Finally Friday

And it is cold. By our LowCountry standards anyway, lol. A long, busy day at work taking care of the critters, and doing ‘house keeping’ (aka sweeping, mopping, cleaning) which proved to be very nice and quiet.

Home tonight, picking up, putting the last boxes of Christmas odds and ends in the attic and planning next week’s menus. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Do you plan your meals in advance? It is a skill I honed ages ago when we had 6 to 8 kids at a time at home, and meal were more than just cooking…they were an adventure. After my hubby passed away, the kids grew up, and life went crazy….planning became more difficult and less necessary. Now I am down to two and here come the plans once more. It makes me feel more in control and once COVID is less a constant spectre in our lives, I suspect the meal planning will become even more useful and doable.

Tonight I prepared the ‘salad’ for stuffing peppers tomorrow night. Lots of avocado, celery… sooo yummy and I get to use up my extra colorful bell peppers.

Meanwhile, in the midst of my clean up duties I noodled through how the ‘market’ system of my world works. Not being a great ‘money’ person– I believe all people have a right to have basic needs met, period — I wanted to steer clear of ‘money’ per se in creating my world. No system is perfect, but this is pulling together.

Finished a difficult scene tonight. Pleased with this one.

Also spun without looking doing my MMA workout this morning and now my knee hurts. I also got in over 8 miles of walking… so tomorrow I expect I will wear my knee support to work to give it a little help.

Hope y’all have a lovely weekend. Find something you love and do it. Be creative. Smile often. Enjoy!

Suddenly Sunday~

The new year…this new month just began and here I am enjoying my first SUNDAY of 2021! Sunday is my ‘usual’ day off work and I love it. Even now, when we cannot attend worship services in person, it is a day to rejoice and give thanks for being here another week.

Tonight my 11 year old little man made supper for the family: side salads, penne pasta with his own homemade alfredo sauce, and garlic breadsticks. I am so proud of him. Since he enjoys being allowed to plan and cook (he even did his own grocery shopping for the meal…except the salad, that is always here) I am encouraging him to cook once every week. Who knows, might have a future chef on my hands ūüėČ

Also, because it is my day ‘off’, I got to write more than I can usually squeeze into the few hours after work. Finished a chapter in my WIP, and a scene for the next book. Both were hard to write, but should be powerful for the reader. As always, that is the goal…writing to make a memorable moment for the reader…as well as the characters.

In keeping with this new year, beginning work with my writing group on setting up monthly ‘goals’ to help each writer on the journey to accomplishing their individual writing goal for this year. It is a challenge. So any steps in any journey, but especially important for artists, of every kind, to have a guide toward how to accomplish them.

I am also realizing more and more that it would be useful in the personal growth department if I create monthly measures/steps to meet toward my goals in real life. This one will be much more difficult for me. I am not accustomed to having any actual ‘goals’ of my own. My life and every step in it has always been dedicated to my family. Now they are almost all grown, and my hubby is deceased, I am slowly trying to come to an understanding of what that means for me personally. What DO I want for myself? Do you have problems figuring out those things for yourself? If not, how did you learn to do it? It does not seem to come naturally to me. Then again, I never thought about it. What I needed or wanted as a child centered on what my younger siblings needed/wanted and how I could provide for them. Then I grew up and it was my family. This is a whole new adventure.

Stick around… it might be bumpy…but I suspect it will often be ridiculous, LOL. We can all use a good giggle now and again ūüėČ

My first step? I am claiming my right as the now lone ‘head’ of this household to decide on the supper menu. I buy it. I cook it. I deserve some of the meals to simply be things I ‘want’ to cook. I abdicated that right when my hubby passed away and I was trying to make comfort meals for the family. Now they are accustomed to having the meals they like…and I never get to cook the things I like…or experiment with new dishes…something I love and they are terrified of, LOL. This may be a messy experiment, but it could also be very much a growth area…and a lot of fun. Since the little man cooked tonight… my experiment begins tomorrow. I am soooo excited.

This is what I am making tomorrow night:

stuffed delicata squash

Wish me luck!

The sun rises…and hope is reborn

The sun rises…and hope is reborn

Welcome 2021! 2020 was a descent into a madness this world has seldom known before. The heart and soul of our nation torn apart, a pandemic sweeping the globe, horrific loss in the extinction of species…a world clinging to tattered hopes and dreams.

On January 1st hope is reborn. Not that everything will suddenly be restored. A long road lies before us in the battle against this pandemic, and the war to save our planet. We can do it. Mankind is resilient, and mother nature has amazing restorative powers if we give her the chance to heal.

A lot of people begin the year with resolutions, I begin with introflection. Yesterday….January 1, 2021… I spent considering what I accomplished in the nightmare that went before, where I did not do enough, where I made progress, where I failed. Long story short… we survived. That is a beginning not to be taken lightly in these days to come.

I did the two small steps forward I demanded of myself before the year ended…a journey into self-care. I’m not very good at that. But for the beginning of this new year I tried to take better care of myself in very small steps. A 10 min morning stretch and yoga. (Sorry life…I’d love to have an hour but work schedules don’t allow that unless I get up at 4am…and that is NOT happening, lol). Better attention to topical hydration of my dry-my-whole-life skin. And a change in my evening workout. (This one is a not yet ‘solid’ goal…still struggling to find a workout that meets my needs…but at least I know I am on firm-footing since a nightly workout has been part of my life for a long time) And…a huge step for this life-long night owl…I went to bed before midnight!

Today I decide on another of the major centers of my life. What can I do to make positive progress toward my writing goals and…deep breath…publication? This will require some difficult, and painfully honest, consideration. I worked on it yesterday in my rather OCD way, by researching and brainstorming positive steps toward accomplishing that goal. Monthly goals instead of a single 12 month/365 day leap. Trying to find some objectivity…not an easy thing for any creative process…as to whether the goal is attainable or I need to accept my limitations and find a different ‘ending’ for my saga. I am not one to accept failure easily…this could take awhile. Hang in there. I’ve never liked the easy road to anywhere, when the road less taken brings me so much more joy in the journey.

And so today is the second day of our new and so much more hope-filled year. Last night the moon was big and full and bright with promise. Today the skies are grey and it is raining, but that is also a fresh beginning. Washing away the dust of the previous year, renewal comes once more.

I am so eager for the promises of this new year. Excited to begin again and find what lies ahead.

So happy we made it to this beginning of a new promise…welcome 2021!

Starry starry night

It is fall here in the South. Many of the leaves that will fall are already down thanks to the record breaking number of tropical storms and hurricanes this season. We haven’t been hit by even one good one, but all the fronts come on up our way and the winds have cleared the trees early.

The lawncare people continue to destroy all my attempts at making this house my ‘home’. I’m not much of an interior decorator… that isn’t where my heart lies. What I love is the yard, landscaping, trees, bushes, flowers, gardening. The lawncare people have mowed down my knee high + hydrangeas (bushes!) and this week they took my front flower bed all the way to bare DIRT with their weed whackers.

Ferns, hostas, daylilies, astilbe… all gone. I can’t begin to understand why anyone would mow down an edged flower bed. Guess I will put up signs till they figure it out.

Next week is my grandson Cedric’s birthday. Hoping to put the finishing touches on his birthday present tomorrow and mail it Monday. He is an amazing little man, smart, creative, and just a beautiful human being.

For now, another long day at work ended with a slow, barefoot stroll home under a wondrous star-flung sky on a pleasantly warm and gentle night. I am blessed beyond measure.

Dark Skies: The Best Places For Carolina Star Gazing - QC Exclusive

Embrace the magic of each new day. It is irreplaceable.

Home Again!

June 1st 2018 and…after five MONTHS of silence…I have returned.¬† It isn’t that I chose to be absent, but my laptop died and with a family growing as I added our little man…there simply were no finances for a replacement.

But life, if crazy and stressful, is also beautiful and blessed.  We got through the remainder of winter. Saw the first flowers of spring, have watched the mockingbirds build a nest next to the front gate, feed their nestling and seen him grow, fledge and move to the big tree where he is safer and, no doubt, learning to fly properly.  Image result for mockingbird fledgeling

We added a new dog to the brood. There will be an entire post about her soon, I promise.

For now…so happy to be back. So thrilled to be able to share this life journey with you once more.

Super Blue Blood Moon

Sounds like a horror movie…and this is the first one in over 150 years, so, of course, we couldn’t miss seeing it.¬† It was more than worth the venture into the cold night air (okay yankees, don’t laugh….down here we are pretty sure freezing to death happens at 50)

"Winter Halo" created by refracted light from ice crystals.  Beautiful! 12-28-12¬† It wasn’t a huge supermoon like the one the first of the month…but this one thrilled us with a lunar halo sometimes called a ‘moon dog’. It happens when ice crystals (told you it was cold! lol) in high cirrus clouds refract the moonlight into a ring around the moon.¬† It was breathtaking.¬† In another hour I will venture out once more to see if the eclipse, which cannot be seen here on the East Coast, provides the ‘blood’ tinge we have been looking for.

Now…go have a look up at the heavens and embrace the sense of awe in its beauty.

Monday Menu

Yes…a new year.¬† A new determination to make this MY year and get my diet where¬†I want it to be.¬† Not where others prefer, maybe not even in their comfort zones, but to take the knowledge I gained in college courses on fitness and nutrition, what I have learned from life and from reading, and from what¬†my body says makes me feel best and make some changes.

First up.¬† The dreaded…cover your eyes…no don’t, then you can’t read this, lol…Monthly Menu!¬† Meal Plan!¬† Whatever you choose to call it, it is a great idea that makes me crazy.

One…. it doesn’t really allow for shopping on a budget.¬† In my case, I shop around sales and coupons and what is in season. Not easy to plan for those.

Two…. I don’t know ahead what I ‘feel’ like cooking, how much time we’ll have after events, traffic, life…or what the boys will want to eat on any given night.

Three…. my very ADHD brain just doesn’t WANNA.

Okay, that’s not a very good reason, and the OCD part of me is grinning and rubbing her hands together in anticipation of my actually creating a plan for any part of my life.

Now, there was a time, when I was a younger mom with a house full of kids, homemade, adopted and foster, and a hubby who provided us a good income, that I actually was very good at monthly menus. Yeah.¬† Not sure where she went.¬† So here we go. Feel free to hold hands if it gets too scary. (Don’t worry… there won’t be an entire month here today… baby steps ūüėČ )

In everyday America meal plans are planned around the meat.  Not mine.

Monday:¬† Breakfast: overnight oatmeal with coconut and chia seeds/juice¬† ¬†Lunch:¬† pita sandwich with cabbage/carrot/brocci slaw, hummus, tahini, and whatever else I feel like throwing on…sometimes diced egg, or leftover tempeh…just fill it up¬† Afternoon snack:¬† (because without it the boy spawn might eat me!)¬† apple slices/peanut butter and popcorn¬† Supper:¬† spagetti squash with mushroom/pepper sauce and veggie meatballs

Tuesday:  Breakfast:  Fruit smoothie of whatever fruit and veggies are in the fridge plus flax   Lunch:  southwestern salad with corn, black beans, peppers and tortilla strips  Afternoon snack:  chips and dip  Supper:  Coconut Thai Curry with jasmine rice

Wednesday:  Breakfast:  cereal with berries and almond milk/juice   Lunch:  onigiri and salad  Vegan Onigiri, Six Ways -- These whimsical Japanese rice triangles can be flavored with a multitude of ingredients and make a great packed lunch or bring-along for a springtime picnic.

Afternoon Snack:  banana and peanut butter sandwiches  Supper:  vegan Chili with Tortillas (make lots, it is great to have leftovers)

Thursday:  Breakfast:  Fruit smoothie plus hemp seed  Lunch:  Veggie kebabs on pretzel sticks with carrot chips and ranch dip  Afternoon Snack:  goji berry raw snack chunks

Tasty Plant-Based Snacks for After-School

Supper:¬† BBQ pulled ‘pork’ (jackfruit is amazing!) sandwiches,¬† spicy fries, brocci-slaw

Friday:   Breakfast:  steel cut oats with fruit and almond milk/juice  Lunch:  Veggie Taco roll ups  Afternoon Snack:  Bababahummus with carrots/celery/pita chips  Supper:  Chili Nachos with guacamole and hot corn salsa

Saturday:  Breakfast:  pancakes with fruit/juice  Lunch:  pasta salad with veggies  Afternoon Snack:  PB Energy snack balls  Supper:  Mushroom pho soup

The best thing about cold weather is all the noodle soup. Recipe here.

Sunday:  Breakfast:  Fruit and veggie smoothie with chia seeds  Lunch:  Mediterranean wrap, grapes  Afternoon snack:   roasted spicy chickpeas  Supper:  Mimi Taters and vegan sausage

There…that wasn’t so bad.¬† And I had a lot of the ingredients on hand or they are staples.¬† Gonna make this work.

 

Wishful Wednesday

I ‘wish’ it was wicked…but not too much luck with that today.¬† At least not yet.

Instead another long, looooong day in the car had me thinking of so many things I wish I could change around here. Wish David was still here…the kids miss him so much.¬† Wish I could buy him one more banana split at Dairy Grove…and watch the kids giggling over their own ice cream, and how much Dat loved his ūüėÄ

Wish I could find a job.¬† Now that at least can be more than a ‘wish’.¬† I can change that.¬† I will change that.

Wish I could find a better ‘home’ for the kids, and me.¬† Found a wonderful little run-down ‘shack’ of a home driving around last week, the paint long gone, but the porch strong and sturdy, the tin roof needing a good cleaning and mercy! does the whole place need landscaping…a girl can dream.¬† It would be such a joy to take an old abandoned house like that and bring it back to life.¬† Make it a ‘home’ once more.¬† No fancy renovations; just restore it and love it. Put an old wringer washer like Grandma had on the back porch, and a tire swing in the tree out front.

Old Maytag wringer washer like my Grandmas used to have! Oh the memories of laundry day!

Get a wood burning stove (or gas if the city is picky) like the one we love at writer’s camp.

Related image   My cast iron would be right at home.  antique+stoves.+wood+and+gas | Peerless Kalamazoo Gas/Wood Dual Fuel Antique Cook Stove: grn

Add a porch swing and a joggling board…

Related image

I’d be happy to spend the rest of my life fixing the old place up and making it a little ‘more loved’ every year.

If wishes were horses….

Someday, I’ll gallop away.

 

Flying through Friday

Where did my week go?¬† A lot of it went to driving…the inclement weather here in the Lowcountry has really made getting anywhere a chore.¬† Thankfully it is beginning to move away, and the sun is shining if not warm enough for this hot rock girl.¬† I am happy to see it.

Since the roads aren’t too user-friendly, today I decided to just hang on the island. I went to the park, walked the trails, sat in the sun and enjoyed peace, quiet…and the wildlife. I didn’t have to look far to find company.

 Marbled godwits marched along a wooden dock.

A sewing machine sound burbling among the reeds said the Marsh wrens were busy.  Active, abundant, noisy little birds they never seem to be still and you can hear them day and night here in the Lowcountry.  It is fun to watch them, each foot clinging to a separate reed, doing a birdy version of the splits.

Image result for marsh wrens

photo by Greg Lasley (because my phone just can’t capture them from shore ūüėČ

Along the stream there were raccoon, heron, deer, and fox prints in the mud.¬† I saw an armadillo trundling along a sandy stretch off the beaten path.¬† I do so adore the little critters…seemed too chilly for it to be out and about, but I suppose the sunshine felt good to us all today…and ya gotta eat, you know.¬† Ever since I was a kid growing up in Texas, I have enjoyed seeing armadillos. Such cute and useful little critters.¬† Amazing to see them swimming in the summer.¬† Glad they have made their way to the Lowcountry.¬†¬†

And with my peaceful sojourn at an end, I picked up the kids and trucked on home.

Now for an evening spent with my ‘fellas’ (on the page) and the boys (who are eagerly awaiting spinach ravioli for supper).¬† May your weekend be filled with peace and small wonders.