“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”~ Edgar Allen Poe
19,148 words thus far in Death and I, the story of Mairin, Bruce, and Death.
This weekend I wrote three found poems with snippets of the NY Times again. I had a great helper too. Macavity laid on the snippets and moved several which ended up being just what I needed. I used pieces of the different poems in my story with Mairin, too, so my cutting the newspaper became an exercise in creative thinking.
A family portrait for all humanity
blood, sweat, toil, and tears
unraveling racial hatred
in the darkest hours
of rivers and rituals
Happiness is for other people
those who stay
the once mediocre
seek some calm
for them, it’s not discrimination
A war of words underway
The screaming just won’t stop
we seek our way to death.
An enlightened friendship
when coffee brews a different spirit
in all its realness
Sweetness with a side of sarcasm.
is an unwanted
brutal final indignity.
It penalizes what we had
years of relying on what
no one knows.
The dots to greatness
Yup, he had a good idea. The coffee poem and the metamorphosis both improved with his help.
“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono
A lady I knew in Maine, my rival when it came to Halloween decorations passed away unexpectedly yesterday. We’re the same age, and our children are the same ages. I was reminded how short our lives truly are.
I want to take a moment for the families in Texas whose world was turned upside down in a moment of violence. They are in our prayers. I don’t understand why anyone would do that to another human being.
I’ve written 8650 words, monumental for me in 5 days. I was feeling overwhelmed with my character so I decided to take a mental health break. I made a Thanksgiving centerpiece wreath for our table. It went to together easy enough considering this is my very first attempt at making a wreath. (Yup, I followed a youtube video.) The glitter all over the floor was messy and everywhere with help from Macavity. Overall the project took just over two hours from start to finish and the result was very eye appealing.
The Man Who Chose
March of the Lexicon
Words on the Move
Cruel Beautiful World
It’s no longer
When Music Was Life and Death
The Wrong Side of Goodbye
in a Sleeping World
for I Will Sin©
Enjoy your Monday. I need to go Mairin, Bruce and Death are calling.
There are so many things to establish in the background to assure continuity in a book that hadn’t crossed my mind until I began this undertaking. It made me appreciate all the authors I’ve read in my lifetime. Wow!
I feel reasonably comfortable with my conflicts and my protagonist. I have several minor antagonists and one major one who will definitely make his handsome presence known. Putting pictures on my character trait list did help. I found looking at them and imagining how they would handle different complications enjoyable. Yesterday, I worked on my antagonist, oh he’s handsome and dangerous. I looked at a lot of pictures of men before deciding I really like how Patrick Dempsey looked in all black, I could easily see him as my Thanatos.
Now, I’m working on an outline I’ll be comfortable working with over the next month. Who knew there would be so many different types– Snowflake, 3-point, 5-point, 8-points, traditional bullet point, Vogler’s, Campbell’s, pure summary, skeletal outlining, flashlight outlining, free writing, visual mapping, contextual prepping and of course all the different software for outlining. Yikes, it’s confusing.
I’ve been reading Vogler’s Writer’s Journey and Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Some days I feel like I read more than I write because it’s all part of the process of fine tuning my craft. And naturally, everyone has a different take on successful writing techniques.
My setting was pretty easy I’ve created a fictional town in Maine called Bayhollow, the next town over is a college town called Stone Lake with a university called Kampden University. There’s an active military base about 10 miles away in a town called Deadzone. All of these locations are very near the Canadian border.
On WDC they have prep challenge which thus far has kept me to the task which I’m finding helpful because it’s all new to me. Also, there’s the lingering dread 50,000 words hovering too. I find comfort in seeing familiar names pledged to do NaNoWriMo. Misery does love company.
I was reading Theresa’s blog this morning and thinking about how I overcome writing challenges. My go to is my camera when nothing else works. There is something about looking through the portal of small space that makes my muse happy. My perspective is different and very targeted.
The other day while I was creating my setting I had been gathering all the logistics like population, restaurants, and businesses. (world building) I took a break and caught up on reading blogs. Yes, I’m guilty of reading and not always leaving comments. But in this instance, Theresa had drawn a fence on a white background with shading to give the impression of winter or even a sandy beach. I took it as winter in my mind and I saw my protagonist breaking down on a back road and trodding along this seemingly endless fence. The timing was perfect for my muse because it sparked another opportunity for frustration in what seems like mountains on her journey to better her life. Thank you Theresa.
Another way I open my mind to writing is cutting the newspaper into shreds, readable shreds. I grab random titles and move them around I create a poem or a line that fits perfectly in what I’m working on that may have never crossed my mind.
The first poem could easily be part of a conversation my protagonist has and the second could be a fearful moment added to the scene in the cemetery. Muses work in interesting ways as Barber Adagio for Strings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra plays in the background.
I do enjoy having dark classical playing in the background. What can I say my muse is a bit twisted.
My compost bin enjoys all the snippets of paper when I’m done so everything has a purpose if you open yourself to the possibilities.
4th of July
Happy 241st Birthday USA! There are many aspects of our beautiful country I am proud of but unfortunately, there are many aspects I am not. Our present leadership and the increasing amount of hatred for individual differences I find appalling. I’m sick at the path our country is heading as I am sure our forefathers are. They would be very disappointed at the misuse of power that happens daily in our country with the twisting of the Constitution they wrote. We are facing dark times and I’m not sure the damage can be repaired.
We have to stop trying to make everyone into one mold if this world is going to thrive. We need to embrace each individual, and respect their uniqueness and whenever possible support them in their journey because together we can do anything. We need to remember ultimately we all share the same home…. Earth.
May, June, and early July
I really enjoyed reading Tami’s summation of her month and decided I’m going to give it a whirl today but I’m going to do the past three months. I love reading other blogs because you get so many inspiring ideas. Theresa has helped me focus more on the time I spend writing. I actually managed to write for the month of June 80 hours. Not too bad but I need to get more writing time in.
I’ve enjoyed reading the different bloggers the past three months. Initially, I tried to read everyone each day but found it was too time-consuming so I choose five different ones each day. I spend time catching up with their entries while I am there. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers. Thank you!
In the 7 weeks, I’ve been crocheting on the Mandala I have 103 hours invested. There will be probably that much more to complete it because the rounds are so much larger. I am very happy with the color choices, it is so vibrant. My friends Sara and Debbie each had the opportunity during the past weekend to snuggle underneath it. The smiles on their faces made all the time invested so worth it. I wish I had taken a picture of them, next time I will definitely do that.
I did take a couple mental health breaks from the Mandala and crocheted a couple hats and a scarf. Right now I’m working on jellyfish in turquoise and blue for my oldest granddaughter Mikhayla’s new apartment’s bathroom in Goleta, California. I still can’t believe she’s 21 now, time flies when you’re having fun.
In May and June, we’ve had 18 guests in the Airbnb part of our lives staying in our home. I baked scones, muffins, cookies, and brownies for their enjoyment. Staying on top of the furballs was probably the most time consuming since they are shedding a lot with the warmer weather. The calendar is important too because our lives require a bit more planning than they once did but all in all it’s worked. We blocked out time each month for family and friends so we’re not overwhelmed.
We’ve been enjoying having the windows open before the peak of summer really hits so that has added to their shedding I’m sure. So far in the month of July, there are 8 bookings and in August we have 6 thus far.
Macavity has benefitted the most, in my opinion, he was a very shy cat with strangers but has become more social with the different interactions. I had to chuckle with his recent antics of lying on the front landing in front of the stairs to go up to the upper level to reach the bedrooms so whomever passes must rub his belly. He especially loved having Sara dote on him while she was spending time with us. We can’t wait until she returns again, we have so much fun together.
The renovations are coming along slow but sure. The dang water pipes Vic has got under control since the pex pipes and shark bite fittings have made the process rather easy.
I finally got the back yard under control with the dang weeds growing between the patio stones. The birds drop so much seed it is an ongoing battle all the time. I had to put bird netting around my peppers, squash, cucumbers and tomato plants because of the pesky squirrels. The have-a-heart trap is going back in the lower yard too because they are so destructive to my garden.
Sara and Vic hung the lights on the lower level before the party on the first of July. It looks so pretty down there after dark, I love how the lights give the space a beautiful ambiance. Speaking of the party, we hosted “a gathering of the minds” party with the writing group and their significant others. At one point there was 26 of us here out of the 30 invited. 🙂 Sara and I made three different salads and homemade sangria. We were very pleased with the results. Vic cooked burgers, hot dogs, and kielbasa on the grill and Mother Nature even cooperated long enough to complete the grilling time before she down poured on us. Even then it was only a brief shower and we were able to go back outside. I was very pleased with how everything came together and seeing the enjoyment of all that joined us made all the extra work so worth it. I even managed to get 15 minutes writing time in early that morning.
My first writing class and assignment went well. I am excited about the class but also worried that in the process I will lose my own voice with the methodology. Several of us taking the course discussed the same concerns with other writers and decided to work together if we have issues. That’s the best part of our in-person writing group, we help each other grow to our potential with honest feedback. I’ve created a character Mairin, she’s going to be my hero in my story about facing death. I’m going to work on expanding on her character traits today so I’m ready for the next class.
I need to bake fresh scones and cookies this evening or maybe tomorrow morning since a new guest will be joining u tomorrow evening. Today, Vic and I are going to spend some much-needed couple quality time together.
Enjoy your day wherever you are. I’m sending you positive vibes.
“I’m good at multi-tasking. I can listen, ignore and forget all at once. 🙂 “
The last time I blogged I mentioned how I was going to bring some of the earlier colors back into the Mandala to help keep the colors fluid. I reintroduced orange and the light yellow in Round 11. As I was working with the yellow and orange it reminded me of a sunset so I decided to make the third color red. The Mandala measures 60 1/2 inches now and I really feel it on my legs when working on it. It’s quite heavy. I don’t think I will need another blanket with it in during the winter months.
Theresa Barker inquired how long the rows are taking now. Row 74 and 75 each took an hour to do because they were simply single crochet and then treble crochet. Rows 76 and 77 took almost 3 hours each because of the long sc and having to follow different patterns in each part. At this point, I have 100 hours invested in this project and I am on row 80 with 31 more rows to go.
In Round 12, I reintroduced the turquoise, burgundy, dark blue and teal to continue with the fluidity from the earlier sections. There are shells and scallops in this section so I know I will be spending more time.
We’ve hosted guests from Switzerland, Russia, and Poland thus far in addition to six U.S. travelers. We opened the door to guests on May 21st and we’ve had 12 so far. The calendar for July is pretty full already. It’s been quite interesting to learn about the different lifestyles. I’m certainly acquiring great writing resources for down the road.
I did block the first weekend out in July after the 4th so we can go to Virginia for the oldest grandson’s 13th birthday. I still can’t believe he’s going to be 13. Time sure flies when you’re having fun.
I’ve found for practical purposes cookies for the evening and a selection of scones for breakfast work the best. This allows me to cook only twice a week instead of daily. Though as quick as my scones disappear I make them more frequently. Cranberry nut and date seem to be the most popular which surprised me. I was sure the blueberry would disappear the quickest. My banana nut muffins vanish every time I make them. On the weekends I make sure to whip up a batch. I always have fresh fruit to complete the offering.
I’m still not able to get more than 30-35 minutes a day. I’ve just too many distractions going on and feel frustrated when my to-do list doesn’t disappear. Like this afternoon, the guest needed to arrive earlier than the 4 pm check in because he had meetings to attend in the evening so I had to get things done earlier. Normally, I write in the early morning or in the early evening. But with his arrival and return time different, writing is just getting done now when I should really be hitting the sack. I only had 2 hours of sleep last night, between the knee, my migraine and a noisy husband. I’m running on caffeine.
Tomorrow is my real time writing group, I need to get something finished to share for critique. So come hell or high water tomorrow I will find time to write.
Remodeling Projects on the house that never stops giving and giving.
I finally got the sanding done on the fireplace wall, hopefully, I’ll be able to paint it this weekend. We don’t have anyone here on Sunday thus far. In the meantime, we’re tackling a leaky pipe tomorrow. The copper pipes have been springing pin hole leaks because the water is so acidic. I’m looking at the pipes and wondering what it is doing to my skin. We’ve decided a water filtration system as soon as we can afford it is next. Our cooking water I use the Brita filter pitchers and the refrigerator has a filtered water unit for drinking. I chuckle when I fill the cat bowls with water from the fridge because they all love when the water is cold and come over to drink immediately. Sometimes, I toss ice cubes in and Macavity has a ball batting the cubes around. Who would have thought cats have water preferences?
Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguish the strong soul from the weak.~ Thomas Carlyle
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.~ Albert Einstein
Enjoy your evening.
I’m on Round 73 with the Mandala. I added orange, pale yellow and red from earlier rounds to bring the colors outward. My inspiration for part 11 was the fiery sunset, the sky glowed intensely Saturday evening with the beginning of our heat wave here in Jersey. Thankfully, today is the last of this heat and air advisory. I don’t mind the heat so much but 95 is more than I enjoy. I’m crocheting the Mandala directly under a ceiling fan or I’d be roasting. The picture doesn’t do the three colors justice but next to the blue is the orange, then its yellow followed by the cherry red and when I begin Round 74 it will be yellow again then the orange will end this part. The stitches are hdc, dc and dtr which are easy enough to do.
I did sneak in a mental health break and worked on a seashell hat and scarf pattern that I saw on Rhondda’s Oombawka Design Crochet. I was very pleased with how it worked up. I’m not thrilled with the buttons I’ve come across yet so that part isn’t done yet. The brown button isn’t large enough nor does it contrast enough. The white plastic just looks cheap to me. Maybe it’s just me because I really wanted a seashell about the size of the white button but finding it thus far has been quite frustrating.
I’m inclined to have the lighter turquoise be the front versus the darker only because so much of the darker turquoise shows on the hat. This is the first time, I’ve tried Caron’s Cake skeins, I loved how the colors unfolded in this pattern. I still have a small ball of yarn after completing the scarf and hat.
If you haven’t checked out Rhondda’s patterns they work real easy with the clear instructions. I’ve included the link to the next hat I’m going to do for my grandson.
Writing challenge for the week wasn’t as much as I hoped but I still did accomplish 35 minutes a day with the blogging challenge I am doing on Writing.com and I wrote 2 poems that I’m still mucking with before I share them.
We’ve had guests at our home since last Tuesday until yesterday with the Airbnb part of our lives. Tuesday through Thursday, we had two writers join us because they were attending a writing conference in Princeton. Then we had a couple from DC up to watch their son in a soccer championship for the weekend. And the final guests were a one-night college couple that left a lot to be desired and encouraged me to change the details on my listing. Two of the three groups were awesome and we really enjoyed the conversations immensely. I was genuinely sad to see the DC couple leave.
After looking at Tami’s cinnamon rolls and broccoli alfredo I decided to make the alfredo Saturday evening for dinner, the lesser of the two evils much to Vic’s disappointment. He’s not starving by a long shot. I made lemon cupcakes and apple brownies for the guests to enjoy and there were tons of leftovers. We had blueberry muffins and a lemon coffee cake for breakfast. The alfredo, I decided to try a low-cal version with vegetable broth, flour, and a bit of olive oil instead of heavy cream with freshly grated parmesan and garlic. I added broccoli that I had sauteed with garlic and fresh herbs from the garden after the sauce began to thicken. I love using fresh herbs. I grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and sage in rail planters. It came out so good, Tami, thanks for the inspiration. But I can never cook just for one meal so, on Sunday, I decided to add chicken and mushrooms which definitely took it to the next level. YUM!
Yesterday, I made us grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil on sourdough bread for lunch. It was simply too hot to eat anything heavier and besides we had a dinner plan that was a lot more appealing. We went out for an ice cream date with our grandson, Chris. I don’t know about you but when it’s 92 degrees ice cream is a perfect dinner alternative. He enjoyed having ice cream instead of dinner too.
I’ve been enjoying reading USA Through Our Eyes posts about Rochester, New York. I learned a lot about the city and saw some lovely glimpses of the area. Gabe’s digital painting is really good , you should check it out.
If you’re looking for healthcare info I suggest you check out my better half’s blog Crain’s Comments.
He’s a researcher and enjoys helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected nuances. If you have a question, he’s the person to ask, he’s really good at finding answers to health issues.
I’m going to close with Theresa’s challenge to write with our inner child creativity inspiring us to do something different than we normally write. That in itself is difficult to do because we’re just creatures of habit. At least, I know I am and writing differently sometimes makes me feel unnerved. I need my coffee cup and my pencil in hand. Even this blog entry I wrote the jest of it on paper and then copied it here on WordPress. I feel safe with my paper and pencil.
If you haven’t checked out Theresa’s Tattoo Girl, you’re missing an enjoyable read. I can’ t wait to see what happens next with Jaime and Corey.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ”
I’ll begin with the Airbnb part of our lives, thus far we’ve had 4 ideal guests and 1 not so much but that’s to be expected. It’s not that the one did anything wrong it’s just a courtesy thing that apparently isn’t a given across cultures. If I ask someone for an exception because I can’t make it happen in the timeframe I call and update the person so they can plan accordingly. Like for instance, check in is between 4 pm and 11 pm which is a 7-hour leeway. These guests asked if they could have a bit later than 11 pm and my response was no later than midnight before they even booked with us. Midnight came and went without a word from our guests. They arrived at 2 am and all they said was we’re late, oops. So that made for a short nights sleep for us. They left at 8 am, didn’t want breakfast after I had it ready. It was annoying because I had inquired when they arrived if they wanted breakfast and at what time would work for their schedule and then to simply dismiss the effort. Communication is a great thing when both parties use it. Oh, well chalk it up to experience. I changed the wording on the check-in process, so it is clear if you are going to be later than I need to be updated with a new arrival time or the check-in time will not occur.
I was in the lower yard taking down the compost from the kitchen to the compost bin when I decided to do some weeding while I was there on Saturday. We have a small courtyard with our townhouse that borders with our neighbors. On one side I have lilies planted and I saw this vine wrapped around my lilies strangling them from my neighbor’s yard. I untangled the ivy and put it back on her side of the fence. I didn’t think anything of it just focused on getting the yard cleaned up some. I came in and washed my hands and went on with my day. I woke up Sunday morning with my right eye swollen shut and my left eye puffy but able to move, unlike my right eye. My left arm was covered with red blotches and tons of blisters. Oops, that ivy I moved was poison ivy. I applied a coffee compress to get the swelling in my eye under control and applied banana peels to my eyelids after that to draw the oil out of my eye area since I couldn’t apply calamine lotion that closes to my eyes. I took Benadryl to help with the discomfort and tried to get on with my day. Finally, I asked my husband to take me to the hospital my eyes were on fire.
At the hospital, they numbed my eyes and checked to make sure I didn’t burn my cornea because it can happen with poison ivy than they flushed my eyes with water to reduce the oil levels there. The doctor then started me on a steroid regime to help get things under control. Yesterday, I could see out of my eyes but today, I arose with my right eye swollen shut again so again with the coffee compresses. ( Coffee works very well on swelling, it reduces the swelling quickly so if you have bags under your eyes that you want to conceal try some black coffee there, it works.) Are we having fun yet?
I have completed round 10 on the Mandala Madness project. It was very frustrating and challenging to stop and start because of the stitches involved.
As you see it has become rather ripped on the edges but the designer notes this will happen and the next rounds will flatten things back out. I did all of round 10 in sky blue and royal blue. Today, I am looking at my colors used and decided that I need to tie some of my earlier colors back into the project so I am beginning part 11 with the orange I used in the center.
Writing update, I didn’t get more than 15-20 minutes in writing over the weekend because of the eye, I’m struggling right now to see with one eye. I wish I could say I am such a good typer I don’t need to look at the keyboard but I’m not. I know where all the letters are located but fat fingers do make errors.
I’m in a blogging challenge on Writing.com so I have managed to get a blog post done each day thus far but they are really short for me. Hopefully, this is the turning point and my eyes will shrink back to their norm.
I entered one of my poems in the US 1, which is a local paper in my area for their annual local featured author’s edition coming out in July. The editor dropped me an email and commented how unusual the poem was and that was the first time anyone had submitted a found poem to their featured collection. 🙂
We got the sheetrock hung in the living room where we are doing the renovation around the fireplace. It looks so much better than it did already and we’re not even close to being done. A friend of mine is really good at spackling so she is getting the wall ready for me to paint. This is what it looked like with the ugly black glass and pink tile surround. My adopted grandson helping me take the old crap down.
This has been a relaxing selection in the Mandala crochet journey with very simple stitches and an opportunity to make sure my stitches are exact. If your using only the video it doesn’t provide you a check process like the typed our version on the designer’s site does. I have found the stitch count at the end of each row a godsend as the size grew. Thankfully, I only had to adjust one section of the eight sides. 🙂 http://www.crystalsandcrochet.com/mandala-madness-part-9/
It is 57 inches in circumference now. I worked with lavender which reminds me of my lovely lilacs blooming outside. I chose the teal oddly enough because I was wearing the same color shirt and I hadn’t used it in awhile so I worked with the teal. I do want to use each color six times throughout the mandala. I chose the vivid pink because my rose buds are just beginning to open. I hope the crazy wind and torrential rain we’re having today don’t knock them all off.
I looked ahead at section 10 Tami, you may want to as well before drawing your next Tarot card. Part 10 is a large section but only uses 2 colors one is the background and one is foreground, it makes a flower with one color and the other is the backing which really highlights the flower.
As I studied part 10 and tossed around different color choices I decided that checking out the next round would help me make an informative decision. Wow, there was a mandala done totally in black and white, it’s gorgeous. The creator is Ineke Mooijenkind, from Gouda in the Netherlands .
What caught my attention even more … directions to square the edges at the end to better fit a bed. I’m definitely doing that. So there goes, I only have 50 more rounds to go out the window. I don’t know how many rounds it will take yet.
That’s Ineke lying on her masterpiece. I love how the black and white looks, I may do a second one now that I’ve seen the black and white together.
Writing Challenge Update
I managed to get 90 minutes in yesterday but not consecutively. I took a nap yesterday afternoon after hearing about my brother-in-law’s passing. Vic and I played cribbage over dinner and then I decided to log into Writing.Com and respond to the prompts I posted the night before in Blog City and BCoF. These are blogging groups that I manage on the site. In Blog City, I work with Joy, Megan and Norb, we each post prompts for the bloggers to respond to in their blogs. As leaders, we interact with them and the other bloggers encouraging conversation. IN BCoF, it is Neva and I and we also post prompts and interact with the bloggers. Between the two groups, there are 180 bloggers signed up but on the daily average, we have about 35 active bloggers each day. I responded to all the bloggers that wrote on my day in the two groups and wrote a blog entry myself.
Today, was day 2 of my turn for Blog City I’ve blogged and replied to my fellow bloggers and now I’m here putting this entry up. So far I’ve written 90 minutes and this entry isn’t done yet. 🙂 I enjoy blogging to different prompts because it is kind of like a warm up exercise for me.
Last night, I caught up on reading some of the different bloggers I follow on WordPress too. I encourage you to read Haunted by Wedding Dresses, it’s an interesting twist about voices in a woman’s head.
I learned a lot about monkeys and their connection in different cultures as well reading Ronel’s blog.
I checked out the collection of Printables on Wulfie’s Essentials, she’s right there is nothing more frustrating then to see something advertised for free and then when you get there its another story.
Timing is everything when I saw Tami’s Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake I was lying in bed and too dang lazy to get out of bed instead I dreamed a very non-caloric dream of chocolate dancing in my head. But I did leave a message asking what time is dinner and dessert Wednesday so we can drop in.
The problem with making all those tempting desserts in my home is there is only the two of us and we are dieting. ( Yes, Vic we are) Desserts are dangerous when it comes to calories and are never done in one serving here. Having a dessert at a restaurant does have its advantages, there are no leftovers to finish.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome Moms out there.
“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes
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