Weekly Recap 7/18

I would have had this posted yesterday, but by the time Hubby and I got home of Murphysboro, I had a severe case of motion sickness. At least that’s the way I was feeling. I’m not all that sure though because I’ve been the Murphysboro numerous times, and whether we go the regular way or the back way, I’ve been fine in the past. Whatever my problem was, it wiped me out for pretty much the rest of the day.

Weekly Recap 7/18
Image provided by
Jonathan Percy
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/chartno3/

The After Now

I usually speak to my mom twice a week. It used to be just once, but this last February she got a bug that landed her in the hospital and could have killed her. True, she is 89 and on her way to being 90. Almost any bug could be life-threatening at this point. She’s slowly getting her strength back, but it’s left her more alone because of not being able to get out whenever she wants. I call her to combat the loneliness.

She’s all ready to go if it’s her time though. In fact, she believes she’s gotten to that last bridge and she’s beginning to wonder what’s taking so long to cross over. The afterlife comes up in our conversations about every three weeks. Hubby, my brother, my stepbrother, and my stepsister have a ghastly time trying to understand how the two of us can talk so calmly about something to disturbing.

My mom is a devote Christian. She’s proclaimed, several times, she know exactly where she’s going when she leaves this life. I, on the other hand, am agnostic. Yet, I look forward to the adventure of the “hereafter”, instead of fearing the unknown. This could be due to having been close to death three times. I’m rather curious to see what’s there. Together, we talk about what is likely to be there and what we can’t fathom being there. We discuss our different theories about what is there.  She gets on my case about not being a religious believer. of course, but she also doesn’t worry about me going to hell either.

I wonder what it is that makes some people so terrified by the thought of leaving this life. If they fear hell, that means they have a religious belief of some sort, which, in turn, means there’s a way to avoid such an awful fate at they disposal. If there is nothing after this life, it just means the body is laying in the ground or has been cremated. There isn’t any pain. Nothing is being felt. Did I hear someone whisper that isn’t the fear of the unknown? I don’t really understand that reason. After all, none of us knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone after we die. Yet, we don’t fear tomorrow.

What do you think? Or are you apprehensive about discussing this subject?

This Last Weeks Capers

  • Exercise: I got three sessions on the bike. Hold on though — I also walked most of Walmart when the store was almost empty of other bodies (We have a 24 hour store), and I walked some of the VA Hospital in Murphysboro yesterday morning while Hubby was in to see the Doc.
  • Reading: Still reading Black Cross and the sci-fi 2nd series. If you remember from last week, I’d acquired a lent EBook from Winter Bayne. I’ve been reading this also. It’s a short book so I should have it done by sometime tomorrow.
  • Emotional Health: I’m still not getting outside as much as I think I probably need. When doing something other than writing, I feel I’m just going through the motions but not really participating. Question: Does anyone else find that their mood is down in the dumps except when writing?
  • WiP: Welp, I didn’t get in 1500+ per day. I was able to do it three out of the five days though. My word count for the week is 6746. My word count thus far for the book is 51,623. I’m to the end of the first third of the steep climb to the climax. Uncharted territory to the max!

Next Week’s Antics

  • Exercise: I’d do my bike riding, hoping it’s four times. I’m going to try to con Hubby into taking me to Wal-Mart during the wee hours of the morning again.
  • Reading: I need to finish the sci-fi story so I can give my friend the feedback she’s waiting for. Of course, I’ll keep reading Black Cross at leisure.
  • Emotional Health: I’m kind of at a loss with this. I think about calling the Doc, but I’d like to try to figure this out on my own. Maybe I need to adjust my lifestyle a smidgen. Maybe cut out a little more coffee and up my protein?
  • WiP: I want to get to that two-thirds or three-fourths to the top mark where the story gets furious with excitement. I’m not going to rush it though. I want to be thorough with the line of the story so that the rewrite isn’t so mind-boggling. I’ve changed my writing times slightly. I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong — again. I’m trying to use my most productive times during the day for my WiP. I’ve set the first time two hours earlier. The second stretch is now set one hour earlier. Do all writers have this trouble or am I flaky?

Do you have something stupendous planned for this next week? I can’t say I do but I wish I did.

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

 

Weekly Recap 7/4

Weekly Recap 7/4
Image provided by
paul gy
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotobuena/

Today is a holiday here in the US, Independence Day. In 1776, we declared our unconditional separation from England. We usually celebrate this independence with barbeques, picnics, lots of beer, and, of course, the fireworks once the sun goes down. This year, in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, the rain may put a damper on all of this fun. There’s still a little time, a few hours, to see if we can proceed as normal.

A Little Trivia for You

If you’ve read this somewhere else in my blog, sorry for the repeat.

On July 4, 1972, I was seventeen years old. It had been slightly over a month since I graduated from high school. (Long, long ago and far away) I was looking forward to going to college in a couple of months. The day was cloudy and the powers that be were threatening rain, again.

I was conned into going to a county fair with my parents and little brother. By the time we got there, I had a headache, not a bad one though — it was just one of those annoying ones jabbing me on both sides above the temples.

When we got home, I took two Anacin and leaned my head back on the sofa. It seemed to do the trick.

When Robin called, wanting to take me to a movie, I said yes. We had been dating for several months but because of the way I felt about another young man, I wanted to break it off with Robin. Guys had always broken up with me in the past, and because of being a realist, I always took it in stride. Still, I want to be as gentle as I could with Robin. He was a wonderful loving young man. Because he was taking me to a drive-in, we would definitely have the privacy that would make this announcement easier.

I was able to do this awful thing to Robin without tearing him up. In fact, he had met a woman he wanted to date but didn’t know if he should tell me or not. One-third through Downhill Racer, our relationship had gone from boyfriend and girlfriend to instant best friends.

Robin went to the concession stand and bought a couple of sodas for us. We sat back and watched the movie.

About three-fourths of the way through the movie, my headache came back, full strength this time. It was so bad I blacked out right there in the passenger’s seat of Robin’s Challenger.

I had a stroke. I because dependent on Independence Day.

Why Not Today?

I’m on the email list for David Steven’s newsletter that comes floating in once a month. David is a Life Counselor, with his specialty is helping people forty years of age or over to lead more fulfilling lives. I haven’t had the need for his individual counseling; I hope I never do. All the same, his newsletters are thought-provoking, which, I believe, is exactly what David wants as a reaction from the reading.

The newsletter I got from him yesterday was entitled Some Day. In his dialogue, he talked about setting high standards and adhering to them. He stated that life is too short to be dilly dallying around. If we don’t start living to our potential today, you may not have the chance tomorrow.

It got me thinking about those phrases in which the term some day is used.

Do people really take the phrase, I’ll do it some day, or maybe some day I’ll get to it, seriously? I remember being given that line as a kid from both of my parents at various times. When I’d heard it, I just knew that whatever it was, was not going to happen, period. It was a satirical statement to push me into the realm of reality.

Is it that I live life more deliberately than most? Do I do this naturally; you know, born this way? This could be. After all, I know that reaching for the impossible is a waste of time. I think I’ve always known this instinctively. Yet, at the same time, I believe I’ve pushed myself to go beyond what I’ve been told to be the limit, if for no other reason than just to see if I can do it. Because of this, I do have a tendency to drive people crazy at times with questions they’re sure I got from outer space.

Are there people who think there’s a ‘some day’ like in the song from the movie, West Side Story? Yes, I know there are such people.

I know people who would greatly benefit from David’s counseling, but they’re also the same people who will never listen to him either. They’re convinced, probably by themselves, that what is holding them back is something out of their control. They believe that it isn’t their fault (if that’s the right term to use), or it isn’t their responsibility to get themselves out of whatever rut they’re in.

The common excuses:

  1. too tired
  2. [whoever] would be so upset if I did [whatever]
  3. it cost too much
  4. have other commitments coming up (a lie of course)
  5. (and the really far out one) it isn’t in the stars for me

Have these people lived their entire life believing these excuses are valid? David, if you’re reading this, what is the percentage on this?

Last Week’s Capers

  • Exercise: Whelp… I didn’t get in four sessions on the bike. I did get in three though. Not good enough but headed in the right direction.
  • Reading: I’m reading Carol Balawyder’s Missi’s Dating Adventures. You may think that this EBook is for young adults. I rather doubt it though because of the passages about sex. I’m enjoying this book. If you’re looking for some reading in EBook form, you may want to check this one out. I’ve also been reading Mortal Fear by Greg Isles
  • Emotional Health: I guess that’s what the whole point of me going outside is. The weather didn’t cooperate last week, and this week isn’t much better. If I get out there a little later on, it will be my third time this week. I need more!
  • WIP: Revised both the setting and scene outline templates so that they’re better suited for me. I got 5871 words in this last week. I’m not going to push this count any farther, at least for right now. My total word count for my project is 38990.

This Next Week’s Antics

  • Exercise: GET ALL FOUR SESSIONS IN WITH THE STATIONARY BIKE!
  • Reading: Finish up Mortal Fear and Missi’s Dating Adventures. Start reading Black Cross, also by Greg Isles and Hacking the Billionaire by Jenny Deval
  • Emotional Health: GET MY BUTT OUTSIDE!
  • WIP: Do another 5000+ words and read some articles on character development and descriptive narrative within the story. I’m hoping to also find some free pdfs on these two subject.

If any of you know of any articles or blog posts that hit on character development and/or descriptive narrative, please point me to them.

What does this next week look like for you?

 

Reveling in Melancholy

I’m taking a one-post break from writing stories. I want to work on developing better endings that aren’t so abrupt and are more complete. Some writers are geniuses with this sort of thing. I’m not one of them, obviously.

Image provided by Sara @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarabiljana/
Image provided by
Sara @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarabiljana/

Before I looked up the word, I thought melancholy meant sadness or depression, which it does. However, it can also mean sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness. If you’re uncertain about the word pensiveness, it means dreamily or wistfully thoughtful. Of course, with both of these words, there’s other meaning too, but these are the definitions I want to discuss in this post.

The first time I remember hearing the word, melancholy, was when I saw the movie, Paint Your Wagon in the theater. That was in 1969. I wasn’t quite 15 yet. In the movie, Lee Marvin goes through a bout of melancholy, which is the type I thought was the only meaning of the word. I didn’t question the definition until I started dabbling in writing poems a few years later. I was going to use that very word, but began to question using a noun as a verb. Of course, the noun wasn’t going to work. That’s when I found the word, pensive, which fit in beautiful. What was the poem? I don’t remember and I have very little in the way of mementos from back then so I can’t just pull it out from the closet where all the junk is.

What got me thinking about these words and the means I’ve picked from the dictionary was the typical April weather that is in my area. Yes, rain, rain, and more rain. This kind of weather can put a person in the emotional dumps. Per contra, it doesn’t do it with me. Instead, I find myself making plans that I’ve avoided before, and going through marvelous “what-ifs” that have a possible future in my life.

This means melancholy too. Who would have thought — right?

I love that laid back feeling when I’m in that dreamy state. It’s peaceful, yet at the same time, inspirational. It has a weird ability to get my motivation going for whatever it is that I’m thinking about at the time, whether it be writing, chores, relationships, or as I’ve already said, whatever.

This realization about melancholy got me thinking about the different moods I have. Do I really have all that big of a problem with depression as a side effect of the General Anxiety Disorder? Or is it that I immerse myself in melancholy? If the latter is what is happening, this is more likely to be a good thing for me. It’s a time when I am organizing the files in my head. It’s a time when I am in the first stage of forming goals to achieve. This sure doesn’t sound like a problem with depression to me.

Inner reflection is a good thing in my opinion. Those who indulge in it regularly seem to like themselves better than the ones who don’t get into this exercise.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

LinkedIn Account Closed

LinkedIn Account Closed
Image provided by
Sheila Scarborough @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilascarborough/

In the early fall of 2009, I became a student in a free email course about the business of blogging in hopes of having a career as a blogger. I learned a lot about the ins and outs of it both as a writer and a business person. I had high hopes for a self-made career. (I must have been loony at the time.) About this time in 2010, I signed up for an account at LinkedIn along with several other social media sites. My intention was to get a network of other professionals, whether they be newbies like me or old experts.

This was a small part of my ‘master plan’ to create a job for myself seeing that no one in this small town was going to hire a middle-aged woman who’s disabled. It may not be fair. I’m quite aware of this, but if you’re a realist, you’ll realize that life is tough and usually not fair. You have to push and shove to get anywhere in this world. This is what life is whether anyone likes it or not. Still, a career as a blogger? My mind was in never ever land.

I visited LinkedIn several times a week at first, trying to gather contacts. I will admit, I was picky about who I asked to link to because I felt there wasn’t any point in hooking up with a car mechanic or a dentist to get readers at my blog. My blog topic was Blogging. Yes, I know, worst decision I could have made. My idea was to kind of be an Angie like in Angie’s List, telling my readers where to go for good help and give them insight from a layman’s point of view. I really didn’t think people who otherwise wasn’t connected to this topic would be interested in my blog. Where was my head? Everyone wants a blog these days. It’s a soft-sale way to get customers, no matter what the product or service is.

Albeit, the more time I spent at LinkedIn, the more I saw of people who were not really on the up and up. They were embellishing facts about themselves. Furthermore, LinkedIn was and is encouraging all of it with what they are calling ‘endorsements’. Anyone can endorse anyone for any skill. I was endorsed for knowing Microsoft Excel. Who decided I knew that? I know that I can learn it; in fact I used to know it — for two computer class hours. Then I promptly forgot. I got endorsed for being skilled in social media. Whoever that was must have been kidding. I still haven’t mastered the use of the number key (#).

I stopped visiting the LinkedIn site quite so often three years ago. To tell the truth, they were lucky to see anything from me for two or three months at a time. Still, I didn’t feel that I should give up my account there. The times I did visit, I would look in on the groups I belonged to as well as peek at the timeline and see if I had any messages that somehow didn’t make it to my email inbox.

Last fall I got interested in the concept of Feng Shui. Unfortunately, I didn’t give any thought to my life on the web. I was only thinking of my home. What is Feng Shui? It’s a Chinese philosophy based on a system of harmony that can be adapted to any part of life and should probably be applied to all parts. In the philosophy, the idea is to keep life simple — get rid of all junk and balance more with nature. For instance, how many pieces of furniture do you absolutely need in your living room? In actuality, you need a sofa for more one person to sit, a chair, and two in tables — and a TV if that is where you do that sort of thing. Every other piece of furniture is extra — not needed.

LinkedIn Account Closed
The Social Media Treadmill
Image provided by
Mark Smiciklas @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/intersectionconsulting/
(click on image to see larger)

Finally, right after Christmas but before this new year started, I realized that I needed to do the same to my spaces online. Presto, bye-bye LinkedIn.

I’m pretty certain that I should also get rid of Facebook but the hesitation is stronger for that one because so many family members and friends are using it, so therefore, I use it when I get sick of looking for an email address. I know that there must be other ways of finding people but so far I haven’t found it. I’d like to give it up though because there’s so much gossip and back-stabbing that goes on in the timeline there.

Have you done any of the Feng Shui thing?

Joining a Caravan

Joining a Caravan
Image provided by
Daniela Hartmann @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/29487767@N02/

Learning to look at oneself with as much objectivity as humanly possible is rather burdensome on my poor little brain. I prefer my world to be black and white. It makes it easy to know where I stand on any issue and where I think I should be standing on any of those issues. Nevertheless, I am quite aware of the fact that life isn’t divided so neatly. This in itself puts me on edge a little.

I’ve just begun the last third of my life, yet I have not stopped to take a good look at myself and genuinely know what I’m about. A blogging friend of mine, April, has shown me, through her own efforts, that knowing myself may be the answer I’ve been looking for all these years. Now to give credit where credit is due, April joined a caravan that Suzanne, another blogging friend, has started. In Suzanne’s post, she explained how finding all there is to oneself and improving on that can be done starting with a 52 week venture. She calls it “52 weekly exercises to improve your life”.

I have decided to follow suit in an attempt to find that contentment within myself that I want so badly.

We are not talking about narcissistic self love here but rather a healthy appreciation of self. An integral part of this is reflecting on the things you have done ‘right’ in the past year.

Have you strengthened your character?
Have you improved your communication skills?
Are you more honest with yourself?Do you volunteer your time and talents?
Have you helped out someone when they needed you?
Have you created special memories with your family?
Did you organise an event or gathering that brought people closer together?
Have you achieved something important in your working life?

– Suzanne Jones

First week’s assignment is to list 25 things about myself that I had accomplished in the past year.

1. I have started writing a novel. I’ve had to stop and start over a few times but I haven’t let up on it. I write at least 5 days a week.
2. I have learned to accept the fact that I can’t do anything to make people like me. Either they like me or they don’t.
3. I’ve bonded closer with my mother. Because we are so much alike, this has always been difficult to do.
4. I’ve learned how to let other people have their way with their opinions even though mine is the complete opposite.
5. I’ve learned to accept more of my physical limitations. Letting others do for me has always been a challenge but I’m slowly accepting this in my life.
6. I’ve stopped worrying so much about my appearance. This doesn’t mean I’ve become a slob or anything else disgusting but I’m now opting for health instead of appearance.
7. I’ve stopped trying to “fix” all of my husband’s problems and concerns. I’ve realized that I’m just not capable of doing this.
8. I’ve started looking at each day as an opportunity to see good instead of bad. The negative was a terrible habit I got into and I think I’ve licked it.
9. I’m enjoying “fun” reading again. This is something I put aside for a number of years and I’m still not sure why.

I don’t even have half this list yet but I’ll be working on it.

Would you like to join in this undertaking?