Monday Musings – Here we go Again!


Farmer’s Almanac is predicting another bitter Winter season.

Really?

What have we done to piss you off, Mama Nature? Whatever it is, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it. I’ll never do it again. blah, blah, blah.

Last year was our first year living in the hilly landscape of Southern Indiana and I really thought all the hills and trees were pretty.

Gawd I’m stupid.

Our driveway is like a roller coaster ride at a major amusement park. It starts with a short flat spot to throw you off and then, as you clear the curve in the drive surrounded by trees, plunges downward at a breathtaking rate that heads right toward our pond. It’s so steep I barely resist the urge to fling up my hands and scream.

Add in a good patch of ice or two and you’ll quickly find yourself swimming with the fishes wearing a ton of steel as a skirt and circular, rubber shoes.

Not good. I don’t think that’s what aficionados of ice fishing had in mind. I really don’t.

So, last year, DH and I spent lots of quality time together climbing our sheer drop called a driveway and flinging salt on the near vertical surface to avoid the whole swimming with the fishes thing. Our new neighbors who, for whatever reason have decided they like us, kept calling to make sure we weren’t packing up the kitchen and preparing to move to Saint Lucia.

We weren’t. Gawd we’re stupid.

 

We’d been duped. When we moved farther South we really thought Winters would be slightly milder. When Winter arrived with a roar in our little neck of the woods, we convinced ourselves the whole cold, icy Winter thing was a fluke…a rarity. In fact we were repeatedly assured by our neighbors that was the case. But they flippin’ lied. The only question is whether they all got together ahead of time and came up with the lie for grins, or if they just pulled it right out of their butts, all spur of the moment like.

So here we go again.

This year I’m gonna do it. As I plunge downward toward the icy, fish-filled water below, I’m flinging up my hands and screaming. I might as well entertain myself as I die.

Monday Musings – Failure or Success – 2 Sides of the Same Coin?


There’s a New York Times article making the rounds in the writing world right now. Entitled, Failure, Writing’s Constant Companion by Rachel Shteir, the article focuses on the things that challenge writers in the day-to-day pursuit of their careers. Inability to reach goals, writer’s block, poor sales and bad reviews are some of the reasons the author cites as examples of writing failures. Not many of us in the trenches would argue that those things are definitely negatives. The article quotes author Philip Roth as saying, “I no longer have the stamina to endure the frustration. Writing is frustration — it’s daily frustration, not to mention humiliation. It’s just like baseball: you fail two-thirds of the time.”

Wow. That’s depressing.

In fact, that’s exactly the kind of negativity that keeps many authors from writing. Personally, I don’t like to focus on failure. How depressing it would be to live like that. And negativity drains creativity. Besides, you could say the same about any task you set for yourself:

I failed today because I didn’t get the cleaning done I’d planned.
I failed because I burned the chicken for dinner.

Or you could instead celebrate the fact that you spent the time you would have used for cleaning visiting with a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Or understanding that the chicken got burned because you were outside planting a tree that you hope will give you fruit in a couple of years. Every failure lays the groundwork for a future success. I’d much rather look at life through that lens, because that’s the kind of thinking that gives my muse energy.

Happy reading (and writing) everybody!

10 Ways You Can Improve Your Life


Things don’t always go smoothly in life. Lord knows some days I just want to get back into bed and cover my head. But there are ways to make things better…coping mechanisms if you will…and if you use these 10 tricks I promise your life will improve!

10. Spend at least 30 minutes doing something that gives you pleasure every day. Nothing can be harder when you’re struggling to fix or complete something than stopping and walking away. But it will usually make you a bunch more effective when you return and it’ll definitely improve your overall outlook.

09. View your goals from 30,000 feet rather than six inches. This is a big one for me. There are days when I feel like I’m not getting anywhere with my career. Sales are light…I get a couple of bad reviews…somebody yells at me… Sigh… Those are the days I’m tempted to walk away and do something different. But if I step back and examine the bigger picture of where I am today versus where I was when I started this wonderful journey, I realize I really am on track to reach my goals.

08. Avoid negativity. We all encounter people from day to day who are negative and even downright nasty. You don’t need those people in your life. Purge them immediately!

07. Regularly take stock of what you really want out of your life or your job. It’s easy to just get pulled along in the ebb and flow of everyday life and, before you know it you’re doing a bunch of things that don’t fit your goals or your lifestyle. Identify those things and expunge them from your schedule.

06. Don’t use other people as an excuse not to do something you know you should do.

05. Kind of in the same vein as number 6 — Take responsibility for your own actions and inaction.

04. Own your mistakes. You can’t learn from them if you deny you’re at fault.

03. Indulge in love. Don’t forget the people who are most important to you. Don’t take them for granted. Carve out time for them. Tell them you love them. Give them a hug. It will expand your happiness exponentially.

02. Help someone with something, no matter how small, every day.

01. Laugh…often…whole-heartedly. This is no small thing. Laughter releases endorphins that make you feel better. It’s a natural and fun way to lift your spirits.

 

That’s it. No barn burners here, just common sense, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. Life truly is what you make it.

Happy Monday, Everybody!

 

Monday Musings – Why I LOVE Mondays!


Yeah, it’s probably a little weird to love Mondays. I most likely wouldn’t feel the same way if I were doing a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job that I hated. I get that. But I’m lucky because I get to do what I love to do. Even though it’s sometimes really hard to make myself sit down and start writing, I love being an author and I love the stories I create. So that helps. But it’s more than that.

Mondays are like a mini season change.

I love all the seasons, but by the time they’re dying down I’m more than ready to welcome in the next one. Mondays are like that to me. Weekends are great, but I fill every minute with stuff I want and need to do and, honestly, by Sunday night I’m exhausted and ready to go back into my office. LOL

Mondays are like a flower bud, slowly opening to reveal the bright bloom of the rest of the week. On Mondays the color is bright, the petals soft and vibrant, and the sweet scent is still strong. As the week ages, so does the bloom. It’s why we try so many tricks to make Wednesdays and Thursdays more interesting. Hump day and Throw-back Thursday serve to mask the wilting week and give us something to think about other than the fact that the water around our flower is getting slimy. LOL

Fridays are a whole different animal. On Fridays we finally throw out the wilted, sad little bud and look eagerly toward the next phase. Weekends don’t need flowers, they don’t need tricks, they’re like rainbows that draw us in with their innate magic. But by Sunday night we start to anticipate the change again. Sometimes that’s a melancholy thought. Sometimes it’s fat with expectation…but whichever way we view the new week, it’s still a fresh new flower, remanded into our care by Father Time.

So embrace the new bud of this week. Nestle it carefully in your palm. Because every day is a gift and every week is a lesson in maturation. Which makes every moment a blessing.

Happy reading, Everybody!

Monday Musings – Perception vs Reality or God’s a Dude


I consider myself an intelligent person. I guess that doesn’t mean much because most people, if you ask them, will tell you they’re pretty smart. That’s their perception of themselves…like the perception that they’re taller than they are, better looking than they are, more popular than they are…etc.  Aging is a perfect example of perception having it all over reality. Even when you hit middle age and your figure starts to resemble an apple with four stems, or your hair starts getting less blond, brown, black or red and becomes…well kind of the opposite of all those colors. Even when those things happen you still manage to tell yourself you’re young. The mind doesn’t perceive age like the mirror does. It lies to you out of kindness.

In fact, perception is generally kinder than reality, though there are exceptions. Take for example the teenage girl, or really women of all ages. Generally women perceive themselves to be flawed beyond redemption…physically, emotionally, intellectually…flawed.  We focus so hard on those flaws that we start to forget everything that makes us unique and wonderful.

Men are the total opposite. They think they’re gods…all of them. A guy will look in the mirror and he won’t see the reality of a short, balding guy with a big nose and floppy ears. What he sees is Brad Pitt or The Rock. That’s why guys will saunter up to a woman who is so far out of their league that it’s laughable, and talk to her like she has no choice but to be with him. Problem is, that beautiful woman is probably so focused on her own flaws that she might believe the short, floppy-eared guy standing before her is all she can attract. It kind of works out in a weird sort of way. At least for hetro couples.

Gay couples have it all over the rest of us. Both members of the couple think they’re god’s gift, so everybody’s happy. No stress. No mess. No harsh reality checks. Lesbian couples? All I can say is, sorry ladies. But look at the bright side, your partner is probably so busy beating herself up she has no time or energy to notice the flaws you probably don’t have but think you do.  Right?

The whole situation is just more proof that god is a dude.

Ya feelin’ me?

 

Monday Musings – When Did I Lose Control?


No really, when did this happen? HOW did it happen?

From my perhaps jaundiced perspective, I had complete control over everything when I was in my teens.  I was immortal. I knew everything.  And everybody around me was stupid.

In my twenties I was all that and more. I was beautiful in my twenties. Smart and talented. I had the world by the tail and liked to give it a little tug every once in a while.

In my thirties I was too busy to think much about my wonderfulness, but I was still pretty secure in it. If someone asked me about something I knew the answer…even if I didn’t, erm, know the answer.

By my forties I had achieved the pinnacle of wiseness. I still looked pretty good for my age, was of course smarter than everybody else, and rocked the world in my chosen activities. I was still a goddess, though a slightly careworn one.

Then the fifties hit. I started out okay. But somewhere along the way everything just tanked. I became stupid. I had no control over anything. And…god help me…I’m no longer a goddess.

How the hell did this happen? I demand answers!

I want a redo.

Wait…oh hell no. No redos. I don’t think I could ever fool myself so completely for so long again. #:0)

Enjoy the day!

Friday Flash – Dinner with an Alien


I couldn’t believe my new neighbor had invited me to dinner. I’d been admiring him from afar for weeks, ravishing him with my gaze. I didn’t think he’d noticed.

Yet there I was, standing in his living room among still to be unpacked boxes.

He smiled at me, his eyes flashing with good humor. “I’ll admit I’m a little surprised you said yes.” He reached out and poked me on the arm.

While I thought this was a bit strange, I figured he was just being playful. “Why wouldn’t I accept?” I asked him coyly.

He shrugged, grabbing my hand and pulling me toward the kitchen. “I haven’t been able to talk anybody else into it.”

I laughed. “Are you a bad cook?”

“No. But I’m not from around here and I’ve had trouble figuring out the best cuts of meat.”

I accepted a glass of something golden and thanked him. “Really? Where are you from?”

“Venus, actually. But I spent some time on Mars too.”

I chuckled. “Funny guy. Sipping my drink, I spit the bitter tasting brew across the room, grimacing. “What is this stuff?”

He moved closer, squeezing my arm and then lifting it to sniff. “Tenderizer.”

I forced a chuckle. “Uh, yeah that’s what it tastes like.” Deciding it was time to change the subject I asked. “Sooo, what’s for dinner?”

He took the glass from my hand and pressed me backward with his hard, sexy body, grabbing a meat cleaver from the table. “Young male, vintage 1986.” He opened his mouth, showing two rows of jagged, sharp looking teeth. “Dan down the street told me it was a very good year.”