Writer’s Life

23 03, 2020

Coronavirus – Crisis, Chaos, and Change

By |2020-03-22T17:31:37-05:00March 23rd, 2020|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|1 Comment

Crisis, chaos, and change are the three components of every major event.

Remember the existential edginess of 9/11? It’s returned.

During that crisis, we hunkered down at home with loved ones close, glued to our televisions, as the world around us changed. Our hearts trembled in fear that day. We survived.

Crisis, along with its bedfellows of chaos and change, happened again during the Colorado wildfires of 2013.

Maybe not everyone, but edginess and uncertainty ruled with mandatory evacuations for us. We piled two cars with our most precious belongings, two dogs, and ourselves. Our home was spared, but our world changed. We survived.

Crisis struck again in 2017 when Harvey dumped torrential waters and once again uncertainty, losses, and dramatic life-changes swirled around us.

Now a pandemic called COVID-19, coronavirus swirls worldwide crisis and chaos.

There’s nothing good about this crisis. Fears are rampant.

No one escapes the chaos of bare grocery store shelves or quarantines, voluntary and mandated. NO toilet paper, really?

As we grope our way along through the chaos, here are six suggestions (paraphrased by me) from Writer Unboxed blog contributor Sarah McCoy.

  • Buy Flowers. Splurge on a bouquet at the store or pick some wildflowers or plant some seeds.
  • Get Outdoors. Self-isolation doesn’t mean we are locked in jail. Isolate yourself with a walk in nature. Drive to a nature trail, if necessary, where there are crowds.
  • A Song. Listen or sing your own. Songs are the medicine of angels, and it will resonate in you for hours… days… however long this quarantine takes.
  • Cook. To create a nutritious, virus-free dish for yourself and your loved ones is a simple recipe for joy.
  • Write A letter. To another person or yourself in a journal. According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus can only live on paper for 24 hours. Letters sent through USPS take 2-3 days. It’s safe.
  • Read. For a writer like me, that’s a given. It’s my way to escape even when there’s no chaos.

Choose one or all of Ms. McCoy’s suggestions. Doing so requires nothing and will offer great relief from “the toxic fear plaguing us as tenaciously as this microbial foe.”

Take heart in knowing we got through 9/11, wildfires, and floods and so many other crises. We can rest in the assurance this darkness will give way to the light too.

Be safe, dear ones.

2 03, 2020

Signs Spring May Be Coming After All

By |2020-03-01T10:58:56-06:00March 2nd, 2020|Writer's Life|1 Comment

For those of you still buried under snow, I know this will sound a little like whining. You’re so ready for Spring, bless your hearts.

But after a snowfall the sun usually pops out and glistens on the white. Least it did where we lived in Colorado.

Winter around here isn’t like that. Clouds block the sun and skies turn dark and dreary for days and weeks. In the Pacific NW that’s acceptable. After repeated days and days of it here, I miss the sun.

Punxsutawney Peter promised spring was coming.

Not sure I trust a ground hog way up there in Pennsylvania to accurately predict things down here in Texas.

My Japanese tulip tree believed old Petey. It’s loaded with purple blooms.

But the dreary rainy days are dragging on. I was giving up hope and calling Punxsutawney not-so-nice names.

Then this happened.

The long missing sun slipped over the trees and through the blinds to grid my worktable, which used to serve as our dining table. (The tale about why table is no longer used for dining I’ll save for another day.)

Hope fluttered to life in my heart. Spring is coming.

And, someone remind me about this when I’m complaining about the heat in July and August.

24 02, 2020

Yellow Roses for a Texas Valentine’s Day

By |2020-02-17T08:23:08-06:00February 24th, 2020|Holidays, Writer's Life|2 Comments

My sweetie surprised me with roses for Valentine’s Day. Yellow roses.

Red roses are common for the day. But yellow roses are our special roses.

After his heart attack many moons ago, I brought a yellow rose to the hospital every day. We lived in Connecticut and finding a yellow rose wasn’t easy. But, not any old red rose would work, it had to be a yellow.

I was his rosebud from Texas, and the only girl for him.

By the first anniversary of the heart attack we were back in Texas. I sent a dozen yellow roses to his office. Imagine his co-workers’ surprise when they learned the anniversary they celebrated.

My yellow roses for Valentine’s Day were a surprise. Double special with their sweet history.
If you’re not familiar with the song have a listen.

And, you can read about the historical Yellow Rose of Texas here.

6 01, 2020

New Year – Let’s Begin

By |2020-01-06T06:36:32-06:00January 6th, 2020|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|0 Comments

We’re almost one week into 2020. It’s gonna be an awesome year! New Years always excite me.

Fresh slate!

New focus!

I refuse to make New Year’s resolutions cause I tend to abandon those by the end of the first month.

I’m saying FOCUS.

My primary 2020 focus is to finish book 3 in the Fitzpatrick Family series to make up to all my faithful readers for not getting  a book out last year.

You see, 2019’s manuscript – Seeing Clearly – was a finalist in the West Houston RWA Emily Contest Romantic Suspense category. Hoping for good news in February when finalists are announced.

Click here to see all the other category finalists.

So, what’s your focus for 2020? Are you starting something new? Or finishing something from 2019?

29 11, 2019

Grateful for YOU

By |2019-11-28T10:12:10-06:00November 29th, 2019|Thanksgiving, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Whether  you’re in a part of the world that celebrates Thanksgiving  or not, we want to say how  grateful we are for you, our View from the Front Porch readers. Chicken Wrangler and I truly appreciate the time you take to leave your comments.

Thank you for hanging out with us these many years.

We’re recovering from our own overeating yesterday and have taken today off.

We’ve decided to reduce our stress this year and, in December, we will begin a countdown to the number one viewed blogs from Miller Farm Friday and the Front Porch in 2019. I think you’ll find which blog posts drew the most views interesting. We did.

Hope you see one of your favorites.

30 09, 2019

Birthday of surprises

By |2019-09-29T20:09:55-05:00September 30th, 2019|A Writer's Life, writer, Writer's Life|0 Comments

September is my birth month. This year I celebrated big time.

The festivities started early with a chocolate pinata. The chocolate ball is suspended then cracked open in true pinata style. Pineapple, strawberry, and churro pieces fall on a tray edged in whipped cream with cups of dipping sauces like caramel. Yummy confection.

Then on my actual birthday a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my youngest daughter arrived mid-afternoon. A surprise treat. And, I so love fresh flowers, especially roses.

 

Next Husband-dear surprised me when our dinner-for-two turned into dinner with our two best friends at a local Italian restaurant. Good food, good friends, and great conversation. A lovely evening.

Husband-dear collaborated with my favorite artist on another painting for my Barbara Rudolph collection, my fifth. Each has a specific significance for me. That’s Barbara’s unique gift building your interests into her paintings. Check out her gallery. She accepts commissions for specific paintings.

This delightful little chickadee painted on a vintage postcard is extra special. Our street is called Chickadee Lane and I collect vintage postcards.It was a delightful evening. But my celebration wasn’t over.

On the weekend my sister invited Husband-dear and me to dinner then surprised me by including my brother and my oldest daughter. Another lovely evening around the table with family. My sister also gave me a huge bouquet of carnations

and a picture of us…I’m not sure next year can top this year with surprises.

23 09, 2019

Footprints in the Concrete

By |2019-09-29T20:11:23-05:00September 23rd, 2019|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

Over 300 hand prints, footprints, and autographs can be found in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. Celebrities have pressed their hands and feet into wet cement since the 1920s.

Not only people but ventriloquist dummies, horse prints of Trigger and Champion, and tires of “The Love Bug” have left their mark.

Leaving impressions in fresh concrete is a tradition that’s been around for ages. Something about wet cement calls for hands or feet or initials or just the date to be pressed on the surface.

I’ve left my print on patio slabs, stairs, and sidewalks over the years. So has my husband.

Back in the 80s, during our first return to Texas, we visited a home where he’d lived in 1946. The house, in Austin, was being renovated. The back sidewalk with his family’s embedded footprints was to be demolished. That made us both sad.

He located the new owners and asked permission to remove the section of sidewalk with his family footprints. The contractor used a diamond blade to cut the four-inch thick concrete and removed the section with his family’s footprints.

The slab weighed a ton. Well, maybe not a ton, but it was heavy. Three men loaded it into our station wagon and my husband brought it home.

Once in back Houston, we loaded it onto a little red wagon and wheeled it into the house. The slab fit on our raised hearth in the living room as though custom cut. It was quite the conversation piece!

Then we moved to Colorado where the slab lived on our covered front porch, protected from the ice and snow. Now it’s back in Texas again, on our front porch here, protected from the hot sun.I rubbed the footprints with stain to make their impressions more visible. The date 9-30-46 has worn a bit. It’s barely visible.

We smile when we pass by and think of those four footprints that now walk the streets of heaven.

16 09, 2019

Emotional Stages of a Writing Project

By |2019-09-16T06:38:21-05:00September 16th, 2019|Writer's Life, writing, Writing Craft|0 Comments

My blogs generally focus on my writer’s life with stories about things that strike my fancy. Today I’m sharing a fun video aimed primarily for writers.

I first saw the video many years ago on the blog of The Steve Laube Agency. Fridays on his blog are FUN day and he shared this great video by James Andrew Wilson titled The Five Emotional Stages of Writing a Novel.

If you’re not a writer, I’m hope you can relate to some of the same stages in projects you undertake. And, it’ll help you understand your writer friends better.

5 08, 2019

THE Chair

By |2019-08-04T14:15:16-05:00August 5th, 2019|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|2 Comments

This little chair came to live with us in May 1990 after my mother-in-law passed away. We’d given it to her when she started having trouble sleeping in a bed.

She loved the small size because it fit her small sized body and shape. And, the lever made it easy to recline.

We enjoy it for all the same reasons.

After my husband retired, the chair became his chair. He’s not tall, 5’ 9” so the size worked perfect.

We’ve now had the chair nearly thirty years. With each relocation, the chief determinant for a new home was “where will THE chair fit?”

The main living area had to be sized so that the chair aligned with the television for all baseball and football game viewing. Usually placement was easy.

With our move from Texas to Colorado, the house had only one location for the television and the chair. It came off the truck, the movers set it in place, and there it stayed until we returned to Texas.

Our new Texas house was a different story. The new living room had four windows, a fireplace banked by built-in bookcases, and our piano that needed an inside wall. Positioning THE chair across from the television meant blocking the opening into the dining room.

Not a serious problem, but I felt sure there was another solution.

That’s when my interior designer cousin came to help.

Studying the unique room, she nodded her head toward THE chair and innocently asked, “Can we move that?”

The answer, of course, as long as the tv sits across from it.

She laughed. “I see.”

It took a bit, but together we finally figured out another arrangement for the remaining furniture, so the room didn’t look like an overcrowded showroom.

And, I’m sure you’ve guessed, THE chair remained exactly where it was.

1 07, 2019

To Back or Not to Back into Parking Spaces

By |2019-06-30T16:45:56-05:00July 1st, 2019|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|0 Comments

If you’ve read my blog about our l-o-n-g driveway, you know that backing my car is not one of my strong skills.

I hate to back.

I’ve backed into more trees than I care to admit. Once with a church van and vanload of women. It was a dark and lighting was bad, that’s my excuse.

Another time I backed into a friend’s tree. No damage to the tree, thank goodness. I immediately drove to our friend’s repair garage and he pulled the dent out for me. Never told hubby and he never noticed.

I took defensive driving many years ago (to lower our car insurance rates, not for a ticket reversal, I promise). Anyway, the instructor said, “The first movement of your vehicle should be forward.”

He went on to point out that most parking lots are marked so that spaces can be pulled through. That eliminates backing easily.

If the parking spaces are marked at an angle, it’s a bit trickier when pulling out from a pull-through. You must be sure the lane between parking rolls is wide enough to maneuver a turn to head out the correct direction. Or, risk traveling the wrong way to the exit.

The instructor also pointed out that if the spaces are straight and flanked by curbs, you should always back into the space. “You know what’s behind you going in – a curb. Backing out you don’t. There could be a person, a car, a pole, etc.”

I took his advice to heart. I rarely pull forward into a parking space. I back or pull though with my SUV. I am constantly amazed at how many other cars follow the same advice.

When I first started going to the sports gym where I swim every morning, I would be the only car backed in. I noticed when I came out the other morning all the cars were also backed into the spaces.I’m not sure whether they copied me or took defensive driving and had the same instructor.

I admit my backup camera helps when I must back, but I much prefer to pull forward out of a parking space.

What about you? Do you back into parking spaces or pull through when you can?

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