Don’t Be a Spectator in Your Life

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian Author (The Medium is the Message), Philosopher, and his studies formed the cornerstone of media theory. He died in 1980. One of his concerns was the electronic marvel of television. He thought it would become less than marvelous for human development. I wonder what he would think of our Smartphones and their capabilities? One of the effects of television he predicted was the spawning of voyeurs. People who would rather watch than participate. Oh my goodness. Tik Tok is making him roll over in his grave.

We were meant for connection. Not artificial, like through electronics, but through face to face, sitting together over a meal, or attending an event in person. Don’t get me wrong. During the Pandemic, I have used electronics heavily through my studies during the past year for writing, establishing my LLC, and connecting with my artist who will illustrate my children’s book. Those connections have been both electronic and in person, and they have each served the purpose. I’m lucky to have made friends through media and joined groups with similar interest.

In doing those things, I am participating in my life. I’m following my plan, which has changed substantially since working with my book coach, Sam Tyler. I had nearly 80K words of a very complicated story, with lots of human growth, lots of dysfunctional characters, and several antagonists. Sam helped me realize one character and her growth could stand alone as a novel. It can, quite well. I went from being a pantster (writing by the seat of my pants, whatever spoke to me at the moment,) to being a planner, (lists, decisions, groups of scenes to play out). It changed everything. Thanks again, Sam. Get in touch with her. You’ll be glad you did.

Sure, I could have quit and sunk into the couch, giving up. I could continue reading other people’s books. I could shirk making decisions and taking risks to do something I’ve dreamed of doing forever. Living vicariously through others won’t do it for me. While I still read, a lot, now I do it through the eyes of a writer. It’s totally different. “Wow, I like how he described this.” or “She did a great job setting this scene up.” Good stuff. Real stuff is in the trenches, writing and learning. Real action is not passive. I can’t fully experience it through other authors. Years from now, will I look back and see I played the game, or that I played it safe.

It takes courage to be involved in your own drama (I don’t mean hyped up stuff, I mean the details of your life. Living your story.”). I thank God I wake up every day and get to decide how to spend my day. I’m learning to put the least favorite thing first (housework, laundry). I split up tasks and do them different days. The days we vacuum and dust, the Babe helps, which I need due to the condition my spine is in. I’m so grateful his Mama raised him to own cleaning up and cooking. He’s the best!

Keep Dreaming. And Start Doing! You can do it! It’s exhilarating! Take baby steps if you must. You get more comfortable with it. You’ll be surprised. Get over not wanting to look foolish. You can and you will before you’re done. It doesn’t matter. Really. At least you tried. And you learned what to do and what not to do next time. Failure leads to success. Just don’t give up. Live your life as a participant, not a spectator.

Thanks for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. Today, there will be more Kid-Lit videos to watch, and some domestic tasks. Once we get more organized, life will be easier. I’m so glad I started this un-cluttering and organizing things I have a long way to go, but life will flow better. Proud I attacked the job of Income Taxes earlier. I suppose I should check on our refunds and stimulus money. My share is going into the Jewell Publishing, LLC checking account. How exciting! Stay safe out there. Be Adventurous! Be Brave! Take a calculated risk! We can all do better in living our stories. Begin Today.

Another Fab Friday

Well, it finally happened, thanks to Jimmy Weber. I’ve finally joined the world of streaming music. His wonderful new album is available wherever you stream music. I’ve never streamed. I’ve clung to the CD format since – well, a long time. So here I am, finally, in this century as far as my music goes. Thanks, Jimmy! It doesn’t seem to work very well playing music on my Chromebook while blogging. I’ll have to try it later when I’m using the laptop. It’s got more “power,” as they used to say on “Home Improvement.”

On the COVID front, Douglas County Health Department in Omaha, Nebraska opened their website this morning at 9 a.m. to make appointments for the elderly. I registered Mom for next week. It should be a good experience. They have accommodations such as wheelchairs for those who need it. I got one for Mom. She’s always insisted on walking herself, but the time has come for sensibility. Saving her energy is key right now.

I’m closing in on the end of the month, and with that, I’ve decided February 1, 2021, I need to get back to work on my novel, “The Saving of Katie Fitzgibbons.” It’s time I got busy again. You’ll be the first to know how it’s going!

The Wal-mart pick up line was pretty long this morning. I waited a bit, but it still beat going through the store and all the people who appeared to be there. What a godsend it is! I have yet to convince Mom of that, but it’s ok. Someday we’ll probably shop for her. Getting out of the house is what she needs now. She’s ready to warmer weather so she can walk on her patio daily. It’s to slippery right now. Bless her heart.

Call your elderly friends and family. They are needing a bright spot in their days right now. If they have limitations in movement or with vision and hearing, the days are twice as long for them. We’ll all get there some day, some of us sooner than others. Be kind now, and someone will return your favor later on.

Thank you for reading today. Don’t forget about my friends Jimmy Weber and Billy McGuigan. They both have some great new music written during the COVID quarantine. It’s bound to help you feel better. Music does that. It heals the souls. See you again tomorrow!

What Day Is It? Tuesday’s Blog – LATE! Oops!

I swear, it snowed for two days in the last 24 hours. I loved watching it fall, with the dogs asleep by the fireplace, and drinking hot tea while watching it snow. That’s the bonus of retirement. You are grateful for not having to brave the elements anymore to go out and earn a living. You can also get a bit confused what day it is. 

I knew yesterday was Monday. We watched a Netflix original, Virgin River, last night. We enjoyed it. It was good acting, a good story, and was pretty easy to follow. It was worth the couple hours we spent on it. Probably try to watch more later today. I’m guessing it’s most like a romance novel?

For fun, I did a quiz on which romance novel I should read next. They want to know if you want historical fiction, fantasy, or contemporary. Do you want explicit romance or not? From what I understand, it’s quite a business. Many are made into television movies on the Hallmark channel, some on Lifetime. It’s interesting how different genres work. I’m not interested in reading them, but to each his or her own. I like gritty tales of cops, solving murders, and of people overcoming adversity.

Upon waking this morning, the Babe and I had breakfast and he used the snowblower. We had to go get our online grocery order from Walmart. We got all ready, except for our coats. I looked my phone to check in, confirming I was on my way. And low and behold! The groceries won’t be ready until Wednesday, January 27, 2021. The only reason I knew the date is it’s my daughter Rebecca’s birthday. “Oh, I goofed!” The Babe is so easy going, he says, “No big deal!” I’ve known some men who would have a giant fit over the mistake. Yes, they weren’t worth the trouble. Things happen. Life happens. Humans make mistakes. I love the calmness in my life now. It is worth the wait I had.

Gosh, forty-two years ago, I was very pregnant with my daughter. It snowed and sleeted continuously since Thanksgiving that year. I didn’t leave the house except for Church and the Doctor’s appointments I had. The baby was lying on my sciatic nerve, I was in a lot of pain. The doctor told me to lie down when the kids took a nap, and lie on my left side, with my right leg crossed over me, on a pillow. It helped. But Nick was three and didn’t take a nap. It was so hard. Their father got home from work at 3 p.m., and Frankie came home at 3:30 p.m., and everyone was hungry. Stepford Wife that I was and chauvinist their father was, saw me taking care of everyone else and living with the pain. Some days it was severe.

I had an appointment that very day. It was a Friday, the doc knew how uncomfortable I was. He made an appointment to induce me at 4:30 p.m. I was relieved. The only thing the doc used for pain was Demerol (which is never used today from what I understand), and I was aware of everything. The labor went fast. The father had the nerve to ask me to hurry, he had to go bowling and they were in first place, and he had to be there. He didn’t make it that night, and I heard about it forever. Not as if I did it on purpose.

Wow.

Years later, I see how awful that was. But I didn’t say anything. But it was selfish and awful. We were only married for three years after that. I just couldn’t take it any more. Yes, I’ve changed a lot from those days. Thank God! I learned a lot of independence from my smart, talented, beautiful daughter. She was so independent! I was in awe of her and still am. Happy Birthday, Becky.

Yes, it was hard getting from there to here. Nothing mattered to me more than my kids. It’s finally “my” turn at life. It’s why I’m an author. It’s why I’m working on a brand new craft. It’s why I’m still learning. I’m so enthused and grateful for this opportunity, which I’ve created for myself. I’m so glad you are along for the ride.

Thank you for reading today. Let’s help each other out. Hold the door. Shovel a walk. Help someone stuck in the snow with their car. Take a minute to be kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Mindful of your attitude. Take care. See you tomorrow!

Fab Friday, October 2020

This is the second to the last day in October. Where did it go? Poof! There are only two months left in this year, this oddity of 2020. A week from now, it will all be over. Halloween, the election, the month of October. And winter-like weather will become the norm. I don’t mind it, really.

The beautiful, lush yellow and gold trees have changed again to brown, sparse, and dull. Not much left for them to do. It reveals all the squirrel nests when the leaves fall. Everyone hunkers in, even the squirrels. Birds are still around, so if you feed them, keep on doing that. They depend on the food.

Our trial online grocery order was a pleasant experience overall. I don’t think I ordered Crushed Red Pepper, but I did order Pink Himalayan Salt. I see the Keto recipes use that. Why? Some claim it has more minerals. There is not a lot of data available, so I’ll use it because it looks pretty. Since it’s not as densely packed as regular table salt, you may need to use more to get the same flavor. I am against excessive salt in food, I just don’t care for the taste. It is lovely to look at, though.

One thing I noticed about the grocery order, they used a bunch of plastic bags. Almost one for each item they bagged. A waste, really. I think they may have several people fill an order, so they each bag their own items. I’d hate to be those workers during a snowstorm or after a blizzard. Those carts can’t be easy to push through the snow. I always think of weird things like that.

Another thing I noticed was the partially packaged grapes didn’t fare too well. The bunch at the very bottom appeared pulverized and dripping when I removed them from their bag. It could have happened moving the bags around in the bins before they reached my car. Don’t think I’ll get any more of those since they’re high in natural sugar. Dang! I thought they’d be a good sub for sweets. Turns out they ARE sweets. Until they’re gone, it’s Waldorf Salad. A lot of salad.

Lexie, Enjoying Her Nap This Morning

I suppose the dogs could eat some apples, too. Just so they don’t get too used to them. Never been a person to feed table scraps to a dog, any dog we’ve had. They would swipe things if they thought they could get away with it.

My scene writing has been interesting. It is like writing a play. You need descriptions of items present if they’re used in or pertinent to the story. Some set the scene for a certain era. You don’t want an electrical plug in a log cabin in the 1800s. Sometimes movies mess up and have errors like that. It’s often overlooked, until a blooper reel comes out, or someone notices and posts it online.

You also need to show emotion. That is through the character’s actions, dialogue, and presence. I could not like what a minor character tells me. I could fake a smile, force a smile, make a sour face, twist face in disgust, wipe a smile off my face, clear my throat to buy time, make a strangled noise with my throat, shrug my shoulders, fidget, squirm, curl up in a corner, wring my hands, give a weak handshake, and/or make a steeple with my fingers to describe a character reaction without saying a word.

Photo by James Frid on Pexels.com

It is strange to see Charlie Chaplin with a smart phone, isn’t it? Costumes in a play are so important. If the clothing and accessories are not proper for the era, the entire scene seems “off.” I’ve always thought it would be so cool to be a costume designer. The famous Edith Head, who fashioned the clothing for Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the movies, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and, “The Sting.” When she received her Academy Award for Costume Design, her first comment was, “I got to dress Paul Newman and Robert Redford.” WOW. I remember the audience went wild.

When I was a little girl, besides playing for hours in my room with my Barbie doll and all the clothes Mom and Grandma made for her, I had one of those plastic pose able female drawing template. It was red plastic if I remember correctly. I would draw ladies then create dresses and outfits for them. It passed a lot of hours, and I enjoyed it a lot. Santa really knew what to leave sometimes.

While it’s not required to describe clothing, an author can do that, if it has something to do with the story. If not, then omit it. The condition of the clothing could tell a part of the story – holey hand-me-downs on a little boy, much too old dressing for a little girl, a great grandma dressing like a seventeen-year-old, they all tell you something about the person. Often an author describes the clothing as wrinkled, having an odor, looking disheveled, outgrown, or too big.

A picture or painting on a wall in a crime story can hold the key to solving a crime, be it theft or murder, and requires description, net worth, and how valued the painting is. It’s unnecessary to describe every painting or picture in every single room in a scene or setting. I find it fun to figure all these things out and then implement the new knowledge. Bear with me, I’m a work in progress.

As I take a brief break to get a drink of water, thank you for reading today. Hope you have a beautiful weekend. I hope your Halloween evening is fun and uneventful. We’re not giving out candy this year. Too complicated for us. Between the dogs who bark at every doorbell ring, and the COVID, we’re just not going to this year. I hope all the littles in the neighborhood stay safe and have fun. Hope to see you tomorrow. Take Care!

Thursday’s Thinking

What a world we live in. I remember walking to the store with my mom when I was little. Older brother was at school, and we would stop at the neighborhood grocer/meat market store next to my grandfather’s drug store. Paskach’s Groceries had sawdust on the floor. I wasn’t sure, but maybe they did meat cutting in the basement. Some restaurants used to do that. Not so much in this modern world.

Mom couldn’t buy more than she could carry. That was good, we never froze our meat. The freezer held only two ice cube trays and maybe a mushy carton of Ice Cream. That freezer didn’t work well, and was way too small. What a difference there is today. You can buy anything ready to eat, ready to freeze, ready to prepare almost anything you can think of in today’s supermarket.

Fast forward to today. I just placed my first online grocery order. We’ll pick it up after we get Addison from school. I’m willing to give it a shot and see how I like it. No, I do not want to be in the stores this winter, between the flu and COVID. Why take an unnecessary risk? Not my way, really. More about that tomorrow. And Amazon delivered my first order of ENSURE. I’m getting that to have on hand as a protein drink (that has a lot of other nutrients in it to help keep hunger at bay). The Babe and I are going to try Keto for a bit and see how we do. Not extreme, just make some good habits from our bad ones. We’ll let you know how well it works.

Photo by Gareth Willey on Pexels.com

I miss the sawdust on the floor behind the fresh meat counter. I loved the old neighborhood grocery partly because it meant our Grandma and Grandpa were right next door. It would be so amazing to speak to them now that we’re retired ourselves. Just imagine the possibilities! One beautiful sight I remember in the drugstore is the sight of my Grandma standing behind the candy display case. Far as the eye could see, all kinds of delicious candy. She loved to let us pick out something, and Mom would always say, “No, we can’t accept it for free, we have to pay.” Grandma usually overruled her. We didn’t take advantage of it, though.

I’d love to have our other Grandma make frozen juice for us, and give us store-bought cookies (a luxury to us, mom always baked ours). After having our snack, we would go outside where they had gigantic shade trees, and there was always a pleasant breeze to cool us. Nowadays, it seems as if it is still outside or a gale force wind. Never an in between.

The image featured at the top of today’s blog reminds me of the block my Grandparent’s Drug Store was located. My parents lived a block and a half away from it, and I see it every time I go visit Mom. I can picture a quilt made from the picture. Somewhere, I have a photo of Grandpa and his three sons standing in front of the store. That would be cool to add those elements. And I picture making from my imagination the sight of Grandma behind the candy counter. The glass was spotless, inside and out, and the oak wood that held the glass was shiny as a new penny. It would take some work to get the proportions correct. Those are ideas I have that recur and tell me someday I must set them in fabric or drawing once I learn to draw. It’s part of a creative mind. You have way more ideas than what you might complete in a lifetime.

We all have stories in our minds. Some are wonderful and warm. Some are frightening and chilling. You can remember the good in all events to create wonderful memories of your family, your friends, and your co-workers. Everyone has far too many terrible stories. Let’s try to concentrate on forgiving and learning from our hurts. It’s a lot easier than carrying baggage around that doesn’t belong on our trip around the sun every year. Leaving the baggage behind also opens your arms to embrace new people and things. Learning to do that is hard, but so rewarding.

Love Makes Our World So Much Better

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it. How about if we meet up again tomorrow and do it again? I’d love to see you again. Be Safe out there! We all need to take care of with other. It’s our job.