Thursday, November 28, 2013

30 Things I Am Thankful For...

We get one day a year to focus on all of the blessings in our lives.  That also involves a HUGE meal with friends and/or family and lots of leftovers.  How many ways are there to make turkey?  Turkey sandwiches, soup, turkey salad, and I am sure some of you have some extremely creative concoctions.

I try to be grateful every day.  Every morning I open my eyes and say, "Thank you God for this day.  I have no idea what will come, but I am thankful for it."  I am alive.  I made it to see another tomorrow.

I like to (occasionally) make lists of all the things for which I am grateful.  Some of them are big things and some are very small.  Isn't the joy in the details?

1. Laughing.
2. My dog when she lies on her back and does "happy dog" after each meal.
3. The changing of the leaves.
4. Cooler temperatures.
5. We finally got some veggies from our garden.  Not remotely enough to live on, but it is still exciting to walk out and see a pepper or tomato holding on for dear life.
6. Learning something new.
7. Making new friends.
8. This blogging community.
9. Reconnecting with old friends.
10. Reading something so touching that it makes me cry.
11. All of the people who have hurt me.  Thank you.  You made me grow into a stronger person.
12. A bad date I recently had.  You have provided me with an opportunity to show that I value myself enough to not jump into something I know will not be good for me.  This is a chance to break bad habits.
13. My mother. She puts up with all of my moods.  Those would be the good and the bad.
14. My health is improving. It isn't happening in leaps and bounds.  It's more like baby steps.  But, it is wonderful.
15. My writing.
16. Leftover Halloween candy.
17. Music. "If there were no music, I could not get through.  I don't know why I know these things, but I do." ~ Alison Krauss
18. The ability to tell a good joke.
19. C-Man said at Homecoming that the most influential person in his life was ME.  Even though it felt like I lost everything by staying married to my ex, that is not so.  I changed a life.  I made a life better. Can we ask for more than that?
20. I look in the mirror and see Me again. I wasn't sure that would ever be true again.
21. In a couple of weeks my brother and sister-in-law will be here for a visit.
22. I am so thankful that I worked out my issues with my sister-in-law a few years ago.  It has taken time, but we are finally the good friends I always hoped we would be.
23. My computer is working.
24. Turns out there wasn't a gekko massacre in my AC unit.  It started acting up again and the motor and some other module needed replacing.
25. The AC unit broke down just before our policy with American Home Shield was set to expire (in two days).  Excellent timing.
26. It's sweater weather.
27. I like my new hair cut.  A lot.
28. I am not allergic to turkey.
29. C-Man and H-Girl are coming to stay for a week after Christmas.
30. YOU.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bait and Switch

Yesterday I turned on the TV while eating and caught a segment of Face The Nation.  That is the Sunday "news" show with host Bob Schieffer.  In this segment, he interviewed a Democrat and then a Republican about the sanctions on Iran and Obamacare.   It was the way that the Obamacare part of this interview rolled out that left me wondering this: What is going on????

Here is the commentary from the Face The Nation transcripts.  I have removed the commentary on Iran and any bold or italics are mine.  It helps you hit the highlights when you skim:)

SCHIEFFER: Well, if it works, it will be some needed good news on the political front for the White House, because with every day there just seems to be some new mind boggling development about the problems with Obamacare.  Just this week, administration officials testified the computer system still had about 40 percent to go before its done. There's now evidence that people in the White House, including the president, were briefed months before the program started that there were some flaws here.  What happens here? Are they going to have to just take this thing down and start over?

HOYER (Democrat, Majority Leader): The process has been terrible. And we're all very disappointed, those of us who support the Affordable Care Act. But the Affordable Care Act, Bob, the majority of the American public says, look, we need to fix it, not repeal it. And what they mean by that is, they know they need affordable quality health care access. And as a result, the necessity is that we fix this access to it. And I think over time the American public are going to see it works well.  I had woman who talked to me the other day whose son was involved in an automobile accident some two-and-a-half years ago, very serious automobile accident. He was on her policy because of the Affordable Care Act. He's now over 26 with a preexisting condition and the only reason he can get health care is because of the Affordable Care Act. She came up to me and thanked me.  So I think millions of people have already been helped -- seniors, young people. people who went over their annual limit.

SCHIEFFER: But still 61 percent of Americans now oppose it. You know, I've got to say after the government shut down I thought the Republicans had dug themselves into such a hole they would never get out of it. But that seems to be washed away now by this failure of Obamacare.

HOYER: I don't think Obamacare has failed. Access to Obamacare has been a failure at this point in time. And it needs to be fixed.  So from that standpoint, the substance of Obamacare is yet to be tested. And to the extent it has been tested, it's been a success for millions of people.

SCHIEFFER: Would you at this point, if there was nothing else to do would you just be willing to shut the thing down and start over?

HOYER: No, not at this point in time. We don't need to start over. And Bob, I don't think the American people want to start over. They want a system that works. We all do. And the Republicans have offered no alternative at this point in time simply repeal. And with all due respect to your figure I don't think the American public and a number of recent polls support that objective.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mr. Majority Leader, thanks for being with us.
Let's get the other side of this now from the assistant House majority leader, the Republican, Kevin McCarthy. He is in his district in Bakersfield, California, this morning. 

(Iran stuff redacted.) 

SCHIEFFER: Let me shift to the other big news, and that is the Republican strategy now on Obamacare. What will you all do now? A Republican that I was talking to on one of these airplane trips this weekend said, you know what our talking points are now? Our talking points are don't talk, just let this thing continue to roll out.  What is your advice now on what to do about this?

MCCARTHY: Well, first, you have got to see how this is rolling out. It's coming in three different failed waves. The first waves was the website. The president, it failed from the very beginning. They knew that it would fail and they rolled forward. And it's supposed to be fixed by less than a week from now. And you know that will not happen.  The second wave started where it says if you have your healthcare and you like it you can keep it. Well, we know that is not true. Now for every one person who signed up for Obamacare, 44 Americans have gotten a letter saying they can't keep their health care.  Then the third most powerful wave is going to hit January 1: the cost. You know what, on average, the latest report says 41 percent premium increase throughout the nation. And in five states, the premiums have gone up 100 percent.  Then you won't even -- the deductibles. And then whether you can keep your doctor. I do not believe you can fix this law to lower the cost and increase access. We have to scrap it and start anew and get a bipartisan consensus that actually puts the patient first and lowers the premiums. Now Republicans have had many ideas on this.

SCHIEFFER: But what would you do to get bipartisan approach? I must say, haven't seen many bipartisan approaches so far in all of this.

MCCARTHY: Well, I think what the latest polling that you've even shown, where more than 60 percent of Americans are opposed to this, I think it would move both parties to come together. And one thing I would see is a couple of different things. The number one raising cost of health care is the lack of tort reform, malpractice reform, the studies have shown that. Going across state lines for insurance. You can do that with car insurance, but you can't do it with health insurance? The idea of small business able to pool together to get greater costs, greater ability to lower the costs.  These have all been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, ideas from Republicans, and it  That it lowers the premiums from 10 to 8 percent.s a direction different than what Obamacare in raising your cost.
 *** end of interview

When the media stops supporting everything the President does and actually appears to practice the long-forgotten art of journalism, my skeptical eyebrow raises.  Even though the polls indicate that the people are unhappy with Obamacare (to the tune of over 60%), the little guy is getting a notice that his insurance has been cancelled, and the website is so glitchy that it is nigh near impossible to get the Exchange to work for you, why would the press do an about-face??? 

Is it possible that they are preparing to throw Obamacare under the bus in the media?  If so, what do you think will happen from there?  Is a repeal of this law in our future OR do you think that this is just precursor to rolling out a single payer system run by the government?   The Huffington Post published an article on the benefits of the single payer system three days ago.  Here is a quote: "None of these single-payer advocates has given up hope that their goal will one day be achieved, despite the struggles of Obamacare. Sanders's home state of Vermont is using authority created by the Affordable Care Act to enact its own single-payer program, which is slated to be in place in 2017."

Who was for the single payer system back in 2008?  Hillary Clinton.

Chances are Mrs. Clinton will run on the single payer system again in 2016.  If Obamacare is broken and MOST people don't have insurance (thanks to Obamacare), will this government-run solution now be embraced by a hurting public?  People with full-time jobs are getting cancellation notices because their company comes out ahead paying the fine rather than providing insurance for their employees. 

With that in mind... was the single payer system the goal all along?  Is Obamacare simply the mechanism of pain chosen to push everyone where The Powers That Be wanted them all along?  Answer: Government-controlled single payer system.

The government has been so good at running the country.  I know I want them making my health decisions, too.  And I definitely want them deciding who qualifies for an operation and who doesn't.  I am sure the elderly will benefit immensely in this deal.  And there will be millions crying when the government says mom or grandma is just "too old" to qualify for a life-saving operation.  Having looked at the Cost-Benefits, elderly people just aren't worth saving.  Or the sick for that matter.  Bring on the single payer system... the plan that makes all of the animals on the farm equal.  Of course, some will always be "more equal than others."

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Before I get down to the Thursday dedications, I want to take just a moment for some *other stuff.* Last week Gwen Gardner put some writers in the stocks on her blog.  Readers voted in their best Old English for either a guilty or innocent verdict and there were prizes.  I am as pleased as the early bird getting the worm to announce that I won the Big Prize of $25.  Thank you Gwen!

Battle of the Bands took place here (among other places) on the 15th.  I paired off an instrumental version versus an a cappella version of the Christmas song Carol of the Bells.  The Piano Guys (featuring 12 cellos) won that hands down.  I really thought it would be a closer call given that I had such a difficult time choosing a winner.  However, you guys voted 11 for The Piano Guys and 4 for Pentatonix.  I am throwing my trifling vote in with Pentatonix to bring it up to 5 votes, but it still loses solidly.  Come back on the 1st for the next battle!

Now it is on to the HERE'S TO YOU past of this post.  If you don't know what I am blabbering about, it is Thursday.  And that means another post dedicated to all of you and the excellent blogging you have done this week.  So, sit back and enjoy.  It's HERE'S TO YOU DAY!!!

This is a weekly event landing typically on Thursdays.  The best (or worst) part is that I am not going to explain why I chose "whatever" footage for each of you. If, you watch your footage and are scratching your head at the end, well that means I didn't do a very good job. However, all is not lost. You can email me at and ask me what I was thinking when I chose that particular piece of footage off of youtube and connected it to you. And then I will tell you. Then I will start sending up prayers that I haven't offended the crap out of whoever is on the receiving end of that Because, honestly, I will tell you right now... I admire all of you enormously so I really hope that doesn't happen.

Also, this is not an exclusive venture by any means. I hope that you will take the time to watch ALL of the footage because I don't pick bad footage:-) I also hope that you might check out the blog of the person I dedicated the footage to because they are pretty darn awesome. If you haven't figured this out yet... I pick the footage based on something that you've written or something that I've gleaned from your personality. Think on that for a while... If you are having trouble watching the entire video (meaning it is being cut off on one side), click on it a couple of times and it will take you straight over to youtube. If you click on the four squares at the bottom corner of the video, it will enlarge it to fill your screen. The escape key will bring it back to normal size. The back arrow will bring you back to my page.

Now, let's get this PARTY STARTED!!!!

This one is for everyone:

This one is for RocknRobyn at Life by Chocolate: Robyn Alana Engel's Blog:

This one is for Stephen T. McCarthy at FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS:

This one is for Manzanita at Wanna Buy A Duck:

This one is for Carol at Under The Tiki Hut:

This one is for Dianne K. Salerni at In High Spirits:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We Can All Learn Something From Geckos

Living in north Florida when the seasons change we often go back and forth between Cool and Heat on the air conditioner.  At the end of last week, it was cold enough that we actually turned the heat on.  And then it warmed up.  Sunday night I was sitting in the living room thinking, "I am hot." By the time I was ready for bed, I was really warm.  (For those of you who have never had a migraine.... sometimes the connecting of the dots doesn't happen as quickly as it should.)  Anyway, it FINALLY occurred to me to check the thermostat.  It was 77 degrees and still in Heat mode.  *Aha*

So, I turned it back over to Cool and the outdoor fan/compressor/whatever that thing is made the most HORRENDOUS racket I have heard in a long time.  Every time the air came on, it banged and clanged.  It was so loud that I could hear it in my room.  For hours.  At 2am I finally fell asleep.

Yesterday it was the same. I called someone.

The guy just left.  Of course, it wasn't banging and clanging when he came out.  ***shocking*** However, he listened to my tale and checked everything.

He did find a gecko plastered against the grill.  Dead.  Yep.  The lizard was blown around by the fan until he hit the cage and stuck.

The theory: when I turned on the air after it being off all day a horde of geckos were inside the unit.  They all were thrown around relentlessly until they were small enough to make it out the cage.  Yeah, not a pretty picture.  By the time the repair guy arrived today, one lone gecko was all that was left.  I would feel horrible about this loss of gecko life if not for the fact the little buggers are EVERYWHERE.  I am constantly finding them in the house, trying to catch them (easier said than done), and then put them back outside.  When I walk the dog, they scatter across the sidewalk like roaches when you turn on the light. I have actually had thoughts that if there were ever some sort of nuclear attack the only thing left here in north Florida would be geckos.  We are awash in them.

And you thought that they were only on TV.

So, what did we learn from our unlucky gecko friends?  Don't drop in on places with blades even if they aren't moving right now.  You just don't know when someone is going to flip the switch.

Friday, November 15, 2013


It's the 15th of the month and that means that it is time for another installation of Battle of The Bands.  If this is new to you, each one of these battles pits the same song sung by different artists against the other.  Battles are happening today on several blogs including Far Away Series, FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS, and Tossing It Out.  Comments on these blogs might garner you a prize.  DiscConnected is also hosting a battle, like me, without a prize.  We're just in it for the fun!  For more information on the prizes visit FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS as all of the details are there.

Stephen (FFFF) indicated some time ago that he had a whole bunch of Christmas music on his list.  Of course, that caused my brain to start thinking about Christmas music.  I adore Christmas music.  Hearing it brings back memories of my mom wrapping presents in our living room on a card table hauled out special for the occasion.  Every evening she was in there wrapping and Christmas albums played on the record player.  Yeah, I said record player.  So, hearing Christmas music always transports me to that room with the wood stove burning, my mom wrapping, and the music playing.  And don't get me started on the Christmas tree.  I was one of those kids who would lie under it and look up at the lights.  I simply love everything about Christmas.

So, I am starting early with the Christmas tunes so that I can run them through the holidays.  And I know some folks already have their tree up.  I have seen pics on Facebook.  So, I am not the only one swept away by the holiday spirit.

First up on my Christmas roster is the song Carol of the Bells.  Normally, I go to wikipedia and give you the down and dirty on the song.... who wrote it, recorded it, blah blah blah.  Not today.  I am going to just ASSUME you know it.  I will tell you that my original match-up was going to be Mannheim Steamroller vs. someone else (I didn't have anyone definitive in mind), so I hit YouTube.  And that is when it got INTERESTING.  Why?  I found both of these versions, which I'd never heard before and loved both of them!  I am going to have a tough time with the voting.  However, I want to hear which one is your favorite and WHY, so post your vote (with explanation) in the comments.

Carol of the Bells (for 12 cellos) by The Piano Guys (ironically, no piano in this song, just cello....):


Carol of the Bells by Pentatonix (an a capella version):

You may have noticed that the first one slipped in and out of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman. Surprisingly, I didn't mind. So, which one of these tickled your fancy? Please tell me... at length.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Before I get down to the dedications, I want to apologize for not even posting HERE'S TO YOU last week.  My computer was sick, but it is all better now and this post is going to be HOT HOT HOT.

If you don't know what I am blabbering about, it is Thursday.  And that means another post dedicated to all of you and the excellent blogging you have done this week.  So, sit back and enjoy.  It's HERE'S TO YOU DAY!!!

This is a weekly event landing typically on Thursdays.  The best (or worst) part is that I am not going to explain why I chose "whatever" footage for each of you. If, you watch your footage and are scratching your head at the end, well that means I didn't do a very good job. However, all is not lost. You can email me at and ask me what I was thinking when I chose that particular piece of footage off of youtube and connected it to you. And then I will tell you. Then I will start sending up prayers that I haven't offended the crap out of whoever is on the receiving end of that Because, honestly, I will tell you right now... I admire all of you enormously so I really hope that doesn't happen.

Also, this is not an exclusive venture by any means. I hope that you will take the time to watch ALL of the footage because I don't pick bad footage:-) I also hope that you might check out the blog of the person I dedicated the footage to because they are pretty darn awesome. If you haven't figured this out yet... I pick the footage based on something that you've written or something that I've gleaned from your personality. Think on that for a while... If you are having trouble watching the entire video (meaning it is being cut off on one side), click on it a couple of times and it will take you straight over to youtube. If you click on the four squares at the bottom corner of the video, it will enlarge it to fill your screen. The escape key will bring it back to normal size. The back arrow will bring you back to my page.

Now, let's get this PARTY STARTED!!!!

This one is for everyone, but especially for those of who posted something special on Veterans Day:

This one is for Jasmine at A Yellow Rose of Texas:

This one is for JJ The Disconnected Writer:

This one is for David Powers King:

This one is for David List at Regarding Silexare and Steven Symes, Writer:

This one is for Jasmine at A Yellow Rose of Texas (again):

This one is for Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes and Gwen Gardner: YA Fiction Author:

This one is for Dianne K. Salerni at In High Spirits:

This one is for Red Shoes at Red Shoe's Chronicles:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Life Is Not Fair

David List left this comment on my last post:

"Well this was real as real can be. Thank you.

And I was held by your writing. So the people who say otherwise can go frump a goat!

I sure hope the migraines have relented. That's not exactly a fair reward for you having a heart for children."

I started to reply and found that in that reply I had material for a new post!  Some of you are not remotely surprised by this, given the length of a comment I have left on YOURS.

It was the last sentence that struck me.  "That's not exactly a fair reward for you having a heart for children."

I said a few other things, but here is when I felt myself gearing up in my response: " Have you noticed that life doesn't operate on a Fairness System? Being a good person isn't a guarantee of anything. Fame, fortune, success, good relationships, happy marriage, health... nothing. I would write more, but I think I feel a blog post coming on, so I will save it."

One of my earliest memories is of my father saying, "Robin, who ever told you that life was going to be fair?"  This was usually uttered after my rant about how "unfair" something was.  When I was a child it could have been after stubbing my toe or simply not getting my way.   Yeah, like that.  Little did I know that it was the tip of a very large iceberg.

Life doesn't operate on a Fairness System. Period.  Good people don't always come out on top.  Nice guys do finish last.  Artists often die before their work becomes noticed, famous, and "worth something."  Being a good person doesn't mean that you will roll 7's in Vegas or 7's in your relationship choices.  It doesn't mean you won't suffer with chronic illness or get cancer.  Being good at heart doesn't mean that your life will be any better or more FAIR.

There is an older lady from our church whose husband was in stage four cancer.  She had to go to the hospital for a colonoscopy and they found something, so she was admitted.  He became very ill while she was still there and also ended up at the hospital.  She went down to his room to see him and he coded and died.  She is still in the hospital waiting to have her procedure.  Not exactly a fair reward for all of those years of marriage.

A high school friend of mine has a son who just died of a brain tumor.  Approximately two years ago the tumor was found and chemo/radiation started.  All seemed well.  Then, it came back.  So, they did more chemo.  Again, it seemed under control until it wasn't.  After it came back the third time it did so aggressively.  He passed away a couple of weeks ago.  He was thirteen years old.  His family will never be the same.  My friend said, "It's been a tough week and, while it's cliche, I finally understand the power of 'one day at a time.' Because when I think about surviving the next 30+ years without him, there's no way I can do it. But I can survive today. I was so blessed to know him. The best 13 years of my life." 

Another high school friend married two times and BOTH of her husbands were diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died.  The first one died just after they had their first child.  The second one died just after they had their first child (together).  So, she is now raising two children alone and grieving the death of her second husband.  

No.  Life is not fair.

What life gives us is grace.  If you haven't been smacked in the solar plexus by Life, all I can tell you is "look out."  Life doesn't play favorites.  We all get it in some way or another.  And some of us get more than others.  Each time that Life hits us, we get the opportunity to call on grace.  Are we going to be the child on a rant about the unfairness of it all or are we going to accept what happened and move forward?  

As for me, I have done both.  I have ranted plenty about my ex-husband and all the things HE did that made that marriage so untenable that I became chronically sick and ultimately had to leave.  Did that ranting make me feel better?  Not a lick.  Several years ago, I was at one of the kids' birthday parties and he actually said to me that it was a shame that I started getting migraines AFTER we divorced.  That kicked off another round of ranting all the way home about him having his head up his @ss and what did he think I spent that time in the hospital for... the view???  Not to mention all the puking, every second I spent in bed with something over my eyes, blah blah blah.  I must say that there was no grace in that diatribe.

I wish I could say that I had let it all go when I wrote that post back in July 2010.  But, I still wasn't there.  I wanted to be (which is the first step).  However, I had to accept that he was who he was.  Period.  And I saw signs of that before I married him... of course, I did.  They were the red flags that I waved at, smiled, and kept on cruising toward disaster.  I felt like a victim in that relationship, but only because I CHOSE it.  Accepting THAT has made it possible to let it all go.  Why?  I gained some wisdom.  I was always in charge.  I am still in charge.  And I am smarter now and I will choose better in the future.  A perpetual victim never sees how their own actions brought them where they are and continues to choose the same.  In order to get to grace, I had to forgive not only him, but myself for allowing it.  That was the door to freedom.

Life is not fair.  

Instead, there is Grace.  Wisdom.  Forgiveness. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Who I Used To Be

Recently I have been viewing my Blog Stats.  A lot.  I can go for months and not look once.  Other times, I am compulsively obsessed.  A post from July 23, 2010 is currently showing as one of my most read posts of this week.  Frankly, I always find it odd when an old blog post jumps back into my Top 5.  So, I read it.  What I realized is this: I used to be very open on this blog.  I was committed to writing daily and it sometimes led to crazy posts.  They would start in one place and end in a very different one.  My new readers don't know that person.  I am not sure where she is.  But, let me introduce you via my post called *Bang* on July 23, 2010....

I had been thinking about writing this extremely "real" blog today. Once I got on here and caught up on my own blog reading, I realized it was Blog Hop Friday. Egads. If there is anything that I have learned it is that someone new to your blog doesn't want to read anything extremely real about you on their first visit! That would have them screaming and running for their lives.

So, then I thought I could write something funny. I'm funny. I'm all kinds of funny. In fact, I had a dream last night and I was a one woman comedy act in it. I would tell you about it, but it was a strange dream. Again, I try not to freak people out on their first visit. I do know that I learned one thing from that dream. I hate my hair. I was adamant about a hair appointment that I NEEDED to make. Other things kept getting in the way and I was really snarky by the end of the dream and I was yelling things like, "But I hate my hair!" So, if there was any greater truth in that dream, I think that was it.

One of my friends left this comment on one of my recent blogs:

"Robin, at the risk of hurting you, I will tell you the truth. Sometimes you tend to ramble. Sometimes I don't know WHAT you are talking about. And then, just when I least expect it...BANG! You strike and tear out my heart.

I don't think that your blog has the best writing (sorry) objectively speaking, but it is the one I rush to read so maybe, just maybe, it does. After all, how can we judge what is good writing? Maybe it is simply what appears genuine, heartfelt and exquisitely real.

I love you.

Take care of yourself."

That is how I roll on this blog. I just ramble on and you think that I am going nowhere, and you are mildly entertained, and then *BANG* I actually come up with something that makes sense. For the record, I don't really do crafts, I am not much of a cook, I am working on a novel, I have kicka$$ migraines that tear my world apart regularly, I'm having a really tough time with my friendships, no dating life, and I am living with my parents. Never in a million years did I see my life going like this. Does it suck? Like lemons after half a bottle of tequila when you are throwing up on the bathroom floor in a bar that hasn't been cleaned in six months. (Was that metaphor too vivid? I am thinking it might have been too vivid.)

Anyway, my life right now is about doing what I can. I write when I can. I put the effort into people who are worth it. Right now, there aren't very many people in my life who are worth it. The ones who are live all the way across the country. It is just a bit far. I have a couple of friends here who are worth it, but they are busy most of the time. So, I blog and I work on my novel. And I work on me. And I spend time with my real friends when they can fit me into their crazy schedules. A big part of what I'm doing right now is working on letting things go. This is something that I have problems with, and I will give you an example:

I held on to a marriage that I should have let go of much sooner in order to save children that weren't mine. That's why I have a migraine that started in January of 2003 and hasn't stopped since. That's right. Every day since January 2003. The stress of being married and trying to save his kids was too big for me. Had I let go sooner, I think that the pain cycle of the migraine could have been put down. I didn't. I waited too long. I was determined to give his kids a solid foundation. I thought that when I left the migraines would end. I was wrong. That one choice cost me everything. Letting things go sounds easy. It's not. Sometimes knowing what to keep, how long to keep it, and when to let go are the things that can change or save your life. Sometimes both. *BANG*

Friday, November 8, 2013

Oh How I Miss You

November 8, 2013 - hosted by Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish

The bloggers we really miss…and the ones we would really miss! 

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!

On November 8, list one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.

Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know! 

Do you see the rules?  1-3 friends you would miss or already miss.  I have been composing this blog piece in my head for weeks.  I was certain that the rules read differently until a few moments ago.  I thought it was 1-3 friends you already miss and 1-3 friends (who have already taken to blogging less) and you would miss if they quit altogether.  Imagine my surprise when I reread the *suggestions* and it was just 1-3 friends.  Period.


Friends who haven't blogged in a LONG time and that I already miss....(please, come back!):

Phoenix over at Res ipsa loquitor... This was among the first blogs I started reading back in 2010 when I started blogging.  I thought of Tracy aka Phoenix as the younger, smarter version of myself.  She was the person I wanted to be if I could start over and do it all again.  Has she made mistakes?  Heck yeah.  But, she is so fiery and passionate and insistent about learning from them and doing better NOW.  She makes me want to be the best version of myself.  So, please start blogging again... my best self needs you!

Christine over at A Deliberate Life... I never thought I would follow a weight loss blog.  Of course, it is and isn't a weight loss blog.  It's a Life Blog.  It's about living deliberately.  It's about all of the things that keep us from living deliberately.  I called my blog "therapy" and discovered that I wasn't the only one.  Christine likens getting your internal house in order to cleaning out a chicken coop.  It's messy and STINKY and it only gets worse when you start scratching away at the old crap to clean it up.  That is when things really start smelling.  But, if you never clean it up then you have to live in a chicken coop full of crap.

Friends Who Are Blogging Less (and I fear might quit altogether):

Liza over at Middle Passages... Liza was another lovely person I found back in 2010.  Our journeys are very different, but I always find something applicable to my life in her writing.  And she gives insightful comment.  So many people that I blogged with regularly back in 2010 have given it up.  Liza, I know that you are not writing as much as before, but please don't leave because I would miss you so!

Al Diaz over at Father Dragon Writes... I only discovered Al during April's A to Z Challenge.  As someone who suffers with chronic pain, I understand Al's journey better than most.  And he is such an inspiration.  When you find the right treatment to make you better, just DO IT.  Commit.  And Life will reach out big, generous arms and embrace you.  Life has come calling for Al since he has gotten better and he is heeding the call.  Should you scale back on the blogging?  Absolutely.  But your message is so relevant for *everyone* and inspires all who know you to live their best life.  So, please don't go forever.

Mark Means over at Left and Write... Mark is another blog that I discovered during the A to Z Challenge.  Mark knows about so many things that I don't.  For instance, he blogged on the relatively unknown comic book heroes during A to Z.  As someone who is constantly looking for new information to stimulate the learning center of my brain, I must take this moment to say that if you were to quit blogging.... think of all the things I would never know!!!!  So, you can slow down, but you must not quit.  Ever.

and one more just because he sprang this in his last post...

The Ninja Captain aka AKA Alex J. Cavanaugh... Alex, you announced in a recent post that you might have to cut back on blogging to return to the land of writing.  Another novel is playing in your head.  I totally support your heeding the call.  I also recognize that you won't be able to do all that you once did... i.e. you can't be The News, you won't be giving amazing comment on every post, and the entire blogging world will feel different for you and everyone that reads you.  And I am okay with that.  Just make sure that you come back to us when you have told your story.  I already miss you and you haven't even gone.  ::sigh::

Many of you participated in my most recent Battle of The Bands post.  I planned to announce the winner on my HERE'S TO YOU post.  BUT, due to computer problems I didn't have a HERE'S TO YOU post.  ((Drat my computer and all of the bad ripples that are stemming as a result!))   One parenthesis just wasn't enough... in case you were wondering.  Moving along... And the winner is Marvin Gaye.  Take that Berry Gordy (the owner of Motown) who took a pass on Marvin Gaye's version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine and recorded Gladys Knight and the Pips instead.  The only reason we heard Marvin's version is because he didn't care what Gordy said and put it on his album ANYWAY.  And then DJs got hold of it, fans loved it, and now it is the best selling record in Motown's history.  So... let that be a lesson to all of us.  Just because someone takes a Pass on your talent, it doesn't mean they were RIGHT.  Gordy missed that one by a country mile.  Be like Marvin Gaye: bet on yourself and record it anyway.  Write it anyway.  Paint it anyway.  Audition for it anyway.  Play it anyway.  Someone is going to love your *song.*

Final vote tally:
Marvin Gaye - 15 (including my vote)
Gladys Knight - 3

The fans called it.  Berry Gordy is still wrong.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG: A Tale of Bad Luck

What has me feeling insecure about writing right now???  My computer.

Yep.  You read that correctly.  My computer locked me out a week ago.  Not only could I not access the internet, but I couldn't access ANYTHING.  Where is my novel?  On that computer, of course.

We have a radio station that is devoted to saving you money.  It's called The Bargain Channel.  My mom is an avid listener.  Me, not so much.  BUT, I appreciated her listening after she told me she'd just heard about a deal for a mobile computer repair coupon.  $35 for one hour of tech on your machine.  I was IN.  I bought the coupon and then spent Wed- Sat leaving messages on a mobile repair service answering machine.  I didn't get a call back.

By Monday, I was ready to throw my laptop into the wall!  Have you ever felt that way?  No?  Hmmm.  Well, I was THERE.  I was also disgusted with the mobile repair service, so I called The Bargain Channel and relayed the problem.  They gave me a name of another computer fix-it person and said they would reimburse me for the coupon.  Whew.

That guy called me back later on Monday and said that I need not take the coupon back to the station.  He did business with them frequently and could redeem it.  His cost to fix my computer no matter how long it took: $60.  I pay that less my coupon investment.  Great.  I was IN.  Not an hour later the first guy called when I was in the shower, so my mom spoke with him.  Apparently, he had a family emergency out of state.  He thought he changed his message on his machine to reflect that, but it didn't save the new recording.  So... he had TONS of messages like mine.  She said that she was sorry, but we found someone else.

And what is the point of all of this?  You can be going along and think that you have a handle on everything and then LIFE comes along and screws it all up.  I was planning on participating in NaNoWriMo for this first time.  My computer took a hike two days before Nov. 1.  The guy who could have fixed it had a family emergency and didn't save his new message on his recorder.  Monday rolls around and I find someone and he can fix it, but it will be a few days AND I am going out of town tomorrow and won't be back until Saturday.  IF I get my computer back on Saturday, I am already 8 DAYS behind on NaNoWriMo. If it's Monday, it will be 10.  That is one third of the month folks.

It was a bit overwhelming to participate having EVERY day in November. I can't tell you what this feels like...

So, what is the takeaway here?  Just like things don't go smoothly for our characters, they also don't go smoothly for US.  LIFE or BAD LUCK (or whatever you want to call it) actually does happen.  It twists up our plans and makes us start again.  If it does that for us, it can do the same for our characters.  I am planning on inserting some PLAIN 'OL BAD LUCK on my protagonist just because Sh@t Happens.  Why she should be immune while I am suffering so????

How has your real life affected your storyline?

This is a bloghop aka The Insecure Writer's Support Group.  It happens the first Wednesday of every month.  If you go to this site you can see who else is participating (and add your name to the list to join us).  Even if you don't join, support a writer with encouragement!!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Taste of Steampunk

It is time for another post related to All Things Writing.  My blogger buddy, Jay Noel, has experienced many ups and downs in his journey to getting published.  However, at long last, that moment of gratification has arrived.  I encourage you to visit him at his site for even more insight on the characters in his book Dragonfly Warrior.  Isn't this cover amazing????

Dragonfly Warrior Blurb:
The Mechanica Wars: Savage Machines Are Afoot...
At the age of twenty, Kanze Zenjiro's bloody footprints mark the bodies of those who stood in his way to protect the throne of Nihon. Now, the tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and they send their steam-powered giants and iron spiders against him.
Zen embarks on a quest that takes him on the most dangerous journey of his life. To succeed, Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns. He is called upon to somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.

Book Information: Dragonfly Warrior is a steampunk adventure like no other. It's a dynamic mix of Asian and European mythology, the Wild West, martial arts, traditional fantasy, and high powered steam action that will keep you turning the pages.
Dragonfly Warrior is the first book of The Mechanica Wars, and will debut on January 6, 2014.

Author Bio:
After doing some freelance writing and editing for more than a dozen years, Jay decided to stop procrastinating and pursue his dream of being a novelist. He's been blogging for over eight years, and even had a comedy podcast syndicated all over the internet. All of that was fun, but all the steampunk-inspired stories in his head just wouldn't leave him alone. Jay spends his days working in medical sales, but he can be found toiling over his laptop late at night when all is quiet.
He draws inspiration from all over: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Isaac Asimov.
And Jay loves cookies.

Jay Noel's website: