Thursday, September 27, 2012

Teach Your Children

  At the moment I am working on a novel and a short story. Like one story is not enough, I know. Leave it to me. But today, of all days I am having a great day of writing. Yay! Sadly, when it came time to sit down and write this blog I am having a very hard time. I had a whole subject that I planned on writing about, but now I have doubts. You see, I would have to step up on a soapbox, and I’m not sure that is the best thing for me to do. Maybe if I try it from another angle it won’t be so bad.

  In the novel I am writing the secondary characters are dealing with bullying. When I started writing I didn’t expect it to bother me, but I find myself getting aggravated when I get to their parts. The short story I am working on has a young boy in it whose mother died when he was very young. He is a extremely rambunctious, very shy, withdrawn boy who needs just the right amount of love to make his days complete. His father does the best he can, but sometimes good just isn’t enough.

  Both stories involve parents who genuinely care and do the best for their children, and some that aren’t even their own. To me that is what good parents do. They love and protect their children, and teach them right from wrong. My parents did that. I thank the good Lord that I had great parents that taught what hard work and respect mean.

  Last weekend I visited a friend at her store in a market. At one time a heavy set man walked in and looked around while his daughter rummaged through some merchandise. The father paid no attention when the young girl (around 8 years old) ransacked half the store. She walked up to him with about a two dollar item in her hand. The father never looked at her, he kept shopping for himself. He told her to put it back. The father left the store with his little girl in tow. Little girl still had said item in her hand. Unbelievable. The mother was just outside the store, apparently paying no attention to the child as well because all three strolled off down the walkway. I watched as they visited other vendors. The little girl was holding a brand new toy in her hand and nobody questioned it. I even walked down to where they were and stood around there for a couple of minutes. The little girl kept looking at me. I hope she knows she did wrong. Now my friend or I could have said something, but she didn’t want to make a fuss with such a young kid for a cheaper item. Deep down we wanted the parents to notice what she did and make her bring it back. We wanted to feel that sense of not-everybody-is-a-thief. Needless to say they did not return, so another child goes without learning the difference between right and wrong.

  Maybe I am being hard. Maybe the parents were having a bad day. People make mistakes, right? I've made plenty, I admit it. Even so I have a lot of things I want to say on this subject, but I won’t. That soapbox is right there, I just don’t want to step up onto it. For your sakes I won’t! J So there you have it. I am still befuddled about the whole thing.

Would you have confronted the family? Were your parents strict, relaxed, or in between on rules? Do you think you learned from them, or did you have to learn on your own?

W.P.I. - Fall is the time that you buy and plant spring flowering bulbs like Tulips and Daffodils. They should be available in Garden Centers throughout the fall. The best time to plant your bulbs is in September or October, when the weather starts to get cooler.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Block Your Time, Huh?

  Lately it seems to me that as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning it is time to put them back up on the bed. My days have been flying by and I can’t quite nearly enough done. Sadly my writing, or lack thereof, is suffering because of it. I know, a lack of time sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I know that I am not the only person in the world to have this problem. That is probably why I am rambling about it today. The Charmed One keeps repeating three words of advice, so those words ring in my ears all the time. “Block your time.”

  Now, I understand the concept, and I try to execute this idea every day. I allow myself a certain amount of time for tasks, or jobs, throughout the day. But sadly I have a couple of problems. Problem number one is that I have a habit of getting about ninety percent done with a task when my allotted time is up. So I keep on doing what I am doing until I am finished. It may only be a half an hour longer, but it throws the whole blocked time thing off. Common sense says that I need to take that time off of another task, which I try, but sometimes I become a little Obsessive Compulsive. I know that I will not be happy if I walk away from something before it is completed. I mean really, who dusts only half the house? If I did that I would forget about it and not get back to it the next day. So, do you see where I can have a problem with blocking time?

  Problem number two with me is my self diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. I have a terrible habit of working along and suddenly I will not like the song on the radio. I will go change it and forget what I was doing. I’ll stick with my dusting the furniture example. I am infamous for doing a chore like dusting, and right when I’m in the middle of it I will think of that appointment that I forgot to make. I step away and call. I hang up, realize there’s a dirty dish on the counter, wash it, wipe off the counter, remember to write the down appointment time, and then the dryer turns off and of course I want to fold the clothes before they wrinkle. I finish that and scratch my head, what was I doing originally?

  I don’t think blocking time was meant for a scatterbrain like me. I love the concept, and try to stick with it every day, but sometimes…well… I forget what I was doing. Or heaven forbid there is something out of place. For the last few weeks my top priorities have been things having to do with the house, which left writing for later at night. Starting this week I change my ways. The writing comes early, because I am an early person. I have not been happy with myself for not getting enough writing done. We’ll see if that makes a difference!

Do you have to block your time too? Do you encounter problems like I do? Are there any other ways that you manage time? Care to share?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seasons Change

   We’ve made it past the hottest days of summer and have rounded the corner to fall. The mornings carry a slight chill. The male hummingbirds have begun their long flight back home, leaving their mates behind to fend for themselves before their journey. A few stray leaves lay on the ground waiting for others to join them. Alas, the light of day has grown short, bringing an end to the familiar singing of the night. The change has brought one of my favorite times… Fall!

  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for cooler days. I’m ready for sweats, comfortable jeans, and fuzzy blankets. There’s football in the air, and finally soon the baseball playoffs will begin. (We will not discuss the fiasco also known as the National Hockey League.) Here in the south one can finally have a campfire at night and not be too hot. Pumpkins and mums are making their appearance every here and there. Even Halloween do-dads have shown up in stores.

Not me, but could've been my hair! :)
  I’m excited because the humidity has left us. That means my hair may not frizz out and make my head look five times its normal size. My hair is the longest it has ever been. I have let it grow for about a year and a half now, and at times this summer I wanted to chop it all off. Now I can keep on letting it go until I figure out what to do with it. Don’t ask.

  I love that the scenery changes drastically. The landscape goes from many shades of green to a smattering of red, yellow, and orange. Perennials that have given a blast of color through the summer now disappear, and even most evergreens slow in time. Fall is the best time to plant in the south. Many people start or continue a landscaping project. Pansies and ornamental cabbage are planted, while camellias boast their beauty. All add spectacular color throughout the dreary winter.

Camellia japonica 'Nuccio's Pearl'
  Ah fall, I love you. You give the spring season a run for its money, and are a great break to the hibernations of those other seasons surrounding you. Bring it on!

What signs tell you it’s fall in your area? Why do you like fall? What is your favorite season? Why?

W.P.I. - Why is fall planting so good for plants? In the fall, the warm soil encourages root growth. Roots continue to grow through the winter until the ground freezes, or in areas with mild winters, roots may continue to grow. In early spring, roots begin new growth or continue to develop at a faster rate, and top growth begins. While the same plant planted in spring gets a slow start due to cool soils, the fall-planted plants are becoming well established. When summer finally arrives, the fall-planted plant is far better equipped to deal with heat and drought, largely due to its well-established root system. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Priceless Conversations

  So many times we get subjected to conversations that we might not want to be part of, but sadly we have no choice. People sometimes talk loud, or include you in their conversation whether you want them to or not. Sometimes when this happens to me I love it, others…not so much. Either way some of these conversations have stuck with me enough to make it into my ramblings here. I named my blog ‘A Day in the Life.’ Well, here you go. These are conversations from different days of my life, and I hope they will bring a smile to your face.

  Unfortunately the Charmed One has had some death in the family over the past few months. A recent phone conversation went something like this…

Charmed One’s Mother: “You know death comes in three’s, right?”
Charmed One: “So they say mom.”
Charmed One’s Mother: Sigh. “I’m just saying.”
Charmed One: “Ma, have you designated yourself to be the third?”
Charmed One’s Mother: “Well, I’ve been shopping around because I don’t want you kids                                                                                                                                                                         to get stuck. Ya know?"
Charmed One: “Mom, have you been coffin shopping? Do they have like a Coffins-R-Us? I seriously think you have too much time on your hands.”

  We took my mom on a cruise a few years back. The whole experience provided many unforgettable moments. One is from my mom. Sorry mom!

The morning we were to set sail we left the hotel and started the long process of boarding the ship. We finally made it to our room and started to unpack. Excitement rang through the air until…

Mom:“Where’s my money?”
Curious looks ensued from both the Charmed One and myself.
Me: “What are you talking about mom?”
Mom: “My money! Could it have fallen out of my sock from inside my shoe?”
A frantic frenzy ensued with mom and her sock.
Charmed One and I in unison: “No!”

  I overheard the next words come from two ladies walking past me the other day.
“Flip flops are the glass slippers of the south!”

  The Charmed One was on the road this past week. I received a text asking me to send a picture of the Buffalo Bills shrine. I simply scratched my head because I knew of no such thing. A while later the phone rang. It was no surprise to find it was the Charmed One asking me about the picture. “I have no idea what you are talking about,” I stated. The Charmed One stated that in the corner of the office was a Buffalo Bills shrine. (That’s the Charmed One’s favorite football team.) I walked in to find the smallest of tributes to the team. There sat a helmet, a framed holograph ticket, and an unopened box of cards. I started laughing uncontrollably. So much so that tears found my eyes. I do believe that is the world’s smallest shrine! J  

Have you heard, or overheard, any good ones lately? Care to share? Have you ever heard of anyone bargain coffin shopping? Or carrying money in their socks? Do you think my mom’s will forgive me for this blog? 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baby Steps

  Are you one of those people that envision something in their head, and then do what it takes to make that vision come true? It can be done with any facet of life, really. Say for example a career, a home improvement project, or heck even a human improvement project! Years ago I envisioned myself as a healthier person. Shortly thereafter I quit smoking. But this rambling is not about becoming healthier. Or is it? This rambling is about the baby steps it takes to get to that vision, and the feelings one experiences when they realize their visions have become true.

  Honestly I wish I could tell you that this blog is about me becoming a published writer, but it’s not. That is a vision I have had in my head for a while now, but there are many baby steps that need to be taken to get there. Many, many, steps. And right about now I feel like I’ve hit quicksand. Not to fear though, I’m working my way out of it. Slowly but surely! But no matter what happens along the way I never lose sight of that vision. Not all visions are easy, right? There are some things that you have to fight harder for. This is one that I will fight to the end with. J

  So I’ve had two big visions for the past little while. Obviously the writing one is a biggie. If you’ve followed me for very long then you know I talk a lot about the city of Savannah, and a possible move there. It is a dream. And that dream I have made into one of my visions. Now, the timing is not the best, but who knows if there would ever be a right time. So, lets start the steps, shall we? Our house needed some updating. One by one we have got that done. We’ve taken those baby steps through the bathroom, and then onto the kitchen. I tackled the landscape. It started out slow, but then I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and couldn’t stop. I can’t tell you how motivated I was just thinking that every little thing we did put us one step closer to the ultimate goal of moving to Savannah. Well my peeps, I have some news!

  The sign went up just this week. I can’t tell you exactly how I feel. On one hand I’m ecstatic. On the other I am pretty much terrified. But overall I am happy. To me the hard part was getting everything ready. All of those steps it took to get this far were so worth it. And I know there are so many more to take before the actual move, but I am so ready. There’s just something about Savannah that makes me feel better. Every time I go there I seem to breathe easier. My muscles don’t feel as tense, and my mind is clearer. I’m ready for the next steps, both in writing, and the move!

What things do you envision in your life? Have you taken the steps to make that vision become a reality? Was it worth it? Did it turn out like you thought it would? Did you ever get scared when it started becoming a reality?

W.P.I. - Plants love compost. It's a natural fertilizer that's great for the environment and cuts down on garbage bags dumped in landfills. Don't use meat. Use the fruits and vegetables leftover from your table, coffee grounds, and some newspaper. Toss them in your blender with a little bit of water, blend. Put your compost smoothie in a Rubbermaid container you've drilled holes in. Add worms. Not just any worms. You want the big, fat red ones. It won't take the worms long to break down the little pieces and turn them into compost. Layer the compost around your shrubs. They will love you for it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Staying Grounded

  We walked along the cobblestone streets. The dogs panted away, but trudged along right beside us. One of the infamous city “squares” sat straight ahead of us so we walked in and sat on one of the benches. The dogs immediately lied down. The exercise was unfamiliar to them. They got drinks and we all took in the sights.

  This particular square had a fountain in the middle of it. Live oaks surround the perimeter of the park. Spanish moss hangs lazily from the branches, fluttering easily in the wind. A squirrel rummaged around, unexcited with the flourish of people invading his space. Tourists walked through with their maps open, contemplating where to head next. Business people strolled by briskly undoubtedly heading to lunch. I breathed in all the sights and sounds, loving every minute of it.

  There was a young boy playing with an even younger girl. They both had khaki shorts on. Their hair was dark with curls, and their eyes were a beautiful light brown. There was no doubt in my mind that they were brother and sister. They brought a smile to my face watching how close they seemed to be. They came out from around the fountain one time with the boy carrying the girl on his back. They slowly walked up to us and started talking about the dogs. He let his sister down and asked if they could pet the dogs. Now, both our dogs are rescues and although friendly I never know how they will be around kids. Usually they just try to ignore them, or hide behind our legs. The kids came closer and unbelievably the dogs let those kids pet them. They talked with us for a few minutes as the dogs reaped the rewards of the pets. Goodbyes were said as the cute kids disappeared around the fountain again.

  Giving the dogs a long rest the Charmed One and I continued to take in the sights of the square and chat amongst ourselves about our next destination. Just minutes after their disappearance the kids came back one more time. The young boy, we guessed he was around eleven years old, asked us more questions about the dogs. His sister, probably about seven, tried to pet Alexis a little more. The Charmed One asked them if they lived in Savannah, or if they were just visiting. The boy stated they lived there, while his sister stood back up next to him. We asked if they liked it. He got quiet and nodded. They younger sister said she didn’t like it. When asked why she said they lived in a shelter. Big brother immediately tapped her on the shoulder and shook his head no. He then said they had to go as the shock of what just happened sunk in.

  I cannot tell you how those words impacted me. I’m sentimental to begin with, but the moments after those kids left tears escaped my eyes. The Charmed One and I both just sat with a loss for words, but not for tears. I don’t think anything has grounded me faster than that. I don’t think I will ever forget their faces, or the feeling we felt. We don’t carry much cash on us, but put together what we did have. It wasn’t much, but we walked over and gave it to the mother and father who were sitting in the shade cast from one of the live oaks. They didn’t want to take it, but we insisted. We turned around and left.

  The Charmed One and I always say we work hard to play hard. We enjoy taking little trips here and there, and have the luxury of buying a shirt or groceries without counting every penny. We are not rich, but we live comfortably. I thank my good Lord every day for what we have, and wish there was more we could do for families like that. That one instant from that day will stay with us forever, and always keep our feet firmly planted on the ground.

  What keeps you grounded? Do you have instances of homeless where you live? Have you ever encountered homeless children? What do you do to lift your spirits when something bad happens?  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Person Overload

Okay, it wasn't this much!

  I forgot how old I was today (Wednesday). I did waaay too much manual labor and now I am having a hard time moving. The landscape to the front of the house was ready for mulch, so I went and got a truckload full. Then the dumb person I am decided to unload it all in one day. Needless to say it ought to be interesting in the morning! I have a sneaking suspicion my chiropractor is going to be grinning from ear to ear by the time he’s done with me!

  Since I’m complaining… For the second time in a month I started reading a book that was written in first person. I don’t know why, but I cannot stand a book written like this. Now, apparently I need to start reading an excerpt of the book before I purchase it. Usually I just read the synopsis. If it intrigues me then I buy it. Two dang times. What in Reba’s name is going on here? Now, I mustered through the first one. I don’t know if I can make it through the one I’m reading now. I was just wondering why that is. Maybe it is because the first book I read was told by the heroine. This one is being told by the hero, and I am having a hard time relating to him. He’s just a blah character. I guess if it was an autobiography it would be different, but it’s fiction. I don’t know if I can do it.

  Now, before I lose my audience I am going to switch it up some. I’m done complaining. I’m pretty much done typing the words I or I’m. It’s time to switch it over to you. I tried to do something similar in the past. This time I hope for a little better response. I would like for you to tell me a little about you own self. Below is a series of questions that Kelly (trying not to use I) would love to know the answers to. She is always talking about herself; it’s time for you to tell about…you!

1. When is the last time you have overdone something and hurt yourself?
2. Do you like books written in first person?  
3. What is your favorite genre?
4. Do you have an e-reader? If so what kind? Kindle? Nook? Sony? Other?
5. If you could vacation anywhere in the world where would you go?

W.P.I. - To conserve moisture and prevent splashing mud, mulch your herb garden after planting. Use 1 to 2 inches of organic material.