Best of the Year. Dec. 12-17. #2018BOTY

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What was the Best of 2018 for me?  This is a continuation.  My job and life being as they are, I’d never remember to post every day, these days.  I got this idea and the graphic from Beaton at becomingthemuse.wordpress.com

These are the best of 2018 for me, #12 to #17.

12.  Achievement- I landed my first book signing ever!  What did it take?  Well, I have entered my book in many book contests, gotten some acclaim, boosted my confidence, and….drum roll: I made the call to an independent book store.  That is what it took.  The confidence; I had to develop that.  After that, I just had to make sure to tell every single friend I had.  I was so grateful for all of the people who showed up!

CanepaBookSigning45274028_10213512221228915_802157444007460864_n

 

13.  Lesson Learned- I keep learning this lesson, and I put it into practice in 2017, but I kept working it this year to yield the results.  The lesson is this:  The best thing you can give your offspring is unconditional love, no matter what.  I have learned this with my son again and again.  Some will advise that I need to cut him loose as a young adult.  I do give him his freedom and space, but he just seems to not be ready for certain things.  It would take a lot of time to reiterate what he has been through in the last four years, but I’ll suffice it to say that he still is not driving since his car accident and concussion of Jan., 2017.  He rides a bike to work at a car wash, and he is happy there working around 30 hours a week.  He is appreciated by the owner and very punctual.  I am proud of that; he has been at it for a little over a year now.  He is a very quiet young man.  Some people are taken aback by that.  Just realize, some of us have an awful lot going on inside, and we have been on a mental health journey as a family to understand him and to deal with things without responding in anger, anxiety, or hopelessness.  We went together to RI to see my dad this summer, and he was like a quiet child, but best of all, he enjoyed himself in his quiet manner.  When it was boring on the plane, we played a word game app together.  I caught his cold, but I couldn’t distance him when he was actually interacting with me far more than he had in over a year.  He has grown; he likes to watch movies with me, and he listens to books on audio at times.  I believe his interests are coming back, and I won’t focus on the fact that he isn’t reading the books, but that he is developing some interests.

RIcrag.RocksBeauty34220_1369823214626_93248_n From our first visit to RI, 2010.

14. The Best blog post is by Beaton, who inspired me to join the Best of the Year posts!  It was a September blog post about the elections and resulting riots in Zimbabwe with a more recent follow up.  This just shows how the world of blogging can connect people across the oceans and in other countries.  He was out and about when the riots occurred and fearful for his safety.  How else could I know the perspective of someone who went through this?  I am really into learning about other points of view and the global knowledge one can attain through the internet.  He recently posted a follow up, to include real life photos and a Youtube clip of one of the politicians justifying their actions.  I have used and presented Beaton’s blog posts with my Journalism class,  to get their frame of mind out of their own little corner and to learn about the world.  Visit his recent post:   https://becomingthemuse.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/of-coffee-with-a-state-march-of-mind/

15.  Person you met-At my booksigning in November, I met Lena Sheqeraq, an author who writes children’s books, one of them an ESL teacher resource.  I am always glad to meet and network with new authors, and it’s great that she is local!  She even gave me the name of her publisher.  This could lead to something exciting!  I’ll let you know when I know.  🙂

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16. Business/service you started using  – Chiropractic services.  After a 3 year break, (no pun intended), I went back to the chiropractor.  I had gone for two straight years until the doctor’s frequent schedule changes disgusted me.  (My anxiety could not handle the hassle with dodging the traffic to get to his location by 4:45).  I have suffered in the meantime and was given a prescription for muscle relaxors from the primary doc.  Well, they mask the pain but don’t make it better.  So I went back.  This is a new doctor, not the one who kept changing the schedule.  I get there around 5:15, and the traffic is not bad at all.  That, and my neck feels so much better, and I am not getting sick as much.  It really is good for my health!

17.  App you discovered- The Canva app.  I have been using Canva.com on the desktop for about two years to make book graphics, blog graphics, and even one book cover for From Lost to Loved.  I was out in public one day and got a surge of creativity one day.  So I went to the Google app store and downloaded Canva for my phone.  I am still learning about it, but I love the portability, since I do post a lot of my book information using my phone.  Try it!

 

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Bridging the Transition. #FridayFictioneers #FlashFiction

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

Desmond starting signing the song, “Bridge over troubled water.”

“I hate bridges,” Chastity interrupted.

“It’s getting us to the other side.  Be thankful.  What if you were alone when that old car broke down?  Out here in the middle of nowhere.”

“Just know, Desmond, when we get to civilization, we go our separate ways. I didn’t leave John just to be harnessed to another guy.”

“You are quite progressive for 1972.”

“Better late than never,” she mumbled, missing his point.

Desmond had no tricks up his sleeve.  Is that why she enlisted his help?  He braced himself for goodbye.

~98 words (story only)

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly prompt challenged presented at rochellewisoff.com

I encourage you to visit and read other responses.  Consider joining the fun!

 

 

Best of the Year. Dec. 6-11. #2018BOTY

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Image from Beaton at Becoming the Muse Blog

This is my second post for Best of the Year.  My blogging habit involves forgetting for a few days, so I am posting a few days at a time.

6. Album-Imagine Dragons, “Evolve”, which includes “Whatever it Takes” and “Natural.” I am not really up to speed on new albums.  When it comes to music, I know what I like, and I stick with it.  However, I do listen to the radio at times, and Imagine Dragons is one of my favorite.  Specifically, “Whatever it Takes” is a favorite.  It motivates me and makes me want to do things, not just getting out of bed, but making a difference in this world.  I love the lead singer’s voice, and the lyrics just pop.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOsM-DYAEhY

In fact, I’m playing it right now to get my plans for the day in gear!

7. Experience- Sailing in RI.  I wrote a blog post on it this summer in July or August.  My dad and his firned in RI took us sailing past Naragansett Bay and toward the ocean.  It was a little scary, but quite inspiring.  Sometimes things that scare you can really wake you up to life.  That, and it was a beautiful day with awesome sights!

Sail37095898_10212769026329507_8157927827677642752_n  RI2018.37420295_10212814253380155_4076472461292470272_n It was sunset by the time we got back, and what a beautiful sunset!

8. Meal- Lunch in Amelia Island at a quaint little seafood place.  Sadly, I have not been trying new things much.  My stomach over-reacts to certain things, so I am pretty careful.  However, there is one meal I remember fondly.  It was a lovely day, and we sat outdoors.  I had a club sandwich with blue cheese potato salad, something I don’t eat often, and the potato salad was of a kind I have never tried.  It was scrumptious!  I was having weird stomach issues and afraid to eat seafood, but this lunch was great.  I splurged and had a lot of calories in that lunch.  The friends I went with are all retired teachers, and we were having a lot of fun that day, shopping and lunching.  Then, one of them starts throwing fries on the ground for the birds.  🙂  Those birds were having a party…

9. Drink- Orange is the New Crack. It’s kind of like an Orange Julius for adults.  This accompanied my meal at Amelia Island with my friends.  Doesn’t the name explain itself? Can you believe I only had one?

10. News Story- I avoid the news. The only news stories I can recall made me cry this year.  But I appreciate those that bring me to tears of joy and hope; one example would be the kindness and humanity that arose out of the fires in Malibu, CA in November.  People were stuck in their cars with the fire blazing around them; they could not get out.  However, groups rescued many left behind animals and took them in.  People risked their lives to help others.  One of them, a garbageman whose boss told him to cut his route short and go home, instead checked on the homes of some of the elderly residents he knew.  He ended up rescuing one 93-year-old woman.  Thank God for those with a heart!   https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/17/us/camp-fire-garbageman/index.html

11. Purchase- Gazelle.  It’s an exercise machine that does not require electricity.  I purchased it in case we had another homebound/hurricane scare this year, which I am glad to say we didn’t!  Two years in a row we had them, and I gained weight due to comfort eating.  I am at a point where I still think I look just fine, but I do not need five more pounds.  Guess what?  I use it twice a week, don’t have to brush my hair like I would for the gym, and I can read while on it in relative peace and quiet, unlike my exercise experience at the gym.  Which reminds me, I need to cancel that membership….

Thanks for reading!  In a couple of days, I will have a few more for you!

 

Best of the Year, December 2018 Blog Challenge. #2018BOTY

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Online graphic is from Beaton’s blog, Becoming the Muse.

Thank you to Beaton at becomingthemuse.wordpress.com for making me aware of this blog challenge! Since I have arrived late to this party, I will have to do this my own way. I am no good at posting daily these days. I have missed the first days, and some of these require me to really ponder my answer. So, I will try to present a few of my entries 2 to 3 times a week. I hope this does not disturb the universe. Yes, I totally stole that one from T.S. Eliot’s poetry, and I have a few others I like to say at random times. 🙂 At any rate, here are my Best from numbers 1 to 5:

  1. Movie- Rental: Arrival. This one ‘arrived” on the scene in 2016 and came to me via Netflix DVD, because I have a really hard time getting out to see new movies, what with writing and the like. It is sci-fi, but it is a thinking movie. There is a mystery to solve; you have to pay attention. It also can be quite touching and powerful. Amy Adams’ performance was moving and emotional. Loved it!                                    Movie seen in the theater: BlackkKlansman. The acting was awesome, the plot intense, and the subject matter, heavy. I saw it with my young adult son, and we both loved it and appreciated the message it gave. It was wrought with irony, and sometimes we laughed. At times, I cried. We walked out of that theater, the two of us and everyone else, in silence. The ending was so disturbing in drawing a comparison between 70s/80s Klan activity and racial attitudes to what has gone on this year. Kudos to the director for his raw honesty.
  1. TV Show season- Season 2 of “Travellers,” available on Netflix. Superb acting and great writing, despite just a few plotholes. This was a total time travel indulgence for me that had me binge-watching for days. It got me through a sinus infection, and I probably laid around more than necessary, but hey, I was entertained and definitely hooked!

3. Fiction book- The Watchmage of New York, by C.A. Sanders.

The Watchmage of Old New York by C.A. Sanders

It’s magical and has a little of a Neil Gaiman feel to it. It’s the turn of the century, there’s a detective solving crimes, and not every character you encounter is human. Absolutely loved it and highly recommend it!

4. Nonfiction book- Untamed, the Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island by Will Harlan

Untamed by Will Harlan

I found this woman to be quite an inspiration. She was totally unlike me, but thank God there are people like her. She fought hunters and poachers on the island to protect birds, sea turtles, etc. She would raise a gun to them and defend the island to the death. She was no quitter, and I found that really admirable, as well as finding her strange habits interesting, if not to my taste. (Roadkill just doesn’t appeal to me) 🙂 There were also many chapters that included far out scientific facts about sea turtles and other secrets of nature.

5. Song- Man on Fire, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. I love this band and have for a few years. They are so natural, free, and loving. In the videos, they look like a bunch of hippies who have gathered in a park to have fun and sing some tunes. Love seems to flow through the smiles of the lead singers. What’s not to like? That, and Man on Fire is downright inspiring. It gets me going when I feel tired in the morning, making me want to go out and use what talent I have to inspire and to love others. I just discovered it this past year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08WeoqWilRQ

Thanks for reading! My plan is, in a few days, to post my Dec. 6-11 Best of the Year.  How about yours?

#WeekendCoffeeShare. The Season is Upon Us!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com. I feel like I’m neglecting my blog lately, I’ve been so busy. Yesterday, I volunteered as a teacher sponsor with kids in our National Junior Honor Society. I have to say, their youthful bounce and jump right in attitudes kind of warmed my own holiday spirit and the hearts of many patrons.  I only needed one cup of java to get me through the day.  It seems the spirit of youth was in the air and influenced even my energy!

At one point, a Salvation Army rep came by and fixed our sign. It’s supposed to go at the top of the stand. Oops! At any rate, it was a day well-spent with several interludes of Jingle Bells and a few other songs!  I think the kids did a great job and learned more about what it’s like to set a goal and raise money for a good cause.

Work has kept me quite busy as well. I’m a teacher, so I guess that’s just what is expected. I do find time now and then to work on my current work-in-progress, which is now just a little above 15,000 words. I am proud of that, as I have brought it up just in the last 3 weeks. I’m also part of a read/review group, and they have an Online Holiday Popup Book Shop until 12/16. Please visit the link and browse, because if you buy a book from their online shop, which links you to Amazon by the way, you just have to follow their instructions in order to be entered for an Amazon gift card. We all could use one of those! While you’re there, visit the author reading room to see authors reading excerpts from their books. I even have a video of myself reading a portion of my sci-fi novel,  Detours in Time.  Go to this site and navigate through the links at the top of the page.  Enjoy!  https://booksbudzpopup.wordpress.com

On a side note, damp weather does interesting things to my hair!  Thank you for reading, and have a great week!

BooksByPamIMG_0401 My available paperbacks, also can be found in Kindle edition; only Undercurrents is not shown hereI am working on adding to the collection!

 

Neither Rain, nor Snow, nor Sleet. #FFfAW

Photo credit, (c) Yinglan.

He was always at this park on Saturdays.  I’d notice him whenever I took my dog for the nightly walk.  After I’d lived here for about nine months, I noticed the weather didn’t matter.  He was here every Saturday evening, and only Saturday evenings.

His clothing was shabby; his cheeks, red.  I imagined on the nights I didn’t see him, he must stay at the shelter.  One night I stopped to talk.

“Hey, I’m Fran.  Isn’t it a little cold to be out here?”

“Doesn’t bother me.  My lady and I, we’d come here every Saturday night.  I can picture here right there.  We’d sit on that bench.”  Shivering, he showed me a smiling photo of her on that bench.

“When is the date over?”  I asked, worried he might freeze.

He looked at a broken wrist-watch.  “Half an hour.”

“I don’t think she’d mind leaving early.  It’s a bit cold.  Can I walk you to the shelter?”

He shrugged and smiled sadly.  “Yeah, there’s soup.  Maybe she’ll show up next week.”

**172 words

***The challenge is to write a short piece of flash fiction in response to a provided picture prompt of 100-150 words (+ or – 25 words, thank goodness :)).  You can view other stories or jun the fun at FFfAW.

Thank you for stopping by on a snowy evening!  You never know the difference you could make.  Of course, it is not snowy here, but I can imagine.  🙂

Books I’m Thankful for, 2018. #books

This was day 3 of “Books I’m Thankful for.” Daily, I’ve been mentioning a book that I am grateful for on social media as we go through this Thanksgiving week. I also encourage you to share yours! This is The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. If you have ever felt like a social misfit, you just may identify with Holden Caulfield. When I read this, I was 18, newly graduated, and a little cut-off from my high school social tribe. I can’t say I felt like he felt, or did the things he did, but I can tell you, what he was going through, I felt like I’d been through it before, right at about year 16 to 17.

Let me quote: “Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know.” When I read a book, sometimes the main character becomes just like a friend, and I am able to shut out the world around me. Some say the character Holden is a sick person. We’ve all been sick at one time or another. Some of us will tell no one. We may only tell parts of it to our friends, but here is a character who will tell you the whole story. I loved that.

Other books I’ve mentioned include: The Help, by Kate Sprockett, Little Women by Loiusa May Alcott, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant, and Fish Out of Water, by Helen Palmer will likely be my finisher, as it is the first book my mom can recall ever reading to me, which also makes me very thankful!

 Inspirational reading by Iyanla Vanzant.

 The first book that helped me to love books.

I hope you all have an enjoyable, heart-warming Thanksgiving holiday and plenty of time to read a good book!